In the case of WYNN V. SUPERIOR COURT, Mother became pregnant in 1950. She successfully hid her pregnancy from friends and family. After she gave birth to daughter, she did not put her real name on Child's birth certificate and gave a false name for Child's biological father. Mother gave Child same fictitious last name that she claimed for herself, but signed her real name on the birth certificate without designating herself as the Child's parent. In April of 1951, Mother gave Child up for adoption. When Child was adopted in November of 1952, authorities issued a new birth certificate, listing Child's adoptive parents as her parents and Child's name as that given to her by them. Child's original birth certificate was sealed.
In 1981, Child, seeking to contact her birth parents, obtained release of her adoption file and an order unsealing her original birth certificate. Child's biological father died in 1987, but Child was able to contact Mother in 2001, and to establish a relationship with her. Child learned that Mother was an enrolled member of an Indian tribe and that Child was also eligible for membership. However, the tribe would not enroll Child unless she submitted amended birth certificate containing Mother's real name. Child filed a petition, seeking adjudication of her biological parents, determination that Mother is her biological mother, and an order directing issuance of amended birth certificate. After a hearing on December 8, 2008, Trial Court found that it lacked authority to amend the original birth certificate that had been rendered legally meaningless by Child's subsequent adoption. Accordingly, Trial Court denied Child's petition.
Child appealed, and now the California Appellate Court has reversed the Trial Court's Decision. The Appellate Court finds that (1) administrative procedure for amending birth certificate is not available to Child; thus, Child's petition is not barred by failure to exhaust administrative process; (2) Trial Court had jurisdiction to determine Child's biological parentage under California Family Code Section 7650(a) [interested person may file suit to determine mother-child relationship] because Child has recognizable interest in that determination and may gain valuable rights from it; (3) determination of mother-child relationship under Family Code Section 7650(a) is not barred by Child's subsequent adoption; and (4) Trial Court has jurisdiction to order issuance of new birth certificate where existing certificate contains incorrect information. The Appellate Court reverses and remands the case back to Trail Court for Trial Court to adjudicate Child's parentage and, if appropriate, to order issuance of corrected birth certificate.