For most people, applying for a new passport is a minor inconvenience. However, for singer and actor Ben Vereen, best known for his roles as “Chicken George” in the miniseries Roots and as Mayor Ben on Zoobilee Zoo, the quest for a passport unearthed a family secret that no one had ever revealed to him: he was adopted.

Vereen recently recounted his story for It started when he got invited to tour with Sammy Davis, Jr. at the age of 25:

“I didn’t have a passport so he told me to send for my birth certificate. I didn’t think about the fact that I didn’t have one or there were no baby pictures of me. Turns out they didn’t have my birth certificate under the name Ben Vereen but they had Essie Middleton as the mother of Benjamin Vereen.”

When he questioned his mother about it, she revealed that he was adopted. Despite having the birth certificate, it took him decades longer to actually get up the nerve to track his birth family down. He told BlogTalk Radio,

“The whole idea of hearing my older sister’s voice for the first time was just amazing. We were both nervous seeing each other for the first time. Now she’s always on my case. I also discovered I have a brother, Jimmy, and (another, called) Eugene…Both mothers have since gone on (died), so finding aunts and cousins and a whole slew of people who are now in my life and my children’s lives is wonderful and very rich.”

It’s truly amazing where applying for a new passport can take you. This is a great story, and it should be no surprise that Mr. Vereen plans to turn it into a book.

As an adult adoptee, the procedure for applying for a new passport is the same as it would be if you weren’t adopted.

However, when applying for a passport for an adopted child, it’s a little bit different. Parents: If you’re applying for a passport for your adopted child, you’ll need to bring two documents where non-adoptive families only need one:

  • A certified copy of his or her birth certificate (if born in the US) or naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship (if born abroad). This is to establish your child’s US citizenship.
  • A copy of the adoption decree, to establish your relationship to the child.

You’ll also need to have your photo ID with you to prove your identity and, if both adoptive parents can’t be present, proof that the other parent consents for the child to be issued a passport. Of course, you’ll need 2 passport photos of your little one as well.

For a complete list of everything you need, see How to Get a Passport for a Child, and remember, RushMyPassport is here to help!

Apply for your new passport today!