I just came back from the Social Security office where I applied for K's social security number and changed TM's name on his social security card from his Vietnamese name to his US name. With this, I have officially finished the paperwork associated with TM's adoption. Hallelujah! (I'm afraid we're not even close with K's paperwork. When we can scrape the money together we will do the re-adoption so he has a US generated birth certificate with his US name, then we can apply for his US passport, then I can go back and change his social security card.)
Doing all this paperwork and being pregnant has me pondering the differences between birth and adoption with regard to the hassles of government and documentation. I have to say, for my first five children, I didn't fully appreciate how easy it was. Essentially, I gave birth, filled-out a few forms which were brought to me in my hospital room, and several weeks later a birth certificate and social security card arrived in the mail. I didn't have to collect a stack of documents, I didn't have to go anywhere, I didn't have to hire a lawyer, and I didn't have to pay any money. Bliss.
So here's my fantasy: If our children who come home on IR3 visas are truly considered our legal children AND citizens of the United States (and they are), why can't we streamline the paperwork process? In order to get to the point of actually adopting our child we have been investigated, fingerprinted (more than once), and had more than one visit from a licensed social worker to approve our home, income, health, and stability. Why do we have to continue to be approved after the fact? Instead, a few more pieces of paper filled out during the visa interview and we could be done. If a hospital can give me forms and have paperwork arrive in the mail, why not the embassy? It's at least a government office. We could fill out a form notifying the government what the child's name should be and the government would then send us in the mail, along with the Certificate of Citizenship (in the correct name!), a US generated birth certificate and a social security card. Simple and easy. The government could do this easily if they wanted to...they are all about paperwork after all. And it would go a long way to show parity to adoptive parents instead of making us prove over and over that we are the real parents to our child.