Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Paperwork fantasies

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.

7 comments:

Ann said...

But then the system couldn't suck even more money out of adoptive parents. What's the fun in that?

I have a good idea, Elizabeth. You run for President. I'll vote for you! I would love it if your ideas would take hold. I guess they make too much sense.

PS Can you tell I'm a little jaded with the system? LOL

myminivanrocks said...

Yeah, isn't it interesting when people say, "Oh, it will be easier if we just adopt." HA! I have a bio son, a daughter who was adopted, and a son who was adopted. I think it was easiest to have the bio son, even though we had to do fertility treatments to get pregnant and I threw up EVERY DAY of the pregnancy.

Anthony and Rebecca said...

Never better said! I can't stand having to keep proving we are "real" parents. Not that I REALLY wanna get into the whole "octuplet" debate; but in response to the controversy, there was some rhetoric out there where folks were calling for prospective parents who were seeking fertility treatments to complete applications to pretty much prove their "fitness as parents and financial ability to fulifill prental obligations". As a woman who happened to have sat in one of those awful doctors offices, then went through an Adoption Process, and is beginning a second Adoption Process... I have to say, I am quite frankly tired of folks asking those of us who cannot, or choose not to, build our families through (what others consider) "normal" methods to prove our "fitness" to parent. If this is the case, then why not ask every family to prove the same... when does this cross the line and become a form of discrimination????

Anywhoo... I digress... E, again you make a wonderful, thought provoking post! What a wonderful world it would be if this paperwork could be streamlined and we didn't have to keep validating our parental relationship/rights to the government who swears they protect us!

(Sorry if I am a little bitter today!)
Rebecca Holt BB

Heidi said...

Amen! Especially since once you get your child home you should be focusing on him/her rather than MORE paperwork at that point!

Paula Fitzgibbons said...

WOW! You have verbalized so many of my thoughts here. Thank you. We have yet to re-adopt due to the cost. It is a crazy system. I remember leaving the hospital after giving birth to I (and still dealing with post-adoption paperwork for O and S) and thinking, "Really? That's all I have to do? There's no more paperwork?" And don't even get me started on the fact that I's birth, a c-section, cost 300.00 for the whole thing. Can you imagine how many children would have homes if it cost only 300.00 to adopt?

Thank you.
Paula

PhoWises said...

I just got Maya's re-adoption paperwork to the courthouse last week. I had been feeling like the worst adoptive mother on earth for taking so long. I was so overwhelmed the first 6 months and besides, after 3 years of paperwork, I couldn't believe I wasn't done yet! I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one. You have more people to take care of than I do. My social worker was very kind and patient, never once making me feel like a bad mom.

maxhelcal said...

I whole heartily agree that the paperwork could be more streamlined. However, I do take great hesitation with making the process easier when it comes to checking a parent's abilities to parent and also the cost of adoption in general. That concept opens up a huge can of worms. Being the mother of a child who was adopted and then horrifically abused, I can only imagine if the background checks were less vigorous, how many more potential abusive acts might occur to children. I would rather err on the side of safety and even still, people slip through the cracks and precious children are put into the wrong hands. If it were at all possible, I think ALL parents (adoptive AND birth) should undergo such scrutinization although I know this cannot legally happen as government regards parenting as a "right" and not a priviledge. I understand what Rebecca is saying about feeling discriminated against. I really do, but, when someone is being entrusted with a child and can legally be put under the microscope, as is the case in adoption, I think it should be done. Even being through it 5 times myself, I think it is necessary. I have been involved in the adoption communities for the past 15 years now and have seen a lot. I would not want any of it to be made easier. I've attended as well as hosted numerous PIP classes, met people at gatherings and fundraisers and was a mentor AP. I've seen and heard some crazy stuff. Not everyone who adopts or wants to adopt is automatically a kind and caring person. There are many bad eggs out there. Just like bio parents. Adoption agencies can't stop you from proceeding as easily as you might think either. I cannot go into detail but I know a good amount about this. The system isn't perfect but I cannot imagine just handing children over with few forms and $300 surcharge.

Also, I have to add, there are already tons of potential AP's waiting in line. Some people wait a year or even longer for a referral. There is no shortage of AP's unless you are talking about children with special needs.

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