Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Post Placement Paperwork Chase

So today...we file to RE-adopt Toby.


Why in the world would we do that? Wasn't once enough?

Ha ha! Yes, it was! But apparently some divisions of our government would like to have some more "United States-ish" looking paperwork.


That's right.

I've had a very challenging time getting Toby's American name on his Social Security card. I was able to get a card right away with a number assigned to him, but it was in his previous Chinese name.

Here's the thing:

When you adopt a child in China, they become forever yours on that adoption day. Their names change to whatever you fill in the form, but in order for them to leave the country and gain access to ours, they need to get a passport and visa in their CHINESE NAME.

This has not been a problem at all. Upon landing in America, provided your child is on the IH-3 visa, your child magically transforms into an American! (Expect sparkles!! Actually poor Toby was vomiting the moment he became an American!)

You fly home with tons of paperwork that is very official from China. You get all the necessary Chinese translations and the red stamps to prove that they are real. Documents that have both the child's prior Chinese name and new name and your picture with your child. Sounds like plenty of "proof" that this child is yours and has a new name, right?

Well, maybe not.

Turns out that my Social Security office would not issue Toby's new card in his new name. In spite of pages like this  and this from the actual SS website that state that the Certificate of Citizenship is adequate for a name change. 

However, my local SS worker explained to me that he had gone up to the federal level for an answer. There is a policy that states that the name must be shown on a US state amended birth certificate OR a US state court order showing the name change or a Certificate of Naturalization. No website would change his mind.

{Now I am skipping over the fact that I have made this long trip to this office with 3 preschool children in tow NONE OF WHOM care to sit patiently in the office while we wait to be called to the window. There are NO TOYS, NOTHING entertaining at all besides a water fountain, and the entire place if full of other people who appear rather uninterested in my children's antics. I have currently made this trip 3 times now. Every trip has made me batty as we have waited upwards of an hour before even being seen at the window. (Where it takes another 30 minutes to wade through the paperwork...again.) I have a rockstar friend who thinks going with me is fun and she brings HER kid so we sit there with FOUR children and basically rock everybody's socks off. Yeah. We sure do.}


I now have been on the phone with this office multiple times. I think they have me on caller-id. "It's HER!!! Take your coffee break! Run!!" I can just hear them!

So, after working with our fabulous adoption agency's post placement department, I have finally determined that I could continue to try to get this name changed myself by trying again in a BIG CITY (risking further answers like I've been getting)...or I could just acquiesce to what the local SS office is saying I need.

A US birth certificate for my child.

Why would I fight getting this? Well, money actually. And that's really all it is because I WANT my child to have official AMERICAN looking paperwork. Lord knows it'll help him his whole life long to not try to prove things with those Chinese charactered crispy papers. Places like schools and workplaces will want a birth certificate...preferably one they recognize. And someone pointed out that if ever (God forbid) Chinese-American relations get strained, it'd be safer to have our kiddos have American paperwork to prove their identity.

So here's the process: we must go to court and RE-ADOPT Toby in Ohio. This is true for every state. You must have a hearing with a real live judge if you want to have a birth certificate. (Sorry, this still is amazing to me.) It isn't enough that all this was done and we've paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to do this on foreign soil.

So you must hire a lawyer, file paperwork, wait 30 days and appear before the judge. Then in another 60 days, you will receive your child's birth certificate. (READ: you cannot do anything quickly!)

So as you can see, this is an easy thing to "put off" because of the finances. ESPECIALLY when you are working to bring another child home! However, we have some reasons we want to get Toby's name changed and his status corrected from "alien" to "citizen" in the eyes of the government. Apparently that $550 piece of paper called Certificate of Citizenship just ain't enough.


But today, I decided to try something. And it worked!! 

I printed off all the Ohio adoption forms I could find, filled them out and showed up at the probate court with every imaginable Chinese adoption related document I could unearth and said, "I need to get this boy an Ohio birth certificate." Cue Toby to flash that amazing smile.  And he did. 

Suddenly, the probate court workers were filing and stamping and photocopying my documents. Would October 16th work for a hearing for me?

Why yes, yes it will!!!

So what just happened here? I AVOIDED HIRING A LAWYER AND DID IT MYSELF!!! 

That means I saved money. That means this whole process only costs me the court filing fee! You can now imagine me leaping around for great joy and wondering what to spend the money on that we just saved.

You can now imagine me remembering that our sweet Esty is still sitting in a wheelchair in a corner of an orphanage in Beijing and see me apply those funds to get her HOME!

Now, apparently there are particular counties in Ohio where you cannot file without a lawyer. But, you can TRY!!! If you live in Ohio, you can try by going here and scroll down till you see "adoption forms." Now let it be known that I am NOT GIVING OUT LEGAL ADVICE here...but you might say click on the first and eighth and ninth forms. That's what worked here.

If you do live in Ohio, keep in mind that you cannot schedule a hearing until your child has been in your home for 6 months. That apparently does not matter whether the adoption was finalized overseas or not. Some states do not have this rule. Some states have the rule, but will waive it for a decent reason. 

I hope this post helps some of you...after posting on Instagram I got many requests for a blog post about this and got the ok from our post placement department to blog and help others! I'm all about that!! So I hope this helps some fellow adoptive families...see you in court!

post signature

1 comment:

  1. Good job! After six adoptions we have tried to stop making sense of the process. It's craziness.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...