Passport Attempt #1 – The Phone Call

phone call

In case  you haven’t been following along on our passport drama for kid two here’s the skinny:

  • We move and misplace original birth certificate for our daughter.
  • We ask adoption worker for another copy of birth certificate and she says no.
  • Adoption worker says we can get a passport without a birth certificate.
  • We finalize the adoption.
  • We apply for passport with birth records.
  • We go on staycation and place mail on hold. We get an email saying that we were receiving a letter from the passport folks. We return and get no letter. We tell USPS and no one cares. We end up calling the passport folks.
  • We speak with a customer service rep who tells us he can’t tell us what was in the letter but he’ll have someone from the office call us to chat.
  • We miss the call.
  • We return the call and no one picks up. We leave a message.
  • A woman returns the call and tells us that 1) the laws have changed and you do need a birth certificate to get a passport and 2) we need to sign a declaration saying that she doesn’t have a social yet.
  • We’re waiting on the letter to arrive in our inbox so we can get the birth certificate in the mail.

Ugh …..

 

 

Adoption Birth Certificate Arrived Today

Birth certificate sample NY

We finalized our daughter’s adoption June 2nd. Her amended birth certificate arrived today in the mail (about 42 days). We applied for her passport with her birth records and adoption paperwork and so far …  nada.

If I had known the amended birth certificate was going to arrive so quickly (the letter with the adoption paperwork said it could take up to 12 months. Eek!) I would have just waited to apply for her passport. Oh well ….

We were hoping to get down to Mexico before the summer is over. We’ll see …

Managing Foster Care Trauma in Infants

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Grilling up some bubbles at beach during our staycation.

We met our daughter when she was eight months old (she was in foster care). We were told that she had one rather large medical problem (that could be worked through with years of physical therapy) and a few social emotional issues that caused her to scream in public and have to be carried all the time, yes even when in the house.

None of the information was accurate. Our pediatrician thinks she was manifesting her unhappiness with the family she lived with before (we are her third family).

In adoption class, a social worker told us that it would take twice as long as the trauma to be able to navigate the trauma and behave differently. Since she experienced 8 months of trauma (more if you throw on whatever may have happened during the nine to ten months while she was baking) it will take her around 16 months to be able to behave differently. My plans was give her until her second birthday before I really expected her behaviors to change.

She surprises me every day.

Right now, she’s 20 months old and she’s so different from how she was when we met her. She’s amazing! She’s never had any physical challenges (with us) and her behavior was different from the moment she got her out of that house. This week, we had a staycation and went around visiting touristy places in our city. She’s been smiling and waving to people and wandering around. Strangers in public have ever referred to her as a happy baby! Last night she slept in her own bed all night. She plays with her cousins (running around the house screaming and laughing) and is like any other little kid.

I look at her now and I can’t imagine our lives without her. I’m glad that her record didn’t scare us off. The paperwork does not tell the whole story. Both our kids had some challenges on paper. Both of our kids are perfect. They are absolutely perfect. I’m thrilled every day that I get to help raise such wonderful beings.

Most kids in foster care have experienced trauma but it happened to them, it doesn’t define them. With someone to love on them (we use attachment parenting and gentle parenting) and support them these kids will blossom. Managing foster care trauma in infants is easy: just love them.

Passport Attempt #1

We took the passport application, her photos, the adoption order, the adoption decree, and some birth records that we found in our placement paperwork to library. The lady wasn’t sure if they would issue a passport without a birth certificate, etc. Our adoption worker assured us that we’d be able to get her passport without a birth certificate.

The woman that processed our application didn’t seem too sure.

We’ll see ….

Passport Drama for Adoption #2

passport map

With the first adoption, we had a copy of the original birth certificate. We got the photos at AAA for $7. The Wednesday after finalization, we took our adoption order, the application we filled out, and the other paperwork and went to the library to turn in everything. The person that took the paperwork was very kind. We had a passport for the 1 year old within two weeks.

This time around, things are a bit different. We were given an original birth certificate for this baby but we moved ….  and now I can’t find it. When I asked our adoption worker for another one, she said they couldn’t give it to me due to privacy concerns (we already had one) which made me shake my head. All we have is the adoption finalization paperwork and the medical files from the birth.

When I asked my adoption group if we’d be able to get a passport with that information, the responses ranged from “just take the original birth certificate” (which is no help) to “get your attorney to get it for you” (which is also no help).

Yesterday, our adoption worker called to see if we want to keep our case open or close it. She casually asked where we’re taking our babies (after finalization last time, we took our baby to South Africa) and I told her, “No where”. My plan was to wait the six to twelve months until her amended birth certificate came in and then visit somewhere. She said that she’s had several adoptive families get a passport after finalization with just the two documents that we got after court. She said to make color copies (don’t give the originals to the passport folks) to turn in with the application.

She sounded so sure.

I’m making an appointment for next week. We shall see.

Second Adoption: Finalization Date

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This is why folks don’t like working with the county: no one knows what anyone else is doing.

We received an email from our daughter’s social worker saying that she needed to come by the house for May’s visit. At the finalization paperwork signing, our adoption worker told us that there would be no more visits from the social worker and that we’d be dealing with her from here on out. In the email, she mentioned that finalization was “around the corner” but we didn’t have a date yet. Huh?

I forwarded the email to our adoption worker. Her reply was that finalization was scheduled and the social worker needed to visit again. My guess is because she’ll be on vacation?

Anyhoo … in a round about way, we found out our finalization date, that she won’t be able to attend (again) and the social worker that I wanted to punch in the face will be there. Ah …  friggin’ … some!

 

 

5 Reasons I Thought We wouldn’t Be Chosen to Adopt

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This is our second time adopting from foster care and if you’d have asked me 5 years ago if we’d pass muster even one time I’d have told you no. When we started on this journey, we had no experience with adoption and didn’t know anyone who had adopted. If you’re wondering if you would be able to adopt, here are some things we thought might stop us …  but didn’t:

#1 We don’t believe in any gods.

Like many people, we were both raised Christian. We both wandered off into Islamic studies and one us of valued the wisdom of the 5 percenters. Eventually, we both ended up realizing that all religion is a sham and became atheists. Many adoption organizations are religious and many adopters seem to be motivated by pleasing some kind of god.

There is a line on the adoption application that asks about religion. We wrote “none” and waited for the questions to start …  they never did.

#2 I am not fond of social workers.

I entered foster care at 13 and “aged out” at 17 (I graduated from high school). Some social workers were cool …  some …  not so cool. I don’t trust them to do what they say they are going to do. I also tend to think that they are always looking for a reason to remove children from the home. That being said …  we dealt with six different folks (1 emergency care worker, 4 social workers, and 1 adoption worker) over the course of the two adoptions. We had two that obviously didn’t care (but weren’t bad, evil, or vindictive) and two that I couldn’t get a bead on (they did the bare minimum the job required). The last two were very involved (though not annoying) and cared a lot about their charges. Overall, it hasn’t been bad.

#3 I’m not fond of people making me do things.

I don’t like being forced to do anything. Any. Thing.

The whole process of adopting is people you don’t know forcing you to do things you think have little merit. You fill out the same information on multiple forms (each set goes to a different agency). You have to have a doctor sign off on your health (we could get hit by a bus tomorrow). You have to let random people into your home to judge how clean your fridge is and how safely your fireplace is covered.

Amazingly, it wasn’t that bad. There were a few times I wanted to quit, but overall …  it really wasn’t that bad.

#4 We don’t own a home.

I used to own a home but I don’t right now. I wasn’t sure if that would automatically disqualify us. We’ve lived in three different rental homes over the five years that it took us to adopt our two children (the bulk being 3 years in one spot and we just moved to a larger place now that we needed another bedroom) and it’s never been a problem. They want loving parents in safe homes. It doesn’t matter if that home is owned or leased.

#5 Our house is rarely tidy.

When it was just us and a 100 lb. pup, our home had a chance of sometimes being clean …  Lol As our family has grown, our home’s cleanliness had steadily gone down. With two toddlers and a pup, our house is “dirty enough to be happy and clean enough to be healthy” as my grandma used to say. Lol

When social workers from the county come over, they don’t seem too worried about our mess. One even told me, “If you have toddlers and you’re house isn’t dirty, I wonder why”. We have to remember that they often have kids too. They understand what normal mess looks like. Lol

I often hear people talking about how hard it was to adopt from foster care, and though I’m sure their stories are true, our story is also true. We were chosen to adopt infants from the county, not once …  but twice …  and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.