Wednesday, August 19, 2009

16 month check-up and "fun" with social security

This morning Hannah had a check-up at our peds office lugging my big Hannah folder around with us with all of her paperwork. It was no big deal to change her legal name in our medical records, just had to double check that they got it right. "Yes, two first names and one hypenated middle name."

I was excited about having Squirmy weighed and measured. She weighed 19 pounds with a diaper on and was 29 and 1/2 inches in length. I couldn't wait to get home to chart that... wondering if we're back on the US chart for weight yet. Lookin' good, big girl!

Hannah stacked four little blocks during the appointment showing off her fine motor skills. She walked down the hallway for us in order to get her hands on Mama's iPhone. We talked a lot about Hannah being slow to walk, as that is the only real issue that she has. Our nurse checked on her flexibility, and showed me how her range of motion in her hips and legs is well beyond normal. We're waiting on my new health insurance card to show up so we can provide it to First Steps Early Intervention and get the ball rolling with Hannah's assessments. The nurse practitioner thought that the super flexibility and walking delay should be plenty enough to have us qualify, and she's be sending her recommendation back to them as well.

After naptime we went to the social security office. As I anticipated, I interacted with a less than bright government employee that didn't know the rules concerning what I was wanting. Of course she was quick to tell me what documents I needed that their form didn't say were required, and had to call a supervisor over when this mama was insisted that this couldn't be true. In the end, the staff tells me that her Taiwan passport/US visa and certificate of citizenship are enough to get Hannah's social security card in the name that she entered the country, but that our county court's readoption documents aren't enough to get her a social security card with her current legal name. They want a new state birth certificate with her new legal name, and then we can change the name on the social security card. OR... a new certificate of citizenship in the new legal name.

We kept Hannah busy with photo books, pens, paper clips, a book, keys, and a game of peek-a-boo during the half an hour spent at window number #1. Fortunately she was being cute and didn't fuss and cry too much. This mama DID NOT appreciate the comment, "She's so cute, I'd like to bring her home with me." I'm thinking all the time about what Hannah is hearing from strangers, and even more important is our response. "I don't think so. She's our daughter and she's always coming home with us."

Anyone else besides me feel funny about US created birth certificates for their international adoptees? Like... why do we have to create legal fiction for our children to make it easier to obtain social security cards, register for preschool, and so on? I wasn't there at my daughter's birth, and I place value on the names listed on the original documents.

Here's another rant. The social security administration employee suggested that we wouldn't want to get a social security number for Hannah in her original name because it would be a "foreign born immigrant number." I think my eyes about popped out of my head. "HELLO?!?!?!?!? That's what she is! What's wrong with that?" The social security employee shut up and didn't respond to this exasperated mama. Did this lady think it would be so much *nicer* to have a number that signified that Hannah obtained her card with an Indiana birth certificate so she'd have an Indiana number? Anyone ever heard of anything like this where someone insinuated that an immigrant social security number was less desirable than a number assigned by what state one lives in?

I want to end with something fun rather than my grouchiness. Hannah had strawberry and chocolate flavored milk for the first time this week. When she drinks it, her eyebrows go up and she has a delighted look on her face while sucking down the brown or pink moo juice. Daddy says she's thinking, "And WHY haven't you served me this before?!!?"


  1. Oooh, yesss.... documentation paperwork. What a big, confusing, unnecessary mess. We're in the midst of that right now, too. The things we do for love, right?

  2. Ugh to the SS office. No offense to my fellow Hoosiers (and I think I can say this because I am one) but I am glad Aiden has a foreign born immigrant number if that is what he has. That's a new one to me!

  3. Can't really say much about the whole Social Security thing. But First Steps is a good thing to have usually. Definitely pursue that.

    C'mon Hannah Claire, get on that chart!

  4. Oh Sarah,

    I'm so sorry that you had to deal with all of this beauracratic nonesense, complete with an insensitive worker to boot! Your reaction sounds completely right to me and I only wish that others could sometimes take a step back to honor this heritage we are fighting so hard to protect for our little ones. Its their history afterall and we are just the keepers of it for a time....

    We too are so mindful of comments from strangers and it gets more challenging as your child grows. You are insightful to intuit that its truly your response and reactions to said comments that will someday make the difference.

    I hope you are able to get this all worked out; we are knee deep into this part of the process too; its a bit different from when we readopted Lauren.

    LOVE the story about the moo juice and I love a lady that knows what she likes! :) OH, and yay for your growing girl.....she's doing super!!

  5. hi, I think you want a ss card that shows Hannah Claire is a U.S. citizen. The cards look similar, and the number will be the same but when she goes to college she won't get any aid money if she is listed as foreign born. It's a pain to jump through all those hoops. Read "Bringing home Baby" s blog for the whole experience.

  6. Uggghhhh, I don't even want to think about a government office right now, but the strawberry and chocolate milk options sound yummy!

  7. It may seem silly, but getting all the paperwork done now will make things easier later. I have two adopted children (one from China, one from Taiwan). The "state" birth certificate is actually a "Record of Foreign Birth" issued by the state. It does state the city and country of her birth. You will need this for so MANY things as she grows older. You (and she) may get tired of going through her original birth certificate plus court papers for things such as school registration, soccer teams, etc and having to explain all of this. This will draw even more attention to the fact that she is adopted. I would ask your re-adoption attorney to file for a new birth certificate. This is far cheaper than a new citizenship paper. I just checked into this and the cost for a new certificate of citizenship with a new name is $380. Hope this helps a bit. The last step most attorneys and adoption agencies recommend is getting a US passport for your child - even if there are no immediate trips planned in your future.


  8. I think Sandy is right about the SS #. The difference isn't necessarily between a "foreign born" person number and a US-born person, but between a "citizen" and "non-citizen" SS #. You want HC to have a citizen number!

    I've also been told that having the COC (in the correct name) is very important for later in life - especially when it comes to college and financial aid. I don't know WHY this is...but I've been told that it is. :\

  9. Love hearing that Hannah is walking and her check-up went well. I share your thoughts about the government offices! Warm wishes from Indy!

  10. As far as the comments about being so cute that they want to take her home, people say that to parents about kids whether the kids are adopted or not, or look like the parents or not.

    People said it about my bio son when he was little and say it about my daughter who happens to be adopted. (In fact they offered to buy her! But they were just joking and they were very sweet people.)

    The good news is that the comments go way down once the kid is about 3 or 4, which ironically, is about when they (the kid) may really start to think about such comments. Before that age, it's like they really don't even understand or digest the comments.

  11. We just dealt with this as well - we needed their readoption paperwork if we wanted the soc in the correct name. We adopted from Ethiopia and so we don't have the COC yet - what wasn't posted for us is that we needed their green cards! So we also had 2 trips to try and get this accomplished. You are not alone - not that it helps all that much!

  12. In terms of the birth certificate, we actually prefer using the US one for our daughter for two reasons. First, it's easier when enrolling in school, etc to have one written in English and recognizable to others. Second, her Chinese birth certificate lists her parents as unknown. That's a heck of a lot of knowledge for a soccer coach or school secretary to carry around.

    As for the social security card name situation... my husband's birth certificate does not match his legal name because his parents informally changed his legal last name to his stepfather's name before he entered school. It continues to cause huge problems having a birth certificate not match his other legal documents. Thankfully, his social security card (with his current legal name) helps to take away some of that burden. Just something to think about...

  13. I got that take her home all the time with Keeva until she was about two and we got it three times just last week with Dillon. I on the other hand was always asked was I Keevas nanny.....thankfully Dillon is a little lighter so he can pass for mine:)

    With regard to the SS card...when I got citizenship I was sent out a new card same number but a new card.


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