Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Birth Certificate Frustrations

 Kal, stylin' in his basketball shades...

I don't want to come off as uber frustrated or complaining, because I'm not even in a bad mood or anything. Ha ha. Just feel like writing out a minor annoyance... venting a little bit.

Kal was born almost 15 months ago. His adoption was finalized over 8 months ago. At which point in time we were told "information about how to obtain his birth certificate should come in the mail in a few weeks." Sounded great to me! Let's get all these small details taken care of. Piece of cake, this adoption paperwork thing. He's legally ours already. We got all the court papers to prove it. Now it's just crossing some t's and dotting some i's.

It's gonna be so nice to see a birth certificate with my husband and I listed as the parents and the name we chose for him displayed prominently on a legal document! Something about having that document in my hands would make everything seem so permanent and real to me. Not that it isn't, but I just want to hold it in my hands and savor it (ha ha) and, of course, put it in his baby book.

Months went by. It wasn't pressing to get Kal's birth certificate, so I waited. Surely information was coming in the mail, right? I contacted the agency. Oh, yeah - it should be coming in the mail. Just wait. Ummm, ok. I waited some more.

It wasn't pressing to get it until I was getting ready to file our taxes. Almost 4 months ago, we talked to the adoption agency and our lawyer about what the holdup was. It would be nice if we could do our taxes, but we needed a social security number for Kal in order to claim him. We need a birth certificate before we can get a social security number. Soooo, what's the deal? Why is it taking so long?

Oh, it was just a miscommunication. We never paid for the birth certificate. What? How did something like that get overlooked when I kept bringing it up to the agency and our lawyer back when we were finalizing? Isn't that why we're paying people? So that things are taken care of and paperwork goes smoothly? Okay, fine - so we paid for it and the information was sent to Georgia Vital Records. "It should take a few weeks and the birth certificate will come in the mail."

Months went by. "Ummm. Hello, lawyer - what's the problem now?" We hired a financial adviser to help us understand the Adoption Tax Credit, and we were so excited about getting a nice return, but we filed an extension because we couldn't claim Kal yet. So annoying. It's already gonna take forever to get our money since we can't e-file if we're claiming the Adoption Tax Credit and the government likes to go as slow as possible when they owe you money. (As a side note, everyone who claims the Adoption Tax Credit gets audited pretty much, so that'll be another fun thing to go through...) So I called the lawyer again and all of a sudden "a few weeks" turns into, "Oh, well this doesn't surprise me in the least. Lots of states take a really long time to issue birth certificates, and Georgia is one of the worst. Just hang in there. There's nothing anyone can do but just wait."

Why am I just being told this? Why didn't anyone ever say, "Just so you know, you may not receive his birth certificate for a ridiculously long time. And without a birth certificate, you're not going to be able to get a social security number for him, and without a permanent social security number, you aren't going to be able to file your taxes in a timely manner and be able to claim him for things like the Earned Income Credit and the Adoption Tax Credit. You can get a temporary number, but you can't use that for most things. Also, if you need your taxes done for other reasons, like proof of your self-employment income if you want to buy a house, you're out of luck. Also, if you're trying to switch health insurance carriers, the new carrier isn't gonna want to cover him without those 9 digits. If you have to prove his identity for anything, you're not going to be able to. Thanks and good luck!"

If I had known that, I wouldn't be frustrated right now. How hard is it to type up a piece of paper and put it in the mail? How could it possibly take that long?

I've been working on "Things to do before Baby #2" and this is just one of those things holding us up that we'd like to get smoothed out first. This one thing is holding up a lot of things, actually. So I'm going to be super excited when that birth certificate comes in the mail. That'll be a day to celebrate, for sure!

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