Remember how Clay adopted the boys back in November? Well, I don't know if I mentioned it, but he took care of ALL the paperwork for that. I'm pretty sure this feat should come with an honorary law degree. Lord, the files.
Well, after the adoption and the new birth certificates, and notifying the school district, the next step in getting their names changed with all the relevant authorities is to get their names changed with the social security administration. And since Clay got the rest of it done with little help on my part, save for the occasional sympathetic murmuring, and since I have my days free (HA! HA HA! and also SOB! it appears summer STILL doesn't work like that), I took charge of this task.
And now is the point in my life when I ponder my lack of wisdom.
So last week I went to the SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE for the FIRST time. One, ONE trips to the SSO, AH HAHAHAHAHA! I had a lovely blue file folder, with all the relevant documents inside, and then some. I took my number, set the boys down with their
portable drugs DS's, and waited for my number to be called.
As I waited (waited, waited, waited), I observed a man COMPLETELY LOSING HIS MIND at the nice lady behind the glass. He screamed and frothed and eventually scooped up his papers and stomped out. I watched him go, tsk-ing to myself. Losing one's mind gets one nowhere in these places. It behooves one to strive to retain just one speck more dignity than they have obstacles. Aaaaand then it was my turn.
I explained the situation, slid tidy bundles of paper through the gap in the bullet-proof glass, and stood there primly, awaiting the woman's responses. It was all there, I KNEW it was all there, because Clay had assembled the packet, and he is the paperwork genius. The woman leafed through the papers, frowned, leafed, frowned, flipped back to the first page, frowned. This went on for some time. I looked around, observing the many layers of bulletproof glass, the signs that read, "NO PHOTOS ON OR AROUND THE GROUNDS," and "NO WEAPONS OF ANY KIND ALLOWED," this one with helpful pictures of the disallowed items. I was thinking, with a small rebellious thrill, of the small swiss army knife in my purse, when she interrupted my reverie.
"You need ID. For the kids."
Erm, I thought. I am their mother. I can point to them. See that one? He bit me every single time he nursed. And that one wasn't potty trained until he was almost four. Seriously. And him? He spent a large part of his second year of life sitting on the edge of the playground for hitting. How's that for identification? Because they don't have driver's licenses JUST YET.
"And what exactly would work for ID?" I asked politely.
Apparently, immunization records are identification for children. Now you know.
So I called the pediatrician's office, and a few days later I was back, clutching the new and improved packet! Yay! I was very hopeful as I waited (waited, waited, waited).
This time it was a very jolly looking man I spoke to. He shuffled through the pages. Shuffled. Frowned. Shuffled. Honestly, do they take a class in the shuffle-and-frown technique?
"Now, see these?" he pushed the adoption paperwork back through the gap at me, "see how that portion is written in by hand? It just doesn't LOOK official."
"Yeeesss," I said, "but it has been notarized. And signed by a judge. So it IS official."
"But - and I'm not saying you did this - how do my superiors know that you didn't just write that in there?"
"Er - because it would have been a blank, signed, notarized notice of final adoption. And I don't think they DO that, see?"
We looked at each other in silence for a few moments. Sadly, he does this for a living, and I broke first.
"What do I need to get?"
I needed to go back to the court house to get an "OFFICIAL LOOKING" document to verify the accuracy of the "NOT OFFICIAL LOOKING" yet totally legal notices of final adoption. I smiled, I thanked him, I turned on my heel and marched out, calling to my charges, "Let's go, gentlemen!" They sighed and trudged after me, their wee spirits already dimmed by the heavy pull of the federal government at work.
"Are we done?" Max asked. Oh no, my dear. No. And that was TWO! TWO visits to the SSO! AH HAHAHAHAHA!
We drove to the court house, where I got to see a woman being arrested while she said, "What? I mean, I knew I had a warrant out in Aurora, but I didn't think I had one in ARAPAHOE too!" I wonder how often that convinces the arresting officer to drop the handcuffs. "Oh, you didn't think you were wanted in this county? Well NEVER MIND!" The boys were busy playing their DS's and I thought the poor woman's day was going poorly enough without me elbowing them and hissing, "DUDE! Check out the PRISONER!" So they missed it.
I went to the court clerk's office (waited, waited, waited), and was sent to the office of the judge who had presided over the adoption. (Is this boring, reading about it like this? Because when I was marching from office to office, with the little hairs sticking to the back of my neck with sweat, three boys trailing behind me like ill tempered, squabbling ducks, it was SO MUCH FUN, and I'm not sure that's coming through exactly.) A very nice court clerk helped me out there, muttering all the while about how they ALWAYS hand write that information, and she CANNOT IMAGINE what their problem is over at Social Security. She made VERY OFFICIAL looking documents to replace the NOT SO OFFICIAL LOOKING ones, we kissed her feet, and pointed our hopeful noses back to the SSO. When we pulled up in front of the office, Max sighed, "Oh, here we are! Home again!"
I had an ticket to get me to the front of the line, so it was a mere...twenty minutes before I was sitting in front of a new woman, sliding my packets of paper, smiling relentlessly. Frown. Shuffle. Frown.
"See how OFFICIAL those notices of final adoption are?" I said hopefully.
"Yes." Frown. "But..." THIS, I thought, THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW is why they don't want weapons in here. "...but these immunization records."
They need a stamp. A special stamp from the doctor's office, because the SIGNATURE? That I was repeatedly told was VERY IMPORTANT? Is nowhere near as important as the STAMP, SO HELP ME. And that was THREE! THREE visits to the SSO! AH HAHAHAHAHAHA!
As I marched back to the exit, barking, "let's GO, gentlemen," at the boys, Tre deduced from my scowl that we were still not done.
"WHAT do they need NOW? Our last Subway receipt? The green stuff from underneath Raphi's toenails? A week's worth of unwashed underwear? Hair from our dog? WHAT?"
At least the day's efforts ended with a laugh.
So tomorrow I shall GO to the pediatrician's office, and then BACK to the SSO, THANK GOODNESS gas is so CHEAP RIGHT NOW! We spent enough time in the van today to listen to TWO THIRDS of James and the Giant Peach, so as you can IMAGINE, I am thrilled to do MORE DRIVING. Al Gore can send me nasty emails all he wants, I SHALL OVERCOME.