Oh happy day! Just over one year ago we finished Olivia's adoption and I kissed paperwork goodbye.
Beautiful, wonderful, freeing day.
Or so I thought.
Now we're back in America and Olivia is armed with her certificate of citizenship and her US passport. But sadly, still without a social security number.
So, a couple weeks ago, I took her to the social security office in Tri-cities, Washington, bringing along every piece of identification I could think of to get this little citizen her number assignment.
Instead, this is what I heard: "Do you have an American one of these?" The lady behind the counter waved the Chinese adoption certificate at me.
"No," I said. "We finished her adoption in China."
"I'm sorry, this isn't going to work. I need something from an American court saying she's your child, and I need a birth certificate."
I stared at her. Seriously?
I thought the social security number part was supposed to be easy.
"But she doesn't have a birth certificate," I said.
"Well, we need one."
"How do I get one?"
The lady scrawled a star next to a phone number on a piece of paper and slipped it under the glass to me. But it was obvious she was clueless. I don't think she'd seen an adopted child in her office without a birth certificate before. Shocking.
Back at home, I called the number and spoke with a similarly clueless lady, who gave me another phone number.
Thankfully this time the lady on the phone seemed to know exactly what was going on. She was a pro. She forwarded me via email a link about how to obtain an American birth certificate.
Problem is, when I look at the long list of requirements and *paperwork* all I feel is dizzy. Something in the back of my mind keeps saying, "No, I don't want to do this. I'm done! I'm supposed to be done!"
But there it is. More paperwork.
In desperation I finally called one of the teachers at the high school who also adopted a daughter from China. She'd mentioned to me last summer that they had re-adopted their daughter when they returned to the States.
Talking with them at least helped me to stop hyperventilating. Instead of staring glassy-eyed at the computer screen, I'm now planning to make a trip down to the county courthouse, which is just a few minutes walk from my house, and talk to a real live person about what I need to do. A real live person who can see the tears standing in my eyes and take pity on me if this whole thing skyrockets to the overwhelming level again.
I just want to get this done. I'm ready to be finished with adoption paperwork. Forever.