Thursday, February 28, 2008

The "real" deal...

Before I forget, let me start this post by pointing everyone to our delightful little guy’s 9 month slide show. Yup, he's 9 months old today. Have I ever told you what joy he brings us? What a boy!

Anyway, about the title here. The “real” deal. Yesterday for the very first time since Danny was born I felt pretty marginalized. Here’s what happened.

Danny got his Social Security card right after he was born because we needed it to get him a passport to take him to Germany. When he was born he had to carry Susanne’s last name because DC law says that the baby has to carry either the mother’s or the father’s, and, well, Danny’s got two moms. So his name at birth was Daniel (My last name) (Su’s Last Name).

Okay. When we started adoption proceedings we had the option to include a request for a name change which was great because we'd already decided to change his name. Upon his adoption, his name became Daniel (Su’s last name) (My last name). Are you with me so far?

So at 6 months the adoption was completed and the court ordered DC to produce a new birth certificate listing his new name and both parents (Parent one and Parent two.) Once we got that document, all we needed to do was take his old Social Security Card, his old and new birth certificates and our adoption decree (true test stamped copy) to Social Security.

Which we did yesterday at lunchtime.

The woman (Ms. T.) who did our intake was really, really puzzled. She’d never seen a second parent adoption. I didn’t sense any kind of maliciousness or homophobia, but here’s sort of how part of our conversation went:

Ms. T: (to me) “are you his mother?”

Me: "Yes"

Ms. T: (to Su) “and you are???”

Su: “I’m his mother too.”

Ms. T: "So who is his real mother?"

Su: "We are both his real mothers."

Ms. T: “You both adopted him?”

Me: “No, only I had to adopt him, Su gave birth to him.”

Ms. T. (to Su) “Aha! So you’re his real mother.”

Su and I together: “No, we are both his real mothers.”

Blank look, confusion, wandering off to find a supervisor.

Part of her problem was that the federal form we needed to fill out only has lines for mother and father. So we’d put my information on the “father” line. We wanted to make sure that as his legal parent, Danny’s social security number was linked to mine. It could make all the difference if I were to die or become disabled since he is truly my dependent too.

Turns out they needed to send our file to Philadelphia to have their legal people “look at it”. Apparently there is no problem getting Danny’s name changed on a new card, it’s this issue of a state (or in our case a District) issuing a ruling (on my legal adoption of my son) and how the federal government will act on that ruling.

I can’t imagine we are a test case. There have been A LOT of second parent adoptions so there must be a precedent right? We got a call today from Ms. T. letting us know that she “was able to go ahead and process our request.”

Ms. T. also called me Mabel at one point in her confusion. Mabel? Maybe she can just refer to me the “Velveteen” Mommy ;-)

Have a great weekend everyone. We’ve got a big birthday weekend planned starting tomorrow for Danny’s “other” mother. Happy birthday sweetheart! -Monica

1 comment:

Jenni said...

grrr, I can even imagine how frustrating that must have been. I hope this served as a learning experience for Mrs. T and the next second parent adoption she processes will be better for everyone. and happy birthday susanne!