Warning, this is most definitely going to be a long post… so much to process.
When we adopted in 2004 and 2005, we were told that technically our kiddos were US citizens when they stepped foot on US soil with us. But, we took the extra precautions and readopted in North Carolina and obtained Passports and Social Security Cards for the kids. Fast forward to 2017 with Donald Trump and his new immigration policy. All adoptive families were strongly urged to get the additional documentation of the Certificate of Citizenship, which is the ultimate proof that your child is in fact a US citizen. We decided to go ahead and apply. Mailed in all required documents in Feb. Checks were cashed immediately but we did not hear back about the status of our application until mid July.
Additional documentation was requested for both kids. The biggest barrier – we needed to produce a document saying their birth name and American name were connected to the same child. That document did not exist. So, I did the practical thing – I asked for our applications to be returned and our money refunded.
We came home from our beach vacation to a denial of our request for a refund, and the pre-established 30 day timeline for the additional documentation was already halfway done. I called and asked for an extension. They had our money from Feb-July, but we only have 30 days to have a document created…. so unfair.
So many phone calls I cannot count. Vital Records, Clerk of Courts, USCIS, attorneys. The bottom line… the only way to get a document that has both birth and American name is to file a petition with the Clerk of Courts, have a hearing scheduled at least 5 days after, then Vital Records will unseal the document needed for the application. No attorney said that they could get all of that done in 10 days.
I was determined and came up with 2 back up plans.
Back up plan 1) contact the adoption agencies that processed our adoptions to see if there is any paperwork that links the names. Aidan’s agency was bought by an agency that was bought by another agency. I was super reluctant to call that 3rd phone number. So imagine my surprise when the post placement social worker said she would try and find his file and look for a document we could use. She found his file (from 2004) and looked through it line by line…. all 1029 pages and found ONE post placement report that listed both names. And this report was signed and notarized. SCORE! I will be forever grateful for Amy. Rahul joked that that he would have hung up on me instead of digging through all those documents. Every now and then there are “Amy’s” that come into your life. The attorney that processed Samantha’s adoption is now deceased. And we were working with him as an independent attorney, so the agency he was associated with has none of Samantha’s paperwork. But… now that we knew that one of Aidan’s post placement reports listed both names, I reached back out to the home study agency. And yep. Both names on one report and if we pay $15 we can get a copy that proves it.
Back up plan 2) my middle school boyfriend is now an attorney in Raleigh. He was so nice to help me with the paperwork to petition the court for a hearing. I was going to petition the court on my own behalf since I could not find an attorney that could do it. I had it timed out to where the hearing would take place on Aug 16th. I could take the approval by hand to Vital Records and get all paperwork in the mail by the August 17th deadline.
Thankfully I do not have to pretend to be an attorney on behalf of my children….who are OBVIOUSLY US citizens. People like Amy and my middle school boyfriend make the world we live in tolerable. There are good people out there…. even in the midst of the bureaucratic nightmare called Immigration Law in 2017.
But the real take away message as I seal all those documents to mail to USCIS so that my kiddos can get those Certificates of Citizenship? No one tells me no for reasons that do not make sense. I will always be a fierce advocate for my children. And they are US citizens and have been since March 2004 and October 2005.