Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Registering An Adoption All Alone

I suppose this post could be subtitled "That Which Drives Her To Bang Head On City County Building and Eat Old Goldfish Crackers."

For reasons which are purely driven by my very own pig headed constitutionality and the overwhelming desire to save yet another $600 in post adoption expenses, I have ill wittedly decided that we don't need legal representation and I will act as Olivia's legal counsel to file the petition to register her international adoption with the great state we live in hereto and therefore.

I do change her diapers and feed her gobs of goldfish crackers, why could I not act as her official legal council?

In our state most families whose children come from a foreign country and enter on an IR-3 visa (which simply means both Mommy and Daddy were with the little darling shoving benedryl down her little gullet for 29 hours straight on the airplane when she touched down on USA soil) choose to hire an attorney to file a petition for a formal name change and have a delayed birth certificate issued by the state. Completing this task successfully will mean in our case that the ungrateful little mite will get to legally share the $.16 worth of inheritance with her sister when we meet our our maker or, bite the big one.

She will also have easy access to our public Kindergarten when the time comes...and I'm paying enough taxes so she should get the red carpet rolled out after showing her pretty delayed certificate of birth. I was the only mother happily flashing Ava's delayed certificate of birth when I registered her for Kindy this summer. I made the principal comment on the pretty pink seal, I was so excited to show it off. Naturally my second offspring needs a pretty pink seal as well.

Last night I spent $17.04 at Kinkos copying every damned piece of paper Guangdong Province ever graced us with, in triplicate.

I dropped Ava off at a playdate and then popped Liv in the car and we headed off to the State capitol City County Building. We were scanned and then frisked. I think I enjoyed it more than the older gentleman with the wand.

We took a deep breath and marched off to the 17th floor armed with 4 inches of paper and one very cute little pig tailed girl toting a big bag of snacks and stuffed animals. I couldn't help be feel how brilliant we were to attempt what normal petty folks pay big laywers for. Probate court...here we come.

We promptly met with the Commissioner, of what I don't exactly know but he had a big office. He looked at out 4" of paperwork copied in triplicate and said I had done everything right.


Then the ball dropped. Apparently I did get all the paperwork correct but I need a formal petition and formal order to legally file the paperwork with the court. "You mean, like a cover letter." , I say sheepishly. "Let me try to explain this to you as a lay person.", he says. Go to the 3rd floor law library and look up these 3 forms, then go home and try to copy them inserting your personal information and then come back here and try again. I will help you with one form and give it to you. But it has to be typed on a typewriter, not a computer so the carbonless copy fills properly." I thought he was kidding. I explain that we are a wireless household now a days and where would one get a typewriter? "Not my problem he says with a large grin." Seriously, he said not my problem to me! "So, I need to sweet talk someone into using their typewriter for one little 1/2 page form?", I say. "Can I sweet talk you into using your typewriter in the corner of your desk which I notice is collecting dust?", I add. "Sorry, no." he says and quickly ushers me out of his office so fast that Livi's little people Sonya Lee doll was left for him to trip on later. Serves him right.

Oh for the love of GOD. I got this kid out of a Chinese orphanage to fulfill my every dream of a baby in my life and I'm going to be stopped by some ding dong government official hoarding dusty old typewriters for the sake of shits and grins?


So, I march out of his office and softly explain my sad story to 5 employees standing around with nothing to do. Is there anyway I might sweet talk some nice clerk or secretary into using their typewriter for less than 10 minutes? I'd be happy to pay. One lady quickly whisks me back to her office and pops the form into her typewriter and says I'm going to ask you a few questions and you answer quickly. My form was typed and ready to go in 3 minutes. I thank her up and down...then she says SIT. I do. She then proceeds to give me a copy someone else's old petition and order. She writes down for me how many copies to make and sends me on my merry way instructing me to come back when it is all done in a few days. Oh, she also complimented Olivia on her pigtails.


I have spent the last 1 hour changing little Grayson's Guatemalan info to Livi's China info as I re-type the entire petition and order request. I expect to have it to the notary's desk at our bank this afternoon.

So, jury is still out..but I'm not writing that $600 legal fee check yet. If nothing else I get to go see more guys in orange jump suits riding the elevators at the city county building looking to make bond. Now, that my friend's is entertainment.


Anonymous said...


We did this sans attorney...it was a pain but BOY did I feel like the coolest when that BC came in the mail. My advice? Order three copies...just so that you don't have to deal with bureaucracy for a bit.

In PA we had to register it with the Register of Wills office, and they petitioned the Orphans Court judge on our behalf. The process cost 75.00 and took about a month.

Take care!


Johnny said...

It's nice that people with hearts still can be found outside the offices of those without.

Beverly said...

Dude good for you. Tennessee changed the laws the year I adopted Glenys so I could do it all by my own, as Glenys would say.

Too bad about the loss of Sonya Lee. Let that be a reminder to jerkfacebigofficehording typewriter guy.


Gracencameronsmomy said...

I need to do this...I have heard it can be done for $20 in CA. I just need to DO IT!! Good for you!