Monday, February 11, 2008

A Cautionary Tale, aka Do Not Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

I have done a rather stupid thing.

And that stupid thing is this: I put almost every document relating to Lana's identity in ONE burgundy plastic expandable file folder.

The exception to this is her US passport, which, just by happenstance, is in an envelope with our plane tickets for our spring break trip. (And until the tickets came, her passport was in there, too.)

The burgundy plastic file folder is THE ONLY PLACE I had her social security number. (The file folder also contains 3 copies of her social security card, but, fat lot of good having a copy does if it is sitting with the original.)

This morning, for about 4 hours, I thought the burgundy file folder had been stolen from my car, and let me tell you, I honestly about lost my mind.

I KNOW better than this. I DO.

I give people LEGAL ADVICE for a LIVING, you can guarantee that I would never advise any client to keep all important documents in one place with no copies anywhere else.


So, for a few minutes I sat and thought about how I would reconstruct Lana's life - how I would put the pieces back together so that she would have an adoption decree, a birth certificate, a social security card, a certificate of citizenship.

I called the clerk at Probate court who handles all the adoptions, and she told me that they would be able to produce a certified copy of the final adoption decree (from my state, of course, but not from Vietnam), and my adoption agency said they could get me a copy (though not certified) of her Vietnamese adoption documents.

To reconstruct her life's documents would take time and money, and I am kind of desperate to get my taxes done. And to do that, I need her social security card.

When I called social security to see if they would tell me what the number is, they said, "we cannot give a parent the social security number for their child until they give it to us first."

Huh?? (She has got to be kidding me, right?)

So I said, "if I had the number, I wouldn't need YOU to give ME the number."

"Yes, I know, but, that's our policy ma'am."

I said, "What do I have to do to get the number?"

"Fill out form F-5 requesting a new card." she says.

"Form F-5 requires that I KNOW the number. I don't know the number."

We went round and round for 5 minutes. She tells me I should have written the number down in more than one place. (Thank you very f**king much. I needed that advice. Or rather assvice.)

She keeps saying that she cannot give me the number until I give her the number first. I want to strangle her.

Finally, I say, "would you PLEASE tell me what I have to do, if I have NO DOCUMENTS relating to my daughter's identity, how do I get her social security number?" (This was a stretch of the truth since I did have her passport.)

She hems and haws and says that I have to go in person to the social security office and take any documents that I can find, including any school records and medical records, and if I have "enough proof" they will help me out, in person.

I was thinking that I was going to have to leave work tomorrow afternoon and take her passport and the replacement adoption decree and beg the people at social security office to tell me what her social security number is. (Which, frankly, as her parent, I think I should be entitled to be told if I can show that she is my child, but, I don't really have high hopes about what might have happened.)

The good news is that, when Husband got home, he found the burgundy file folder in our computer room. Evidently, I must have brought it in from my car myself. (Smacks self in head).

So, I'm off to do my taxes. And put copies of all the important documents in about 3 separate places.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

From someone who loses paper work all the time.

Is Lana on your taxes from last year? If so you can get the SS# number there, (if you have lost the copy of your taxes it is pretty easy to get another copy of that too- can order on the internet) also try the health insurance you get from work sometimes it is written down in their records, when you took her to the hospital it may have been on some form there and in her medical records in the medical records department. Call her Dr and see if they have it in their records, I bet they do to bill the insurance company. Also school & preschool often wanted that number on one of their application forms, any special services such as speech, etc.
You would be surprised how many places that number comes up. Also if you go down to SS# with her passport and order a replacement they do that pretty quickly. It comes in th email but it is pretty quick.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:45:00 AM  
Blogger thecurryseven said...

Ughh! The whole idea of it makes me sick to my stomach for you. I can somewhat sympathise...for one very long morning, I though I had lost all of the photographs of TM that we had been sent from when he was in care. You know the ones that were real prints so that our agency wouldn't have nice digital copies lurking somewhere? It was horrible. But, I'm going to take your advice and copy all of TM's paperwork and make a second place to keep it...because at the moment I do have everything in one place.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger niobe said...

This sounds exactly like something I would do. And have, in fact, done.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 5:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Alice said...

Book Tag! (ok, this is a goofy internet thing, but it is a fun little one.)

Please visit my adoption blog to see what I'm talking about. Tag!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 8:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

also, you can fill out a form (not sure which one, your agency will know) and send it off and get her records that CIS used to process her case. We just did this (sent off the form) so we can have duplicates of the originals....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Frances said...

I scanned all of my children's documents and saved them on a removable hard drive that I keep at my sister's house. I was worried that a fire could destroy every trace of her life before us. At least there will always be a copy somewhere of the very few pieces of information we have.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 3:32:00 AM  
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Monday, February 18, 2008 4:41:00 AM  

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