Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's in a name...?

We received the adoption finalization petition from our attorney on Friday for us to sign and get back to him. That's good, because it means progress is being made. However, there was an error on it, and something else... The error was it lists my old old job (as in the one before the one I left a month ago). So that probably needs to be fixed. The other thing is, well, I don't know what to call it, or how to feel about it. Well, I'm irritated about some of it, but anyway.

Okay, here's what it is - baby E's last name isn't ours, it's R's. This may not seem like a big deal, but the thing is, it feels like it. We just assumed that his name was ours on the original birth certificate (educational moment, in case you don't know - you can give your baby any last name you want, yours, dad's, the president's, anyone's), and the documentation we received from the agency stated that it is. So, we've been going along all this time assuming he has our last name. We've given it to the pediatrician and the health department (where we've had to go for his shots). Heck, I even gave it to the IRS because we had to apply for a pseudo ID # for him so we can fill out our taxes (note: another adoption "thing" - though baby E has a SS# right now, we aren't allowed to have it. He'll be issued a new one once the adoption is finalized, along with a new birth certificate, listing us as his parents, which is another rant for another day. Anyway, it's a bunch-o-crap-pain-in-the-ass). But apparently, I've unknowingly been giving out fraudulent information.

With the kid, his last name was our last name, from the beginning; it was the birth mom's choice to do that. So, there was no changing his name when the adoption was finalized. I, we, just assumed baby E would be the same. And we had every reason to believe it was. But, apparently we were wrong. Apparently, because of some ridiculous overextension of confidentiality, we aren't even allowed to know our own son's last name. That's right. I mean, I realize the adoption isn't finalized, so he legally isn't "our son", but, for the love of all things holy, come on!!!! I'm a social worker, a therapist, I get the importance of confidentiality, but this is ridiculous. I can hardly imagine the uproar (social services) foster parents would get into if this were extended to them, so why us?!!

I don't like the idea of changing his name, even though it's just his last name, and even though it happens all the time with kids/adoptions. To me, and this is just my opinion, I feel like it's another loss, the change of a name. He's already lost so much (his birth parents, his original culture because try as we may we can't replicate that, living with and being raised by people who look like him, just to start), I hate to take 1 more thing from him. Obviously, we will change it, because he is part of our family, but that doesn't mean I can't feel conflicted (and icky and irritated about it).

So, anyhoo, that's where we are with that. As far as being sickly, baby E only seems to be snotty right now. And by snotty, I mean super snotty, so snotty the poor baby is havin' a hard time breathing especially at night. That, of course, means we're not sleeping well, but that, sadly, is nothing new. He otherwise seems to be back to his happy, sweet self. I sure adore that little guy. And that kid, geez, he's a riot. I am one lucky momma.

Today's lesson - the sun is awesome. Even when you're not sleeping much or well, or are irritated because of stupid, archaic rules, it helps you get through the day. Temps in the 60's are pretty helpful, too. Bring on Spring!!!


SuperMommySometimes said...

I worked in adoptions for 3 years and never had an adoptive parent that didn't know their soon-to-be child's birth name? I wonder if it's your State's law or something different about the private adoption arena (I worked with foster care adoptions through the State Department of Child Services). So bizarre! Good luck with finalization :)

Sarah said...

Oh I totally understand why you are upset. That is crazy! And for them to not tell you what his last name is... that is just stupid. So sorry sweetie.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever ask what the name given at birth was to be? I know sometimes, we can "assume" that things are a certain way and meant to keep information from us. In actuality, it could be because we did not bother to ask or clarify. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

We received a copy of one of your blog post entries (with your permission) from the agency that you worked with for your adoption during our classes several months ago.Because I am still going through the process,I did not want to inlcude my name, but, I did want to mention some things that I have seen in your posts. First of all, we did have a discussion on what is called "Post-Adoption Depression" - we were even given reading material on the subject and your blog entry to show that it is for real. Thank you for being open and honest. This can be a big deal, and nothing to ignore. We need to ask for help if we experience any of the things that you mentioned. Don't think that just because you are professional, competent, a social worker or "in control" that you can "Handle it!" Take care of yourself for your baby/family.

I am also concerned that your birth parents (or someone connected to them...) may stumble across your post. You have your picture - and a lot of their information on your blog.

In our class, we definitely talked about the birth parent's right to name the child. This can be considered their gift to the child. If you share it that way with your child when he is old enough, I do not know if he will consider it a loss - maybe it is more of a loss to you? I can understand you being thrown - because you didn't know. I believe that it was just wires crossed - not a deliberate attempt to withhold info from you. I checked with a friend that referred me to this agency and she did not have that same experience. When she was in the hospital, she asked the birth mother what she had named the child and then checked with the agency to see what name was on the insurance card for medical care. She was given the birth name, the name she gave to the baby, for cross-reference at the doctor's office.

We also discussed birth certificates, social security numbers and paperwork. If it was not a closed adoption, you would know the birth parent's names? Did the agency/birth parent not provide that to you when you asked? It is my understanding that unless it is closed, we will get that information. Social security numbers are tied to more of the birth parents' identifying information - that is why that should not be released. That and the orginal birth certificate probably should not be given to anyone but the birth parent unless they give permission to the agency to release it. That would be respectful confidentiality - not "overextended" at all. As a social worker, you know how important it is for us to have respect and to respect the confidentiality of the people you work glad your agency does to!

Thank you for your blog. It has reminded me that I need to go back and refresh my memory or to ask questions ahead of time if I am not sure of something important!