Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nothing's Ever Simple

While I was working my way into my second food-induced coma in two days, I was also neglecting my email. I didn't even log on when I got home, even though it wasn't that late. Instead I just stumbled to the couch and collapsed. It was really all I could do.

So, first thing this morning I went to retrieve my email. There were several emails letting me know I had comments waiting (thank you!) and a couple of SHOP NOW emails from L.L Bean and WalMart. Then there was a sneaky little email from someone I hadn't heard from in a long time.

Several years ago, I joined a group of people who believed that all adults, including adopted adults, had the right to their original birth certificates. This group, which called itself Access (and then OBC for ME - Original Birth Certificates for Maine) believed that, at the very least, everyone should be able to know their original surname. In this group there were a lot of people who wanted this. Like me, a lot of members wanted access to more medical history. Some people wanted to track down birth family for other reasons, and just about all of us admitted to being unbearably curious.

Since the law in this state has sealed the records since 1953, it wasn't that easy to get them opened. It took years, and at least 2 failed bills before the state Legislature finally passed LD 1084, but it happened. It was signed into state law in June of 2007, and will take effect January 1, 2009. I was told that it was going to take such a long time between passage and implementation because the State was going to have to develop a system, and forms to fill out, and LOCATE THE RECORDS. Evidently, depending on the situation, an adoptee's original birth certificate might be in any of a number of places. Hearing that sure didn't make me feel all warm and secure. What if they can't find it?????

Anyway, this morning I got an email from someone I met through Access who says that we're not just going to be able to show up at our town office (or the state house) on January 2 and pay our $10 and pick up our birth certificates. She said that we have to APPLY to someone at the state - it wasn't clear who exactly - and let them know we are going to want our records. Then, they have to locate them. So, if this is true, it looks like January 2 is not the day.

Why can't everything just work like it's supposed to? I mean, the folks at the state have known this was going to happen since May of 2007. What the heck have they been doing the last 18 months?

I am going to check into all of this, and will be sure to let you know what I find out. I'm a bit cranky about it, but what can I do? I've waited a long time, and if I have to jump through some more hoops, I'll do it.

I'd do anything.

10 comments:

Laura ~Peach~ said...

this is what I had to do... I can so imagine you may have to jump some of the same hoops... Will try to do the short version... HA the short version...anyway.... I had to contact the social worker at the orphanage in st louis county that I came from Had to prove who I am ... Had to pay them 100.00 an hour to search through their records ... then had to get my mom and dad to sign affidavits saying they give me permission to search (or produce death certificates) while I was doing that the lady at the orphanage was tracking down my bio parents as they also had to sign affidavits allowing me access to MY identifying information... once all affidavits were in she actually gave me some information over the phone but, the judge in the county had to sign a release then I was mailed the rest of the information Names Address Social security numbers and a phone number... in the mean time the social worker kept contact between my bio parents and me and they wrote to me and sent photos and I wrote to them we sent those through the childrens home because she could not give me their address until the judge signed the papers.... as soon as he signed them she called me again with their last name, phone number and a time to call them IF I CHOSE TO... they were not given my information cause thats how Missouri rolls... so it was totally up to me to decided to call... I stayed on the phone with my friend right up until about a minute before time to call them crying and trying to decided if I could actually make the call... Sandy finally conviced me to hang up and just dial ... I did ...what a freaky call that was we talked a couple hours... not too long after that we rented a van and drove the 4 and a half hours to their house ... that was may 3 1992... I nearly puked a million times the closer we got to their house... I was a nervious wreck... but Mike got me through it :) anyway the hoop jumping is insane ... but no matter how long it takes we will be here with you!~
Hugs Laura

Laura ~Peach~ said...

oh and the searching took the woman 2 and one half hours and I had to pay court cost too cant recall how much that was but it was not too much.

Reddirt Woman said...

I can't begin to imagine the anxiety that you must be feeling now and have been feeling for a long time. Just thinking about it brought to mind the old saw... 'that which doesn't kill us it will make us stronger', referring to the trials we experience in our lives.

I just want to say thanks for sharing this trip. It will help me to understand what those in my family who are adopted might have experienced.

Helen

Abby Reed said...

It definitely stinks, if that turns out to be the case... but just think of how "complete" (for lack of better word) when you finally have that document in your lil hand.

Sure, you'll have to wait a lil bit... but in the end, totally worth it.

Odette said...

That's a huge bummer! It does seem like nothing is ever just that easy. But I think that Abby is right no matter how long it takes in the end you are getting your birth certificate! You will get the answers that you are looking for! It will happen and I am so sorry that it isn't going to be as easy as they would have had you believe :( Hang in there you'll get what you need. :) xo

kim-d said...

Ya know what, Mel? It doesn't make one bit of difference how many hoops the bureaucrats make you jump through. You will do whatever you have to do because, by gosh by golly, we're just not that easy to get rid of!!!

Reading this post of yours brought to mind what I had to go through to get my birth certificate--OY! It isn't all that much easier if you're living with a biological parent and the adoption is only with the other parent who isn't biological, and the biological one said it was okay! I wrote one place; they sent me to another; then another; and again. I had to give the name of the law firm that handled the adoption and the years and on and on...I had no idea it was going to be such an undertaking!

And you know what was weird, Mary Ellen? When I saw my birth certificate, it just did not seem right. The information on it just did not seem right. Even though I didn't have a relationship with my biological father and even though, at that time, I was still close to my dad, that birth certificate just really seemed like a fake to me because here was this person's name on it, like he was there when I was born--but I was 7 when he met me. It's weird; I guess I expected my REAL birth certificate with an amendment attached or something. And even all of these years later, that birth certificate is still phony to me. I want the real one that was done when I was born. Can you tell that I haven't thought about this for a very long time, but this post of yours just brought this out of the recesses of my subconscious...can you tell that? I MUST BLOG IT!!! :)

To those bereaucrats? BRING IT!!! They have not yet meant the force that is Mary Ellen.

Vegas Princess said...

What the hell? Leave it to the government to make things as difficult as possible. But it doesn't matter. You will get through and finally find the answers you need. No little government setback is going to stop you! And at least you found out now instead of on the day when you would have been more emotionally charged. Now you can prepare and be ready for this tiny setback and not be disappointed unexpectantly. Plus we will all be here to kick some bereaucratic butt!

Sue said...

Don't worry M.E. You will get that birth certificate, whether you have to drag your new found blog friends with you to the judge or not!

Glad that you had 2 very nice Thanksgivings. Mmmm and chocolate cake? My mouth is watering......

~*amber*~ said...

You have waited this long, a couple more hoops to jump through won't mean anything. I agree, they can do whatever they want, but you will eventually get what you are wanting. You will be really happy once you get it and be very relieved.

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