Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No stateside birth certificate yet! (long)

Yes, it is true...we have been home from Russia for 9 1/2 months and Nick still doesn't have a stateside birth certificate. This is a true frustration. On January 14, 2009 we paid our adoption agency to complete the adoption recognition process which involved getting a stateside birth certificate for Nick. This was a fee that was sprung on us. We had never been told that we would be shelling out more money once we were home from Russia for more adoption expenses. We knew about post-placement visits but not this.

In February I went to the social security office with all the documents that the social security website says you need to take with you if you don't have a state birth certificate. They sent me away (after a long wait) and told me to come back when I have the state's birth certificate. This was frustrating because I wanted to get our taxes done and needed a social security number for Nick. The social security's website indicated that you could get a social security number if you had certain documentation with you when you applied. I had that documentation. I was still sent away.

So, mid-March rolls around and still no stateside birth certificate. I call our adoption agency and explained to them that I wanted to get my taxes done and did they know approximately when Nick's birth certificate would be arriving. I was told, rather snidely by one of the worker's at the agency that "everyone is in the same situation". Well....ok. No answers were forthcoming from the people I paid money to get a job done so I called the Department of Vital Statistics myself. Wow....after a very long wait on hold I get a very nice person who told me exactly who to talk to and gave me her number. I called her and she was very informative and told me that they hadn't even received a request for Nick's birth certificate yet (mind you this is mid-March). Interesting...I asked her once they have this request how long does it take to get a birth certificate....4-6 weeks. So, from my phone call to the vital statistics office it became very apparent that we would not have Nick's birth certificate in time for our taxes to be completed by April 15th. The lady at the department of vital statistics office then proceeds to tell me that there is something you can apply for called an adoption tax ID number. With this number you do not need a social security number for your newly adopted child in order to claim them on your taxes. Interesting to know. Wonder why our agency hadn't told us this information? I then ask how long does it take to receive one of those numbers....4-8 weeks. Obviously, I couldn't get one of those either before April 15 since it was mid-March. Wish I had known about this number sooner and the birth certificate wouldn't be an issue for 2008's taxes. I immediately call our accountant so he could prepare an extension for us.

April 15 came and went with no birth certificate. I felt ok though because we had filed an extension. Then in early May Nick's birth certificate came BUT his name was spelled wrong. OMG! Why they wouldn't double check spelling before the application was made is beyond me. I immediately (next day) took the birth certificate back to the adoption agency to it can get changed. More waiting.

In June I started to e-mail adoption agency about birth certificate. No response. I e-mailed them again. No response. Then I called. The person I needed to talk to wasn't there she would call me back. No response. Mmmm...long of the short in order to get answers I (again)call the Department of Vital Statistics. Once again....very informative. They were still missing some paperwork to complete the process to fix spelling of Nick's name. Interesting.

During July I knew the lady working on this process was out-of-town with her own Russian adoption so I didn't bother her. When August rolled around and there still wasn't a birth certificate in my mailbox I started making phone calls again. Still no response. Very frustrating. Once again...I called The Department of Vital Statistics. I find out everything that is missing in the process, type it up and take it to our adoption agency with phone numbers, names and processing numbers. (Just in case they had been too busy to know any of this.) When I very nicely present this information to our agency (in person) they already knew all the information I had spent 2 days collecting. I wouldn't have had to spend time collecting information if I would get a response to e-mails and phone calls. GRRR!

Now it is October. I've been making lots of phone calls to my friend at the Department of Vital Statistics. She is great! She has started calling our adoption agency too. We are in a time crunch now (again) for our taxes as our extension comes due on October 12. If we cannot file our taxes claiming Nick as a dependent and also use the adoption tax credit we will owe thousands of dollars in taxes. But, if we can claim Nick and use the adoption tax credit we do not owe any taxes. This is why Nick's birth certificate is of vital importance. I need it to get a social security number BEFORE October 12.

Monday my friend at the Department of Vital Statistics called me to tell me that she had finally received everything needed to complete the request to change the spelling of Nick's name. She was going to rush it through (normally it takes 4-6 weeks to process) and try to mail it out by Friday (tomorrow). If it is mailed Friday it will get to the adoption agency Monday or Tuesday of next week. Maybe next Wednesday I can go to the Social Security office to apply to get Nick's number. That will be October 7th. Maybe after 2 days of processing I can get his number (card wouldn't be ready but maybe his number). That would be Friday, October 9th. Remember taxes due Monday October 12th.

So...the long and short of it...it is a long shot, but maybe it will get done. Keep your fingers crossed. I am stressed out and sick of dealing with this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No more braces!

Taylor finally got phase 1 of her braces off last week. She has had braces for almost 2 years. We used to call her snaggle tooth. Not anymore! A shot of Nick so you can see how much hair he is getting.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gymnastics

The compulsory gymnastic season has started! Yesterday was Lauren and Taylor's first gymnastic meet of the season. We were at the gym from 7:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m. It was a long day. But, this year I am not the Parent Association President so I did not have the pressure of running the meet.

This was Lauren's very first official gymnastic meet. It was so cute to see how excited she was. She had her game face on and actually did ok. We were really nervous that she would be the worst gymnast there. When Alex and Taylor compete we always check to see how close to the top they finish. With Lauren we were just praying she wouldn't be at the very bottom. They don't place the girls at Lauren's level but I don't think she was the worst one there. I'd say she was kind of in the middle.
Taylor had an excellent meet. She won 1st place all around in her age division. Talk about a happy girl. In her level and age division she was 1st on beam, 2nd on floor, 2nd on vault and 3rd on bars. I don't know her placement in the overall level yet.

Alex's gymnastic season doesn't start until January.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I've caved

Nick hasn't slept well since we've been home from Russia. He would go to sleep fine but then starting about 1 a.m. he would get up 6-8 times a night. He wasn't up long, but often. Usually he would want a drink of milk and then he would go right back to sleep. It seemed as if he was just "checking" to see if I was there. After months of me not getting much sleep I (initially)started to put him in bed with us AFTER the first time he woke up in the night. When I started doing this he started to only get up 1-2x/night. Much better! Well, it is now official that Nick "sleeps" with us. For the past week Nick just goes to sleep in our bed. Amazingly he doesn't wake up until morning time when we do this. Crazy...I NEVER let the girls sleep in our bed. But, now Nick does. I have definitely caved due to lack of sleep. I guess with the first 3 kids I got my way of not having the kids sleep with us but now, with the last one, Chris is getting his way. He loves to have the kids sleep in our bed. I'm too tired to get up 6-8 times a night and with Nick's background I just can't let him "cry it out".....yet. Age (and tiredness)sure does soften you! Right or wrong this is how it is for now and I am not as cranky when I sleep!

Here are some more summer fun pictures. We took the kids to a water park and these are a few of the pictures.

Summer was fun but I am glad to have them back in school!