I am not helpful


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Well all I can say after spending the last 2 months in charge of getting social security numbers for our kids is it’s a good thing Josh Hughes was in charge of our adoption. Because if I had been in charge we never would have gotten to Uganda in the first place. I am an administrative disaster.

When Josh started working on our taxes 2 months ago (because he is NOT an administrative disaster and he starts working on taxes in January), he hit a standstill when he realized we don’t have SSNs for Eva and Titus and thus cannot claim them on our taxes.  Whoops! So he was like, “I guess I’ll just have to figure out how to get those,” and I, being such a helpful wife, was all, “No, you’ve got a ton on your plate right now. I can do it, honey!” Only I’m not helpful at all because I only just got the job done this morning. Only if everything goes perfectly and we get the cards when the very patient lady at the social security office said we will, will we be able to send our taxes in ON APRIL 15.

To Josh’s credit, he does not get at all irritated when I’m completely incompetent. I’m pretty sure when I told him I’d do it he already knew this is how it would go down. But he just gently asked me about it once a week and I’d go, “Oh right! Yes, I’m on it.” And then this past Sunday, he reminded me, still gently but perhaps a little more urgently, “Hey hon? You know it’s April this week right? We definitely need social security numbers for the kids.”

Now, lest you think I was just sitting on my butt doing nothing all this time, here is how it actually went down.

I filled out the applications for Social Security cards (so far so good) and began to go through our massive pile of adoption paperwork to try and deduce what I’d need to apply. And when I say massive, I mean massive.


And again I say, it’s a good thing Josh was in charge of all that.

Anyway, after about 10 minutes I thought, Yeah, I have no clue what I’m looking for. So I just decided the entire pile was going with me.

After stopping by the Social Security Administration office, though, and seeing about 70 people in the waiting room, I went online to try and make an appointment. But you can’t make appointments online. Because apparently it’s not 2014. Not that it would have made a difference because they don’t DO appointments for card applications. My conversation with the guy went something like this:

Me: I need to get social security cards for 2 of my kids.

Man: You mean they already have numbers and you just need to get the cards? We don’t make appointments for that.

Me: No, they don’t have numbers yet. They’re adopted…

Man: Well, they still probably have numbers, just not cards.

Me: …from Uganda.

Man: Oh. Well. Um. They need actual numbers, then. We don’t make appointments for that, either.


So then I just showed up with that crazy pile and waited. And then went over the whole thing with a super nice lady (seriously, every person at this place was the best, especially considering they have really hard jobs). In the end she said, “Ma’am, you need some sort of proof of residency. The computer won’t even let me move forward.” But they don’t have passports. And they need social security numbers to get passports. Riiiiight. So she told me to call USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, in case you were wondering). And I almost cried. I wasn’t really dying to talk to them again.

Look, unless you’ve got your head in the sand you know that we’ve got a few immigration problems in this country. So the average person you talk to when calling USCIS is just waiting for you to be a crazy person. Or an illegal alien. But when you adopt, you become VERY familiar with USCIS. So you kind of have to push through and convince them that you’re not crazy, which is kind of a pain. Also the wait time to talk to a representative is over 2 hours. ALSO the closest USCIS office is 3 hours away and I wasn’t driving 3 hours to be told something I could find out over the phone. I’ve been to that office already and no thank you.

Anyway, when I finally DID talk to someone there he asked me about the kids green cards. This is the part of the story, by the way, where you start to realize how DUMB I am. Because I responded, “Uhhh. I don’t think we have green cards for the kids. Are we supposed to?? Doesn’t their legal adoption make them U.S. Citizens??” I can seriously picture this guy hitting his head against his desk in response. Apparently I AM the crazy person he’s expecting me to be.

So, about this time, my friend Tricia, who is a CPA, informs me that I should just be able to get them Tax ID numbers since they’re our legal dependents and they don’t qualify for SSNs. Yay, Tricia! You’re the hero!

But then I got super busy and forgot all about it and didn’t get back to it until Josh, again, GENTLY reminded me to. I sat down to fill out the forms for Tax IDs and it asked for their immigrant visas. So I opened our “Important Documents” file where the passports live but did I mention that I’m an administrative disaster? WHERE ARE THE KIDS PASSPORTS? I searched for them for quite some time and eventually found them tucked into the aforementioned pile of adoption paperwork, much to my (and especially Josh’s) relief.

But as I was copying the info from their immigration visas onto the Tax ID application, I realized THEIR VISAS HAVE EXPIRED. Like 3 months ago. I panicked for about 2 hours that my kids would be deported until Josh got home from work and told me to calm the heck down. And he called our friend who has all the adoption answers. And expert friend said, “You know, you should have received their green cards in the mail after you got back.” Really?

And lo and behold, there in a file in our filing cabinet – NOT the important documents file and NOT the massive pile of adoption paperwork, but a completely separate file that I had started at some point. I am the worst – were the green cards that I had so idiotically claimed we don’t have. Which is exactly what I needed to get social security numbers.

Which leads us to today, when I finally showed up with all of the right paperwork and miraculously completed the process.

Hey, you should totally call me if you have questions about the legal aspects of adoption. By which, of course, I mean Josh, because I will clearly be of no help to you.





1 comment

  1. Kristin S.

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