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May 15, 2007

Readoption of Maddy

Today was Maddy's re adoption.  I tried to get excited about it but it was hard.  Seriously, my friends, (to us) this re adoption stuff is just a formality arranged around a single, simple purpose:  Getting a California Birth Certificate that lists us as Maddy's Mom and Dad.

Why do we do it?  We do it because we want that piece of paper -- that birth certificate.  Not because we want to trick anyone into believing that we provided the DNA that eventually became this little girl we call Maddy, but because we don't want her to have to go through life hauling around a half dozen Chinese documents with akward translations that announce to the world that she was abandoned by an unknown birth family and born on a non-specific day in a country called China.  Somehow, that seems like a tad too much personal information to share with the 22 year old clerk at the registration desk when we sign up for Junior League soccer.  We think a simple birth certificate would be much easier to manage under those circumstances.

We also want to have something official that is easily replaced if lost.  Maddy's Chinese documents could probably NEVER be replaced.   We keep copies of them in two separate places "just in case" but I'm always reminded that I've had to request copies of my original birth records twice for our adoptions.  What would Maddy do if she ever decided to adopt?  How would she get copies of those Chinese adoption/abandoment papers?

So, I dressed the girls in matching outfits and put on some makeup and went down to the local Courthouse to "finalize" what was really final last August:  Maddy's adoption.

The Judge sat there in his official looking black robe while the court reporter typed away and he announced that it was in the best interest of the child (Maddy) for us to be her parents.  I held back the urge to roll my eyes and I think I must have succeeded since there was no warning that I was in contempt of court. 

We left the room with our adoption documents in hand and took them to the registrar to have them certified.  She asked how many copies we wanted and I told her two would be enough.  She asked if we wanted more and offered that we'd need them when we applied for Maddy's Social Security Card (already have it. Didn't need the readoption to get it) or when we travel outside the country with her (got Gwen's new USA passport before her re adoption so that wasn't necessary either).

Obviously, these nice people don't realize how unnecessary this whole process is.  How much easier it would be to just mail them a bunch of forms and a check and get the California birth cert in the mail some time later?

Okay, it might have been "semi significant" since we took a picture of it.  But I have to admit that I'm really glad this part of adoption is over. 

This is the third time I've been in this building and had our picture taken.  It's the third time I've paid for a meaningless home study and struggled with parking and thrown a bunch of money at a process that only produces a birth certificate at the end.  We already had the child.

Adopt_ceremonies_sm

The first time was Michael.  He's my child from birth and Andrew adopted him after we were married long enough for the court to allow it.  Funny how the court didn't require that I be married to his bio father for any particular period of time, huh?

Then there was Gwen's re adoption.  She as already, legally, our daughter for nearly a year when our Santa Clara County Superior Court put their seal on our "done deal".

Now there's our little sweetie, Maddy.  Here she is just before the Judge declared that she would be ours.  She was already ours.  Does she even look a little bit like she's not been ours for nearly 9 months?

Finally, with some new legislation, it's possible for adoptive parents to undertake this re adoption process without help (and expense) from their agency).  The post-placement report and forms they already have from China are sufficient to meet the Court's needs. 

Prior to the new legislation, when we readopted Gwen, we paid our $300 to our agency and they gave us a bunch of forms and a new home study. 

With Maddy, we did the exact same thing - since we didn't want to fuss with a new process - but our agency they must have realized that their role was less necessary so they provided MUCH less services for the same price.  For example.  Both re-adoptions cost $300 but Gwen's re adoption package from our agency contained forms and instructions.  Maddy's cost the same but contained no forms or instructions.  If we'd not already been down this road with Michael and Gwen, we really wouldn't have had the first clue about how to get the forms on-line and fill them out.  As it turned out, we did manage to miss some essential forms for Maddy's adoption and had to fill them out at the court house.  The court was surprised that our agency didn't provide them but we weren't.   

Maybe I should just re-name this post:  Re-adoption is Lame.  But we're still thrilled to have yet another government entity declare that Madeline Abigail is our daughter!  Forever!

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