MicroblogMondays: Legal Stuff

It is tax return season, but we can’t file our taxes until we get one thing done, which is to get the babies’ social security numbers.  Normal people would automatically apply for their newborns’ numbers before their discharge from the hospital.  But we are not normal people.  I still haven’t written the second part of our birth story yet, but right after the babies were born, we had to attend to a bunch of paperwork on top of learning how to take care of newborn twins.  The nursing staff and the pediatricians were constantly in and out of the room.  Annie’s family and friends were visiting.  With the chaos, I am a bit cloudy on what exactly happened, but when we were asked if we would like to apply for the babies’ SSN, my first instinct was not yet.  The reason being, the birth certificates would only have Bob’s name on them as the father, but the mother’s name would be blank because I used donor eggs.  If we had filed for social security right after birth, the record at Social Security would also show that the mother’s name is blank.  Every state is different in terms of the laws.  For Annie’s home state, in order for my name to be on the birth certificate after using donor eggs, I have to file for “Step Parent Adoption” in California.  It is only after that then Vital Statistics department at Annie’s state would add my name.  In November, after the hazy first few weeks with twins, I finally emailed a few lawyers regarding this.  No one called or wrote me back.  That was when I realized that phone calls were probably going to be much faster in terms of getting a response.  The local law firm sounded very experienced with this type of filing, but the paralegal was moaning and groaning a bit on the phone when she learned that the surrogacy was done in Annie’s state.  The laws had changed recently.  An intended mother who used donor eggs used to be able to send in the CA court order to the Vital Statistics department in Annie’s state in order to get an amended birth certificate with her name on it.  It is no longer the case as Annie’s state’s court clerk does not honor the CA court clerk’s authority.  An extra step would be needed for the CA court clerk to get a signature from a CA judge before the court orders would be recognized by Annie’ state.  Bureaucracy is the name of the game.  After moaning and groaning for two minutes about Annie’s state, the paralegal quoted me a rate that was very reasonable.  It matched the ballpark figure I was told prior to the surrogacy process.  The email that same day from the same paralegal said that she quoted the wrong rate as she didn’t take into account for filing for twins, but the law firm would still honor the original rate.  Phew.  We “saved” $1500.  It took a few weeks for the paperwork to be done, and took another few days before Bob had the time to go to downtown San Francisco to sign the paperwork.  Everything was sent to our county clerk on December 5th.  The paperwork was received on December 8th.  Our paralegal told us that our county has a streamlined process and it usually only takes 4 to 6 weeks.  It happened around the holidays, so I was expecting things to be done by end of January to beginning of February.  Well, things took a lot longer than they should.  After some back and forth with the paralegal, she found out that it took a long time for the judge to sign, and then the county clerk was out of the office for training for a week.  We still haven’t received the orders yet.  We just want to file our taxes, but can’t claim the babies on our return until we have their social security numbers.  We decided to just apply for their numbers before the amended birth certificates are sent to us.  Bob took last Friday off and attended the babies’ 6-month check up.  After that, he waited at our local social security office for 2.5 hours.  He had to be the one doing it because his name is the only name shown on the birth certificates.  I settled the babies down at home then went to join him with lunch.  When it was finally time for our turn, the lady behind the counter was super nice, but was a bit apprehensive about what we were doing because probably not too many people would come to the office for an application for social security numbers for not just one but two 6-month-olds.  Right off the bat, she said that it would be a lengthy process to verify their births.  Luckily, after checking, she declared that Annie’s state is one of the states that has an online verification process for birth certificates.  We still waited for about 35 minutes before she could finish with the whole application (everything takes twice as long with twins).  So now we wait for two weeks before we receive their SSN in the  mail and can finally file the tax returns.  In the future, I can return to the social security office with the amended birth certificates so that my name can be added in the record as the babies’ mother officially.  If I had known how much work and how long it would be to get the step parent adoption done, I would have just turned in their social security application at the hospital.

Everything is so complicated with surrogacy…

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8 thoughts on “MicroblogMondays: Legal Stuff

  1. FWIW, that’s pretty complicated even without surrogacy. In some cultures it’s traditional to not name the baby until after the officially the baby naming. But if you don’t name the baby, you can’t apply for SSN/finish the birth certificate etc. She did that for her first baby and it was a nightmare spanning, as you rightly point out, MANY MONTHS, so for the subsequent children, she did the paperwork at the hospital and just didn’t use or tell anyone the name until after the official naming.

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  2. Oh my, what a process that is! Well done for moving ahead with the bureaucratic requirements and getting your babies’ security numbers in the end!
    My child has dual citizenship (in two EU countries) and registering him in one country was a piece of cake, while the other registration required paperwork I couldn’t believe was needed, in person appointments at the embassy and sending stuff back and forth between the respective countries…
    Well, if you ever need to do this again, now you’re an expert 😄

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  3. Things certainly ARE more complicated with surrogacy. Like the US, Canadian laws vary regarding parentage. We are using donor embryos and were told by our lawyer that in order to have OUR NAMES on the birth certificate(s), we have to find a surrogate either in Ontario (where we live) or in British Columbia, both provinces which have the most progressive laws. Otherwise, it’s just a pile of additional paperwork, including an adoption process (MORE STRESS!!!). I hope things eventually change in all jurisdictions. People are having kids later now and not to mention, same sex marriage is legal!

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  4. I was just talking with my SIL about all the paperwork babies create. She’s still waiting on something, I think her son’s birth certificate, from a January birth. I don’t remember having to jump hoops like she’s doing but it’s definitely complicated even without a surrogate.

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  5. Oh wow, that is a lot! We didn’t use a surrogate, but got some bad advice about SSN applications during our last delivery, and it took time to sort it out. I’m impressed that you’ve kept it moving while dealing with newborn twins!

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  6. Pingback: MicroblogMondays: Fifth Year Blog Anniversary and Being Official | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

  7. Pingback: MicroblogMondays: Finality | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

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