Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Parents just don't understand...

I have debated what my comfort zone line is with blog posts.  What am I ok with talking about?  What, if anything, is off limits?

There are many things to consider here.  I don't want to post anything that could jeopardize my career; my work is rewarding and fulfilling and I love it.  I also don't want to write anything that could hurt or upset my family.

When it comes to J, my husband, I've always felt that it wasn't necessarily my place to tell his stories.  They aren't mine.

With this post, I think I'm stepping outside of my previously established comfort zone.  But nothing that I'm about to write is false, and at this point I'd say it directly to those involved.

J was born in a motel room in South Carolina.  For whatever reason they want to provide, his parents never filed a birth certificate for him.  This has been inconvenient before, but had never disrupted our lives like it has now.

Our state recently passed a new law, staying that to renew your driver's license you have to physically go to the DMV with a copy of your birth certificate, among other documents.  J's driver's license recently expired, and since there is literally no proof that he was born (other than his existence) he has been unable to renew it.

He contacted the state of South Carolina to find out what, if anything, he could do to have a birth certificate issued about a month before his license expired.  Over two months later, we have now hit a brick wall.

After providing a plethora of documentation, the state was prepared to issue J a birth record.  The request had been processed, and all that really needed to be done was for the director of the agency to sign off on everything.

Cue the call from the director of said agency to J today.  "Everything seems to be in order, except one thing.  The last name your mother lists on her marriage certificate to your father is different from the last name on her birth certificate."

Well yes, it would be.  She was still married to her first husband when she met J's father.  She was still married to him when J was conceived.  (Or should I say allegedly conceived, as again there is no proof he was ever born?)

"Oh," says the state agency director, "this poses a problem.  Now we have a paternity issue."

Understandably, this agency cannot make paternity determinations.  The people at this agency have been beyond helpful in this process, and if circumstances allowed I would buy them all ponies and cookie bouquets.

So now, we are on the hunt for another elusive document, praying that when we find it, it has what we need.  The state agency can not issue a birth record at all unless the divorce decree from J's mother's first marriage specified that the unborn J was not a product of the first marriage. 

Upon learning this fun bit of news, J called his mom.  She doesn't know what, if any, reference is made to him in the decree because she never actually saw a copy.

If this elusive decree makes no reference to J, the only recourse he has is to take it to court and let a judge decide paternity.  Beyond the fact that this will cost money that we don't have (because like many Americans J is currently unemployed), this process will take even more time, making our lives much more difficult for a longer period of time.

I know that I am a lucky woman.  I have an amazing son, a wonderful husband, a job that I love, a roof over my head, etc.  I am very aware of my blessings.  However, this lack of parental responsibility is having real impact in my life, on my husband, and on our family.

I appreciate that my mother-in-law is helping by bringing M to day care each morning, as obviously J can not.

What I don't appreciate is the fact that she is currently acting like my husband is somehow being ridiculous because he is frustrated and upset at the situation.  What I don't appreciate is my husband being told that needs to not blame his parents for the situation.  After all, he's made bad decisions too!  What I don't appreciate is the way that somehow J's mother had become the victim in all of this, telling him that she'll help him until this is resolved, but then can she just please bury the bad memories?

This makes me even more grateful for the father that J is to M.  It makes me feel absolutely amazed at the natural parenting skills he has.  More than anything, this has reaffirmed for me that when I make mistakes as a parent, as we all do, I will own up to them, apologize and then do anything and everything I can to fix them without rationalizing my bad choices.

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