So there I was. I had a number in my hand, a folder containing a birth certificate, adoption paper work, and a social security number application. And a smile on my face. I had double checked the Social Security Administration's website to confirm I had the right documents. I was all set.
We finalized Aidan's adoption in November of 2006. Our social worker told us it would probably take a year for them to send us the amended birth certificate. She told us to try and get a social security number using the court documents. The local Social Security office wouldn't do it. Even though the SSA website said they would.
The customer service rep on the phone said that each office determines what documents it needs to process a new social security number. My local office was a little more strict than most.
So we waited.
We had a son. A real live son. But if anybody checked, we couldn't prove he was ours. We had no birth certificate or Social Security card. He was a non-person.
In October 2007 I opened an envelope containing Aidan's birth certificate. I hurried to the Social Security office in hopes of finally acquiring his social security number.
My number came up. I walked smiling to the bullet-proof glass shielded customer service rep. I slid my documents through the opening. I sat back in my chair fully expecting a successful interaction.
"Do you have a medical ID card with his name on it?"
"No." My blood pressure started to rise.
"We need a medical ID card."
"No you don't. Every document you need is right there." I wasn't yelling but I was very close.
"There's no need to get upset." She said as she stood up to talk to the supervisor.
"You better believe I have a reason to be upset. I have been waiting over a year to get my son's social security card. This is my third trip and I have never been told to bring an ID card. The SSA website says I need only those documents." These words spilled out of my mouth.
I haven't been that angry since I tossed a desk across a classroom in college.
The supervisor came and told me I needed to prove Aidan had never been issued a Social Security number in his pre-adoption alias. I needed to bring his current Medi-Cal card with his new name and the old card with his alias. I also needed to calm down. I gathered my documents and left, thinking vengeful thoughts all the way home.
The next day I returned with the same documents, adding only his current Medi-Cal card. The smiling lady behind the bullet-proof glass took my documents, processed the application, and wrote out a receipt. She said I would receive his new card in about two weeks.
Four months later I got his social security card. "F" the SSA.