I have had my first run in with the United States Government. I can't say that I have been missing anything my entire life. I have heard stories from other people about dealing with it. I have read articles....and non of them have given me a huge amount of confidence.
Recently I decided to try to get my adoption records unsealed. Now...I have been sitting on this for a while. I actually went down to the courthouse years ago and got the paperwork to file. I never really got it going, so 3 weeks ago I started the process all over again.
First trip to the Courthouse...I had Polly, my little kids and my nephew Drake. I left them all in the car together while I ran in to get the paperwork. I had to wait in this insanely long line just to say..."Can I have the petition to unseal an adoption?". It took the lady exactly 20 seconds to produce the paper. "Just fill this out and bring it back in". I went home, called my friend Mary who worked for a Judge for years, and had her help me fill out the paperwork. It only took a few minutes...then I had to take it to a notary, then back down town.
Second trip to the Courthouse....I turned in the paperwork, paid the 35 dollar fee and was told that since it was tuesday they would try to get the paperwork going as fast as possible, but it might take a bit to get the file out of archives.
Two days later I got a call saying they had my file. I misunderstood thinking "wow...that was fast!"....so....
Third trip to the Courthouse. Again I had my little kids with me. I went downtown, paid for parking and run up to the civil courts thinking my file was ready. Hahaha...how wrong I was. "Oh, I am so sorry you had to come all the way down here....your file is here, but it hasn't gone to the Judge yet. He's a fast Judge and it might be ready as soon as tomorrow. We will call you"
You can imagine how disappointed I was. Ugh....more waiting. But...that's ok. Monday morning I got a call from Sue at the civil courts. "Your file is here and waiting." Yay!
Fourth trip to the Courthouse. I drag my kids downtown again. I pay for parking again. I texted my sisters all again...surely this time I was going to get my file. I had everyone hyped up and boy was I ready for some great news! I get to the desk and the clerk looks at me and says "Well...your file isn't down here, it must still be upstairs with the Judge...go up there" Ok.....I go upstairs, talk to the Judge's clerk....she says it must be downstairs. Ok....so I go back down to the civil court. "They said it is not up there, it must be down here", so the clerk goes to look again. She comes back with a file....my heart starts to beat fast. She puts it down in front of me and says...."well...this is your peitition, but the file is wrong. It seems that when I looked up your file I accidentally ordered the file just beneath yours. So....the Judge approved your petition, but it's on the wrong file. I am so sorry, but I will have to send this file back and order yours. Again, I am so sorry." By now I am going crazy. Fourth trip to the Courthouse and nothing to show for it. This was all on monday. Then comes friday. I get a call from one of the clerks in the civil courts office. "OK, your file is ready" By now I am skeptical...."Really? So I can come downtown and get a copy today?" "Yes, you can, it's ready" Yay! Here we go again.
Fifth trip to the Courthouse. Again, take the kids...this time my older kids. I thought they would enjoy seeing the inside of the County Courthouse. With metal detectors, armed police officers and everything. They were excited. We get down there, get to the clerks desk and I am excited again. "Hi, I am here to get a copy of my file" Ok....well...."I can't find it down here", Oh my gosh...really? "Well....they told me to come into to get it today." Well, why don't you go up to the Judges office and see if it's there." OK, now I am seeing a pattern emerge. So, I drag my kids upstairs again, talk to the Clerk to Judge Quinn and she says..."I don't have that file, Judge Quinn signed off on that 10 days ago" Now I am trying really hard no to scream or cry...either one was right there on the surface. So, I go back downstairs and plant myself in front of the clerk again. "She said they don't have it up there...it must be down here." "Well, I have looked and I can't find it." At this point I decide to tell this clerk the entire story, since the woman I had usually spoken to was a woman named Sue. After recoutning my story she brightens up and says "Oh, Sue told me about your file, but I don't know how she resolved it, I can't find the file and she is not here. She is only here in the mornings. So you will need to come in to talk to her." Now, I know I will have to come in to talk to her because at this point I had left several messages with Sue and she never called me back...a face to face conversation was the only way it was going to happen. So...I left the Courthouse empty handed again. And near tears. It didn't help the my daugher Megan kept saying "Sorry mom, I am so sorry". I wanted to cry....right out loud.
So, that was monday. Tuesday morning I dropped the kids off at school and drove, in pouring rain, in heavy morning traffic downtown again.
Sixth trip to the Courthouse. I paid for parking again, waded through deep puddles, in a torrential downpour, with three little kids in tow, up to the Courthouse again. After waiting several mintues for Jessi and Colby to put all their cars and toys through the x-ray machine, the kids led me straight to the clerks office. They remembered. As soon as I came up to the window, I saw Sue, she saw me and we both lit up. "Oh hi....I have been trying to reach you. I have your file! Now the I tried to get the old petition to work for this file, but the Judge wants a new petition. You just need to fill out this paper again." She did have my file, it was right there in front of me and I could see my name on it. It was all I could do to not grab it and run. I think the kids would have slowed me down though! I sat down, filled it out while Colby, Jessi and Sky ran amuck. When I was done, I remembered that it had to be notarized. "Oh, no, don't I have to have this notarized?" "Oh yes, but I can do that for you right here." Those words were music to my ears. I signed it, she signed it and we were done. She said that she would put a note on it and try to have it done as soon as possible, but worse case scenario...it might be 3 or so days. I expect worse case scenario now...knowing what I know.
So, here it is tuesday and I hope to have my file in my hand by thursday. Now, that will be one more trip....my seventh. That will mark the beginning of my efforts to get my records from the adoption agency. They need the judges orders to get that file to me. So we have to hope they are a little more organized the Courthouse has been.
Now, after all of this if all I get out of it is a paper that says I was adopted I may just have to shoot myself. Give me something that made all this worth it, eh?