Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Farce of the Accuracy for Adoptees Act

When we were in Kyiv, one of the things we had to do was apply for visas for our boys at the U.S. Embassy.  There is a form called the DS-260 that we filled out.  We checked the box on it saying we wanted our boys issued social security numbers automatically upon their entry into the U.S.

Once a child with an IR3 visa lands in the U.S. they are U.S. Citizens at that very moment.  A Certificate of Citizenship is issued within 4-12 weeks of arrival making it "official" but my children were U.S. citizens on November 14, 2013 as our plane landed at Dulles Int. airport.

We were told to wait for the SS cards and Certificate of Citizenship.  Three years ago, M's took 4 weeks.  After waiting for 12 weeks, we sent an email to the Dept of Homeland Security asking our our boys' COCs.  We basically got an "oops they're on their way" and received them the following week.  I sent a follow up email asking about SS #s and got no response.

We contacted Eric Cantor's office (he's our rep) at the beginning of February.  On February 10th, a woman by the name of Ms. Barney called asking if we still needed assistance.  At the time I had contacted them, we didn't have the COCs AND we could not get in touch with anyone at the SS office about whether or not our boys were being processed since we had filled out the form.  We wanted someone to just find out if they were being issued numbers.  Ms. Barney did not have a freaking clue.  She tried to tell me that we couldn't have applied for socials at the embassy.  "You have to go do that at the local office."  No ma'am actually we DID indeed apply at our embassy in Ukraine.  I filled the form out.  She tried to argue with me that the Certificates of Citizenship would not be mailed to us automatically.  She said we had to apply for them in person with our kids.  Fortunately, that afternoon, literally an hour before she called me, we had received all 3 of them in the mail.  I was trying not to be snotty (sort of) and explained that we just received the COCs but still needed SSNs.  She then said, "Well, do you want us to help you or not?"  Well, yes I did want someone to help us figure out what was going on.  She emailed us a privacy release form and we sent it back that night.

A man by the name of Mr. Lenhart was supposed to be looking into this for us.  After 2 weeks of nothing, I emailed him on February 18th, and asked if he had all the info he needed from us or could I provide something more?  He said he had all he needed and was looking into it.  On February 27th, he emailed us saying,
"I received the following response from the SSA office in Charlottesville.  I called the office and asked for additional information.  I wanted to make sure that they knew that you requested the SS cards when applying for the visa’s.
He did state that they could have SS numbers in process from what he called “numeration at entry”.  But he could not see any numbers in the system.

If you go to the Charlottesville office with the documents requested then they can complete the process and they issue your son’s SS cards usually within 2 weeks."  

It took a super long time to be rather unhelpful.  We did apply at the Embassy so we had hoped they could look into finding the forms, but whatever...  So on February 28th, my husband went with the COCs, the visas, the birth certificates, the court decree.

The office in Charlottesville, VA refused to issue our boys social security numbers and cited the newly passed (January 14, 2014) Accuracy for Adoptees Act.  The administrator Mr. Rogers, said that the Department of Homeland Security had to let them know which documents to accept to issue foreign born children social security numbers.  Let me be clear, its NOT that we don't have the right documents.  We have ALL of the right documents.  Its that the office doesn't know which ones to accept.

We immediately emailed Mr. Lenhart about this because after all, he TOLD US to go apply.  He emailed back saying,

"Mr. Rogers with the SSA office in Charlottesville just contacted me to make me aware of this law. 
I will check with my coworker who works with the Department of Homeland Security to determine the next course of action."

UM.... the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor is NOT AWARE OF LEGISLATION THAT HE HELPED PASS!?  I was immediately furious.  He dinked around for weeks not even bothering to check on this for us, THEN sent us to apply without knowing about the law that was passed PREVENTING OUR BOYS from being issued social security numbers.  I sent a rather scathing email back suggesting he ask Eric Cantor exactly how to interpret the law since he was responsible for helping pass it.  I have heard absolutely NOTHING back since then.  Nothing.

We've called the social security office administrator for our local office in Charlottesville (Mr. Rogers) and he says his hands are tied.  He said there are now others also waiting, but he can do nothing.  It doesn't matter that we filed for social security numbers months prior to this law being passed.  Someone dropped the ball and didn't process the paperwork correctly, but my kids are the ones being screwed.

We cannot file taxes.
Our health insurance wants our boys social security numbers.
We cannot get them state issued birth certificates.

Let me be clear, THEY ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and they are being denied social security numbers due to someone not being able to interpret a simple law.

This is the text of the law.  

Do you see social security numbers mentioned?

S. 1614
To require Certificates of Citizenship and other Federal documents to reflect name and date of birth determinations made by a State court and for other purposes.
Short title
This Act may be cited as the Accuracy for Adoptees Act.
Recognition of State court determinations of name and birth date
Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1431) is amended by adding at the end the following:

A Certificate of Citizenship or other Federal document issued or requested to be amended under this section shall reflect the child’s name and date of birth as indicated on a State court order, birth certificate, certificate of foreign birth, certificate of birth abroad, or similar State vital records document issued by the child’s State of residence in the United States after the child has been adopted or readopted in that State.
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate

This is a violation of basic citizen rights.  The government cannot deny my children social security numbers indefinitely.  Please share this post to spread awareness because it now affects ALL foreign born adopted children.

I believe that this law was passed to make things easier for adoptive families.  At least that is what I have been told, HOWEVER, it would mean that people would need to actually know how to interpret the law.  Things that should be thought of BEFORE its passed and affects children.  

This bill was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar.  I do not think this was her intent when she introduced this bill.  

We spent 7 months in the U.S. doing paperwork and compiling a dossier.
We spent 45 days in Ukraine doing everything by the book.
We have done everything required by law. 

the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

What we are experiencing IS discrimination.


cara said...

Good luck. It took over 2 yrs to get our sons coc who was adopted 5 yrs ago from ukraine. & we are still trying to get our daughters ss card in her american name instead of her chinese name. It also has her listed as a immigrant not citizen even though she was only 17 months when we adopted her 3 yrs ago & she was a citizen as soon as she landed in us.

bethennyann said...

Whoa. I'm so sorry that your family is dealing with such a messy situation.
Just to clarify though, Eric Cantor is NOT the speaker of the House. Eric Cantonr is the House Majority Leader - so he is second in command of the republicans, after John Boehner. John Boehner is the Speaker of the House. Can you also email John Boehner and maybe his office can assist you??

I am going to pray about this. God Bless.

Mom to Mine said...

Thanks for pointing that out bethennyann. I edited my post to correct the title.

Kelly Conley said...

Going through a similar situation right now only with age changes for our Ethiopian kids. I just read this on an attorneys web site. Ha ha. The irony.

The Accuracy for Adoptees Act signed into law by the President on January 16, 2014 and effective on that date, solves these problems by requiring federal agencies to recognize amended birth dates as issued by state courts. This new federal law has removed the bureaucracy and red tape that these families and children previously faced.

I'm not sure what is so hard. Our state says they are waiting on a "ruling". A ruling on what? My kids US documents now reflect the correct information. Frustrating.

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson