My husband and I drove to the meeting place and brought Monroe and his sister to our home. They immediately needed English clothing, toiletries, shoes, showers, and Monroe wanted to cut his required Amish haircut. Equally necessary was getting each their birth certificate and social security number so they could establish themselves and move on in a non-Amish society.
I've already shared with you about Sarah (see "Saving Sarah"). Taking her 17-year-old brother to obtain these legal documents proved more challenging . . . and frustrating!
After the county health department searched in vital statistics to prove there was no birth on record for Monroe, we received a "denial" letter stating no birth certificate. We were instructed to take that letter to the probate court to apply for his first-ever birth certificate. A month later I followed-up with the probate court to discover the document was mailed to the health department. Back to the health department to pay for and pick up Monroe's birth certificate. Good. Done.
Next, was a trip to the Social Security Administration office to apply for his first-ever number. "You must have a photo ID," the agent told us.
"We can't get one without a social security number."
"We can't complete the forms without a photo ID."
"We can try to get a state ID but your office must print a denial letter stating there isn't a social security number on Monroe."
"And why is his birth certificate considered a delayed one?"
"Because he just applied to receive one. His mother had a home birth and didn't complete the form for a certificate nor social security number."
"I can't use this birth certificate."
"Why? It's certified. See the seal?"
"I need the letter from the health department stating Monroe never had a birth certificate until he applied for one."
"The probate court has that letter."
"Why don't you have it?"
"I guess," trying to suppress my sarcasm, "the judge kept the health department's letter."
"Well, I need a letter stating the health department had no birth on record."
"Can I call the health department now and have them fax it to you."
"We don't accept faxes."
"I'll call the health department and see about picking it up." At this point it was noon and we'd stumbled in the governmental obstacle course for more than an hour.
"You have to get that letter from probate court," said the lady at the health department.
I phoned probate court, "Can you make a copy of Monroe's birth certificate letter from the health department?" Meanwhile, the waiting social security agent began helping another citizen.
"Sure, I'll fax it right now."
"The social security administration won't accept your fax."
"Then you must pick it up in person . . . we close today at 4 pm."
After hanging up, I took another number and we waited our turn again. "Can I speak to a supervisor?" A young lady arrived and escorted us to a different window. We sat at her window listening as she explained the delayed birth certificate problem and also the photo ID hang-up.
"If you'd just let the probate court fax the needed letter, it'll expedite this application," I pleaded. She finally coughed it up. I phoned my new best friends at the probate court with the fax number, and soon the supervisor at the social security administration office received the delinquent letter.
"Now," she said to us, "We still need to address Monroe's photo ID problem."
"Well, he can't get a photo ID without a social security number," I tried to calmly explain . . . again. "Can you print a letterhead statement that he's never applied for nor received his number; we'll take it to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) with his birth certificate and proof of residency in lieu of the social." I hoped these documents would suffice there, and Monroe could apply for his state ID.
At the BMV, Monroe said to the lady behind the counter, "I want to get an Ohio State ID."
"Are you 18 years old?"
"We can't do it unless you have your parents' signature."
"His parents are Amish. They don't approve of him leaving so they won't cooperate in signing a form to help him get an ID," I explained to her.
The BMV agent called over her supervisor. They talked then suggested Monroe apply for a driver's license learner's permit, which has a photo. They explained that it's a legal ID; he could use it in lieu of the state ID, and the SS office could it to get Monroe a number. "Just go take the written test for a temporary license," they instructed us.
Monroe and I headed next door. "I want to take the test for a learner's permit," he said to the lady behind the counter.
"Do you have a birth certificate and social security number?"
And this is the same government that's running our health care . . . God help us!
See ya next week. ~ Brenda
(c)Copyright 2013, Brenda Nixon.