Friday, August 04, 2006

Not-so-nice notary

Dear Sam,

Today your Dad and I went to the doctor at Swedish Covenant Hospital (pictured above) to get our physicals and to have our health forms signed for our dossier to Vietnam. Even though we have not yet been officially accepted by our agency, they allowed us to do this because our doctor's appointment was made almost a month ago when we thought we were going with the other agency.

However, our family doctor got married and moved, so we also had to meet our new doctor. Her name is Jayshree Dhali and she is from India. We both really liked her. She was very friendly and even gave us a recipe for catfish, when she learned your Dad's cholesterol and blood pressure are a little high. He is going to try to start eating a little healthier.

After we finished, the nurse called a notary from the hospital to come up and notarize the forms. Your Dad went to work, and it's a good thing he did because it took almost an hour for the notary to arrive. When she did, she immediately scolded the doctor for signing the forms before she arrived. Dr. Dhali offered to redo the forms (luckily I had two extras). Then the notary asked me where I was supposed to sign, but I pointed out to her that we don't sign the forms, only the doctor.

Then she demanded my driver's license and asked where my husband was. When I said he wasn't here, she said she couldn't notarize the forms. (Not true, by the way, as she was only notarizing that the doctor's signature was true, not to the veracity of everything in the form.)

Well, I have to tell you, I was not having a good day, and when she said this, I immediately burst into tears. Yup, right in front of the whole doctor's office. "Fine, we'll just take another day off work, make another appointment, and redo everything," I said in between sobs. They rushed me into the nearest room, which happened to be the drug supply area. The nurse, Mary, was being really nice and trying to comfort me while I was crying and saying, "Everyone else just get to have sex and have a baby."

Finally the notary agreed that if Ed would copy his driver's license and fax it from work, she would sign them. Of course, I couldn't reach him. Then Mary realized they had a copy of his driver's license in his file. She went off to copy it. Then this notary woman turns to me and says, "You're going to be so happy when you get this baby." I seriously wanted to murder her. I said, "Please don't talk to me. " She replied, "I'm just trying to cheer you up." To which I said, "You're not the right person to do that."

Finally, she signed the form, then as I left she said, "Sometimes God brings angels into our life and we don't know why. Have a blessed day." It took all my moral strength to not reach across and put my hands around her throat and try to strangle her. Later, I tried to pray for this poor woman who clearly has no power in her life, so when given a little (as a notary), she somehow feels the need to lord it over other people.

I cried the whole way home. So many people have no idea how painful it is to go through years of infertility treatments and then have your life overscrutinized by social workers, doctors, government officials, and, yes, even notaries in order to adopt a child. I fully support the background work necessary to deem up fit parents. Obviously I wouldn't want a child placed with just anybody. But could the people involved in this process please recognize how hard this is, not just financially, time-wise, but emotionally for us? This same notary grilled the nurse on the phone before coming, so the nurse had to ask me, "What country are you adopting from? What's the child's name? Do you have a child assigned to you yet?" I almost started crying then. I wanted to scream: "NO! And I've been working on this for years!" I mean, there was no reason for the notary to ask all that just to come up and sign my paper. But because I needed something from her, I had to accept her prying and her nastiness.

It's days like this that you feel really annoyed that people who have biological children don't have to do any of this: prove their physical fitness, demonstrate their psychological and financial fitness, take parenting classes, and contantly live in fear that they won't "pass" one of these hurdles and be prevented from becoming parents. Sam, I know you're going to be worth it, but some days I wish it weren't so hard.


Anonymous said...

I also cried when I read this. Just remember if you only meet one horses ass in a day, it is a good day. (Used to tell that to my students who also had to deal with many power-hungry people, unemployment offices, public assistance workers, etc.)

Love, Mom

D'Arcy said...


What a horrible experience. I also understand the need for due diligence when approving adoptive parents, but am completely befuddled as to why they make it SO difficult when it's a win-win for everyone. How sad is this woman's life that she has to add drama to such a sensitive, emotional process?

Heather said...

Oh. I can feel your anguish as I read your post....

Our physical form notary was friendly, but then when we were leaving the doctor's office she said to us - Thank God that there are families like YOU to adopt children like THEM. Like what? I was dying to ask somehow orphan is a dirty word. I wanted to scream at her - do you realize you are talking about MY DAUGHTER? The daughter I've been trying my damndest for almost 5 years to meet? My dh dragged me by the arm away from her before I could open my mouth and reply.

I know things seem hard right now (believe me, I'm right there with you!), but we WILL get there...

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