Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's the Point in Confidentiality if you call ME by his birthname?

Fourteen months after placement, nine months after signing final paperwork, five months after the adoption order was granted, three months after receiving his new birth certificate, and two months after his first passport was issued, we finally have Little Man registered under our MSP, with his Care Card in his new name.

Evidently, some government programs take a little longer to navigate than others.

In the interim, we smiled and nodded when every health care professional referred to our son by his birth name, or called me by his birth last name when addressing me. In fact, our pediatrician's office STILL calls me Mrs. Birthname!

This is a real conversation between myself and some government drone:

Drone: "Good morning Mrs. Birthname, I just listened to the voicemail regarding your son's Care Card number."

Me: "Actually, my last name is Reid. Thank you for calling me back. You see, our son's adoption was recently completed, and when we applied for his Care Card to be reissued under his new name, we specifically requested that he be permitted to keep his original Care Card number. The Care Card arrive in his new name, but he has a new number as well. We'd like it changed back please."

Drone: "Oh, well for privacy reasons, Mrs. Birthname, we had to change it. We cannot release his original name or Care Card number to you."

I paused.

"Well it's a little late for that -- you just called me by his birth name." I waited. I heard a little gasp from the Drone.

"Oh, well I'm very sorry, Ma'am.... but I can't just change it back."

"Why does it matter? I already knew his birthname. It's printed on his old Care Card that I'm holding right here. His old number is ____ and his birth name is ____. Can we have his old number reinstated please?"

The Drone was getting frustrated "Can you hold please, Mrs. Birthname?

After listening to an eternity of Rod Stewart and Phil Collins hold music, the Drone came back on. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Birthname. You'll have to appeal to the privacy commissioner to have the Care Card number changed. Have a good day."

And then he hung up.

What? Pardon me? This is so exasperating!! All I wanted was continuity in our son's medical history. It's bad enough we don't have access to his birth family history, now they are driving a wedge between his medical life before and after adoption finalization.

When I show up for a medical appointment, I have to present his new Care Card and his old Care Card, so that the receptionist (whose day is already busy enough without this crazy circumstance) can find his chart since the only thing in common between pre-and-post adoption is his birth date.

Nuts to privacy and confidentiality. Especially if you're going to call me Mrs. Birthname!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Dropped the Cake

I can't believe it.

I dropped the cake.

I spent ten minutes going over cake sizes, cake flavours, cake colours, potential allergens, vegan options (sorry guys, we went with the dairy after all) and most importantly, how to maximize the amount of chocolate that went into the cake for our summer picnic.

I ordered the cake one week prior to the picnic, so that each of the coloured flowers I requested (which were supposed to complement our new corporate logo) would precisely match our promotional material.

I admit it, I went a little overboard.

Unfortunately, so did the cake.

I can't win. I really can't. I protected that cake all the way from the bakery back to my suburban home, and to the outermost reaches of the lower mainland. Over multiple bridges and tunnels, through summer sunshine and the lunging attacks of my toddling child.

When we got to the park, I purposefully loaded the cake last on my second trip of goodies, even though that meant an extra trip across a bee-infested grass field between the car and the picnic tables.

I didn't think the cake would go anywhere. But then I went over a sizable hole in the lawn. And the cake went overboard.

"Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" I screamed in horror. "The caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!"

I landed with a less-than-dainty thud. Fortunately, it stayed safely inside the box and was therefore still good to eat. UNFORTUNATELY, the box was now upside down, the flowers were destroyed, and the icing looked like it had been attacked by a pack of ravenous supermodels who had just been fired after a bikini photo shoot.

Everyone says don't cry over spilled milk, but I honestly felt like bawling over smooshed cake. Little Man cheered me up, of course "Mmmm. Cake! Yooks good, Momma!"

We had an awesome picnic anyways.... 27 people attended, tons of kids, and some great interest from both experienced and prospective adoptive parents. We had a wonderful afternoon, and no one seemed to notice the smooshed cake....

Thank you to everyone who came out this weekend! I hope you enjoyed yourselves and made some connections in your local community. And even though the cake fell flat on its face, I think we landed on our feet.