Thursday, October 07, 2010

The road to preschool is paved with bureaucratic tape.

This afternoon the road to preschool led us to wasting an hour and a half at the Public Health Department. There is nothing we can do to avoid a return visit and spike of blood pressure; it's just the way this county works. Abuela spent her entire nursing career working for PH in Puerto Rico, and that led to my many hours visiting remote clinics with her. That experience, combined with my work at a county psych hospital and social services has made me well versed on how frustrating red tape can be. In addition, let's not forget the paperwork involved in International adoption. This is all fine with us. But the one thing I recall about Abuela is how she treated her patients. I admired her compassion and devotion to them. It is something I kept in mind when the stress of trying to do the impossible crept up on me. What upset us today is that none of that actual bureaucratic nonsense was the cause of our vexation. It was the ignorance by the two nincompoops behind the desk.

We brought SS's immunization records and they did not bother to LOOK before dismissing the document because "it's written in some language." Well no sh*t Sherlock, our daughter was born in China and spent her first 16 months there. But if your itty bitty brain can follow, everything is translated to English. And right next to that some language! That was not good enough for them, because it "it is from over there." China, we are sure your combined IQ of 100 and articulation of a pre-K child is good enough to say C-h-i-n-a.

As much as I wanted to beat the ignorance out of them, I am the designated bureaucratic sufferer here. It is what I know, and although I have a legendary mouth (just look at what I write hours later), I somehow manage to keep my cool and just navigate those muddy waters. One of them picked up SS's records like it was printed on toxic paper and stated that they needed to "decipher" what it was. I know they are only clerks, but I thought they would at least know how to read. The deciphering took over 45 minutes, and anyone with an active toddler knows that never ends well.

The kicker was when while saying they could not decipher English, they also announced that it did not matter, because SS would have to get all her shots redone, because "nothing done over there counts." Now, while I have the legendary mouth, I always advise people to take their chances about anger with me, because I am a pussycat compared to P. That condescending, ignorant statement had him red and ready to protect his child. I was rolling my eyes at Dumb and Dumber, because there is no way some bureaucratic maggot (shout out to BP) with a GED is going to have a say on my daughter's health care. I did not even bother asking them if they had an idea about SS's titers levels, before they rendered their 4th grade diagnosis.

P simply stormed out with SS and I am glad he made that wise choice. We (well just me now) do have to deal with them again. By the time I made it to the van P was on a roll about what they had coming if they thought he was going to have his daughter repeat anything. I do love it when he gets all angry over his kids and laces his rants with colorful language (no excuses here, I'm sick and he is sexy). But while we both know that nothing will be done to SS, the real issue is why this incident even occurred, and the annoyance that it would not be the last time. It is the same reason why SS was denied a social security number in this county because"for all we know your adoption could be fraudulent". Funny, the SS office in Sacramento, with the same rules, accepted the documents and we were done in less than a hour. Not a single word about our questionable documents and nefarious intentions.


Yup that's it, just plain ignorance. Instead of immediately engaging in xenophobic mode, how about asking those two dumb individuals with the obviously Asian (and impossibly beautiful) daughter about the other language on the document? Here is an even wilder thought, how about plain asking them what they were reading? After all these two idiots managed to compile a mountain of paperwork, jumped through INS hoops, have been criminally cleared up the wazoo, and traveled to China. Maybe, just maybe they know something. Then there is the really difficult one, calling the child's doctor's office. That same number that the mother offered to D&D. Nah, way too freaking easy.

I am writing this while sitting across from a sleeping SS, that innocent little thing in her safe crib. Well, safe if he have not missed a recall notice. Just listening to her breathing soothes me, and I need soothing before tomorrow morning. There are so many things we worry about, so much we want to protect her from, just like any parent. However, ignorance is going to be a constant thorn on her side. As soon as we are done with this hurdle we need to work on the re-adoption. SS has little league and real school in her future, and we can't have P going on a homicidal rage when someone questions SS's "foreign" birth certificate. We have three notarized copies with the English translation. But after all, they were created and notarized "over there," and obviously do not count. Things like this go right over SS's head now, but it won't be long before she feels the full impact of ignorant minds. On the positive side, she has quite a mouth and temper to match. She is going to be scarier than us.

Almost forgot to mention SS's snarky moment as we left the house. I told P I would drive, just because I enjoy playing with the GPS. As soon as SS saw him grab his keys (to get her in her carseat), she snarked "you are not driving." Without missing a beat P retorted "neither are you." You show her who's boss P!


Brenda said...

Great post. She and I almost share the same birthday. Mine's today.

2china4S said...

Happy birthday Brenda! Your birthdays explain a lot. :)