Menu Close

Proving My Son Exists and Other Ways to Have Fun While Adulting

Kids enjoying our fire pit

Well, my friends, I leave for New Zealand in nine days, for the birth of my second grandchild. The past few weeks have been filled with tasks that need to be done before I skip the country for three weeks. Fun things like filling my freezer with meals and making sure Chuck knows the location of all the insurance cards, important documents, and bills. And, the most fun of all? Proving to the Social Security office that my sixteen-year-old son does, indeed, exist.

Teaching teens how to adult. If you can drive, you can pump gas.

Speaking of adulting, if you are old enough to drive, you are old enough to pump gas.

Long, long ago, in a Social Security office far, far away, Chuck and I took our newly adopted baby to do something…neither of us remembers what.* The culmination of the meeting was the employee taking away his card, insisting we needed a new one. She went on and on about him being adopted and if we didn’t get a different card, or number, or something he might find out he was adopted (?). We insisted that wasn’t a problem, she insisted harder, taking the card and assuring us a new one would be sent in the mail within two weeks.

It still hasn’t arrived.

*It couldn’t have been to get a card with his new name…that would have made sense and it didn’t make sense. 

Kids enjoying our fire pit

The kids cleared out the firepit and we have been enjoying it frequently.

Life was busy. I had seven kids under the age of seven and two were infants. In the past sixteen years we’ve never needed the card but have used the number for our taxes and other Adult-y type things. The lack of the actual card has never been an issue until now.

Chuck really wants to take the kids on a Great Canadian Road Trip while I am off partying in New Zealand. Cool.


My son is now sixteen and needs either a passport or enhanced ID to cross the border. I have been working on getting the ID for the entire month of May. Turns out he needs that social security card to prove who he is.

Last Thursday I went to the Social Security office to request a new card. I took this birth certificate and adoption decree. Turns out, that doesn’t prove who he is. They wanted a photo ID. Except I need the card to get him a photo ID.  They gave me the option of getting the school or doctor’s office to write (on Official Letterhead) his full name, birthdate, and all kinds of Offical Stuff to prove who he is. It just so happened I was heading to the doctor’s office the next morning with Apollo. Perfect.

Apollo in the waiting room of the doctor's office

Apollo in the waiting room

Perfect, perhaps, if a certain teen didn’t cut her finger open and need stitches at 9:00 pm that night. I was putting Apollo to bed but Chuck begged off (saying he needed to get to work the next morning) so with tears of sorrow in my eyes a Bright and Cheerful Spirit, I headed off to the ER at 9:30 pm. You know how much I love to be out at night. And then, my most beautifully dramatic child, among other things, announced (quite loudly) that she had AIDS as she bled all over the ER.

Thank God she does not have AIDS.

I tried to explain why we don’t announce that we have AIDS (true or not) while bleeding. She didn’t care.

We got home around 12:30 am. I was up bright and early the next morning to get my cherubs off to school and take Apollo to the doctor at 9:00 am. I requested the paper proving my son was indeed real.


We have a new doctor. He has never seen or met my son but was nice enough to agree to write a statement saying he does in fact exist and he is a patient of his.


After the appointment, I drove Apollo out to school then headed back into the Social Security office with the application for a replacement card, birth certificate, and note from the doctor in hand.

But, the employee rejected the application insisting my son needed to sign it since he is sixteen. But the instructions on the very piece of paper he handed me said this:

WHO CAN SIGN THE APPLICATION? If you are age 18 or older and are physically and mentally capable of reading and completing the application, you must sign in item 17. If you are under age 18, you may either sign yourself, or a parent or legal guardian may sign for you.

I knew there was no use arguing with a disgruntled government employee, so I headed home, determined to try again on Monday. I am no fool and Monday I went back in armed with a copy of the application signed by my son and another copy signed by me.

I handed over the copy my son had signed…and the employee insisted I needed to sign it too. There was no spot for a second signature, so she asked me to squeeze my name into the same box. Now, all we need to do is to wait two weeks, then go apply for an enhanced ID and hope it arrives before the Great Canadian Roadtrip.

Apollo roasting a marshmallow in the firepit.

Also, my debit card broke and my chip no longer works, so I have had to request a new one and am hoping against hope it arrives before my departure because somehow I don’t think taking a broken debit card to a foreign county is going to work out for me.



  1. Sarah

    I wished chuck blogged. Bet that road trip will have some fun stories. Also, so excited for you to be with Tilly. ❤️

    • Renee

      That would be amazing, but he is neither a writer or photographer. I am looking forward to spending time with her and Jared!

  2. Rosie

    You have talent girl. Not sure how you manage all these unique experiences. And never the same thing twice. There are few who have your talent. Enjoy the vacation and new little one.

    • Renee

      Well, stitches have happened more than once. A child yelling they have AIDS in an ER? That was definitely a first.

  3. Nicole

    When my three kds were adopted, I went and sat in the benefits office for hours to get their health insurance cards changed. The employee wouldn’t so much even look at the forms. When I got their new medical cards later, it had their birth first name and adoptive last name, but we had changed their first name. So, the kids’ names on the insurance cards didn’t even exist. And we were in the process of moving to another state. By the end of this fiasco, they had like 9 insurance cards and everyone kept passing us off to someone else.

  4. Sarah W

    I love how to get one thing you have another but in order it get the other you have to have the first! ‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️

    When my parents were in their fifties they decided to visit (and later move to Kenya). They went to apply for a passport for my mom only to realize they didn’t have her birth certificate. So she called the county she was born in and they proceeded to inform her that they didn’t have a birth certificate on file for her. in the end there was basically no record, no newspaper announcement, no school record, and so on. It was kinda crazy. Her older brother ended up signing an affidavit for her and in the process the spelling of her middle name got changed. Then when my parents decided to adopt a few years later it took 5+ tries to get her fingerprints for the process. My family started saying maybe she was an angel instead if a human.

  5. Danielle

    I just went through a very similar situation! I gave birth to my 7th child at home (planned) in January. IF it was at a hospital they automatically send for the social security card as well. but since it was a homebirth the office where I got the birth certificate did not have any clue how to send along the information to Social Security (they also didn’t really know how to give me a birth certificate for him either). I had to go apply in person for his SSN. Now, since this was my 7th child and my oldest is only 8 I dragged my feet on going to apply in person. Fast forward to the end of April when I finally muster the energy to drag all the kids to go apply. I took his birth certificate and a letter from my midwife stating all the same info the same office accepted for the birth of my last two children (the same office that specifically requested this exact info). The person working decided none of this was acceptable because he could be anybody’s baby and I had to figure out another way to prove he is my child. The woman suggested I make up a reason to take him to the Dr (he’s never been to a dr) so I could get something from him stating this was my child……even though I could have taken anybody’s baby …. I looked on the Soc Sec website at requirements and found my letter was in fact perfectly acceptable. I dragged my feet some more trying to get more appropriate paperwork to prove he is mine. I still haven’t mustered up the gumption to go back with all 7 kids and the papers. Now here’s the good part….his card came in the mail a few days ago. I never even filled out an application. A card just shows up in the mail. I think it’s a miracle….but it creeps me out a little bit too.

    • Renee

      Ugh. That is so frustrating! Our midwives always gave us the paperwork for the SSN with the birth certificate paperwork and then sent it in. I also have to get a paper signed by the doctor every year saying my kids have had the chicken pox so they can be exempted from the vaccine. My doctor signs it every year with no question, but the thing that gets me is, HE NEVER SAW THEM with the chicken pox. To be perfectly honest, it never even crossed my mind to take them to the doctor when they had them. They had the normal course of spots, fever, sickness…but that is all a normal part of the disease.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.