Home Affairs, you really are breaking my heart. I just want my family to have matching surnames. You have such a helpful call centre but consistently give me news that I’d rather not hear. Yesterday I heard that Ilan’s application for surname change on his birth certificate was never submitted to Head Office – it was spelt incorrectly when we went to collect it in September last year. There was no record of our request. Anywhere. No record. It was especially hard to locate my boy ‘on the system’ because his original ID number has been cancelled but he has not yet been issued a new one.
I also heard that the status of Kira’s name change is ‘being processed’. No one knows what that means, not even The Helpful Lady on the other end of the line. She suggested that I email (fax is preferable though) all six Home Affairs forms, plus the entire adoption order to her so that she can query the status on our behalf. She emphasized that each attachment should be sent through in a separate email which means that I’d need to send her a mere twenty emails in total. No biggy.
This is the next part of our forty minute conversation: ‘Oh, you don’t have copies of all the forms you submitted in September? Well, you can just pop to Home Affairs and collect the blank forms, fill them out again and then email them to me. Oh yes, you’re right, Home Affairs won’t let you leave with all those documents. Hmm, well you can ask them to email the forms to me directly. One at a time.’
Welcome to the world of adoption paperwork. It just never ends until one day when it does and we plan to celebrate that day with dances of joy and perhaps a glass of champagne. In the meantime, thank you for giving me so many opportunities to grow my patience muscles, Home Affairs Wynberg.
*This is a true story with no exaggerations. Although this is our story, your story may be different and you may not have to learn the same lesson of patience. This will be your loss, but you will more than likely have to learn a different sort of patience when your little one arrives. (This is a whole different level of patience.) We’ve found that it is important to find humour in the midst of adoption-related frustration, you see. This is how you will survive. The meme below helps us to laugh when things don’t seem funny. (This is the pc version of the meme. The original is even funnier.)