People Are Who They Are!

Jumping Through Hoops!

I have to share this with you because it is the most harrowing experience I have ever been through. I got the girls Wednesday before last. They had been withdrawn from their previous schools that day. I decided because of the trauma they had been through I would give them the weekend to recuperate, not realizing that the following Monday was a holiday. Now mind you, I am a grandmother and it has been a long time since I have had to deal with the school system and all of it’s new rules. I understand the need for the rules and I agree with them. However, this is what I had to go through.

1.) Tuesday morning I figured, where do I start? The school. I went to the school with only notarized papers from both parents saying I had their permission to enroll the kids. The secretary was very short with me and said “You can’t just take the children of someone else and enroll them in school. You have to have something from an attorney.” I was upset with the attitude but I went home and called both of the parents and told them I had to have them here the next day. I couldn’t get in touch with the dad all day long. I was not happy.

2.) Wednesday. I had to drive two and a half hours each way to pick my daughter up and get her over here. We stopped at the Health Department in Georgia where they had been in school and I had to pay them $50 for the copies of the kids birth certificates. We were able to do this easily since I had their biological mother with me.  The dad finally called Wednesday morning while I was on my way back with my daughter and I told him he needed to get to the house. I wasn’t sure if he would actually come so I couldn’t really make an appointment with anyone just in case he didn’t show up. When he did finally, I wrangled an attorney on the courthouse steps and explained the situation to him. His fees he said were $700 for the custody papers and hearing. I said fine, I’ve got half of it today. So he sent us to his office and the secretary typed up the consent forms that the father needed to sign right then as he kept saying he had to leave. They said they would have the papers for the mother the next day. (How much harder would it have been to change the names and print out a second set?)

3.) Thursday morning. The attorneys office was supposed to call as soon as they had my daughters papers ready for her to sign and they didn’t so about 3:00 I went down there. They had them ready and just hadn’t called so I got her papers signed and then I took her back home the two and a half hour drive both ways.

3.) Friday morning. The attorney was supposed to go and file the paperwork at the courthouse Friday morning first thing, which would only give me a petition but I would not get a court hearing for thirty days. He told me though that I could get the kids in school with the petition. Again I waited for the Attorney to call and again they didn’t so at 3:00 I went down there. Again they had them ready but just hadn’t made the call. We got the papers and left there and got to the school by 3:15. The secretary, a different one, informed me that she was leaving to go out of town and couldn’t do an enrollment that day and to come back Monday. Frustrated but still being patient, I went over to the Middle school to enroll my other one and talked to the principal, however he doesn’t do enrollments and every one else was gone. He was very nice and spent some time with the kids and it wasn’t until this point that someone gave me a list of what I actually needed to have in order to enroll them. I needed their social security cards, which I didn’t have, and their shot records, I also didn’t have. We came home again disappointed.

4.) Monday morning. We left first thing Monday morning and drove to the Health Department in Georgia to get the shot records. One child’s records showed up in the system and I had to pay $7.00 for that but the other one’s didn’t. So I left the health department and drove to the Social Security office. I had the card for one child and not the other. At this office I was informed that I could not get the social security card until the custody hearing was completed and I had official custody. She informed me that there was no state law that said that the school had to have the cards and I should challenge them. Great, I thought to myself. So I left there and drove to the elementary school she had been enrolled at. It turns out that because the kids had been in school in Ohio the year before, they had given the dad 30 days to get the shot records, but they never got them. So they didn’t have them. The lady at this school office was wonderful and got online and looked up the school in Ohio to ask if they could fax them immediately. She was informed that the lady that handled records was at lunch. So I left and left my phone number with her. I then drove back to Alabama to the health department here. I showed them the records I had on the one child and they told me there was a discrepancy in the shots shown on there so she could not issue me the “blue slip” I needed on that one. I told them then that I was waiting on the lady from the school to fax the records for the other child and asked for a fax number for her to send them to. She said alright but then informed me that they would have to see both children before they could issue the “blue slips” and that they didn’t have an appointment until Friday. Now….I was livid.

I left the health department and drove to the courthouse. I walked in and asked to see a judge. The lady asked me why and I said, “I am frustrated. I have two children that need to be in school. They have been out for two weeks while I have spent over $800, made 6 trips back and forth to Georgia and I still don’t have everything I need and no one will help me.”

Two minutes later I was sitting in front of the Judge. I was a happy girl. I explained everything to him and all he could say was wow! He tried to make a couple of calls to the school and didn’t get an answer from anyone so he said, “Please excuse me for a couple of minutes,” and he left. Five minutes later he returned with the lady who is over the entire county school system. She was very nice and very apologetic and guess what? First thing in the morning I will have the kids enrolled in time to make their first classes. She went over everyone’s head and said I had thirty days to get the last couple of things I needed. Why couldn’t someone have given me some time to do all this in the first place?

Whew. I could not believe what I went through. So next time you get frustrated with something, give it up, go to your local courthouse and get a judge involved. They seem to have the POWER!

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28 responses

  1. Holy crapola—what an odyssey! It can get ugly when a bureaucracy wants to make your life miserable. I’m glad you found the right folks to straighten it out.

    October 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    • Me too! I was just so fed up today I said to heck with it. Someone has to step in here. I had no idea if I would even get to see a judge. I’ve never tried to do that before, but he was just as appalled at the whole thing as I was. He was very nice and determined to fix the situation for me. I was very proud and grateful when I left there.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm

  2. Emmy

    Oh-my-Word that sounds just awful. Kudos to you for being patient. My head would have exploded. I sympathize because I’ve had a few twists and turns like this myself lately.

    I legally changed my name about 5 years ago, now every time I sneeze someone demands I drive out of my way to show them the original court document. Some places even make me deliver it twice.
    I’m telling you, red tape. Bleh.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    • Hey, I couldn’t believe it. The judge really winced when he saw that Hailey and I had documented everything I had done. She told him she was suffering from “SDS.” When he asked what that was she said “School Deprivation Syndrome.” He had to laugh at that one. She loves going to school and is a straight A student in advanced classes.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    • I had my name legally changed, too! It was easy. The hard part was getting all the vendors and such to change it. The simple ones? Banks, SSA, my 401k… The difficult ones? The phone company, the utility company, the cable company… those are the ones who wanted certified originals. Geesh.

      October 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

  3. Good for you! I don’t know if I would have had the resolve to do all that you had to do. That is unbelieveable. They want you to have the kids in school but make it next to impossible to do it!

    October 18, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    • I know. I couldn’t believe it. I bet I said “All I want to do is get these kids in school” at least 100 times during all these. I can tell you for sure that no one will get them away from me again and they won’t want to change schools ever again. Hailey has been to 11 different schools and is in the 8th grade and Felicia has been to 7 and is in the 5th grade. That’s ridiculous.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm

  4. Freedom Smith

    OH, Ladywise, how horrendous for you. All of the time, the stress, the frustration for you and the girls. I am so thankful that you found the judge, that he listened and was able to help you. That is fantastic!! I am so glad the girls can start school. Hang in there, my friend. You are fighting the good fight and you will be rewarded. ((hugs))

    October 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    • Thanks Freedom. I am already being rewarded just by having them here. They are so much fun and they have brought me back to life.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm

  5. What an absolute farce. All you want is to ensure they get educated and bureaucracy is doing it’s best to make that hard for you. Ridiculous. They’re so lucky to have someone as determined as you fighting their corner, one day they’ll realise how much you’ve done and love you even more for it.

    October 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

    • Thank you Vicola. I was so glad to feel like I won. The kids were absolutely elated when we walked out of that courthouse and they are not only registered, but at school today. I’m so happy!

      October 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  6. You rock Lady! 🙂 Your fierce determination is really admirable – I would’ve melted down in tears somewhere near the beginning of this odyssey.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:40 am

    • Thank you so much Aussie May! I’m so happy. They are not only registered but in school today!

      October 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  7. Wow! Good for you! You rock.

    October 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

  8. Jeez, I am exhausted with all your running around! You were a trooper who finally was lucky enough to get a judge who brought a halt to the madness. Yes!

    BTW, one word of wise advice I’ve gleaned from life experience: Before plunging headlong into complicated matters, ask straight up what you need to provide in terms of documentation and etc. It will save some grief.

    October 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    • Thanks Allycat. Trust me when I say, I learned that lesson from this. It’s just been so long since I had to do anything like this, I had no idea it would be so difficult and I guess I’m normally demure enough that I think people will offer the help without having to be asked. Thanks for the advice though, I won’t forget it in the future.

      October 19, 2010 at 2:32 pm

  9. As a ward of the city, state, and federal government (but not by my desires), I do have a small inkling of the hell of bureaucracy, where there are a jillion forms just to make sure every t is crossed and every i is dotted.

    It sounds like a few rank and files messed up and so the head honchos you finally talked to cracked some heads and some whips so everything got back into line.

    However, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes… my mother is a federal employee (works for Social Security) and I see how SUPER stressful that sort of a job is. I mean, it is hard for the regular recipients who have to do the dog and pony show (yeah, that’s what I call it) just to get life straight and happy, but to be the person who can get the brunt of it if one little detail is messed up… nope, I can guarantee you I would never survive in that line of work.

    October 19, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    • Me either jak because I would have a hard time turning people away when they really do need help or dealing with people who get ugly when they are angry and upset.

      I was proud that I was able to keep my cool and keep my head about me during the whole thing. I am trying to teach these kids that stomping your feet and raising hell is not the way to handle things so I wasn’t about to do it myself.

      The judge was wonderful and happy that he was able to help and the lady who is the head of the school system was happy she was able to help me too.

      I do think that some people got in trouble though because I told her that one of the secretaries had been rude and the other just wouldn’t take any time. She did not like hearing that I had to get to the third person before I was given a list of what I actually needed either.

      October 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      • I hope that all the red tape will be cut and all is sorted out for good, soon, but… well, being in the system, I sort of doubt this will be the last time.

        Big bear hugs and lots of support to you regardless.

        October 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    • Thanks jak, I need all the big bear hugs I can get at this point! 🙂

      October 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

  10. Well, considering the judge here used to be my dad’s attorney, I’m pretty sure I’d have no problems.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    • I wish I had some family around here! lol I’m getting to know a lot of people though believe me. I’m not sure how well some of them like me at this point though. lol

      October 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm

  11. Oh my god, Lady!
    Through out the entire story I was thinking “Please let her run into someone who can actually cut through all the BS!!”

    And you did! Thank goodness!!!

    Absolutely crazy, but bless you for fighting for these girls! Every kid should have someone to do that for them!

    October 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    • awww thank you Lauri. I really appreciate that.

      October 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

  12. Wow what an ordeal. I commend you for not blowing up, with all the frustration you went thru. I would have had a hard time keeping my cool.

    I am glad you were able to find someone to finally help you.

    I am happy for your girls to finally be able to go to school.

    October 20, 2010 at 1:38 am

    • Thanks CC. I was happy to find someone too and definitely happy to get the girls in school.

      October 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  13. Incredible!!! You are so resourceful. What an excellent idea to ask to see a judge. Thank goodness for a level-headed judge who knows how to get something done. Good for you!!

    October 20, 2010 at 10:22 pm

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