Thursday, June 09, 2011

Legal Wrangles

Imagine yourself doing something that should be relatively simple. Now, imagine that you find yourself at the top of the biggest pile of crap you can envision. Throw in the INS and Social Security and you have a somewhat clear picture of where I am today.
I may have mentioned to some of you at various times that I was born in Germany after the war. German mother/American soldier father, now deceased. Never met that father until the mid 80s. Took me that long to find out who he was due to my mother's giant crate of lies opening somewhat and a trickle of info coming to light. While Roger was alive, he did everything he could to research and glean some information that led to finding that I am not an illegal alien. Here's the twist- I'm not illegal but I'm not quite legal either. Again, lies my other told...could fill a book and nearly has already. A mountain of paperwork. Along the way, I was never allowed to change my name to Roger's legally since there was no birth certificate and when we finally got one from Germany, the name was different, the location was different, and it went into the file of lies marked MOM. Along the way she had a succession of men that we lived with the details there are to gruesome to go into but lets just say they'd make a 1950s bad movie staring Lana Turner or someone like that. Along this twisty path we had to do our taxes with my former name to keep things legal on our end. Twenty-seven years worth of tax forms. All nice and neat and on the up and up. Records of my divorce from first husband, marriage to Roger, Social security cards for Roger. My social sec. that I've had since high school graduation. All good things nice and neat. Record of my entry with my mother into the US in 1952 when I was 3ish. Good stuff right? Even the name of the ship and military papers from it. Sounds good huh? My mother's naturalization papers when she became a citizen...all excellent right??
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG....
Yesterday my darling DIL Dani took me over to SS to register to receive Roger's benefits. I told them why I was there, presented the death cert. they asked me for proof of who I am and then, then, the giant crap hill began to crumble under me. They started to look up my SS# and a big gust of angry wind hit me in the face in the form of several official people who kept saying things like. Holy crap!! This doesn't make any sense. What are these names?? Why is your birth date different in several papers that were filled out by....guess who!! Out of what appeared to be about 20 people in the office, many of them became involved in the conversation and their tone of voice, while not nasty, was very frightening. They told me they cannot do anything for me until I have dealt with Immigration. Please excuse my language when I say this but if you think SS is a mess, you cannot imagine what a cluster f--- immigration is. I need a lawyer who can present my case and keep a cool head. I was in tears just trying to get to the right person to speak with who then told me this was something they would need to deal with in person(no surprise there, even I can't figure it all out)and it might be best to have a lawyer familiar with immigration law try to sort it out. Social Sec. has asked me to return at the end of the month to fill out all necessary paperwork for the benefits which they will hold on file until I can present a passport or clear proof of citizenship. Even if that goes slightly smoothly, it will be more than a year before I see any of that-thank goodness I have some money to fall back on.

Tomorrow I will be 63. I have lived here for 60 years-53 of them in this village. There is no way to describe how I feel right now except to say that I am depressed, angry, and not a little scared. My mother has been the direct cause of every bad thing that has happened to me since I was 3. She lied, she abandoned me in an orphanage in St. Louis to people who beat me with switches that you were required to go and cut from bushes outside, she lived with men who wither beat me or worse. They were disgusting drunken animals and I was regularly told that I had a new Daddy from time to time. Non of them adopted me but they made me use their names so that's part of a record I must now explain to people who are similar in attitude to what you may have experienced at the DMV in your life at one time or another. They are cross-eyed and dumbfounded by the end of only a few minutes and I am frustrated knowing that in the end they will just pass me on to the next drone...
All I feel like doing is sleeping and yet I can't. Last night was filled with that dream where you are falling. No hard figuring there. Mostly, I miss my darling Roger, who would have at least been a rock next to me and found a way to comfort and make me feel even a little better. Now there is no going back. I'm in for a penny or pound as they say. Waiting to hear from a friend who has some connection in the court system here. I want to find a lawyer and at least she can tell me who not to hire.

On the only happy note, James will be 27 Sunday and we are having dinner. Dani' birthday is the 15th-Terry's is the 17th and so on it goes.
I hope whoever you are reading this that your life is going along a lot more peaceful than mine right now. Unfortunately, you can count on my return with more crappy details soon. If you do, please say a little prayer. I really need it now.

12 comments:

Libby said...

Oh what a tangled web. I can't imagine how upsetting and mind-boggling this must be. Of course I'll be nothing but good thoughts going that a proper, timely and dare-I-say simple resolution is just around the corner!
*hugs*

Gerrie said...

Oh my God! Dee, I knew much of this because you have shared it with me, but this is unbelievable. It is like a made for TV movie. It can't be reality.

We have a TV station here that loves to help in situations like this. I think you need to go more public with this. You need big time help.

Sending you lots of hugs and prayers. Wish I could think of something to help.

Katie said...

Oh my goodness. What a mess. We never know what the next corner of our lives will hold. Just take one day at a time and rely on your family and friends for love, suport and don't hestitate to ask for help. And start a notebook with every step (names and dates of who you dealt with. Keep posting here. Have you thought about writing your life story? Remember you have good blogger friends too. Count me as one of them. Katie

Joanne S said...

Yes, I agreed. You must write a clear account of each "new" daddy and name.

I though my mother was evil because she wanted me dead, but this----what your mother did is just awful. Would Ancestry.com be of any help? Since you know the boat you arrived on and the name of your biological father?

I will be thinking positive thoughts and as always, I am just a few key taps away if you need to unload without watching what you say.

Terry said...

How awful. All of it--your mother, her boyfriends, immigration and SS--awful. You must feel as vulnerable as the 3 year-old you were when you arrived here. I am so sorry. I agree you need help with this and like Gerrie, I am thinking media, Congressman?

I am hoping all will be figured out soon. Was there anyone at Social Security who seemed the least bit interested or concerned about you? You really need an ally inside the system.

Diane said...

As if the last year hasn't been hard enough for you. I'm just a person out in blog land, but I'll say prayers that you find the right people to help you get this sorted out.

Annie said...

I will also keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Very sad circumstances.

Annie
: ( no smiles about this situation

Terri said...

If your Mom had legal naturalization papers shouldn't that make you, a then minor, a citizen as well. You just need to prove your association to her... doesn't that sound logical? And all these years that you worked you were subject to SS being taken out? Do you have your marriage license... that should prove your entitlement to Roger's SS. Good Luck, Dee. We will keep you in our "thoughts".

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and I have followed your 'daily' life. You are wonderful quilter and I believe a great wife to Roger. I am so sad you must have to go through all of this mess largely due to your mother. Hope this can be fixed in a short time for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Marion from London, Ontario Canada

Anonymous said...

Contact the office of your senator, and talk to them about getting help straightening out this problem. They have staff members who can help you deal with this. Good luck!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Dee...these stories..just like yours...have been in the news for decades. They all stem from WWII soldiers fathering children..married or not without the birth certificate being filed correctly. The last story I read about was a woman born in either the Philippines or Japan..her parents were legally married but still the records were never filed correctly. Before computers records are a real mess. She got her Congressman to help and he got her a new birth certificate, I believe.

Just remember it's not just you, not just this state of the Union...has happened for decades...Good Luck and lots of prayers!!!

Janet said...

What a nightmare you must be going through! I agree with some of the other comments....you need to go big with this. Get the attention of someone in power who can help you.

I'm sending you hugs and lots of positive thoughts that you find the right person to guide you through this tangled mess.