I am in the process of registering my 5 year old for kindergarten this coming fall and I need a certified copy of her birth certificate which I have never requested before. While I was doing that I requested one for our littlest girl and sweet Eli. I have Wyatt's which we requested shortly after he was born but for one reason or another I just couldn't do Eli's until now.
A few days later they arrived in the mail. I was excited to have that proof of life in my hands. But what to my wondering eyes did unfold but the bolded word "Deceased" printed right below, right frickin' below, the words "Certificate of Birth". Then, to add insult to injury, Deceased was stamped in large red ink across the bottom. So much for his BIRTH CERTIFICATE.
This, combined with the fact that it was December 7th, the Christmas Box tree lighting ceremony where we hang ornaments for the boys each year at our local hospital, and the Christmas missing them blues just set me off. And when I say set me off, you may not believe how far off I went. I went straight to my best friend, Google, and got to work. First, I looked at the birth certificate information for my state - nope, no mention that it would have the word deceased splattered all over it. Second, I researched to see if it was required to be printed on the certificate. Nope, not by state law or regulation. Third, I got on the phone and called the State Registrar. That didn't go too well. I was told it was required by a model law, which of course is not true unless your state has adopted the model law which mine has not. I was also told that it's in the standard computer printing and they can't change it. Not entirely true either. Fourth, further incensed by the door being slammed in my face despite my very legitimate complaint, I went back to my good friend and looked at what other states do. There are a number of states that offer a more expensive heirloom certificate which does not have deceased marked on it. There are a few that allow a special process for parents who have lost their children, such as myself. So, then I got back on the phone and spoke with the State Health Director. Gotta love living in a state where you can actually speak to state officials the same day you call them! I didn't get a better result but instead a promise that the issue would be looked into further.
Fast forward, I got a call today and the compromise is a complimentary certified birth certificate without the red stamp on it. It'll still say "Deceased" right below the word "Birth" which KILLS me but I'm going to try to find a way to cover it up discretely. What I didn't mention above is it all boils down to fraud and is at least in part derivative of September 11th. Damn terrorists and damn criminals.
Who would have thought something so simple as requesting my son's birth certificate could cause so much pain? I'm considering approaching my local legislators about creating some kind of heirloom certificate here which would be that extra option for people like myself who want a birth certificate as a proof of life, not a reminder of death. How sad this world has become sometimes.