Monday, June 1, 2015

Jason versus the Pennsylvania Department of Vital Records - Part 2

It has come to my attention that there have been serious developments since the last time that I posted about this, but I never updated those of you who have taken the time to listen to my story. 

First, a little back story for those who missed it.  I posted in March about my disgust with the state of Pennsylvania and their lack of efficiency when providing my wife and I, bereaved parents, with the Certificate of Birth Resulting in a Stillbirth that certain state legislation has made it my right to have.  When I last posted, I had faxed the form for the umpteenth time and still had not received a response.  I had contacted my local state legislator and had not heard from them either.  That post can be found here. 

Here is what has happened since.  After I faxed the form AGAIN, I did not hear anything for a few days.  I was promised a call back the very next day, but of course did not get one.  I was not surprised at all.  I did my traditional call and leave a message over the next few days, but still heard nothing.  I also heard nothing from our state representative.  I do not know what he was busy representing, but it clearly was not me or my wife. 

So we waited.  I continued my due diligence, but we waited.  A few more days passed until finally I received a call from one of the people who works at the Department of Vital Records.  She informed me my request was pending since December because they were waiting on special paper signed by their director to print on.  She said the paper was now in and they would mail it.  This was of course all on a voicemail as I missed her call and when I called back she was unavailable.  You can imagine I was skeptical as there had been so many unfulfilled promises. 

About a week went by and nothing had come.  I was not really expecting anything so I would say my disappointment was at a minimum.  Then something strange happened.  I came home from work, flipped open the mailbox, and there was a letter from Vital Records. Could it be that they finally sent it?  Or would this be yet another disappointment from them, like some form I needed to sign etc?  I opened it cautiously as my wife looked on.  I tempered my enthusiasm.  I pulled out the single piece of paper in the envelope to find it really was the certificate.  We finally received it.

Relief and joy washed over me.  This single small piece of paper, this little bit of recognition truly meant so much to me as a Father.  It seemed to bring just a little bit of closure and normalcy to our situation.  We finally had a piece of paper from a government institution that did what my wife and I had been doing for so long, recognizing our daughter Hannah and the fact she existed.  While we did not need this piece of paper to know it was true, it was nice to have recognition from someone who was outside of the situation. 

I am so glad we were able to get this finally taken care of.  I think it is unfair families are forced to endure such a difficult process to get a certificate, especially in such a time of need.  I do however know now from experience it is worth fighting for.  Do not give up.  It is clearly difficult and may take a lot of time and phone calls, but in the end I am so happy I pursued it.

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