How To NOT Get A Birth Certificate For Your Child

I couldn't put it off any longer. The moment every grown adult has learned to fear and dread was finally upon me. It was time to go face the hell that is known as spending an afternoon at the DMV. Or, as we in Alberta call it, the Office of the Registries. We Albertans like to fancy up our department of motor vehicles. It makes us feel better when we are stuck in the pits of hell.

To finish up some small legalities with Jumby's adoption, I need a birth certificate. I have put it off for months but between my lawyer's annoyed phone messages and my husband's irritating nagging, I knew I could no longer put it off. I had to go face the piper.

So it was with great trepidation I set off to our small town's registries office and waited to be annoyed.

It didn't take long. There was one person working the counter while three others were either talking on the phone to their boyfriend, filing their nails or playing solitaire on what is supposed to be an official government computer.

Oh, government privatization, how I loathe thee.

After waiting in line for what seemed to be an eternity, passing the time counting the lines on the wooden paneled walls and trying not to pass out from the smell of mildew emanating what I assumed was once a green carpet, I finally made it to the counter.

"Hi, I need to get a birth certificate for my son."

The experience itself was rather routine. The clerk was the typical soulless zombie who never made eye contact, even when taking my money.

But as she was typing in my information into the computer she stopped suddenly and went, "Hmm."

"What's the name of your child you want the certificate for?"

"Knox Jumby Redneck," I replied. (Although, I may have used his legal name and not his blog name, just to speed up the process.)

"According to my computer, you never gave birth to a child by that name."

"No, we adopted him. The adoption was finalized this past February." I then handed over a sheath of very official papers the adoption judge had sent, along as a letter from the judge telling me to get my arse in gear and get the boy a valid birth certificate.

"Oh. Well, I don't know how to do an adoption birth certificate," the zombie replied after peering at the papers like they were written in Greek.

Great. Just fan-freaking-tastic.

"Well, perhaps one of the clerks who are playing solitaire on their computers know how?" I asked somewhat hopefully.

My zombie gave me a baleful glare and then sauntered (slowly) to talk amongst the other undead workers in the office. After a few minutes she returned, and started typing at the speed of light. My annoyance lifted and I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Nope, it says here this child doesn't exist."

"Well, he does and I have the bite marks to prove it." My sweet Jumbster likes to pretend he's Edward Cullen. Only with less sparkles and sharper fangs.


"Try using this birth registry number," I pointed out to her. "His name was legally changed so perhaps if you search for his former name."


I watched as she frowned at the computer screen, typed in some more and then frowned again.

"Nope. Knox Jumby Redneck doesn't exist in any name variation you are giving me."

"Well, he's not a figment of my imagination and I have the adoption order here from a real live judge agreeing with me," I countered as I waved the sheath of papers in front of her.

"Hold on." She sauntered away for a moment and I swear I saw her devil horns pop through her hair.

After what seemed like an eternity, she returned again and stared blankly at the screen again.

"I'm afraid I can't help you."

"You have to help me. This is your job."

"I'm sorry but I've worked here for seven years and never had to do this before."

"You mean in seven years no other couple in this town has adopted a child and needed a birth certificate?" I asked incredulously.

"Appears not."

"Well lucky me. I still need that birth certificate though, so could someone else help me?"

"Our supervisor is the only one who may know how to do this but he's gone for the week."

"Of course he is." ARGH.

"Tell you what, I'm going to put an inquiry into the Vital Statistics office and let them handle it. They'll either send you his birth certificate or a form to fill out and then process his certificate from there. Just be sure to mail it to them and not bring it back here."

Since there was nothing else I could do, I nodded and gathered up my papers and my sanity to leave.

"That'll be 35 dollars please."

"But you didn't do anything!"

"I sent the inquiry to the department of vital statistics."

"But I may not even get a birth certificate from them!"

"That's how much it costs ma'am."

Since I realized there was no point in arguing with the undead, I handed over the money and fled before I leapt over the counter and beat her to death with her own arm.

A week later a very official letter came from the Department of Vital Statistics. Well, look at that! I thought to myself. The zombie didn't just steal my money for cocaine and condoms. She actually did something!

There in the envelope was a shiny new birth certificate. Well, all that trouble for nothing, I thought to myself. In the grand scheme of things, that wasn't near as hard as I feared it would be.

And then I read the birth certificate. It was for me, not Jumby. And it may not have been for me, since the name on it was Tania Millet. But since it had my father's name on it I figured it must have been for me. I was momentarily confused by my name being misspelled and my mother's name being entirely wrong. According to the department of vital statistics my mom is now officially Elsie Miller.

My mom's name doesn't even start with an E.

So after a wee bit of creative cursing, I gathered up the birth certificate I didn't need and was useless to boot, and drove back to the registries office. Only this time, I went to one located in a small city. I was hoping the zombies working in an urban center would be slightly more knowledgeable.

I was wrong.

Not only would they not refund my money or re-issue me a birth certificate with my correct information on it, but they had no clue how to get the figment of my imagination I call my son, a birth certificate. However, they made eye contact and were sympathetic to my plight as they tried to suck out my soul so that's something, no?

After a few phone calls and some head scratching, the new clerk thought she had things figured out. She had confidence in her skills and promised there would be a birth certificate with my son's name on it in my mail box in a few days.

I wasn't as confident but still I handed over yet another 35 dollars, just to flee the dungeon. I wanted to escape before she'd pull up my driver's record and noticed I owed a wee small amount of money for one or two speeding violations I may or may not have accrued over this past year.

Another week passed and another official envelope arrived from Vital Statistics. I wasn't too hopeful it would actually be Jumby's certificate but I was curious to see what new name the government had given me.

Only it wasn't a birth certificate.

It was a death certificate. For my deceased kid. Which I didn't need, because you know, he's dead. I don't need any legal proof of it. The tombstone and tears are sufficient enough.

Head meet desk and let the thumping begin.

I think the people in the department of vital statistics are screwing with me. I get it. You hate your jobs. You're likely underpaid and overworked and you're irritated that the zombies who work on the front lines at the registries office give you such a bad name.

I understand. I even feel your pain. But for the love of unicorns and flying monkeys, just issue me a dang birth certificate so my kid can get on with his new life. I'll even drag Jumby along as evidence he really does exist.

He's a real boy, dammit. I swear.

Today, for the third time, like a time loop in hell, I repeated the process. Again, I was promised a birth certificate for my child would arrive in a week or so. Again, I forked over yet another thirty five dollars and again I left empty-handed, with less soul than I had when I arrived.

They say the third time is the charm, no?

I mean, what are the chances the government will screw this up for the third time?

Wait. Don't answer that.