Monday, March 9, 2009

Five Kids in the Federal Building

Too much fun to keep to ourselves... a story about Sheila's day.

It all began when I (Matthew) asked,
"Would you like me to go back to the Social Security office or do you want to go?"
Sheila responds with something like,
"You have already been twice... with no results... I will go... you just stay at work and I will take the kids and get this taken care of!"
OK... go ahead and start laughing... one woman... five kids... one of those from Ukraine... heading to deal with the federal government...

"How do you get into this parking garage?"
Circled federal building twice.
Finally get into parking garage... circling around and around to the fifth level.  
Remember folks... we are from the country... all these one way streets, tall buildings and parking garages can seem a little foreign.  We are used to dirt roads that you can drive any thing on in any direction you want... you park in the grass... or in the middle of the road because no one else is going to drive past for the next hour and if they do, they know to go around, honk their horn and say, "How ya'll doin' tonight?"

Park the van.
Unload six people and it begins:
"Let's take the stairs!"
"NO!  Let's take the elevator!"
Sheila:  "This is not a democracy.  We are taking the elevator."

Get almost to elevator and realize.... we have no papers.
Go back to van.
Get papers.
Go back to elevator.
Go down five floors.
Cross road and prepare to enter federal building.

"Let's go in revolving door!"
"No!  Let's go in regular door!"
"No!  Let's go in revolving door!"
Sheila:  "We are going through the regular door so no one gets stuck in the revolving door."

Walk up to metal detector.
Storey Grace is clear.
Harrison is clear.
Isaac is clear.
Noah is clear.
Karina is clear.
Security guard then asks Sheila,
"So, are you babysitting today... or are they...."
"Yes.  They are all mine."  Sheila says with a grin...
as she sets off the alarm... not cleared....
now Sheila is clear.

Ask security guard what floor Social Security office is on.
Second floor.

Walk in office... now... which of the two lines to get in?
Karina has done this before so she points to the long line... and the people already sitting have nothing to do but sit and so they begin staring at the woman with five kids in the long line.

Finally, arriving at the counter Sheila says,
"I need to get a social security number for an adopted child."
"For all these kids?"  comes the response.
"No.  Just one."
"Oh... take this number and have a seat."

The number is E75.
Sit down.
The next number called is E64.
Not too bad... only 11 people are in front of us.
Hahaha... just kidding... not only are there numbers with an E in front of them  but there are also numbers with a S in front of them that are called periodically... and then there are names that are called with no numbers associated with them... and then there are... well, you get the picture.

It is immediately apparent that the choice of location of seating was bad... for the people directly behind the Nasekos crew were having a fight... and using every profane word imaginable... Sheila is praying that the children's vocabulary is not expanded on this trip to the federal building.

Storey Grace:  "Mommy... I need to go to the bathroom."
Another child:  "Me too!"
OK... just hold it for a few minutes... they will call us soon... don't see a bathroom in this office.
"I have to go, too!"
Everyone has to go.

"E75 come to window 23."
Six people come sit in front of a woman sitting at a computer.
"Hi... hello... oh hi... how many are out there?"
Sheila tells her what she needs and hands over paperwork.
Overwhelmed look is returned... "I am a trainee.  I am not trained to handle this.  They sent you to the wrong window but we will help you today.  Let me go talk to someone and I will be right back."

"E75 go to window 17."
Ummm... should we go to window 17 or do we stay here at window 23 where all our paperwork is?
Sheila leans over to security guard about 10 feet away,
"All of our paperwork is right here... do I really leave it and go to window 17?"
"No... you stay here and send one of your kids to tell window 17 that mommy is already at a window."
Harrison volunteers for the job and the security guard puts him on the security monitor to make sure he gets from 23 to 17 and back to 23 without any problems... remember the people fighting and cursing?
Harrison, on camera, makes it there and back again.

All settle down in corner cubicle waiting... Sheila passes out bank suckers and gum to entertain the kids.
Lady returns to window, returns paperwork and sends them back to the lobby...
"Wait for your name to be called."

Find place in lobby with no one else around fighting or cursing.

"Mommy... I need to go to the bathroom."
"OK, honey... just a few more minutes."

Man across room begins causing a scene...
the lobby is getting loud...
people are getting concerned...
security guard comes in...
man escorted out of lobby...
kids exclaim how cool it is that the security guard with a gun just took out the man causing a scene.

Security guard returns and closes doors to lobby... no one is coming in or going out... no chance of going to the bathroom now.

"Sheila Nasekos, please come to window A."
Paperwork handed over... situation explained... man at computer begins typing.
Ten minutes later man says,
"I think we have a problem... in order to get social security number she needs proof of citizenship."
"What about this stamped document from the Department of Homeland Security with her photo ID and this permanent residence immigrant visa?"
"Well, the problem is that in our system she is listed not as a permanent resident but as a US citizen."
"So... she is listed in the Social Security System as a US citizen?"
"And because of that she cannot get a social security number?"
"Correct.  If she was listed as just a resident, I could issue the number but since she is listed as a citizen I have to have proof that she is a citizen in order to issue the number."
"Oh... so you have her listed in the social security administration system as a US citizen but you need proof that she is a US citizen?"
"Exactly.... you need a passport to prove she is a citizen of the US."
Very confused look comes across Sheila's face... you cannot get a passport without a social security number.
Storey Grace has to go to the bathroom... right this second... Karina takes Storey Grace out the door while Sheila wraps the conversation up at window A.

"You can go to the USCIS website for more info."
Yep... that is the website we went to before the first trip to this office.

Sheila and boys leave office and go down to the first floor.  The boys go into the men's room and Sheila goes into the ladies room... but Karina and Storey Grace are no where to be seen.

Sheila begins to panic... her four year old and her Ukrainian daughter are somewhere in the federal building... but no one knows where.

In the meantime, Karina and Storey Grace somehow got on an elevator that did not go down but only up.  They made it to the fifth floor where a nice woman got them to a bathroom.  Then they got on an elevator that went down and arrived at the second floor but... no mamma... and no brothers...
Sheila gets back on the elevator... finds her girls anxiously waiting for her... 
Harrison, in the meantime, has come out of the bathroom to find no mom or sisters...
but he is cool with that because he finds the FBI's Most Wanted List hanging on a wall.
He begins to study it and realizes that he knows one of the guys on the list.  He thinks the guy lives near his grandparents... at least the guy "looks just like the guy on the FBI list".

In a few moments, all are reunited and they head back to the van.  Leaving the garage, Sheila hands the ticket to the parking attendant and realizes she has been here for over 2.5 hours.
"That will be $5."
Sheila has $3.
Sheila writes a check to get out of parking garage...
heads over to the Rankin County Enrollment Office to fill out some paperwork for home schooling...
goes to Wal Mart to pick up food for her family...
comes home and prepares supper...
and then says, "I need to go to bed... my throat hurts... I think I may be coming down with something... Matthew remember at the missions conference this weekend when Elliott said that missional people do not mind inconvenience?"
"I think we got to practice that today."
"Thanks, Sheila, for going today...
I'll go tomorrow."


  1. Ok guys that is one heck of a story. The goodnews is that everyone made it out of there the bad news is that Sheila lost a few years :))) Our SSA building is only two floors so hopefully we do ok. We'll have to catch-up on this when we get back. I thought the whole thing was supposed to be easy. We don't have skype but have a local number you can call which will reach us here in Ukraine. I'll email it to you.

    Tell Karina that Dasha says hello and can't wait to talk to her.

  2. We had Z registered with his Ukrainian passport and when his US Citizenship paper came in the mail (about six weeks after coming home) we took this back to the SSA to get him changed to "Citizen" and get SSN assigned. Have you gotten your citizenship document yet? This is all you need, not a US passport. I had printed off the USCIS info from their website and argued in vain with the SSA about Z being a citizen and not alien resident...God bless your trip!

  3. wait for your certificate of citizenship to come in the mail......should be any day now! We got ours in about a month after we got home.
    Go to the SS website and print out the requirements like I did.....and take them with you to educate those in the office. I had to argue that the "certificate of Citizenship" DID prove citizenship!

  4. I know it must not have been at the time, but that is hi-larious! Poor, Shiela! What a tropper. I hope you guys can get this straigtened out soon!

  5. Oh my goodness...what a day!!! I laughed OUT LOUD at the "Are you babysitting???" How wonderful :) I pray Joey & I have a family like yours one day!

  6. I read you comment. Have you sent in K passport to the USA Ukraine consulate in your area? Once you do this they will send her passport back, then about another 10days you should get that citizen paper. I have a copy of what it looks like on our blog. It is a very formal letter with the diploma looking thing. Even has their picture.

    Praying you get it done soon.

  7. Wow what a day. Glad things are going well for you. Blessings to you!

  8. PS - When you receive the COC, you will need one of those extra pictures like the one you left with the airport that took her sealed envelope to put on it. There are instructions as to applying the picture and signing it.

    BTW - It is a good thing she is listed as a citizen. You don't want her listed as anything else.


  9. WOW! I am clueless to all of this and will definitely be needing help when the time comes.

    What a rough day! Sheila, maybe you might want to babysit my boys the day I have to go?haha They always have to go to the bathroom so I can relate completely. But usually Gabriel is in there for 30 minutes! It always "hits" him when we are in

    You are such a trooper.