Monday, February 9, 2009

He Lived.

Last night I had a little bit of a breakdown. I was doing our taxes, and I actually really enjoy doing our taxes, sick I know, but there is something about it that I find fun! (maybe that we usually get a refund!) Anyhow there was more to it than just the stress of numbers and money. The year Isaac died I remember calling an accountant to see if we could "claim" him and it seemed kind of wrong. He had a birth certificate, and a social security number, but I was told that because he hadn't lived with us for six months that we could not claim him (I have since learned that this was bad information and completely untrue). Anyway, I remember being upset that he would never be claimed on our taxes as our dependent, our child. I know this likely sounds nuts, but he was here and he mattered and I thought he should count. Needless to say we just let it go and did not "claim" him.

This year as I sat down with W2s, 1099s, 1098s, social security numbers, and contribution statements, I again knew that for some reason this would be harder than I had anticipated. I started crying. 2008 was Asher's year. He was here. He lived. I have struggled for a while because for some reason, we never received a birth certificate for Asher. He was born alive, his heart beat for 35 minutes, he breathed intermittently for 35 minutes and yet there is NO documentation saying that he lived. I have a death certificate and a cremation certificate. I wanted a birth certificate, even if it meant that I would receive one that was already stamped with the word DECEASED.

When I told Howard about how I felt about all of this he said, in true Howard form, "We don't need documentation to tell us our son lived, Kristy, we know that. It is just a piece of paper." A piece of paper? Maybe...but an important one. A document that verifies that a person lived, that they were here. Asher was here and darn it I think he should have a birth certificate.

As I sat there filling in our dependents, I thought to myself, this is wrong, Asher was here, 2008 was his year and there should be documentation somewhere that he existed and he mattered. So I looked into tax law myself and found that we could in fact claim him. This had nothing to do with money for me...it had to do with documenting the fact that he LIVED! Albeit for 35 minutes, a very short time, but he lived and he mattered. He is a part of this family and in 2008 he was here, tangible, living. I was so excited and yet felt so silly for being excited about such a thing. We had to dig out the hospital records that documented his life and send them in with our taxes, but for some crazy reason, I felt victorious, like I was able to affirm the fact that his life, though brief, was real, and it mattered and that the US government would have to acknowledge that.

I do also have to admit though that claiming him increases our refund quite a bit and I felt kind of strange about that. I told Howard and we talked about it and we really feel very blessed. You see, this year our refund was set to pay for Asher's gravestone and a few bills that NEED to be paid off, but once we found out we were expecting a new baby, we were torn. We will need three new car seats to fit across the small backseat of our small car and so we were torn as to whether we should use the money to buy the car seats or the gravestone. It felt like a strange choice to have to make and now we don't have to make it. Asher's refund will go toward his gravestone and the rest of the money will be spent on car seats and bills. God does always provide! One thing we have learned is that whenever we are faced with a seemingly impossible decision to make, we pray for Him to guide us and He always does!

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support!


UPDATE:

Thanks for your comments...I had debated whether or not to put this out there, knowing some would think it wasn't right to claim a baby who had died, but I knew there were likely other moms out there going through the same thing. It really isn't about the money...it is about recognizing an important life.

For those who asked you can go here: IRS WEBSITE to see the law. I called HR Block and since I didn't have a birth certificate I needed to have hospital records saying that he lived and wasn't stillborn. Parents of stillborn babies are not able to claim their children, which I guess is something there are a lawsuits fighting now, so hopefully that will be amended in the future, because those lives count as much as any!

31 comments:

Michelle said...

Kristy, I am glad you shared that with us. How wonderful God provides even in ways we never expected or sought out to find. I am glad Ashers name was sent in with all of yours as he does count and he did live!!! You are a great mom! Good to 'hear' from you. I am praying for this week...

Michelle

Jason and Vanessa said...

I don't know how to put into words how much this post meant to me. Our daughters Melody and Madison also died in 2008. I too was torn I kept thinking how am I going to get myself to ask someone if we can claim them. They were alive they are our children. I'm so thankful that you wrote this post I had all the exact same thoughts as you. It's so nice to know that I'm not alone. I know I'm not but I'm sure you know what I mean. I'm so sorry for your loss but I'm so thankful that you know the Lord. I have been praying for you and your family. Feel free to email me if you ever want to talk.

Love,
Vanessa Delgado

Rob and Amy said...

How very bittersweet Kristy. I think you are handling the situation with such grace and faith and hope. And of course Asher lives =) I hope you have a good day today- Kristy! Praying for you =)

Suzie said...

Ok, this is strange because I was told that I could not claim Cooper because he died. So in fact we can??? But what about a SS #? Cooper never got one. Did Asher? I will be getting our taxes done within the next few days...

Emily said...

Oh girl. Last year, I learned I could claim Miller Grace and was thrilled to see that she mattered and her life was acknowledged. (By the way, have you thought about contacting your state to get a copy of his birth certificate. Maybe they just didn't send it to you? That's happened with all my girls. Just food for thought.) This year, however, when I uploaded last year's tax return and prepared to "carry it forward" I had to only check the box of living dependents and had to, in a sense, leave her behind... AGAIN. It's sooooo not about money. It just stinks to have yet another blow come because of something as mundane as filing taxes!! Must we be penalized on every side?? Really? Ugh. But I'm thrilled that Asher's year is indeed acknowledged because that boy really lived and the world should know. His stone is going to be perfect. :)

asplashofsunshine said...

Of course he LIVED! He crawled into my heart nearly a year ago, and is there forever! :)

On a little side note... I wonder if you went to your local city hall if you could have a birth certificate printed. I don't mean to intrude, I hope I'm not. Just an idea.

Jason and Vanessa said...

Are you able to go back and claim Isaac just wondering?

Corie said...

I had the EXACT conversation with Steve. Its not about the money...its about claiming them as here. I thought I was the only one going mental!!! Praying for you friend!

Stacy D said...

I so agree. I,too, feel almost guilty about getting a better tax return for claiming Isaac. But like you said, it's not about that really... it's about the fact that he was here, he matters, and he shuld be recognized just like any other child. Although, since we don't do our own taxes, this will be really interesting to have to explain to our tax guy...

AmandaC said...

I don't think it sounds "crazy" at all. I can completely understand why you would want the whole world to acknowledge that he lived.

You should look into the Radian 65 and/or Radian 80 for car seats. They are the only one that will fit three across in the back of a small car. We have the 65 and we LOOOOVE it! They are 100% worth the money. Just thought I'd throw that out there. You can go to the Sunshine Kids website at www.sunshinekidsbaby.com to read all about them.

Nicole said...

Praise the Lord! HE LIVED! That's wonderful news, Kristy!

I hope this finds you feeling well.

Take good care, Nicole

Lisa said...

Hi Kristy,

I just wanted you to know that I would have completely, 100% felt the same way about the birth certificate. Yes, understand what Howard is saying, but I would have felt the way you did. Needed that tangible object as physical proof that my child WAS here.

I am so glad your prayers were answered about taking care of the needs of all of your children, that you are able to take care of Asher's grave, and the cars seats. I love stories like this - answered prayers in ways that are so unexpected.

Love,
Lisa

Erika said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. Of course you'd want your son acknowledged! I can't believe they never gave you a birth certificate, yes it's a piece of paper, but it has SO much meaning. Praise the Lord that he provided the extra money you needed - He is so good.

Christa @ Quintooples said...

I second the Radian 65 or 80! We have three of them and they fit beautifully across the back bench of the van (which is the same size or smaller than a car bench). The GOOD part is that you will never ever need a new carseat!!!!

msharae said...

Yay GOD!

I noticed more dandelions this morning. :)

Suzanne said...

I'm happy for you. Also, you should be able to ammend the taxes for the year Isaac was born.
Suzanne

unzen said...

I can understand the feeling that he was here and lived even for a short time. I am sorry your fist son that you lost someone gave you wrong info. He should of been claimed. All your children matter no matter if are waiting in heaven are living on earth with you now. GOD Bless.

Laurie in Ca. said...

Wow Kristy,

What a blessing this post has been to other parents of babies in heaven. I am so glad you left it here and of course Isaac and Asher lived and matter so much!! I am so glad you followed your mother heart here. I love you girl and you are a blessing to so many with your honest heart.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Mama10EE said...

He DID live! God is so amazing. Thank you for continuing to witness through your story.

Just Me said...

I agree with Laurie...what a blessing this post was, and you are. I am glad you decided to share. I just re-read the post now as well as the comments and tears just welled up in my eyes. Asher most definitely lived, as did the babies of the other families who have commented here. Their babies for sure matter, and it is nice to know that our government sees it that way too.

Prayers,
Amanda

creative gal said...

Thank you for sharing!

bri said...

how much we have in common. We also were in the back and forth thought of "should we claim them or not". We prayed about it and felt like it was the right thing to do. Our first Daughter Olivia got a birth certificate and a ss card, our second only a death cert and our 3rd... I have not seen any paperwork on her. I think she has a death cert (but apparently they don't issue birth certs anymore to babies who live briefly...I am not sure). Either way, at first we felt wrong about it but then felt like it was God going to use us for something bigger.

We did claim our first daughter (and maybe the others the year following) but with her money we donated all of it to a ministry our church is doing overseas. It felt so good that her life actually helped and accounted for something much bigger than we could have ever dreamed. We helped orphans and widows we may never know or meet.

I am glad that we can know a sense of their lives through documentation... even as strange as that may sound to the person who has never been in this dilapidated boat!

Sad thing is we started getting "mail" for her soon after that and she was added to our insurance card so we got new ins. cards with her name on them.. talk about rough phone conversations getting that straightened out!

Christy said...

Thanks for sharing your struggles. It's crazy the things parents have to think about. I'm glad you will receive a blessing from the refund. As far as carseats go, I have to agree with the other two who mentioned the Radian 80. We fit three of them in the backseat of our Prius. They are great carseats. They seem a little pricey, but much less than the price of a new car, and well worth the investment. We are having to sell the Prius now that our fourth is on the way. As great a car as it is, it just won't fit four kiddos! ;) I'll miss it. Thanks again for sharing!
Blessings,
Christy

Jennifer said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I just found your blog today and I wanted to comment and let you know that in nursing school we learn that if a baby is born alive, even for a minute, they are issued a birth certificate. You are absolutely right and your baby deserves a birth certificate. He was here, and he mattered, and you deserve that piece of paper. There is nothing silly about anything you wrote here. You're in my prayers.

Pete, Alison and Charlie said...

I'm with you all the way on this one, Kristy. Any chance I get to include Will officially in our family, I do it. We had such a short time with him, that to many people it was like he was never really here at all - but to us, he's a big part of our family.
The taxes don't work the same way here in the UK - we don't have to 'claim' for our kids. But I was so thrilled that Will was born alive because it meant I could have a birth certificate for him, as well as a death certificate. He was only here for 15 minutes, but those minutes meant we could get that precious piece of paper for him. (They don't stamp it with 'deceased' over here - that must be really hard to see. I'd have been so upset to see that on Will's) I love the fact that he's in the birth register, so if, in years to come, some of my descendants are looking back to find out their family tree, they'll know that there was once a little boy called Will Turner, who lived and was loved.
Take care now - will be thinking of you when you have your next scan.
With love X

jeanstockdale said...

THank you for sharing from the transparancy of your hurt and pain and not shrinking back from testifying that God is faithful, but even for those who love the Lord Jesus, life is full of unanswered (in this lifetime, anyways) questions. I rise up and call you blessed (Prov. 31).

Laura said...

It was so important to me to see Pearl's name on paper too. Just one of those "mom's whose baby died things".

Thinking of you...sending love!

mrsrubly said...

kristy,
i am so glad that you posted this! i am with you..Asher lived! 35 precious blessed minutes yes. now this sweet baby will have a gravestone because you were able to claim him. no it's not about money...but in the long run it will be nice to buy something nice for Sweet Asher. god bless you. take care! post some pictures of the gravestone so we can see it.

stephanie s. said...

Did you look into going back and re filing to clain Isaac??

Ang said...

You are such an incredible and strong woman!! The Bible says, 'that they will rise up and called you blessed'. I agree 110%that your babies lives mattered..It's not about the money it's about that they were here with you and God made them and had a reason for taking them with him. I too have a little one in Heaven and I can't wait until the day to reunite with our precious one.

Angela said...

Our son was stillborn and I felt the same amount of anger when filling out my taxes this year. It was just upsetting to see the US govt saying he didn't count. But, I guess that won't change until we get rid of abortion!