Having a Baby in Germany, Part 5: Living on the edge of the law

 

The local authorities in Hannover are coming to get us. The Youth Welfare office in particular. They’re fired up and we are in trouble. We’ve decided to go into hiding, changing our names, appearances and accents in order to lay low a little longer so they don’t take our baby from us. The fact of the matter is that Drew and I are wild and rebellious outlaws, and, quite frankly it’s a wonder they even let us have a child in the first place. We really should just stock up on orange jumpsuits now as we’ll probably be wearing them for the majority of our upcoming years.

Say what? For real?

Have I fallen off my rocker?

Well, only a little perhaps. I AM a sleep deprived mother of a seven month old.

Read on…

Did you know that in Germany you are required by law to take your child to the doctor for check-ups? A few months ago we were informed in writing that we would have to prove that we were doing this; and, if we failed to comply our information would be directed to social services. We were given a card that our daughter’s doctor was to stamp during her 6-7 month check-up and then send back to the authorities. We were even given a range of dates that this appointment was required to take place between. For the record this is standard practice, and not just for expats*.

And now for our rebel moment of the year: we failed to do this. We never had a card stamped, in fact our daughter still hasn’t had her 6-7 month check-up and she is over seven months old! The required date range has passed! Today we received a strict letter in the mail reprimanding us for our negligence as parents and giving us “one last chance” to have the appointment before our case was turned over to the youth welfare office.

Is your heart racing yet? Mine is and I know the outcome! The goodie two-shoes in me is about to keel over in utter embarrassment and disgrace. Oh the shame!

In all seriousness now, there are no concerns whatsoever over this letter and we are really in no danger of loosing our little girl. The reality is that of course we made the appointment when the original letter was set. A few weeks later, however, we decided to change pediatricians and reschedule this appointment- the only problem was that the new doctor couldn’t get us in until this current week- about a week later than our time frame. I was assured by the new doctor’s office that this would be OK as there is a one month grace period for the appointment (and even called the social welfare office, just to confirm and double check). The standard automated letter we received today, although firm and a bit scary, also reassures us that if we get the appointment done and card sent back there will be no problem.

We see the doctor on Thursday, but until then I think I’ll paint my toes orange and basque in my parental rebellion just a little while longer.

 

*you can read more about the required health screenings for children in Germany here

 

 

6 Responses to “Having a Baby in Germany, Part 5: Living on the edge of the law”

  1. Alex writes:

    Thanks for sharing your blog. I enjoy reading about your experiences as I am also an american living in Hannover. It’s nice to get a perspective outside of the ones provided by my husbands colleagues. :). As it turns out I am in need of a fraud arzt! I was wondering if you could make a recommendation. Thanks so much in advance!

  2. Blue Cakes Blogger writes:

    absolutely. I see Fr. Dr. Storjohann who practices along with Fr. Dr. Wiese. Both speak terrific English and are very kind to foreigners. Here’s the link:

    http://www.frauenaerzte-im-netz.de/wiese

    best wishes,
    ~Lisa

  3. Sam writes:

    I had not yet heard this one, but I totally believe it! Glad I stumbled on your blog.

  4. J LEE writes:

    Last year (Dec 2011) I somehow came across your blog. What a small world! I have planned my 4th trip to Germany. (I am a
    tourist with 1.5 million United miles to use up).

    You are from Pasadena? I’m from LA, born and raised.

    Tell me: is it true Germans are obsessed with….American
    peanut butter, or all things?

    I usually bring souvenirs of the USA with me, for friendly
    hotel employees. Usually, this is something like a can of Coke. (It says Bottled in USA, and that’s what makes it unique).

    This year, I am visiting Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Stockholm.
    I’ve already been to Heidelberg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna.

  5. Blue Cakes Blogger writes:

    Hi J Lee- Wow! That’s a lot a miles! How did you get so many? That’s great! 🙂 Yes, although not originally “from” the LA area, we lived in Pasadena for 5 years before moving to Germany and got very much settled in there. Pasadena is still the place in the US that feels the most like “home” to us. We even gave our daughter the middle name of Rose in honor of the great city.

  6. Blue Cakes Blogger writes:

    oh- to answer your question- I haven’t meet too many Germans that I would say are obsessed with peanut butter- I would say it’s rather the expats here that delight in it! 🙂

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