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NH plate FIX169C
NH vanity license plate FIX169C

January 2006
We started the process to become foster "contractors" last year to take in a girl who was in a poor placement. In addition to classes to learn about foster care, DCYF will send a foster supervisor out for an in-home interview to check the home environment and specify changes to make it safer, appropriate for the children in care, and make sure that we're all on the same page.

In our case, both the person we'll be working with and her supervisor come. This is awkward as I've been on the opposite side of some cases with her, but she grudgingly admits we would be a nearly ideal placement for Michelle. However....

Children often wind up as leverage to help one spouse gain influence and control over the other. We feel that effect ourselves as more than half of the interview covers my H8DCYF quilt (the sight of it in the living room could stress out a child in foster care), the web sites, and the license plate. In fact, we may have spent more than half the time on the license plate alone. After all, seeing a bloody axe and AXDCYF would certainly have a deleterious effect on delicate teenage sensibilities.

Ultimately, I agree to change the license plate. I think "FIX169C", meaning "Fix RSA 169-C", the NH Child Protection Act, is a bit less abrasive, and the supervisor, agrees it's not offensive to them either. So it's settled. I'll remind legislators that the statute is hardly perfect with my vanity plate free speech rights for a while. Later we settle on a list of web sites that they want to be cleaned up or removed.

There is one little problem with changing the license plate. I send the DMV their form to request a new vanity plate, fork over another $35 for the plate and I they send a form letter back stating that I can't change the vanity plate except during renewal time. My renewal time is October.

Now I have to tell you that just about any agency regulation can be waived for good cause. But I suspect that Virgina Beecher just might not respond to any communication from me because she has yet to actually communicate to me as requested in various telephone calls, letters, or personal visits to her office. So, I tell the folks at DCYF that I can't change it, and they need to ask the DMV for another favor. Much to my amazement, new plates arrive a couple weeks later. But no stickers (or decals, as the state calls them)! NH license plates have one decal for the month the vehicle is registered in and another for current year. I figure that Virginia Beecher is just trying to annoy me and add another hoop to jump through. Fair enough, I suppose, but gee whiz guys, we are trying to help out a kid, remember?

Ric takes them down to the town office and after the clerk marvels that we have new plates issued outside of the registration month, she suggests filling out a form used to issue new decals, plates, etc. when the original is lost, damaged, or stolen. So he does that, pays a couple dollars, takes a copy to the police department next door (in case they come across the lost items), and comes home with legal plates. Why is he humming "Alice's Restaurant?"

A month later we get another pair of FIX169C license plates (with decals) in the mail with a short note from Virginia apologizing for the delay. Cool, I've never had a spare set of plates before, but it doesn't seem like a good thing to put on Ebay yet. I don't follow up, but my guess is that the first set were supposed to go to the DMV for handling the out-of-cycle release but came to us instead. Later, they thought the plates had never been made and reissued the stamping order.

January 2007
As expected, it was easy to work with DCYF during the past year with all of us being on the same side. The plate issues and web pages were really the worst part of the process.

The day after Michelle's 18th birthday, we adopted her. It turns out it's remarkably easy to adopt someone who can give legal consent. So DCYF is formally out of her life, though there are some services still available to her and we've made some new friends. Unfortunately, the law practice didn't make quite the same progress.

April 2007
It's taken a while for Ric to find time, but he has restructured the license plate page into the several pages you now see. The page never really went away, as all we did was to take the link off the home page. Several other links around the World Wide Web remained live and people interested in vanity plates still got to read this saga and learn about things more important than vanity plates.

What could I do? I was outnumbered and outgunned; it was two DMV officers armed with semi-automatic pistols and a screwdriver, against a middle-aged housewife armed with a camera and a pet rabbit!
End of saga, for now! Return to the
home page.

Contact Paula Werme, Esq. or visit her Law Practice home page.
Contact Ric Werme or return to his home page.

Last updated 2007 March 31.