NOTE: They do not actually microchip your child.
Although I'm not sure that I would be totally against a microchip in Zuzu so I could track her at all times with an app on my phone. #mildlyneuroticmother #theresanappforthat
Anyway, the Masons were sponsoring MOCHIP, which stands for Missouri Child Identification Program. It was a simple process, and Zuzu was hilariously enthusiastic about almost every step of it.
First, I filled signed a permission form and then filled out another form with her pertinent information (parents' names, address, emergency contact, doctor's name and number) and physical information: hazel eyes, light brown hair, 2'9", 30 pounds!
|That's my girl!|
Anyway, once the form was completed and Zuzu was weighed and measured, she got her photo taken, got her fingerprints scanned, and then had her cheeks swabbed with a Q-tip for a DNA sample. Older kids get dental impressions taken, but Zuzu was still too little for that (which may have been good--I'm not sure she would have been very cooperative about it!). Still, she sat very still for the cheek swab and then asked if she could "wash" when the lady used antibacterial gel on her own hands afterward.
The whole thing went really quickly, and Zuzu was really into the fingerprint scanner (she kept going back and climbing up on the stool even after her scans were done). It's funny, because you never can tell when she'll be totally easy-going and cooperative and when she'll have her own ideas about what she should do. But she was more than happy to have strangers gently push her fingers down onto the scanner and stick a Q-tip in her mouth while she sat on my lap.
At the last station, they printed out two laminated ID cards for us and gave us an envelope with the form I'd filled out, the sealed Q-tip, and a small CD that has her fingerprints and all the information included on it. I was glad I had my parents there to help keep an eye on Zuzu while I filled out and waited on the paperwork, but it definitely would have been manageable on my own.
I have to say: it's absolutely horrifying to have to contemplate EVER using the kit. The lady who did the cheek swab said to me, "Now, I'm sealing this up, and it should only ever be opened by a police officer." She paused for a second and then added, "And I hope that you never, ever have to open it up."
It almost made me tear up just to hear her say that. To even IMAGINE having to give the police Zuzu's DNA makes me wish I could unwatch every episode of CSI and Law and Order that I've ever seen. And I wish I could believe in those superstitions like "Well, now that I'm prepared, I'll never have to use this kit." Unfortunately, my feeling of being safe from or able to control unlikely but terrifying events died along with Eliza.
At the same time, it did feel like I was taking some measures to protect Zuzu as I tucked the laminated card into my wallet. (I felt the same way when I wrote out her information on a sticker that I put on her car seat.) I'll have David put the other ID card in his wallet and the rest of the kit will be stored in our firesafe box.
They gave me my little envelope of Zuzu-info and told me to come back next year and they'd update all her information, which is an even quicker and easier process.
I wondered aloud to my mom if I could have something similar done (or have it updated) in St. Louis, and then saw that MoCHIP has a website with a list of all the dates and locations where they'll be making these child identification kits all over the state: www.mochip.org.
I think most states have a CHIP program, so I recommend a quick Google to see when and where you could take your child to get an ID kit made.
And may you never, ever, ever have to use it.