Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Don't Poke the Bear

This has not been a very good couple of weeks for us. Last week, everything I tried to accomplish, did not want to be accomplished. If possible, things worked backwards and my to do list grew longer. Not to mention, USCIS took FOREVER to even open the envelope that I worked SO hard to overnight to them (from the Podunk FedEx office). Seriously, they took two full weeks to send me a confirmation text (should only take 2-3 days). I also lost a piece of my tooth last week. It just broke off. Add that to the to do list. And my rooster decided that he wants to kill me. He has gotten so cocky! It really is time to introduce him to the stew pot. Except none of us can figure out how to catch him. Here are some more highlights of the last week....

We went to get our last few agency forms notarized and instead of our normal notary, we got the SLOWEST, nosiest notary ever. She was actually reading my forms! (A few of them were contract forms that had prices and agency practices.) She kept telling me how to sign - like I have not already done this 20 times! She asked nosy questions about what the forms were for. She took over 30 minutes. I gave her very clipped answers to her questions. My husband could tell I was very unhappy and busied himself with the one child we took along. She probably took 30 minutes because she kept talking to Child #3 and asking her questions. Finally, finally we paid, took our forms and got out. Keep this in mind when you read about what I did next.

I had been trying to get our applications finished for the Chinese visas, but the new photo requirements totally had me stressing out. We went to Walgreens right after that awful notary to get new photos that would fit their requirements (no smiling, no jewelry, no accessories, no logos, must show ears, no glasses, etc.). We took up a good chunk of the poor Walgreens photo lady's time as we had her make them just a little smaller so they would fall within the required millimeters (which are NOT the same measurements as a passport photo, they are just slightly smaller so as to make you go just slightly crazy). Still a two by two photo, but your face and shoulders have to fit in it. Anyway, there was a couple waiting behind us - we'll call them Chip and Buffy. Chip was waiting to get a passport photo and they decided to make small talk with us, a decision I'm pretty sure they came to regret. "Are you moving to China?" he asked.
"No, no. We're adopting." My husband walked away to put away the ruler we were borrowing to measure the faces in the photos.
"Is it a little girl?" he guessed. "No actually, a boy. Our second adoption, fifth child..." I proceeded to unload my pent up frustration on them with a verbal tirade about paperwork and how this was three times as hard as our first adoption with all the minutiae and requirements and notarizing, etc. My husband returned around the end of that and gave me a funny look. Chip got his photo taken and smiled very wide. The Walgreens lady told Chip to have a neutral expression.
"No smiling. You're not allowed to smile." I contributed. He finished and came to stand by Buffy, smiling again.
"Well, it's a real good thing you're doing." Poor guy. He was trying. I looked at Buffy as we left the store.  She was a deer caught in headlights, total shell shock. I looked at myself and started giggling as we drove away - no makeup, sweat pants, tennis shoes and an attitude. Oh dear, I don't think I have been this effective as a birth control advertisement since my last trip to Victoria's Secret with young children (was that seven years ago, mom?).

I finally started to cross a few things off my to do list on Monday, so I decided the tide had finally turned in my favor and went to FedEx. I had carefully organized each Visa application according to the six pages of instructions from the courier along with our payment check and actual passports (yes, the ACTUAL passports). I put all of that with a cover letter inside an envelope which I then put inside a Ziploc bag. Once again, I did not get my normal FedEx person. She can't make it fit in the normal envelope. "Could we just take it out of this to make it fit better?"
"No. Definitely no. Don't you have a slightly larger envelope? I've used one before."
Oh yes, look at that, she found a larger envelope. I told her I also needed an airbill to put inside for it to be shipped back to me. "We don't do those anymore. FedEx is going totally paperless now." After a lot of back and forth and actually calling the courier it was going to, we settled on me creating one online later and emailing it to the courier.
"I need a piece of tape across the top also." I told her. Twice.
"I will." She went back to entering the information in the computer.
I had to call FedEx customer service to have help creating an online label without a specific date that I could email. I asked about them going paperless and doing away with airbills. They had not heard anything of the sort. "Maybe it's just that location." Of course. Of course it is. And I never saw her put tape on it! So I had a minor panic attack that she later opened the envelope and stole our passports.

I have been an emotional basketcase this week. Anxious to bring our son home, excited to travel, impatient to get through all these steps, fear of being in a foreign country and having an emergency, fear of anything going wrong. I cried yesterday and I don't remember which reason it was. I cried Friday when I finally received our text from USCIS. I'm really trying not to think about the I800. So much of our timeline rides on when we get approval. I have heard horror stories of lost paperwork and weeks of delay but also most others have approval within two weeks (obviously not this month because of all the holidays). I want to make packing lists and shopping lists, but I feel like I can't get excited or start planning until we have approval. If you have a moment, please pray it would come miraculously soon and take that stress away. Anyway, that's where I am right now. I'm hoping January gets better and better. At least my husband finally seems to be over the pneumonia and bronchitis so that's something!

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