As you know from my previous post, on Saturday we received an email from the agency, letting us know that they think EVERY document in our court dossier had expired. Along with, for all intensive purposes, Chad's passport since we can't get a visa within 4 months of expiration. Then on Monday came the confirmation phone call, that, yup.... EVERY document in our court dossier had expired. For those of you that don't yet have the joy of knowing, for the most part your first dossier to get you registered and in line for a referral is the relatively self driven. Other than the home study and the USCIS fingerprinting, you control all of the other documents needed, as in, you print them out and sign them.
Now, Court documents are a different animal. You rely on a lot of people unfamiliar with adoption to get strange documents processed on their letterhead with their signature on it. And for some reason, people seem very leery of printing things on their own letterhead. You start by saying "I have a huge favor to ask you for our adoption" then you finish with "so that's why I need a copy of your ______________. (medical license, background check, home mortgage good standing letter, DNA sample) Oh and on letterhead and Notarized too...) It helps if you say that last bit in a whisper while trailing off as you walk away.
The first time we needed these strange things, I didn't know what to say to people. This time it was a little easier because I just had to explain WHY what they did last time is no longer current in the eyes of Charlie's government.
On Monday, Chad went to the passport office first thing in the morning. Luckily we had duplicate sets of photos from our visas from last time in anticipation of getting our second visa for our second trip. I started working on USCIS and was reassured by "Officer Black" that I had plenty of time and we should be processed within two weeks. She was so helpful and said "well, honey, don't you worry, this boy is coming home. You call me in a week if you don't have your appointment card and we'll shake things up." I love people that shake things up.
What gave us so much trouble last time, those darn local police checks ("What do you mean I can't have a copy of my own police check?!?") Was done two hours after it was sent on Tuesday. My mom is pretty much doing everything short of flying to Russia and picking Charlie up herself, was at the Osceola County Courthouse on Tuesday morning and overnighting our marriage license to Tallahassee before most people had their morning coffee. Our doctor was on board and our appointment for another medical exam was scheduled for Wednesday. My bank friend called right away and had everything ready for hand delivery at church on Wednesday. On Friday, both the Apostille from Florida AND Chad's passport had arrived in the mail! Wow!
I would like to take the credit and say I am a professional paper pusher, but really, I just got the ball rolling and some very wonderful and motivated people picked it up and ran with it. We are so blessed to be surrounded by people that want Charlie home, whether they know us or not. It's good for our soul to see people in our church and community bind together and move with swiftness and confidence on Charlie's behalf. They KNOW he is coming home and they want to take part in this tremendous movement. I think too, God knows how TIRED we are and is giving us a little mercy in the paperwork department. For that, I am thankful.
Now, we ask you for a HUGE favor. You may not have the coveted "letterhead" but I am calling out to you and asking for your help. On Thursday, September 9th our Judge is heading out to Moscow for a "High Court" conference. We aren't sure if the main point of this conference is to decide how to process American adoptions, but we are confident at the very least it WILL come up and some sort of decision will be made on how she should proceed. We are asking you to specifically lift our Judge up in your prayers this week. This week has the potential to be pivotal in bringing Charlie home before the New Year. If things go well, we could be bringing him home very soon. If things do not go well, we are looking at...well, you know what we will be looking at. But let's not think about that right now. Let's focus on getting him home! We thank you for your part in this journey and always thinking of us and our precious boy.