This time around I actually KNEW how to get a visa and wasn't totally shocked at all the crazy hoops in which to jump. We got our pictures done "with neutral expressions" a.k.a. ticked off expressions and filled out the complicated application online.
We've been waiting since the 7th for our official invitation from Ludmilla in Russia. Apparently there was some sort of governmental "issue". A year ago this particular sequence of words in an email would have totally freaked me out. Now, I'm like "ok, so we have an "issue" the good news is we have 4 weeks to get our visas back in the mail, no problem!" (See what a difference a year makes?) So I call the San Francisco office of Go To Russia (which are absolutely fabulous by the way) and they say that unless it is an emergency Russia will not accept a copy of the Invitation for an adoption visa. Well, I tell her that's a problem because the original is in Russia. She says "well, lets try it with a copy"
So off it went. Two days later (isn't mail amazing, SC to CA in less than 24 hours and then to Russia the next day!) Karina at Go To Russia called to say they accepted the copy and things are underway! Yes! So excited!!!