Saturday, June 26, 2010

In the Mail!!

First, a little more of our roller coaster ride. I forgot to mention in my last post that on the Friday before Memorial Day (before going to the ER), lightening hit our house. It was very loud and bright, and I told Tim for quite a while that I still felt tingly all over. The next day we noticed a hole in the soffit just about 6 feet above my head where I had been sitting in the corner of my bedroom when it hit. Upon closer inspection, we determined that it was an entrance hole and found the exit hole on the far side of the garage door. We feel very blessed that the house didn't catch on fire. We lost several electronics and are still working to replace those.

Next, I didn't mention that as Tim left the ER on crutches on that Saturday, we were due to leave for vacation on Tuesday -- a two-week road trip through 15 states. I was afraid I was going to end up driving, but by the time we left, he wasn't really using the crutches anymore and had traded the stiff leg stablizer on his knee for a bendable brace. We traveled with the crutches and stablizer in the back, but never had to use them. (Thank you, Lord!)

I hope to do a separate post about vacation later when I get my pics on the computer, so for now I will move on to adoption news. As I mentioned last time, I was rejected again for my FBI prints. The additional problem was that this news came the 2nd day of our trip. It would be almost 2 weeks before I'd even be home to redo them. Our agency's director spoke with the officials in Bulgaria, and they said for us to go ahead and submit our dossier without the FBI clearance letter AND to go ahead and try the fingerprints again. While we are waiting for the FBI, they can be translating our documents.

We got home from vacation on Sunday about 4:30. We had 2 hours to unload, change clothes, grab a pizza, and get to church for the start of VBS week...not only for the kids, but Tim and I were working as well.

Monday's plan--finish the dossier and get it in the mail. Didn't happen. I got most of our papers notarized, but ran out of time before getting to our local agency for picking up the last few papers and having them notarized there. Rushed back home to get ready for VBS. (VBS didn't dismiss each night until 8:45. We usually didn't leave until after 9. Home and to bed. No time for anything.)

Tuesday's plan--get the dossier to Nashville to be apostilled. Didn't happen. Tim had a doctor's appointment in the AM for his knee. I got the rest of the papers from HSC (the local agency). With everything notarized, we went to the county clerk's office to have all of the notary stamps certified. Apparently, we are in one of only two states who require this step before apostilling. While there, they pulled my medical letter out of the stack and handed it back to me. Its notary was commissioned in Williamson County. Great. There went the trip to Nashville. We made the trip to Williamson County instead. When we arrived and gave them the paper, though, they pointed out that the notary's commision expired last week. (We've had the letter since April but couldn't get the other ducks in a row to get to this step in the process.) I wasn't angry about the delay, but I did feel stupid for not noticing the expiration date written right on the front of the letter. And I caused Tim to lose the entire afternoon from getting things done on his own to-do list.

Wednesday's plan--get a new doctor's letter with a new notarization and get it certified so we can go to Nashville tomorrow. It worked out that I already had a doctor's appointment scheduled for this afternoon, so I spent some time scanning the dossier before the apostille is applied. I took a new copy of the med letter to my doctor, but had to leave it to be completed. They called an hour after I got home and said it was ready, but I didn't have enough time to go get it, go to HSC to get it notarized, and get to the county clerk's office before they closed. I spent a few minutes trying to put away vacation stuff instead. Oh, I also noticed the night before that the medical letter stated that a copy of the doctor's license was attached. Neither of our doctors had done this. We asked both today, and they said their legal departments said no.

Thursday's plan--get to Nashville! Tim had an MRI this morning on his knee. Once he was home, I went to my doc's office and got my letter. Took letter to HSC to be notarized. Stephanie tried to pull up our doctors' licenses online, but the website was painfully slow. Took letter to county clerk. "Weren't you here just the other day?" "Yes. Yes, I was." Triple check stack of papers to be apostilled. In-laws weren't home, so we loaded the kids and papers up for a trip to the Secretary of State's office. We had been told to be at the door no later than 3:30 if we wanted to get in the building. I signed in at 3:17. Tim had to stay in the lobby with the guard because the kids were not allowed in the building. About 45 minutes later, I emerged with our precious stack of apostilled papers. Again, we barely made it to VBS. Finally got the doctors' licenses verified online and printed each.

Friday's plan--get fingerprinted for the 3rd time; get fingerprints and dossier in the mail. Each day this week, other things have come up in the morning (even besides trying to catch up on sleep from vacation and VBS), so that we usually don't get going until afternoon. I spent this morning scanning the apostilles. I now have the entire dossier in a single pdf file with bookmarks to each part. I also printed a copy of the entire thing to include when mailing it to our placing agency. In the afternoon, we dropped the kids off at the in-laws, grabbed the pull-behind trailer, and continued up the street to pick up a washing machine (donated for us to sell). We took the machine back to our house to unload and couldn't get to our driveway because of the fire trucks. Yes, fire trucks. It's a bad feeling when you turn onto your street and see fire trucks about as far up the street as your house. Turns out, it was the house across the street from us. It wasn't blazing, but there was a good bit of smoke. Apparently the fire dept got there very quickly. We four-wheeled the dolly with the machine across yards and put it in the garage. We left the trailer in a neighbor's yard and headed to the police department for fingerprints. We picked up the outside phone as always and told them why we were there. He said he would come and get us, but it would be a while because they were wrestling three guys. Okay. If only he had not said he would come and get us, we would have waited a bit and then left. I hated to interrupt them by calling again even to say "never mind." So we waited. And waited. And waited. After about 45 minutes, we called again. This time a lady answered and told us to come around to booking. We did. We called again from that phone, and she said she'd come get us. So we waited. And waited. Finally, she came. I told her that I had been rejected twice from the FBI. She called out asking for anyone who was really good with fingerprints. Another officer came forward and did the most thorough job of ink prints I've had done yet. By the time we left, an hour or more had passed. Post office was closed. Tim was late for picking recyclables for some folks (a tiny side business of his). Got that done, ran to pick up the kids, rushed to VBS for closing night.

Saturday's plan--drag myself to the post office place and mail the fingerprints and dossier. I spent the first part of the morning cleaning. We made a mess packing for vacation. Then we came back and dropped everything to rush to VBS. Every day we have concentrated more on the dossier and VBS and haven't made any noticable progress in cleaning. Today is the day to conquer the house!!! Besides, I wasn't sure when the post office place opened. : D So I cleaned until about 10, and then went in and actually mailed everything! YEA!! What a relief to have it finished. Yes, I understand that my agency may call Tuesday and say, "You forgot to..." I'm almost expecting it. But I checked everything 5 or 6 times, so I at least feel confident that I did my best.

And now...back to the House of Clutter.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roller Coaster Ride

Any of you who have been on an adoption journey know that it is a roller coaster ride. However, the last few weeks have been especially crazy.

First, in my last entry, I mistakenly called it our second yard sale weekend. It was our third. How time flies when you're having fun! As I began to prepare for this one. A snake got in the garage. I got him out, but he wouldn't go far. Every time we opened the garage door, one of us had to watch him to make sure he didn't go in again. At the end of our sale on Saturday, as we were cleaning up, we looked and saw he had gotten caught in a glue trap (a triangular tunnel with a sticky floor for catching mice.) On a second look there was an awful lot of snake coming out both ends. I said, "I TOLD you I thought I saw two snakes that first time!" When Tim took them back into the woods to attempt to let them go, he opened the trap and found that there were FIVE snakes! Yikes! Oh, and this was our best yard sale so far this year. Yea!

On Memorial Day, we started the day by finding one more (but much bigger) snake caught in a new glue trap in the same corner of our garage. Yuck! By the end of the day I was in the emergency room. See, I had been feeling my heart skip a beat and was really tiring out by evening. After a nap in the afternoon, my left arm was kind of numb. I was scared enough to go to the ER. We spent the rest of the evening there. They found nothing at all wrong with my heart but did find that I had a touch of pneumonia! Go figure. That would explain my tiredness. So I went home with a prescription for that and followed up with my regular doc a couple of days later. She prescribed 8 hours of sleep a night for the heart skipping. With kids, that's difficult, but I'm working hard to sleep more. ; )

This was followed by a quick 2-night trip to my mom's. As we returned on Friday, Tim had to get things together for an RA campout at church. A little too much kickball with the boys, and he had re-injured his left knee (which he first hurt last year but never had it looked at so it's been hurting off and on ever since...MEN!). On Saturday, he came home and was putting things back into our storage shed and -- possibly because of his sore knee -- he fell out of the shed and hurt his foot. When a huge knot came up on top of his foot, we decided it was time for his trip to the ER fearing he had broken it. We've been to the ER once in 1997 and once in 2006. Now we had been twice in one week!! Turns out he had a sprained left knee and a sprained right foot. Even with crutches, that made for some interesting and slow walking. But, we were very thankful nothing was broken.

A few days later, I found out that my granny (last living grandparent I have) was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Please say a prayer for her as she is facing surgery.

Next, a good thing. We got our I-800A approved. Yea! That left only my FBI clearance letter before our dossier would be ready to "officialize" and send in. Remember how that was rejected after 8 weeks of waiting? Well, 9 weeks after submitting my fingerprints again, I was rejected AGAIN! Makes me wonder how they can ever use fingerprints to catch a criminal.

If I do my prints a third time (and btw they want more money for the third convenient), then by the time we hear from them again, Tim's letter will have expired! This is where I need another prayer from you. Our agency is going to talk with the Bulgarian officials, explain the problem, and see if we can prove my lack of criminal history another way. After all, I had to be FBI cleared for our home study and again for our I-800A. Pray that they will let us resolve this now so we can get our dossier sent in.