Update to today's post: Just got an e-mail that our extension was approved. Not e-mailed or express mailed and still sitting in Oklahoma City for "backend processing", whatever that is, but at least approved. Flights bought for next Friday. Will be busy tomorrow trying to convince the powers that be to expedite it all the way to Addis Ababa. I'm exhausted!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, so if I had to create a nightmare week, I could never have imagined this one. Here's a brief overview:
Monday-We have legal custody of Rosie but still no extension to our I171 (the paperwork that says we're allowed to obtain a visa for Rosie). Still optimistic, I e-mail our social worker and at her recommendation I e-mail the US Citizenship and Immigration Services explaining the situation and asking that they please expedite our paperwork and e-mail our approval to the National Visa Center. I receive an e-mail telling me that protocol does not allow for e-mailing of the form, so it will have to go in the mail.
Tuesday-I awake to an e-mail from Citizenship and Immigration saying that they have looked at our application for an extension but are unable to process it without a small mountain of paperwork, including a correction to Gareth's child abuse background check because it has a typo. Our social worker has never had anyone else require this for an extension to be granted, but we go to work and by mid-afternoon and a couple of small miracles we have all of the paperwork being overnighted to the adjudications officer.
While at Fed-Ex/Kinko's getting our marriage license shrunk to fit an 8x11 piece of paper and then faxed the elderly lady helping us begins to look at me as if I might be a criminal. After all, why else would I be faxing official documents to a social worker???? So, I cheerfully explain to her that this is hopefully the last hurdle in bringing home our daughter from Ethiopia. And honest to God, she had the nerve to ask me if I was bringing home a kidnapped baby! I didn't lose it and kindly explained to her that we had chosen our adoption agency very carefully and that the Ethiopian government had a very thorough system of checks which ensure that the children that were adopted were truly orphans. She then looks at my boys, who had been called in from playing outside to run to Fed-Ex and asked them if their Mama couldn't afford to buy them any clothes because she was buying a sister. Now, I must confess, this ticked me off A LOT! Still, I didn't lose it, and instead smiled and told her that 4 and 5-year old boys were hard on clothes so that when they were playing outside I let them play in old clothes. (I thought I was doing pretty well, because I had made sure that their hands and faces were clean and their hair was combed before loading them in the van!) She smiled wickedly and told the boys to make sure that Mommy bought them some better clothes before I brought any sisters home.
My social worker (who I'm sure has angel wings hidden under her shirt) overnighted all of the paperwork to USCIS along with an overnight envelope for them to be able to overnight the approved extension to the National Visa Center. I e-mail them to let them know how the paperwork will arrive and asking them pretty please to use the overnight envelope we have provided. No response.
Tuesday evening-I am tired. I am struggling not to worry. The washing machine repairman who has been scheduled for a week doesn't show up. I call Sears, who informs me that he is running late and won't make it today. They'll reschedule me for next Friday. I don't lose it and ask to speak to a manager. 30 minutes later, a lot of really bad elevator music, and I manage to get a promise of a washing machine repairman for Friday afternoon. I call Gareth and tell him I am exhausted and can we please grab dinner out? He says sure. We agree to meet at a restaurant recommended by a friend. We arrive and to my horror it's mostly very modern Chinese cuisine with lots of tofu on the menu. We leave and go to another little Chinese restaurant we had seen. Having ordered, we make it down to the cash register to notice a sign that says "cash only". We cancel our order and end up eating a burger at Steak-n-Shake. Arrive home to find that the cat has killed a bunny and brought it into the house. Oh, and I have now come out in a rash that Gareth is convinced is stress related. Gareth tells me that he was told that within the next couple of weeks 20% of the staff at his work will be unemployed with more to follow if more contracts don't happen.
Wednesday-No news. Using their tracking system I can see that Citizenship and Immigration did not use the overnight envelope we provided them. Our agency is asking for confirmation that I am happy with the flights they have reserved for us and a credit card to purchase them with. Again I e-mail USCIS, again no response. At choir practice a friend congratulates me on being a Mommy of 3, I put my head in my hands, and don't quite succeed at not crying as I explain what is going on.
I arrive home to find that there is a message from Sears telling me that they need to cancel my re-scheduled appointment for a repairman and they won't be able to see me until next Friday. Speak to another manager, didn't lose my temper or cry, and have hopefully convinced them that as the original cancellation was not my fault that making me wait for another full week is unacceptable.
Thursday-The itching is now unbearable! I make a Dr.s appointment. Still no news, but if I want the tickets I need to pay for them today. The flights are almost full and if I don't book now I probably won't get them.
The boys wake up and a very excited Noah arrives to say, can I use your potty. Then as an aside he tells me that his brother is in the bedroom keeping guard over the baby rabbit behind their rocking horse!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, Gareth decided to open the cat flap that I had used to lock the cat out before he left for work, and she had decided to bring a friend in and hide it in the boys' room. Quite a long while later, I have caught the bunny and explained to the boys why we can't keep it. I have confirmed that it is unhurt-if it was hurt there's no way it could be that fast!!!!!!!!!! I allow the boys to say good-bye to it and go out in my jammies to release it.
Now, on to breakfast and a quick shower. Then, a quick e-mail to USCIS explaining the need for information and begging for help. Off to the doctors, thank goodness, it's only a virus-not stress induced. Although I am warned that stress will aggravate it. One very large steroid injection later and prescription-strength steroid cream prescription and I'm off to the pharmacy and then home.
Still no news. No itching either, but I may sit lop-sided for a while!!!!!!!!!!!!
After a chat with my social worker, I have called Senator Tom Coburn's office and asked for help. I'm currently waiting on a phone call to hear whether or not they can/will help us.
In case you're concerned, I haven't lost my sanity yet. (It's been a close-run thing at times, and I worry that the next time the Sears people call me I may well cry and convince them that I am indeed a crazy woman and they aren't safe to come fix my washing machine!)
Actually, I am feeling fairly relaxed at the minute. Listening to worship songs and lullabies and trying to rest in the knowledge that God is good and He sees a picture much bigger than I can.
Thanks to all those who have prayed and are praying!