Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's all in the timing

As mentioned in a previous post, we are very close to having our dossier finished for our Bulgarian adoption. As of mid-week, we only had a few more documents to notarize, certify and apostille, and of course, the still outstanding FBI clearances which we believed to be at least four or five more weeks out. It would have seemed that we had more than enough time to tie up any loose ends while we waited on our clearances.

But, things are not always what they seem, and as anyone who has ever been through an international adoption can tell you, things can change on a dime. For all of my Star Wars loving friends (myself included), our adoption was put into hyperdrive this week when we received an email forwarded to us from our caseworker. Bulgaria had contacted our agency's home office regarding our progress on our dossier, and the email stated that they were "very anxious" to receive it.

Before replying to our caseworker, Rob called the FBI to get a best estimate of when the clearances would arrive. The FBI office in West Virginia informed him that it would be another two to three weeks, which was actually several weeks shorter than we had originally been told. Our agency, at the behest of our caseworker, began trying to contact the office in Bulgaria to see if they would accept the dossier with the FBI clearances pending. If they would, then we would need to have everything else completed, notarized, certified and apostilled in the next two to three days! Yes, I said days!

And, did I mention that we would also have to have our home study amended in that time as well? Rob just took a great new position at a new company which meant that all the work information on the home study and the work references were old. His new boss would have to fill out the reference forms and then our caseworker would do the amended home study. Finally, the amended home study would have to be notarized, certified and apostilled.

So, what do I do? What I know best of course. I am an editor by trade which calls for paying close attention to the details. I sat down with a co-worker who is also an editor and went through the dossier check list. Together, we devised a color-coded system for what was outstanding on the list and what government body needed to put its stamp on each document. I then planned out my day as follows: drive to downtown Nashville, pick up last minute documents from agency, drive to Davidson County clerk to certify documents, drive to Brentwood to notarize more documents and then drive to Williamson County clerk in Franklin to certify more documents. If there was time, I would go to the Secretary of State's office in Nashville to apostille said documents. My plan of action would take place on Friday. In the mean time, I prayed that God would somehow speed up the FBI clearances.

On Thursday night before my adventures were to begin, I came home to find a package from UPS on my doorstep and a door tag from FedEx on my front door stating delivery of another package had been attempted. The UPS package was part of a Home Depot order that I had made a week earlier, but what was the FedEx package? At first, I assumed that it was the remainder of my Home Depot order and that the company was probably sending it by FedEx because the boxes were so large. I had ordered some patio furniture on end of season clearance. But, the more I thought about it, the more I began to think that the package could have been from someone else. Rob thought so as well, and on Friday morning, he called FedEx and the company confirmed that the package was coming from West Virginia and it was from the FBI!
It was our FBI clearances and not a moment too soon!

It has only been three days since Rob had called the FBI to inquire about our status and they had said two to three more weeks. What timing! Once again, God answered our prayers, and once again, he proved to Rob and I that he is and has always been in the driver seat on this one.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mail call

Wow! I can't believe that it has been over a month since my last post. Hopefully, I will not have such a long break again. All I can say is that my family's life has been very hectic over the last month and a half for several different reasons, but we seem to be settling into more of a routine now.

Part of our daily routine, as is the case with most families, is to go the mailbox and retrieve the day's mail. I asked our daughter to go to the mailbox on Saturday to get the mail before we headed out to dinner, and as usual, she was less than enthused about the task. Julia just sees a trip to the mailbox (a much shorter trip that I had growing up) as another chore. However, I must admit that I have always thought of the trip to mailbox as much more of an adventure, and I have always been eager to see the treasure in the box that awaited me.

In my senior year of high school, the treasure in the mailbox was my acceptance letter to college and then later a sweet letter written by young woman from Virginia who would be my roommate in the freshman dorm and my first friend on campus. During the college years, the treasure would come in the form of letters from my mom and dad to my campus P.O. box. I still have almost all of those letters and since the passing of my father in my senior year of college, his letters have become some of my most prized possessions.

Today, I love receiving catalogs from my favorite store in my mailbox. It sort of reminds me of the days when my sister, Sheila, and I sat down with the Sears Wishbook and made out our Christmas list for Santa except that now I am planning the perfect date night ensemble from Eddie Bauer or Coldwater Creek. I also love getting unexpected cards and notes from friends. These have become so rare with the advent of email and Facebook.

As of late, however, the cards from well wishers regarding our adoption have been the treasure in the mailbox. One particular card recently that was sent by one of my husband's aunts and uncles had an adorable picture of a little boy and a little girl swinging in an old tree swing and a donation to help bring our son home. I have put the card on my refrigerator at home because it reminds me of Julia and her little brother. The card will also go into our little boy's lifebook someday so that he will know of these wonderful people and what they did to help bring him home.

On Saturday, Julia unknowingly retrieved another treasure from the mailbox...our USCIS approval! Our appointment with Homeland Security was last Wednesday for fingerprinting and scanning so imagine our excitement when we received our approval only three days later! Now, as we wind down the retrieval of documents for our dossier, we are waiting on another treasure to show up in our mailbox...our FBI clearance. Hopefully, the wait will not be much longer...it has been seven weeks and counting, but it just gives me another reason to go to the mailbox!