Thursday, August 11, 2005

All righty's your update!

Wednesday, July 6th was indeed our road trip day. Our appointment with the attorney to have the documents notarized was at 10. We were late. You try rushing a two year old who tells you she has to "go potty"! I sat in the reception area and chatted with Doris (the wife of Fred, the attorney, and also his secretary) while Garry and Hope worked with Fred in the back conference room. The day before I had checked and double checked everything and even printed the "official notarization" words on the backs of the papers before we got there to save time. It must have worked because we were on the road for our two hour journey to Columbus shortly after 11:00. We stopped around noon for some lunch and then piled back into the car. Hope did REALLY well until we got to the actual exit we needed in Columbus where she proclaimed loudly and with great emotion, "ALL DONE RIDING IN CAR!!!"

She was, understandably, an imp during the whole certification process. She'd been quiet and sitting in her carseat for a looooong time. No one really seemed to care save for her parents. While I walked the short hallway with her Garry met another prospective adoptive parent waiting to have his stack of papers certified...also for China. Small world folks...small world. We were there for maybe all of 20 minutes and then back in the car towards home. ATTENTION LINDA!!! I saw a Tim Horton's in Columbus!

Hope got VERY cranky on the way home and finally conked out for the final 50 minutes or so of the return trip. Her mother conked out shortly after she did.

Garry tried calling Chris at the agency a couple of times from the road to see if she was going to be there so we could drop off our papers. He either got her voice mail or someone telling him she was on a break. I had a baaaaad feeling...

Once home I sat down at the copier and copied my brains out. I made one copy of each of our close to 30 documents. Remember, we needed two originals of everything so technically I was only making around 15 copies. However, that included the front of the document, the back that now contained the notary stamp, AND the certification sheet of paper stapled to each one by the Secretary Of State's office. All of those copies need to travel to China with us in case they are needed.

I checked to make sure all of our originals were still there and then we were off to the agency in Strongsville to drop it all off. Hope wasn't happy. I still had a bad feeling.

Once we got there I told Garry he could go in by himself...I knew I couldn't deal with the not so kind individual (NSKI) if she was there. He said that if Chris was there he would wave us in. ") Off he went with our folder full of papers which I had labeled with Chris' full name in huge, black letters. He was gone for a verrrrry long time. My bad feeling remained and Hope wasn't getting any happier. When he returned to the car, he wasn't very happy either. Since it was after 5 Chris had left for the day and the NSKI appeared to take the folder. Everything was complete, had been checked first by her, then by Chris, then by Chris again, then notarized and certified. Want to know what she did? She took the folder clearly labeled with Chris' name, sat down, and WENT THROUGH EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF PAPERWORK AGAIN. Garry told her that it had already been checked and OK'd by Chris. She just smiled blankly at him and continued going through everything. Garry had left several spaces blank on the financial statement where the answer was zero. Chris said this was perfectly acceptable. Chris is the one who has final say on all the China paperwork. The NSKI made him put zeros in the blanks before she would let him leave. She then dumped out the envelope of a dozen pictures that are needed to complete the dossier and went through each and every one of them. Once she was satisfied she gave her usual, "Well as always, the final decision is up to Chris." We were ALL mad. Once again, if she KNOWS this, why is she putting us, and I'm sure other clients through her ridiculous scrutiny? ::grrrr::

On the drive home we all did some deep breathing and thanked God that we were done and would never have to deal with her again. Oh...sometimes we can be so naive!

I would like to remind you that this person has called here incessantly since we started the process in late December. Garry told her gently at that time that we do not need to be called. When we have a question, we call Chris. We do not need reminders...we have our own time table...we've been through this get the idea. He also told her that we weren't officially starting the process until March 2005. She said she wouldn't call until March. She lied. Seriously, and without exaggeration, she has called here more times than the GRAND TOTAL number of calls that we made to the agency AND that the agency made to us during Hope's adoption. We spoke to Chris about it. She talked to this person...she still calls. Chris then put a note in our folder that she was not to call us. She still calls. Garry told her point blank after the whole "your guardians are too old" call that she is NOT to call us again. Any contact with the agency will be made through Chris. She still calls.

Her last call came after we received our contract. Chris sent our dossier off to the consulate to be translated into Chinese the day after we dropped it off. On Friday, June 22nd, we received our contract. It basically says that nothing is the agency's fault if something goes wrong etc. Pretty standard stuff. It also includes a page showing what you have already paid and what is owed. Besides initialing each and every page and signing and dating the last page, there were five more pieces of paperwork for us to complete.

1. Release And Authorization---Again, standard release saying they can use our pictures, names, whatever and not pay us or be sued by us.

2. Personal Contact Form---This is in case of emergency while we are in China. They want the name, address and phone number of someone in the U.S.

3. Post Placement Affidavit---This states our intent to use our agency for our post placement and that we will fully comply with the requirements for post placement as outlined by the country of adoption. This one also needs to be notarized.

4. Information Summary---Yes my friends, the exact same form I've filled out for both the home study and the dossier...once again with feeling for the contract.

5. CIS Fingerprint Reminder---The CIS now requires prospective parents to be re-fingerprinted after 15 months. If we don't receive our referral up to three months before they expire we need to call the CIS and make an appointment to be re-fingerprinted. This is a BIG deal. Why? If we are in China and ready to bring Claire home and they find out our fingerprints have expired, we go home without her. This paper basically says we are aware of the policy and we will take care of it should the need arise. Last did. We had to be re-fingerprinted and guess when we got our approval notice? Yep, it was about two weeks AFTER we returned home with Hope. Classic...simply classic.

As I said, we received all of this on Friday the 22nd. On Monday the 25th, guess who called again? Yep. She wanted to know where our contract was because they need it back along with a check. How do you deal with someone like that? Neither one of us wanted to so we didn't. I let the contract sit until Friday the 29th. I filled out everything...the next day we got the one form notarized at the title bureau here in town...Garry sat down on Sunday night and signed and initialed everything...he turned it all into the agency along with the check on Monday, August 1st.

It has taken me this long to be able to type this because I get so angry just thinking about the whole situation! I just didn't feel there was any way I would be able to communicate our frustration using polite language! ")

Garry's mantra is "Keep your eyes on the prize." He is such a smart man. One of my favorite speakers is Joyce Meyer. Recently her message was, you are going to encounter a lot of people who drive you crazy. God has put them into your life for a reason. You had better learn to deal with them now because if you don't, if you run away from them, He's just going to put two more of them right in front of you! I don't want ANY more of her anywhere near me so I'm going to start dealing! ")

Now, with that out and done with, here's some wonderful news! Chris (I love you Chris!) called me on Monday afternoon this week to tell me that our dossier was being picked up at 7:30 that evening and was being sent to Beijing! YAY!!!! So, we are August 2005 DTC (documents to China). In the past, this was when the OFFICIAL wait began. However, now it is your LID (log in date). When our dossier arrives at the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) someone will log all of our information into their computers. THAT is when the official wait begins. Chris said that is usually 10-14 days after the dossier is sent to China. Again, the official wait is being broadcasted as six months so we shall see!

Until next time!

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