Thursday I received a call from our adoption agency, European Adoption Consultants. When we moved from the China Special Needs program to the new Serbia program last week we also switched consultants. We are now working with Sara. The Serbia program is new to EAC and so it is new to Sara- we are learning together. So when Sara called me on Thursday she informed me that the owner of the agency would be heading back to Serbia in October, in about three weeks, and she planned to personally deliver our dossier to the Serbian officials at that time. This is great news! It really is- I am thrilled that this is moving quickly and that we will have such personal attention. Especially with something so new, you just never know what twists and turns await us.
So, three weeks to pull together a dossier. Those of you who have completed these know that this is not going to be easy! But so worth it. I kind of feel as though a clock started ticking Thursday. With our first adoption journey I never really felt "paper pregnant", something other adoptive parents often feel. Maybe because we knew up front that the wait for China was increasing, or maybe because it was our first time and we really didn't know what to expect. This time around though, it feels completely different. We may still have many months to go, or we may have less than nine. Oh my god- we have a lot to do!
But I will have to think about the color of the baby's room and what to do with all the stuff we are storing in there later. I will have to sort Matthew's old clothes and find the baby bottles later. Now I have a lot of paperwork to gather, photo's to take and collage, lawyers to find... So far I have been blessed with a friend who is a CPA write a letter for us, and now I have another friend who is a photographer set to take a few family photos. Apparently, it does take a village to bring a child into his or her forever family! And we are so thankful for our "village" of friends!
Here was my day yesterday. Up before 5am. Get Matthew to Nationwide Children's Hospital by 6:15am. Hang out in pre-op for 2 hours for a 15 minute surgical procedure. Because this is such a quick procedure I knew they wouldn't let me go with them to the induction room, and both Matthew and I were worried about the separation. This was his fourth surgery, his third with us, (even though two of them were ear tube placements, he still had to go "under".) He knew he would have to leave Mommy and I think that was the only part he was worried about. We shouldn't have worried! Apparently this time around Matthew was old enough, big enough, whatever, to get a "relaxation" med while still with us in pre-op. Suddenly our son turned into Cheech. (Is that reference too old? Am I showing my age? Maybe I should correct that statement and say that he was like Harold or Kumar...) Our little guy sat in my lap and giggled for no reason. He slid to the floor and giggled some more down there. He opened his eyes wide and said "awesome". I have no idea what was so awesome. As his bed was being wheeled down the hall toward the surgery suite he pointed at the babies rolling by in their cribs and asked where his mommy and daddy where. The attendant slowed the bed down so I could get up beside him where he could see my face. He smiled and said "awesome" again. He was hilarious!
We left the hospital around 9:30, after a very successful ear tube placement. The doctor put in a different type of tube that is designed to last longer than his last set, so hopefully we can avoid this trip next year. We drove straight to the court building downtown to submit paperwork to get Matthew a birth certificate in English, something I thought we needed in order to obtain a passport for him. Turns out, we did not need it, but it was good to get the process going- he will need an English birth certificate when he starts school at least. Brad and Matthew drove around the block while I went into the building, through security, found the elevator going to the 22nd floor, (they don't all go to every floor, you know), and then over to the information desk. The big desk with the empty chair. In a room full of desks with empty chairs. Free to roam about, I started walking. Finally I found the right office. I thought I was just dropping off the paperwork, but instead I found myself sitting down in an office while the paperwork was submitted and reviewed. And while Brad continued to drive around the block, in downtown traffic. Finally, I head back to the street.
Paperwork, order copies of marriage license, which can't be done online for Cuyahoga County so had to write a letter. God bless Cuyahoga County for keeping our letter writing skills intact! Figure out we don't need birth certificate for passport so complete passport paperwork for Matthew. Search house for documents needed for passport. Find all but one. Have discussion with Brad about why we always misplace this one specific document. Swear to never lose it again. Once we find it. No time to keep looking. Entire family changes shirts for passport photos. While Brad and I already have passports we still need passport size photos for our dossier.
Head to UPS store in Grove City to make copies. Head to CVS to get passport photos taken. Matthew loves having to stand on a chair in order to be tall enough for the photo. Mommy stands close by, thinking about the drugs he had coursing through his system and wondering if it is a good idea to put him on a chair. He wiggles and dances, and waves at the camera. "Matthew, put your hands down. Matthew stand up straight. No, not on your tip toes. Stand still. Do not wave. Put your hands down at your sides. Matthew, don't lean forward, you're going to fall off that chair! DO NOT PULL THE SCREEN DOWN!" Sigh.
Brad and I behave much better for our pics. Did you know that at CVS they just use a digital camera and then print out the pictures on that machine that we all use? I am thinking I could have done this myself and saved some money, and some time. Sigh again.
Next stop, post office. Wait in line because not everyone can take a passport application. Matthew immediately begins to climb. On everything. Get to counter and am told we need the original of one document. Who would have thought. Other legal entities have taken a copy, but now we need original. Which is at home. Entire post office knows we need this and knows our son's name is Matthew. Sigh.
Race home. Leave Brad and Matthew in the car while I run upstairs to get document. Race through kitchen to get fruit snacks- realize have only eaten bowl of cereal and one granola bar since 5am. It is now after 3pm. Race back to post office. Heart drops at sudden long line. Finally get to front of line and see we will be served by the same clerk as earlier. Good- he was one of the ones who could take passport applications. Things are looking up! "Sorry, I cannot help you. We can only have one clerk doing passports at a time, and she (points to clerk) is already doing one. You will have to wait for her." Heart drops again. Give Matthew a magnet of New York City that I find in my purse to play with. I don't know why that is in there and I do not remember putting it there. Think perhaps am losing mind. Post office as good a place as any for public meltdown. Brad and Matthew proceed to play football in post office with magnet as ball.
My turn! "I need copies of the front and back of both parent's driver licenses. There is a copy machine back there." Points to back of office. "Or I can do it, but I have to charge more than the machine." you. can. make. the. copies. I. will. pay. In with the good air, out with the bad. (KSU friends- I continue to use that thought to this day!)
Passport submitted! Matthew says "Let's go to the plane now. Let's go to China." He is somewhat confused. he thinks that since we applied for a passport that we were immediately getting on a plane. I think he he thought there would be one waiting for us in the post office parking lot. He also thinks all babies come from China.
Head to dinner. Head to tee-ball. Matthew couldn't play yesterday but it was picture day, and we HAD TO HAVE one of those trading card pictures of our little hitter. Change Matthew's shirt in the parking lot. (I made him wear a nice golf shirt for his passport photo.) We head to the field, but stop at the shelter while it rains. Again. Right on time. Twice earlier this week I picked Matthew up from day care during a tornado watch. Both times I caught him as the class was heading to the church basement. And both times he was mad that he didn't get to see the elusive basement. We wait out the rain and then Brad, God love him, took Matthew to wait in line for his picture while I sat, by myself, in the shelter. It was so quiet and peaceful and nobody was climbing on me or hitting me with a baseball glove, or running a car up and down my arm. ahhhhh.
We then head to dairy queen for ice cream for Matthew's secret mystery prize. That is a story for another day. Nice trip for ice cream, really. Well, except for that one moment when my little slugger stood up on the seat and showed me how he would hit a ball, using his little red plastic spoon as a bat. The same little red plastic spoon he had been using to eat his chocolate ice cream. Suddenly my face and hair are splattered with ice cream. It is time for Mommy to punch out for the day, I think, as I wipe globs of chocolate ice cream off my face. Daddy takes Matthew to see the fish. (This is a cool dq with a Hawaiian theme and tanks of fish.) I continue to clean myself off.