Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Embassy

She is FINALLY all ours. We had our US Embassy appointment today at 3:00 p.m. and after all the work to fill out powers of attorney forms, copy our tax returns, have copies of our home study, copies of pay stubs and recent employment letters and our I171H, they asked to see nothing. I signed three papers: the I600, a form indicating we would vaccinate Ellie in the US and something else that I don’t even remember. They gave us her passport, told us how we would need to take a packet of papers to customs upon arrival in the US (in Detroit for us) and gave us instructions on how to get a social security card for her when we get back. As soon as we land on American soil, she is an American citizen.

All in all, we were gone from the hotel about an hour and fifteen minutes. Our coordinator left immediately after dropping us back at the hotel. We are now on our own. This is one of the things I find quite frustrating about this process is the amount of responsibility we are expected to shoulder on our own in a foreign country. We don’t know where to eat, where to buy necessities (the directions we got were, “Go out the door and to the right about five minutes and you’ll find the store.”), and what we should do when we get to the airport. Heck, for that matter, we are required to secure our own transportation back to the airport. We were handed some documents and told, “If the Passport Control asks to see them, give them these.” Where is passport control? What kinds of questions? There is a translator’s phone number handwritten on it. I’ve never heard of this person and don’t know who they are or if they would have a clue why I was calling. I was asked, “Do you have the number for the American Embassy?” Well, no. I was handed a business card. It’s entirely frustrating to me to pay fees for a coordinator and translator that I saw all of a few hours the entire time I was here. In Bishkek, we saw our translator 15 minutes at the airport, half an hour on Sunday to collect money, half a day on Tuesday when we picked up the children and not again until Monday when it was time to leave. We met our other coordinator for about a hour, hour and a half on Friday and then we road to Almaty with him, saw him a bit for the medical exam, another hour and a half at the Embassy and he left to go back home after dropping us at the airport. It’s frustrating to be in a foreign country with little help when you don’t speak the language.

Upon arrival back, Jennifer and I checked to see if there were any flights out of Almaty today or tomorrow – none. Jennifer has been terribly homesick and I really wanted her to be able to get home more quickly, but there is no way. While I am most definitely homesick and ready to leave here, I knew more about how long the trip would be and how hard it would be, I think, having been here once before.

Ellie had a rough day today. She has been doing very well and we’ve all commented on how well her attachment process appears to be going. She has a definite preference to her mama and wants to be held all the time by mama. Sleep time was getting better. In the evening, she liked to be held a short period of time and then for me to lay her on the bed and lay beside her until she’s asleep. However, I could tell from the moment she awoke this morning she was not her normal sunshiny self. It appears she was constipated – poor baby. Fortunately, I had some apple juice and prune juice. We diluted it half and half and gave her two ounces of each at different times and this afternoon she was able to go poo right before we had to go to the Embassy. Right after I got her and me dressed for the Embassy, she puked on both of us – yay – and we had to change clothes. Later, this evening, we went into the restaurant here at the hotel – The Guns and Roses Pub (yeah, wonderful choice, huh?). It was the only place we’ve found with American food and it was empty at that time, so we thought it a good bet. My food was excellent; others didn’t think so much about it. However, there was music playing and lots of things on the wall and I just think it was all too much stimulation for Ellie too close to bedtime. When we got back to the room and I began to put her to bed, she arched her back, screamed, pushed my face away from hers (while holding on tight to my shirt), cried, flopped and did everything she was big enough to do. Jennifer helped me finally calm her down enough to get her to sleep, but WOW!

I miss Joshua a lot. Because of the time change, I haven’t gotten to see nearly enough of him. I cannot WAIT to get home to see him and catch up on all I’ve missed while I was away. It’s true that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.


I have pix of Ellie I will try to post later. She is wanting to play right now and we are going to go get breakfast. She is still as cute as ever and LOVES to smile and play. All the funk was worth it to get her, but I just feel it shouldn't BE as hard as it was.

Hugs to all; we miss you!!

3 comments:

Jamie said...

I feel the need to post here, but I am afraid it is more for the benefit of your readers who are just begining the process than for you. I am so sorry that you have been so on your own while you have been there. At the risk of sounding like a commercial for CWA, I have to give them major credit in this department. We had help whenever we needed it. We were picked up at the airport by our translator, taken sightseeing by her, and to the store (the only thing she didnt seem to want to do was dine with us- I think it was more about keeping it professional). Our coordinator went to every embassy appointment with us, drove to Almaty with us, and to the SOS clinic, and even some shopping and eating. We had new translators in Almaty who were so much fun- they took us sightseeing, got us some good food, took us shopping... Our coordinator even took us to the airport herself- fought off the bag sharks, and somehow managed to talk her way past the ticketed customers only past this line spot when we seemed to have a glitch in ticketing to make sure we made our flight. Again, sorry that you have not been treated this well- just thought I would throw that in in case anyone is considering agencies still. Hope the last leg of this trip just flies by and you are safe at home soon

Michelle said...

Have I mentioned we will be at the aiport?? Have I mentioned how excited I am about Ellie coming home (and you, of course!)??

Hilary Marquis said...

If your experience was anything like mine, you should be happy that the coordinator left and you get to take care of yourself at the airport. "S" was more trouble than help. We'll pray for Jennifer. I was right there in the same shape on the first trip.

Tim Marquis