Thursday, January 9, 2014

Paperclips (AKA More Paperwork Drama)

I threw away our Police Clearance Reports from China. 

Yes, I threw away our Police Clearance Reports from China. 

The one document that we had to do in-country after having lived there to validate that we're not delinquents, I threw it away. 

It looked like another visa request form, like so many other Chinese papers: a ton of black and white characters on a white sheet of paper with a red stamp at the bottom. I hate those things. And having moved back, I thought we were through with them, so I threw it away as I proudly set up our filing system after having moved twice in a month.

I've done so many stupid things in this adoption paperwork process that I honestly have no logical explanation for my oversight. I have plenty of excuses, I can easily point the finger, but the volume of important one-liners I've failed to see in my stack of papers is simply inexplicable.

For most of the day of January 7th before realizing what I had done, we searched and searched. We asked close ones to pray. "It'll turn up!" was the consensus. I cried. A lot.

But we finally came to terms with the fact that some friend in China would have to do the dreaded thing of going to a government agency full of indifferent people on our behalf. When my husband did it, it took three appointment changes and some scrutiny; an attitude of "will you give up if I push you aside enough?" Obviously he didn't. And now we were found hoping someone we know would have the time and patience to do the same for an adoption process we're reeling them into.

Our first thought was to ask our fellow American friends, but then thought that a Chinese friend might not approach the task with as much trepidation as we foreigners do… it would just be another icky task, but at least it wouldn't be coupled with feelings of dread and insecurity. (It's one thing to get the cold shoulder in a government building in your own country, it's an altogether different feeling to get it from someone on a power trip in another country.)

We didn't ask our closest friends there. They're so, so busy. But we asked a good one, one that was feeling particularly thankful to us at the moment. Guangxi--the Chinese concept of a network, friendship, and reciprocal back-scratching.

He called the police officer we had dealt with within five minutes. He was on it! 

He went to the police station near where we use to live the next day. And waited two hours.

We then got a text around 9pm to fax a form letter there. After almost an hour at FedEx, it went through! 

And a few hours later, we heard that we had our [second set of] police clearance reports!!!

What a relief! Now we just have to figure out how to get those original copies to our hands safely. 

But that wasn't the only bit of drama that began the night of January 7; I found out that one of our documents needed an extra step of authentication. My birth certificate needed to be authenticated in Washington D.C.--something that only specifically pertains to documents that originate in Puerto Rico. This was not in my mental timeline. What's worse was the bold line at the bottom: if sent by mail, be prepared to wait 2-3 months to receive it. WE DON'T HAVE 2-3 MONTHS! We'd lose our "match" pre-approval with our little Silas! 

More freaking, more crying, more praying. 

I called my aunt who lives near D.C. who calmly agreed to tote it there herself, shaving weeks or even months from this time frame! 

Be it my oversight or God's unique way of orchestrating things, this process is involving more people than we just our little family. 

So, PAPERCLIPS. {I have no pithy transition. That was it. Sorry.} In our mess of paperwork madness I've come to greatly covet paperclips. I see them and treasure them. I know this is completely silly, but I can't bring myself to buy a box. It just doesn't seem like the kind of thing you spend money on… they're just around right? I just saw one on the floor--our third--and my heart skipped a beat! So when you see a paperclip, remember to pray for us in this process. Even after we finalize the adoption, much transition and attachment is to be had after this little boy has scarcely learned how to love and be loved.

Thank you so much! I hope that you cross paths with many, many paperclips! (And of course I hope you remember their secret meaning. Wink, wink)

And as usual, I'll leave you with some GOOD NEWS.

All of our Minnesota documents have a lovely cover and seal on them thanks to our Secretary of State as of yesterday! I felt like I was on a role with knocking things out and toted our toddler to the capitol an hour and a half away. He was a doll, we got it done, and I felt goooood. Our house is an absolute pigsty, but I feel goooood. 

We're about to board our delayed flight to a much-needed family vacation in the sun. It's been a rough week. I hope the only rough thing I encounter in the next few days is SAND.

CIAO negative temperatures, notaries, seals, and ….

Gotta go!