Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Great Big Relief




Yesterday was the day. I drove thru a downpour, but I got it done. I got my fingerprints redone.

I can't tell you how much better I feel. I emailed a copy of the receipt (which is really just the gov't form they send you for access) with the technician's signature on it, and dated, to the embassy in Haiti. It has a barcode on it, so hopefully they can use that to find my re-prints. I don't know if I get more paperwork or not...(probably, this is the government) Even the little Korean man that took my prints said he did not understand why they need reprints. He just shook his head in bewildered amazement at the whole thing. His accent was heavy, but I think he told me 'they' like to create work :) Ya think??? He also asked me alot of questions about international adoption. Mrs. K, I hope I was a good ambassador.


I also shipped off a little package for the girls to a traveling mom leaving for Haiti Wednesday. We don't get the opportunity to send much anymore. She is not going directly to the creche, so hopefully the package will make it to it's final destination! I did not spend much $ I love the dollar bin @ Target. I LOVE IT! I did spend some time on the photo album. It's been awhile since they've had one from me. It seems the older kids like the stuff you bring them, but they LOVE the photo albums. Especially when it has pictures of them in it!



Those little baskets are felt. Target Dollar Bin.


This morning when I went to pick up the last of the photos at Walgreens I saw these and I had to get them...




They were selling them as Easter Baskets, ($2.00 each) but any fool can see that's a little girl's spring/summer handbag. Duh!



I'm saving them for when they get home, since that straw would last about 5 minutes at the creche. And hoping they get them before they go out of season....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Early Southern Spring in Photos





Normally a post that would go to Camp Osceola, but feeling the need to post here instead. Best view: double click, go to Picasa, go to slide show.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fried




Confession Time:



I'm fried. Stuff going on in life (too aggravating/boring to discuss) and this forever adoption... has just left me pretty much speechless for now. And worn out.


I purchased the controversial photo CD. You groupers know what I'm talking about.

So since I have nothing to talk about but I do have a bunch of Haitian images, I will leave you with some of my favorites...






Not sure where this was taken but these roads look to be in pretty good shape, which is often NOT the case....





These are professional photos courtesy of Annie Wesche of Windsor CO, who traveled in December with one of the agencies to our creche. There were hundreds of pics of the children at the O but it's not my place to post those here. There were only a few fleeting group shots with my older girl in them, and none of my younger child. Someday when they are finally home and when they are ready, they can look at these pictures of the country where they were born and where they have spent at least half of their childhood. The press loves to show the ugly, but there is much beauty in Haiti too, and I want them to remember that.



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update on Stuck!

Oh me of little faith.

When I got home this evening my paperwork was in the mailbox. Friday March 27 @ noon. That means I even get to take the day off!

Stuck

9 days ago I received two emails from Haiti that rocked my world, one in a good way, and the other one, not so much. 7 days ago I received this regarding my fingerprinting appointment from USCIS Atlanta

Dear Ms. XXXX:

The fax was received. We will get you scheduled first date available.

Sincerely,
Officer XXXX


*********************************

Not a peep from them since. No email, phone call, no snail mail, nothing, nada, zip. This is driving me crazy. Just how hard is it to schedule another fingerprinting appointment? Honestly, last time I was there they literally moved hundreds of us thru on a Saturday morning. I don't know how often they fingerprint---I get the feeling it's 5.5 days a week--- they have a big facility and you get shuffled from one station to the next, till you finally end up at the computers. I feel like I am lost in a nightmare. And just so they don't let me fall thru the cracks (because I'm paranoid about that kind of thing), I emailed them this today

Dear Officer XXXX:

Is there a letter or a form I need to fill out to reschedule this appointment? Do you have any idea of what kind of time frame I am looking at for rescheduling this appointment?

Thank you for your assistance,



Sincerely,

Ms. XXXX

******************************************
I fear getting lost in bureaucracy. I've been navigating USCIS either stateside or in Haiti (and now both places!) for 16 months and nothing about it has been easy or smooth. It's nearly impossible to talk to a real person. All the while there is this sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me that this latest problem is going to add weeks/months to an already ridiculously long process.

It's not all about me. In fact, it's not about me at all. It's about two little girls stuck in a bureaucratic hell that's keeping them from coming home to their FAMILY.

It is difficult enough as it stands. But for my own mistake to add to the insanity is hard to take.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Waiting For The Next Move

It's been a crazy couple of days. I have to admit that getting the news that my fingerprints had expired really threw me. I did spring immediately into action by emailing the adoption division at USCIS Atlanta, outlining the situation. An officer emailed me early the next morning, before 8 am, asking me to fax certain documents. Which I did. Thursday morning they emailed again stating they had received the documents and that they would schedule me for the next available appointment, and that I should just wait to hear from them. I have no idea if that is going to be by phone, by email, or by snail-mail, because truthfully I have heard from them in the past by all those methods. But I heard nothing on Friday, and nothing today. I do have a phone # passed to me by a friend. (You know these are the most difficult offices to reach directly on the face of the planet) I called it Friday afternoon and got a voice mail that directed me to another phone #, which I called. And got another voicemail. But this person does deal directly with adoption. She said in her message that she might call back if this was an absolute emergency --(leaving the possibility open that she might not- - - if she did not consider it an emergency) Otherwise, she said, please email. So there I was, back to square one. If I don't hear from them by mid-week next week I might have to consider it an absolute emergency. It feels like one to me.


The good thing is I only live a little over an hour from the fingerprinting office, about the same for the field office. So once I can proceed I won't have any real traveling obstacles except for Atlanta traffic, which is always an obstacle, but one I have dealt with many times.


If anyone reading this has any inside knowledge on what to do next, I'm all ears.


**************************


Anyway, I could wallow in self pity but I decided to do a 'beauty parlor' day today instead, and colored and cut my hair. The grey was starting to show itself (I swear it multiplied itself by the 10th power in the last 3 days) and I had to lopp about 2 & 1/2 inches off the bottom, it was really getting stringy.



I don't usually cut my own hair but I did not want to fight with the salon. I just wanted the bottom cut, and I knew that they'd want to "trim those layers". Well, I'm trying to grow all those crazy layers out. Sometimes you just have to do what ya gotta do.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Good News & The Bad News


The Good News

Yesterday I sent an email to USCIS Haiti asking to (once again) extend my application for my I600, which was filed in June and has needed to be extended every 3 months since. Today I received an email from them stating that there is no need for an extension because my case had reached the approval stage, and they would let me know about the transfer to the consular section. (Question: does this mean we are approved? Or still waiting???) At this point, it does not really matter because....


The Bad News

I then received another email stating that my fingerprints expired on March 8, 2008 and we cannot proceed until that is rectified.


I am just sick.

I know it's not the end of the world and I know others reading this have gone thru the same. But IT'S SO FRUSTRATING!!!

FYI readers, so you don't get caught in this same trap....fingerprinting issues are not contingent on when your I600A is approved. Your timeline (you have 15 months) starts as soon as the FBI receives your prints, which in my case was about 4 days after the fingerprinting appointment.

Can you say DAMN!

I can. And I have. And I will.

DAMN!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Aftermath





5 days later and we still have snow on the ground. It *will* be gone today, as the temperatures will reach 70 degrees today, and it's supposed to go to 78 degrees tomorrow! The yard will be soggy but I am going to try to get my flower beds weeded and re-mulched this week-end so I can get that out of the way, at least for awhile. Still have some broken limbs and branches to deal with also.

These mini's did well under the eaves


Unprotected and crushed

Broken and bi-sected



Violas did well even tho they were covered in inches of snow just days ago

This is part of the tree that is still stuck in the power-line. I'm not touching it!

And in adoption news, I have learned that the girl's files are definitely at the Embassy. They may have their medicals next week, and that is the last requirement. I will be praying for smooth sailing!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Like A Lion

As in:

"In Like A Lion"




Here we are at Camp Osceola yesterday. It had been snowing for about an hour and a half at this point and I had just gotten home from church. There is water on the ground because before that it rained for 2 days and there was not enough time for the water to soak into the ground. I parked next to the house under trees, (and the power line to the house) and this proved to be a bad move.



video


This video is 17 seconds long. It snowed just like this for 8 hours.



The snowflakes were big, wet and falling fast. Lost the internet/cable first. The power was flickering on and off, and I felt it would not be long before it went out for good. At about 5:20 my prediction came true. I had just called and told LG he was going to have to stay at his dad's for one more night and he was not happy about that. But I thought they had a better chance of keeping their power as all their powerlines are underground. I was wrong about that too. Every single person in our county lost power. Also, the roads were becoming treacherous and everyone knows Southerners can't drive in the snow, LOL!

Then I heard limbs breaking and went out to find the ones over the power line to the house were busted and tangled up and several more were threatning. I did not know what else to do so I just went back in the house. Later that evening I went and backed the Jeep out from under the power lines and the breaking branches.

I was a little nervous about the power outage because I don't have any other way to heat my house, and it can get so cold in here. But it never got that bad because the temperature staying around 33 degrees. After it got dark I settled down on the sofa with my down comforter and my mp3 player and watched the candles burn. It did start to THUNDER at some point if you can believe that! And then, I have no idea what was going on with this, but I kept seeing blue light (intermittedly) racing thru the power line on the street, including the one that connects to me. It would light up the whole inside of the house. With blue light, just for a second. Then it would be gone. It was freaking me out. I finally fell asleep. I woke about 2 am because I was HOT. I realized the power was back on and I had seen no more freaky blue light. YAY!


So this morning like the photo nerd I am, was out at the crack of dawn taking pictures. Everything had frozen during the night. It was like I had the whole world to myself. Only a few cars crazy enough to get out there. The schools and lots of business canceled or reporting late. So I even have an extra day off!

Here is what we looked like this morning....

The album is below. Most of them were taken this morning.

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