I had been putting off getting our dossier documents authenticated (stamped by the Secretary of State) as I thought it’d take us much longer to get through USCIS–but when they took us the SAME day we got our appointment letter and after we heard other locals say they got their approval back in a couple of weeks we realized we should have already gotten the ball rolling. This momma started doing the math–and I realized we could actually have our approval back this week or next–so I needed to TRY and get our documents authenticated and back by THIS Friday.
Adopting from Ethiopia is a little different than adopting from China when it comes to what you have to do for the dossier. For Ethiopia, we only had to get a few things authenticated–but for China…the list is long. AND every single document MUST be authenticated in the state it originated FROM. When it hit me that this was different…meaning I couldn’t just go downtown myself and that 2 of our documents required OUT OF STATE authentication…I closed my eyes–and did what I always do “think, think, think”. Well, I’ll just overnight them to the Secretary of State. Then I started reading up on Alabama and Kentucky’s website to please allow for 5 days for processing for mail-ins. WHAT are the chances of finding someone to so kindly accept my marriage and birth certificate…go to the state capital of each state…and visit the Secretary of State FOR me? Because walk-ins are processed immediately:) Thanks to the power of Facebook, Ryan and Brianna Tenges took on Kentucky (RYAN–you Rock! Brianna–can’t wait to hug your neck at Created for Care!) Now…Alabama…hmmm–well, my parents live in Alabama but they at least 1 hour away from the capital. I asked any way:) My dad is often there for work–and when I asked…that sweet man jumped on it. Anything to help bring home his grandson.
Richard is traveling this week–I’ve had a lot of crazy–so God’s timing is so sweet as I opened my email tonight to see an email waiting from my dad. As I read it…I started crying. Because I’m so blessed. Being in the adoption community, I know not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has parents on board with adoption. Not everyone has parents cheering them on when they appear to have a full plate–but they are adopting again. Not everyone has a dad whose heart breaks for orphans and who wants to see them all in families…and I was reminded of that tonight when I read his email. I’m so blessed. And so is our newest son–to have him for a Papa. Although Papa would deny that and tell you he is the one who is blessed to have another grandson across the world.
This part is for you son–I want you to read what your Papa did today. Everyone wants you home so badly–and we’ll do whatever it takes to make it one day closer. We are boogieing on our end to be ready the minute the immigration approval comes so we can have you home sooner. I asked your Papa to run a pretty big and important errand today for me–and the Lord went before Him just as He has gone before all of us as we all try to get you home. You are SO LOVED. The Lord must have such BIG plans for you as He truly continues to pave the way! Here is the email I got from your Papa today–the story of how he went to get an important stamp and how although things tried to make it hard for him, God provided…
My marching orders were to get to the office of the Alabama Secretary of State on Wednesday or Thursday and then FedEx the authenticated document by Thursday afternoon. It seemed simple enough. In December my work is almost always slow. On slow days I work out of a work center only a few blocks from the Capitol.
Then, suddenly on Wednesday morning, everything got very busy and my work week was totally scrambled. By 10:00 A.M. my simple task started to look more like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. I was at our work center in Montgomery when I received a priority dispatch that I needed to get to as soon as possible.
I find it only slightly amusing that the priority order on the front end of this scramble was for God’s Little Lambs Day Care in Opelika, Alabama, about an hour away. Once I left Montgomery, I might not be back in town until Friday. (Mission Fail!) That would not do. How could such a simple assignment suddenly become so very complicated?
I decided to try to swing by and see if I could rush through the process before leaving town. As I approached the Capitol Building I thought about how impossible it can be to find parking. I decided to park in a place near the front of the Capitol where the gazillion steps to the front door discourage many visitors from parking there. Parking was easy breezy but I only had $0.15 in change. Yikes! Wait, there’s a quarter on the ground. Plink, plink, plink and I’m good for 42 minutes. If it’s longer than that I’m in big trouble anyway. Since I wasn’t sure which building I needed to go to, the Capitol Building seemed logical since I knew the Secretary of State has a few administrative offices there and I could ask someone there and could get precise directions for exactly where to go.
After a brief minute waiting on the lady to complete a phone call, I asked if she could direct me to the appropriate place. She stepped away from her desk and pointed out a window to make sure I knew exactly which building I needed to go to. It was a few hundred yards away and the race was on. I was quickly out the door, down the elevator to street level, to the end of the block, across two crosswalks, to the middle of the next block, to one of the many RSA buildings in downtown Montgomery. Then I went in and up the elevator to the 7th floor to Suite 770. There I was directed to see one of two ladies across the partition to have the document authenticated. The lady in the first office was waving me in as soon as I rounded the corner. I briefly explained my assignment, handed her the documents and waited. There was virtually no wait time involved but in the two minutes (or less) that I sat waiting to get the documents back; I made the mistake of looking at my watch.
MAN! I’ve got to GO! Now my mind (and heart) was racing! I don’t have time to go 30-45 minutes out of the way to go to FedEx. I don’t know where there might be a FedEx drop box in Opelika and there is no way I can get to Alexander City in time for a 3:30 pick-up at the FedEx box there. BOOM! “Here you are sir, have a nice day.”
With my mind racing, I go out the door resolved to call Andrea and ask her (if by some miracle she actually answers the phone 😉 to see if she could go online to find a drop box in Opelika that I can get to after my priority appointment.
As I round the corner to the elevators, the elevator door is closing. Just as quickly as it closes, it reopens and a nice lady sticks her head out and says, come on, there’s room. Me: “Thank you so much!” She: “I’m not in a hurry and you sounded like you are”. It was a quick non-stop ride to ground level. I am quickly out the door, to the street, up a block, across two cross walks, over a block, across a cross walk, and up one more block to my truck without ever even having to break stride.
Still, I am worried about where I will drop this package off. Before I get in my truck I have to do the required safety walk all the way around my truck, that my employer calls the “circle of life”. At the back of my truck, I look down the street and; THERE IT IS!!! There is a FedEx truck at the intersection, a block away, about to come my way.
Well, what else could I do? I stepped into the street, just across the center line, grinned and held up the envelope as if to ask him to take it off of my hands. As he came up the street I could see the driver break into a big smile as he slowed to take the envelope. (Insert mental image of the scene near the end of the movie “The Postman”) As I handed him the envelope he laughed and said, “Man! This is somebody’s lucky day!” (He has no idea! 😉 I said, “Thank you so much for stopping!” He said, “It’s what I do. Have a blessed day!”
As I stepped onto the running board to get into my truck, I looked at the parking meter and saw there were 28 minutes remaining. I just looked up, smiled and said (to God), “Now you’re just showing off!” 😉
SO BLESSED and so thankful to have you as my daddy! I love you to pieces. Thank you so much for helping me today–I couldn’t be more thankful or feel more loved. As your daddy would say, “Ya done good!” Can’t type through my tears as I realize how blessed I am!!! I’d give just about anything to bring you and mom with us to China! Man…how loved this sweet boy is!