The cat is likely out of the bag by the time this gets posted in reference to the visas, so I will save the few details for a bit. I made a startling discovery inside my room at the guest house. After a week and a half I cannot believe I missed it. Remember the button for the water heater, you know, the one that has a relaxing orange glow to it? It just so happens that when I looked in one of the corners of the room, there was another button out of sight that looked just like the water heater, but this one says air conditioner!
Finally, one of the main features that I have been wanting was here all along. I pushed the button expecting the hum of the air conditioner to kick on at any moment. I could almost feel the cold air removing the humidity and stickiness out of the room. Finally, after about 24 hours now, the room feels the same as always. Apparently the buttons were put in, but somehow there was an oversight and they forgot to hook up the appliances to go along with the buttons.
I think the ladies will especially like this one. I lifted up my pillow this morning and there was some sort of bug that I had to mush on the sheets. The three inch in diameter spider (with all 8 legs spread out) is either dead or still alive behind one of the baseboards. I may have gotten him, but every time I walk by the last place I saw him, I give an extra look around to see if he is waiting to attack.
There are several papers that you need at the embassy when you show up at the guard gate. It seems that when you have one of a certain kind of paper, and you have an American passport, you get in a lot easier that way. One of the first important letters is the one that states that you should show up at the embassy to file the I-600. . Once you have your I-600 approval stateside, you will likely get a letter stating to file for your visas at the embassy in
Percy will usually get in with you, and most of the time Edward is there too. Several times they give Percy a hard time and don’t want to let him in, I tell the guards that Percy is my representative and he MUST go in with me. They have let him in every time. Getting in the door from outside is the first step. You immediately go into the guard room where you have to check in any electronic devices. You have your bag scanned, walk through a metal detector, then go outside briefly to the area that is inside where the two long rows of chairs are located. Once you have the visa application in, you will have a blue piece of paper that you must bring to pick up your visas. This is another important paper since again you need this in order to get in the building….
I set a new record for the entire embassy and guard staff today. I beat Anita by a long shot, and likely I will not be beat anytime soon. I was at the embassy today to pick up the visas. This is the easiest leg of the entire trip. When you have the slip you are just about guaranteed that you will have what you need, except if you are me. We arrived early for our appointment at . We sat down, and I was called up around 10 30. So far so good, I came early so they called me early. They handed me my first packet, and as soon as they handed me one of the boy’s visas, the lady immediately asked for it back and told me to sit down and they will call me in a little while.
I was like, ok, whatever. Then finally around 11 15 I was called up to get the visas, Zack followed immediately afterwards. Great we are good to …Oops, 3 of the 4 boys were marked as Female instead of Male. No problem, easy fix. We handed the visas to one of the clerks and she was so positive and helpful. She said, well we just can’t change this, you will have to come back next Friday when we fix it and reissue the visas again. I was thinking slightly different plans than this woman, so I told her that we were leaving tomorrow and that would not really work very well. She said, hold on and let me see what I can do. Zack was called up several times and they said they will get with us in some minutes. Some minutes turned out to be about an hour
. I remained calm and started to pray. Zack got his one child corrected almost an hour later and he was out of there. I had the privilege of waiting it out with Percy. The embassy closed at , and Percy and I were in it for the long haul. Percy and I had a little laugh because we think we know why this whole thing happened. It was *payback*. You see...We were talking on the way to the embassy how it is funny that the guys are here and how we think out problems instead of reacting with emotions. This is just how men and women differ and I understand that. Let’s just say we siad that if another member to the human race was there that was not a male, Percy’s sleeves would be covered with Revlon and eyeball juice. Big mistake.
They gave us a special slip to come back later that afternoon and we reluctantly left. We came back about two hours later and finally walked back in the building around .
The man helping us named Luis recognized that they made a mistake and should have caught this. He assured me that he will be there for us to finish this thing up. Finally one of the visas came back. Great, now that the gender is correct, they forgot to check the date of birth. One of them had to be done three times. There is a computer scan that reads the facial features of people and determines male or female, but the names should have validated the sex of the children. Long story short, after going through four boxes of Kleenex and having raging hormones, we received the final visas at . There were four guards there who had to stay after without extra pay because of all of this. Let’s just say I dare any of you to top all of that. This is reason number 47 why you all would be travelers will want to plan ahead. This whole entire trip should not have turned out the way it did. I really should have come home last week without the children.
We prayed that God’s will be done and that He would get all of the glory. Since there were so many obstacles in the way, there is absolutely NO WAY that these boys should be coming home unless the Father of Heaven gave us the grace.. This is exactly why I am so privileged to be a Christian. It is not about monetary prosperity or perfect health, or being a Baptist, it is all about a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I will say that on the human aspect, Percy did an excellent job with everything else. I have gotten to know him pretty good over the last week and a half. He is very honest and he is very kind. I believe that on the human side, none of this process would have happened as soon as it did without his help. He works crazy hours to get all of these silly pieces of paper together and he makes it look so easy, but I am totally convinced that he gets little earthly thanks for being a good steward with what he has to work with.
Edward also was terrific and very reliable. He was also at the embassy several times and they both communicate together to make sure that all is done right. Percy is not the regular driver, but he is going to see me off to the airport too. Trust this guy, and please take care of both of them well both during the trip and afterwards. Anything extra that they receive from you is less that what you would have paid without their help. They have connections with the locals and I can see the ease of the things I was able to do since he was with me a lot. He could have left me today, but he was determined to see this thing through in its entirety.
On a bittersweet note, by next week, 1/3 of the kids will have left Eban House. Sad for the workers and other kids left behind, but good that new kids can come in and the kids who are left can go with their permanent families. The kids talk amongst each other about who is leaving. I have had a few of them give me the cold shoulder over the last few days when they found out I am taking my two kids. I don’t think they are trying to be totally mean to each other about it, but these guys are like family to each other, and this is just the reality of the situation.
After a few minutes, they seem to forgive me and I can play with the kids who were mad at me again. I am personally going to refrain from making a big deal about leaving since I want to be sensitive to the workers too. Keep in mind that many of them would almost die for the opportunity to go to
Wow, I used the word sensitive about myself, but don’t worry, my wife can tell you that is a rare trait and it is hardly displayed by her dh. It took me a while to figure out what dh meant, and there are all of these codes for shorthand cyber typing that I don’t do anyway.
Unless something weird happens, we are out of here early Saturday morning. I hope this gives you all more information about this orphanage and the international adoption process. Akwabba.
[ Oh yea, correction on the Edwards. I believe that it is Edwin who works at the guest house, not another Edward. Also, Visa is the preferred credit card here, not Mastercard.]