Sunday, June 21, 2009

Trip to the Embassy #1

Monday, June 15 -- Trip to the Embassy #1
The board meeting about the passports is supposed to happen this morning and we had hoped to hear something today but did not. Our day started out pretty laid back. We had an embassy appointment today at 2pm to hopefully file for visas and I had decided that even if we did not get A &A’s passports, I would go ahead and file for Isaiah’s. I had figured that our I-600a expired on the 19th of June and so we were still safe to go ahead and file for Isaiah’s visa.
Our driver arrived around 12:30, so we loaded up in the car to head to the Embassy. Having been here so long now, and learning how SLOW things sometimes go, I packed us snacks, water bottles and juices in the diaper bag along with toys and other things. The diaper bag must have weighed ten pounds.
John, our driver dropped us off in the front of the embassy and almost got in trouble for stopping, as there were plenty of signs that read No stopping, no video , no photography. We got in the reception line where they check your passports and your reason for entering and got our badges after some time. You are not allowed to take any electronics inside the embassy. I had forgotten to leave my phone in the van so I had to get into another line to check it in. We then went to get in another line to get into the embassy where they were letting people in one by one. Finally our turn came and we put our bags in the xray machine. When they came out the other side, I had to unpack EVERYTHING from the bag, then I had to drink from every juice cup and water bottle. I had to prove that they were not liquid explosives. Alenni and Andrew got a kick out of me drinking from a Dora sippy cup. (You gotta do what your country requires of you) My purse then had to be unpacked and checked and then Maggie’s purse. I was tired already and we were only through the first door. Thank goodness Maggie was there to help with the kids.
They then let us through a door which led out into a court yard and we followed the sidewalk to the next building where the consulate was. We then had to knock on the door where an attendant let us in and ushered us to a seat. There against the wall was a water cooler. –(NOTE TO SELF: Next time don’t bring three big bottles of water, water is available and bag will be lighter.)
We take our seats in a room that is full of lots of people and Isaiah is quite friendly. He plays with his motor car on the floor and makes all kinds of car noises. Really LOUD. He changes from a motor running, to a siren, to a horn blowing to a race car. I have learned not to care. He is the only entertainment we have besides the CNN Asia that is playing on the TV above us. Allenni and Andrew do pretty well waiting as we waited for quite some time. Then Allenni and Andrew discovered the water cooler and entertained themselves getting water. That of course lead to needing to use the toilet and so they did and stayed there quite some time. I suspect that they are checking everything out as it is set up as a nice American restroom. Isaiah has eyed people going in and out of these doors and figures out what is behind them during glimpses when the doors have opened and closed. He informs me he has to poopy. Now this child can poopy on command and I love it. No matter what time of the day it is, if you sit him on a toilet and say, “poopy” he makes a face and voila! It is done! He grins real big and sometimes raises his hands and shouts hallelujah and then reaches for you to remove him from the throne! Sorry for that rabbit trail. Anyway, we head off to the toilet ourselves as I have watched CNN rotate the news 2 1/2 times already. (Did you know that the stadium for the World Cup 2010 is almost completed in South Africa? The seats are orange. And that Iran is in turmoil over elections? And no professional media people are allowed to let photos or video come out but there are leaks anyway?) Sorry, there I go again, off on another trail.
Isaiah is enthralled with the bathroom. He notices that the toilet is bigger and nicer. He lets mommy go first and then it is his turn. He almost falls in and then grins at me after he gains his balance. I flushed when he finished and his eyes lit up as if he was thinking,
“Hey, this flushed differently.” As I washed my hands, he went to the toilet, looked at the handle and flushed it, all proud of himself. Evidently he liked what it did, because he glanced at me, glanced at the toilet and quickly flushed again, thinking maybe I didn’t see him. He did this two more times, quite fascinated. Finished, we left with him wanting to flush more.
Thankfully, he didn’t have a meltdown and throw himself down in the floor and kick and scream like he sometimes is prone to do, when I told him we needed to leave the bathroom.
Finally, we were called in to see the Consulate and he informed me that all three kids medicals were expired! Ugh!!!!
This was terrible news. Those visa medicals were not easy to do and usually take several days. He went ahead and had me sign all the papers for Isaiah’s application and had me swear with my right hand that all was true, but told me that he couldn’t do anything to process until the medicals were done. He told me to get new medicals and bring them in the next day at 1pm. Easier said than done. He then told me to go and sit out and pay the cashier for the visa. So I went to the window and waited. And waited. And waited. Then one of the clerks told me to have a seat and the cashier would call me. So I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited. We had about had our fill of waiting when a cleaning crew showed up and all of us in the waiting area were asked to go outside in the waiting area there while they cleaned.
I figured this would be a good time to have a little picnic and brought out the mixed nuts, crackers and juice. We must have made the other people hungry because one of the guys left his family and returned with a huge bag of bananas. Finally, my name was called and I was ushered inside. I left the kids with Maggie outside because there was more room for Isaiah to maneuver around. The cashier asked me what I was there for and when I told her a visa fee for an adoption she looked at me funny and said, “Wait just a moment.” I saw her go in the back and talk to Mr. Flook. He said something to her with a look of , ”Why do I deal with people like this” and she returned saying that he had told me to just pay when I returned tomorrow. UGH! Sometimes I hate talking through those glass walls, you can’t have a decent conversation, especially when people are talking with their heads down. One hour of my day wasted. I returned outside to find a crisis. One side of the concreted wait area outside had drains that ran from one end of the area to the other with metal grates over them. There was of course in the bottom of them the typical dirt, sticks, leaves, paper, trash, money and Andrew’s shoe. Yes, Andrew’s shoe. I was already disgusted with having to had wait unnecessarily and this didn’t help matters. After giving him an ugly look and asking him how his shoe got down there, he simply said, “Mummy, Money!” Sure enough there by his shoe, was 200 shillings. Enough to buy himself a good piece of candy. He had this idea that he could scoop it up with his shoe and raise it about 12 inches. If I had been there I could have told him that it would have never worked. Instead he should have taken the pencil in the diaper bag and the gum in his mouth and gotten it with that. But I wasn’t around, so he didn’t know.
He wanted me to pull up the grates and get his shoe and money out. Uh, they were cemented in. I tried and they didn’t budge. He then tried to convince me to break a branch off one of the trees in the embassy yard and try to get it out. My patience had worn thin and I was not going to risk getting arrested by tearing a branch off of a tree in the perfectly manicured yard for 200 shillings and a flipflop that had already been sown with string several times.
I told him to take his other shoe off and we tossed it in the nearby garbage as he protested. “Andrew, what are you going to do with one shoe, the other is lost?” “Mummy, I will wear it.” “ On one foot?” At this he laughed. “No.”
I know it was mean but I let him think that he would either have no shoes now or he would have to buy some more himself.
Actually, I had a pair in the suitcase at home that I was saving for the trip home, but he didn’t know this.
On exiting the Embassy, I had to retrieve my phone from the check in and we stood there and stood there and stood there as they tried to locate my phone. I was patient. Really I WAS. After looking through the two books several times, I told them I had entered the Embassy near 1pm. So they looked for me by time. Still no me registered. They questioned whether I even checked my phone in. Finally the guard from the door who had seen me check in, looked through the books and found me. I got my phone and we were on our way.
We left the Embassy and went on our very long walk to the parking lot where they let the visitors park. I was tired but my mind was thinking on how to get medicals for these kids in one day. I prayed for favor and called the clinic. I briefly explained the problem and the receptionist told me to come in at 8am the next morning. We gladly arrived in Seguku, after sitting in the embassy so long. We have no pictures of this event as they don’t allow camera anywhere near the place. So no visuals to accompany this post. Though I might add a few others.


Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Oh wow!!! Patience is a virtue, but sometimes it is painfully so. Still praying for God's favor, His almighty hand to provide miracles for you all to get home!!!

Michelle Riggs said...

Praying for quick medicals and visas. What a long stressful day.

Thanks for the update. I have been thinking about you guys.


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