I don't think I like your tone...

Background Story: Last time we filled out the I-$685, they sent us forms for fingerprinting, that we were to take to the USCIS office at our convenience, during their business hours. Couldn't find the place. Its address was on route 59, BUT the building had its BACK to 59. The only reason we found it is because we turned in at the building to turn around, because we were sure we missed it AGAIN. Then, the lady taking our biometrics (called this, because "fingerprinting" is too understandable) was very mean, and was COMPLAINING ABOUT US, TO OTHERS. Um, helloooo, we’re standing right here.

So, we were expecting a similar “forms to demeaning experience” this time.

We got the forms on Monday. We are being summoned for fingerprints on this Saturday. If we miss the appointment, our claim will be considered abandoned. (Their words.) There was a little check box to reschedule. So, then I’m wondering, do I write in a new requested date? There’s an 800 number on the form to call with questions. Only it doesn’t really want to give you any answers. I dinked around for about 10 minutes going in and out of the long-winded menu options, before realizing that I was NEVER going to speak to a PERSON.

So, off to the Post Office to over-night mail the forms back. I suppose I could have done 2 day, but I felt better about over-night. Yeah… $16.35. Also, it took me 10 minutes of driving back and forth to find the local Post Office. What is it about Gov’t buildings being set WAY back from the road? Oh, there it is... next to the pizza place.

I suppose in the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal, but it irks me how convoluted this whole system is. It must be so difficult for people from other countries to work the system. I was born here and I can barely work it.


It ain't just the paperwork... Part II

So for better or worse, my involvement with the clinic is done. Getting the TB tests into our file, but possibly hosing one of the best Notary's in the world left 'The only thing I needed to do today' as kind of a Pyrrhic victory. I look in the car seat next to me and take inventory. Returning the DVD can wait, post office is on the other side of town, I'm nowhere near a gas station, so I make the passports my next priority. A little extra credit always helps my mood.
I realize I'm about 3 blocks from our small town coffeshop/drugstore/photodeveloper so I make that my next stop. Focusing on the the task at hand I remembered that the reason Chris hadn't already made copies of our passports is because they had to be color. I also made the connection that picking up various drugs were on the honeydo list and that's probably why I was drawn to the drugstore in the first place. I walk in and ask if they have a color copier. I'm told they do not, but the "Shop with 'World in the name' across the street" did have one. Fine. I sift through a couple aisles of drugs, call Chris about 4 times with questions, and finally make my way to the checkout. At the counter I looked through the front window and quickly deduce that "PRINT WORLD" is next on my list.

So I walk into PrintWorld, slap the passports on the counter and say, "Well, I've got an easy one for you. I just need two color copies of these."

The guy just looks at me like I've got my shirt on inside-out and replies, "I can't do that."

"Why? I can see your color copier. It's right there."

"No, it's not that. It's illegal."

At this point my brain is trying to grapple itself out of the Catch-22 before it. Of course it's against the law. Why did I think I could just waltz in and photocopy a passport? Why does the Ethiopian government require illegal documentation? Where's the nearest self service color copier? All I can do is smile and defer to a higher power.

"Let me call my wife" comes out of my mouth.

(we have Nextels...)
*BEEP* "Hey, honey, I'm having a problem making copies of our passports."
*BEEP* "Really, what's the matter?"
*BEEP* "It's illegal and the print guy won't do it." At this point Mr. PrintWorld chimes in that it's probably even be a felony.
*BEEP* "WHAT? Did you tell him it's required for our dossier?"
*BEEP* "That doesn't make it any less illegal." Now behind me I hear PrintWorld Man debating with himself about whether we could use entrapment as a defense.
*BEEP* "Well I did it last time. I'll take it to Kinkos."
*BEEP* "Um, ok. ... ... love you."

I look up at Mr. Printer, thank him for his time and tell him that I will be back if I ever have any legitimate printing needs. He's laughing as I walk away, which is when I realize that I actually got excellent service considering I just asked him to commit a criminal act...

My other errands were a breeze after that.

So in conclusion...
-Our Notary DID catch the doctor and got our medical paperwork Notarized. Go Pam Go!
-And as it turns out, Chris had misread the 'copy the passport' line, and that a regular b/w photocopy was going to be sufficient (and felony-free!)
-It also turns out that I did indeed have my shirt on inside-out all morning.

It ain't just the paperwork... Part I

The adoption process is often referred to as a paper-pregnancy. When I first heard that, I got the impression that the process was going to be like a long day at the IDOT. If you show up with every piece of paperwork that you think you might need about yourself and your vehicle, and a enough money in the checkbook, then things will go smoothly, it'll just take longer than it should. But actually, it feels more like the dreaded high school bug collection. Getting the first 4 or 5 bugs are easy, but you still need 25 more different insects to complete the assignment. And by the time you get 17-20 bugs, you're skimming your neighbors pool for free in hopes of finding waterbugs or emailing your cousin in Iraq to send you some 8 inch desert spider to put you into A range.

Anyway, so this is me yesterday joining the bug hunt... I mean standing in line at IDOT... I mean helping with the paperwork.

I stayed home from work on Tuesday and so Chris gave me a honeydo list. Fine. It was verbally dictated to me at 6:30 in the morning. Which if you know me, you know that's when I process information the best, so it'll come as no surprise to you that when I got out of bed 3 hours later, I promptly went into the basement to play video games for the rest of the morning. Normally, this is how I help with the paperwork...

So a little after 11:30 Chris calls to make sure I'm awake. (Um, yeah, the Demolition Derby isn't going so smash itself...) and says to me, "Scratch everything else I asked you to do. I need you to get our TB test results to the clinic." This is exactly what I wanted to hear on my day off. I've officially been given permission to disregard everything I've already forgotten AND I just have to get 2 pieces of paper to the clinic. Not a problem. "Oh and call the notory and ask her to set up a time to notorize the tests and our physicals." 2 pieces of paper and a phone call, got it. "Oh and I think the clinic closes from noon to 1 for lunch." 2 pieces of paper, a phone call, and now I've got less than 15 minutes. So I hang up the phone and immediately call our friendly neighborhood notary while rooting around for semi-appropriate clothing. Turns out she was more than happy to swing by the clinic with her stamper after a 12 o'clock meeting. So far so good. I reach for our TB test results and realize that they are under our passports. Passports... hmm... it trickles into my mind that getting photocopies of our passports was one of the things on the original list. Which means, if I get that taken care of, I now get extra credit for remembering something I was allowed to forget. So I reach for my car keys and next to them there's an envelope full of financial stuff that was supposed to get mailed 2 months ago. (Note that this was also no longer on the list, and therefore bonus spouse points) So I grab the passports, the mail, my cellphone, and 2 pieces of paper, and head out the door. I get to the car, and there's a DVD to return sitting shotgun, as yet another blatant attempt at a self-reminder. So me, the DVD, the passports, the mail, the cellphone, and 2 pieces of paper go tearing off to the clinic. We get there at 11:57 on fumes.

The nurses were none too happy to help me with my paperwork on their lunch break, but all facts considering, didn't give me too much of a hassle about it. They took our TB test results and gave me a copy. I told them the notary would be swinging by early this afternoon to stamp our stuff. "The doctor has patients this afternoon, she'll need to make an appointment," was the response I got. Now you may note that those were indeed my wife's exact directions. I was just a little busy bouncing around in one sandal to relay that to the Notary when I had her on the phone.

So I run back to the car and leave a message for the Notary saying, "Call the clinic before driving out. You need an appointment." I hang up and leave it in God and Verizon's hands. If you've ever stuck a pin through a bug, only to watch it start moving again... you know how I felt at that moment.


What does that stand for?

I was thinking today about how quickly all this paperwork is going this time. And I thought "Wouldn't it be great if something was in the mail today to confirm how quickly all this is going?" Our God is great and awesome, and there were TWO things in the mail: IL State Police forms for background checks, and a receipt from our I-600 form, which should be called the I-$685 form. (Or, in our case, the I-$2,055 form, since this is the 3rd time we've done it.)

So I filled out the forms for the background checks and went to address the envelope. They wanted it sent to this address:

Illinois State Police Information and Technology Command Bureau of Identification.

Great Scott! Do you kiss your mama with that mouth? ISPITCBI... I Spit Cbi? Is Pit Cbi? Nope, doesn't make a good acronym. Who decided on all those words? Who do you work for? Oh, I work for the Illinois State Police Information and Technology Command Bureau of Identification.


We do not have TB.

That is all.

Well, not totally all. We were supposed to be at the Health Dept. at 2:15 on Friday.

At 2:45, Lee called me and said "Weren't we supposed to be somewhere at 2:15?"

So, we raced down there, but turns out it was no big deal. We got our little yellow cards with the 'negative' circled, so we're good.


TubercuLOsis. oOOoh. Good One.

We got our TB tests yesterday at the lovely and scenic Department of Public Heath. An Elmo video was cranking in the waiting room. It was LOUD. Note to self: No Elmo in the house. Ever. I was ready to puncture my own ear drums to make it stop! Luckily, we were called in just as I was raising the pen to my ear.

There is a sliding scale payment for getting tested. The Dr. (?) Nurse (?) who administered the test was apologetic about the fact that we'd have to pay full price. $28 each. In the grand scheme of adoption costs, this was one of the cheapest good times we've had. :)

Friday, we go back to have the results read. Woot. I'll bring the earplugs in case Elmo is in the Hizz-ouse.