January 7, 2013

The GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY

The last 24 hours have really been....well....they stunk. Big time.

I'll start with the UGLY.
 Because I like to get the bad stuff out of the way.

The UGLY is our van. The van that broke down on Christmas Eve in the middle of nowhere at 11:30pm on the coldest day of the year. The van whose head gaskets are going bad and need to be replaced.

Price tag? $2000-$2400.
That's like two plane tickets to China.
(There's a silver lining in the UGLY though. Jon sets aside money each payperiod for car repair, and we have enough in that fund. So we shouldn't have to touch any adoption or emergency funds.)

The BAD.
The bad may actually be worse than the UGLY, but the van problem happened tonight on top of the other events of the day, so it takes the prize.

The bad is Meili's visa paperwork. If you recall, we had some problems with US immigration losing a piece of our paperwork. Because of this, our I800 was approved BEFORE our I800A update. This is not the order it's supposed to go in. Meili's visa paperwork (DS-230) was the next thing we were to submit and we had to sit on for 3+ weeks while we waited for the I800A update to get approved.

Every piece of instruction I had from our agency said that our NVC letter (letter from the visa center saying our paperwork had been approved) would come 10-14 days AFTER OUR DS-230 was submitted. We submitted it on December 17 and as of yesterday, hadn't heard anything. Thankfully, a friend encouraged me to check on it and gave me some resources to do so.

When I pulled out my files and flipped through them, the letter was already in there. The date on it was November 29. This means 3 things:

1. I had had it the whole time. I don't remember getting it, or filing it. But apparently I knew it was important because I kept it.
2. We just wasted three weeks. Waiting for paperwork that was in our house. THREE WEEKS.
3. Our agency failed to inform us that the NVC letter really comes after I800 approval, NOT after DS-230 submission. They also failed to follow up with us and ask us why on EARTH we hadn't sent them the NVC letter when our I800 had been approved back in November.

When I found the letter, I immediately called Jon up and blubbered something about "I made a huge mistake...go scan this NOW...this is horrible..." I probably completely freaked him out. We got it to the agency first thing this morning.

Needless to say, I'm furious and frustrated. Mostly with myself. The guilt made me sick to my stomach all day and I couldn't concentrate on any of my other tasks. But I'm also very frustrated that the people we are paying to handle our paperwork failed to keep tabs on where we were with it.

So here's the problem with the BAD:
Had our NVC letter been submitted 3 weeks ago, it would have been approved and picked up today. That means we would have been issued our Travel Invitation in about 3 weeks and would have traveled in February. But now, it will likely be dropped off on Thursday + 2 weeks for processing = January 24 for pick up. January 24 + 3 weeks for Travel Invitation = February 14. Too late for February travel.

We lost a month. Because of this error, Meili will spend another month in that horrible orphanage. We will very likely be traveling in March now.

Just so you don't think I'm crazy, take a look at this thing:

Does that look like a VERY important, official document? I don't think so.
Does it have watermarks and scroll-y stuff all over and metallic threads woven in like our other "official" paperwork? No.
It's not an excuse, but I wasn't expecting it, and didn't know what it was. It came when it wasn't supposed to. Thank goodness I at least SAVED it!

All that said, here's the GOOD:

We still get to go get her.

Even if it's a month later than planned. Some of those poor families waiting for their children in Russia can't say that right now. Last Fall, China changed some of their requirements regarding what they would accept in home study reports. This affected us. We were told if China didn't accept our addendum to our home study, we'd be done. Out of the program. This was why we waited so anxiously for our LOA and were so thrilled when it did come. We also found out today that many families with our agency were not so lucky, and China did not accept their home study addendums.

So tonight we are thankful. Because as it is right now, she'll still be able to come home with us.

Our prayer request for the day: Please pray that our Travel Approval comes unusually fast. Like 2 weeks instead of 3. If that were to happen. We could still possibly make it in February. But more importantly, please pray that the rest of our paperwork gets through SMOOTHLY. Even if it means a delay in travel time.


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