Springing Forward and Spinning Around

I feel like we are spinning our wheels these days.  There is still so much uncertainty as to how to finalize Kembe's adoption.  After several weeks of seemingly endless phone calls and forms, I did at least get the beloved state health insurance card in the mail.  When it arrived, I held it up like the father held up Simba in the beginning of the Lion King movie.  I might have sung a little operatic "Aaaaahhhhhh!!"  I was a little excited.  A lack of health insurance is all fun and games, until it happens to you. 

Now, we are left with the task of trying to adopt him in the US, and trying to immigrate him to the US.  Two distinctly unrelated processes, both of which I am hoping to do without an attorney.  I filed our adoption application with our local courthouse, who may have been, collectively, the most rude and unhelpful group of people ever gather in one office.  They refused to answer any of my questions because it might be giving out legal advice.

"Where do I find the top sheet for turning in these forms?"
"I'm sorry, we can't give out legal advice"

"How late are you open tomorrow?"
"I'm sorry, we can't give out legal advice"

"Can I use this pen?"
"I'm sorry, we can't give out legal advice"

Good times.  Fortunately we seem to be making a little headway there, and have figured out that we need a post-placement visit and we should (hopefully) be good to go.  But don't quote me on that.  I can't give out legal advice.

USCIS remains supremely unhelpful.  Phone calls to their number usually take you through a 30 minute labyrinth of unhelpful automated messages, after which you hear a dial tone and realize that the call has ended.  Every time I have finally gotten through to someone, I am told that they are still working on what the process will be for Haitian children.  I did learn that we had to take Kembe for an immigration medical exam.  This had to be performed by a civil surgeon, and of course none of the doctors at the free clinic where he has been seen are civil surgeons.  And of course they don't accept his shiny new state medical card. So yesterday morning Mark drove him all the way down to Laguna, to another free clinic that has a civil surgeon, only to be told that they refused to see him because we do not have any papers from a US court saying we are his guardians.

Another wasted morning.

As someone who likes efficiency and getting things done, and as someone with an extremely limited amount of time on her hands, I can't tell you how infuriating this stuff is.  And really, this is only the tip of the iceburg.  I just don't feel like actually writing out all of the annoying interchanges and phone calls and wasted trips we've had over the last few weeks.  Except I will tell you that at one point, our family was kicked out of the Orange County family courthouse, because the line to file papers was about two hours long, and the line wrapped around the open doors of a courtoom so that our kids could be heard during the proceedings.  So apparently the next time we have to go up there, we will have to leave the kids at home.  Note to self: DO NOT BRING FAMILY TO FAMILY COURT.

We keep getting all these wonderful emails about teleconferences and books and medical needs and counseling opportunities for parents of Haitian children who were "traumatized by the earthquake".  I would like to take this opportunity to tell the DHHS, CDC, Joint Council on Adoption, PEAR, and any other entity concerned about these kids:  give us a straightforward adoption process, so that we can stop spending our time on this crap and actually focus on the needs of our kids.  The best thing we can give these kids right now is parents who completely exhausted by this administrative and political nightmare.  I hate how distracted this is making me.  I hate that as I look at our calendar, any family time we have in the next two weeks will likely be spend filing papers or driving to the courthouse or at a doctor's office.

Wah.  Can you tell we are ready for this part to be over?


On a more positive note, I am absolutely thrilled that daylight saving time is here.  Yes, it stinks to lose an hour of sleep for one night.  But I absolutely love the longer days, and the fact that my kids can play outdoors in the evening.  I am looking forward to establishing our post-dinner family walks again.  Oh, and Kembe will no longer be rolling the neighborhood on the princess bike, now that he's got his very own Mongoose.  Now, if only I can get India out of her chariot/stroller and onto that princess bike.

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:01 PM

    Thank you for posting this. I'm at least glad to know that I'm not the only person who can't figure out how to finalize my son's adoption. I'd love to hear any tips on how you scored the coveted insurance card. Way to go!

    Heidi

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  2. Girl, I can't imagine having to go through all of that. I can't believe they kicked ya'll out of family court, Ridiculous!!!
    On a more positive note, I'm right there with you on Daylight savings, I am loving these longer days. We have also started post dinner walks!
    I love Kembe's cool new mongoose, look at him go!!!

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  3. I hear you, sister. We just finalized our adoption for our son Tariku and I feel like I should get an honorary law degree. One little bit at a time...
    much love! Adore your blog and have re-posted numerous times..
    -Jillian Lauren
    http://www.jillianlauren.com/blog/

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  4. Anonymous6:55 PM

    even with a "straightforward international adoption", I had to get fingerprinted for USCIS twice, take forms to their office in Santa Ana, fill out medical forms several times, get several physicals, get new copies of my birth certificate twice, (because the details of my birth somehow changed in the year I waited for a child?)...The document stack and paperwork afterward was/is a nightmare. WAHHHHH! oh I wish there was a paperwork leprecaun for ya!!

    deb s.

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  5. Can't figure it out here either. If anyone does-let me know! We have someone at our congressmans office trying to get details and help us. The local court here won't do re-adoption (that's where we are at) without original documents. Hoping for medical insurance to kick in for our son soon!! Ugh... I totally understand the frustration.

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  6. So sorry to hear of your adoption struggles. Didn't realize how complicated it is in the U.S.

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  7. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Wow, so I guess I should actully tell somebody that Dania is here, like our adoption agency or a gov't office? We've just been enjoying her and acting like she's our daughter.lol She's on our insurance and enrolled in our local homeschool... I figured I'll wait til Summer to start the paperwork stuff then maybe at least someone will have a bit of a clue as to what to do next. I mean, what is anybody seriously going to do now if I'm late on paperwork? Beat me over the head with a sharp stick? Apparently, nobody knows what to do with these kids anyway. Am I right?

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  8. Anonymous8:19 PM

    Love Kembe's new bike! And yay for the insurance card! India will ride when she's ready, but don't be surprised if Karis takes off on the princess bike first!

    I'm so sorry about the adoption struggles. If I were in your area I would totally wait in line with you or for you or watch the kids (obviously you would want to get to know me first!). I hope somebody out there is listening and understanding that the best way to help ALL of these families is to move in a straightforward orderly fashion. Unfortunately,bureaucracy seldom works that way. But a girl can dream...

    Jill

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  9. Amen, amen and Amen! I am so tired of all the crap we're getting from all involved (or, in reality, all not-so-involved). We hear one thing, act on it, find out we were told incorrectly (as far as they know). Start over.

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talk to me.

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