Last Friday we get a call from our agency with the urgency to get the USCIS approval we had just received apostilled and sent directly to Peru because the DGA was meeting the following Wednesday. It was an unscheduled meeting and they needed to have our approval there Monday for us to be considered. What ensued next was nothing short of a “An Amazing Race” episode where yours truly was NOT a winner. First of all I was getting a very needed haircut at the moment which ended abruptly when I heard I needed to run to NYC to get this done. Yes I have yet to return to the salon to get the finish product but for now, let’s call this haircut freestyle layers. It is 10:20 at this point and I have to run home, pick up the approval and drive to the train station to take the 11:15 which will have me in the city by noon. Having done this trek a bajillion times in our 5 years at this, I know that I have to be in the NY Deparment of State office by 1:30 today or they will no longer do it while I wait. Since I still had to take the subway downtown and walk a few blocks not to mention I had to buy a money order since hubby decided today of all days to take the checkbook to work, it was going to be a challenge. After I ripped hubby a new one on the phone for the inconvenience of looking for a money order seller(which he took like a champ since he knew I didn’t mean it and I was just frustrated) I jumped in the car and I was off. I arrived at the office at 1:24 only to see the line was already ginormous and I know from experience that at 1:30 they stop the line and tell people to either leave the papers to be done and picked up the following business day or to come back. There were 4 people still in front of me at 1:30 but they chose to stop the line two people after me so I was good! First obstacle done! When I got to the window however, I was told that they could not apostille the paper because it was not notarized. I panicked!! This isn’t my first rodeo and I know that since this paper was already sent by the federal government (Homeland Security) it was already at the highest authority thus no need to notarize it, I thought. I was wrong, very, very wrong! Apparently I needed to have an affidavit stating what the paper was and this paper had to be notarized and authenticated before it could be apostilled. It was already 1:40. The lady saw I was almost in tears and told me that if I make it back before 3(they close at 3:30) she will get it done for me. With that information the race was on. My first step was to find a notary. I ran into law offices and banks for three blocks, shout out to the notary at TD bank who saw me in tears and notarized my paper even though I don’t bank with them. Second obstacle completed. I then ran to the NYC courthouse as fast as I could. I knew this running for exercise was going to pay off someday, by now it was 2:25. I made the line to authenticate the notary and I was feeling good about my timeline until I got to the counter. Apparently since the approval had been sent to my husband, even though my name appeared as spouse, he was supposed to have gotten the affidavit himself, so all the running around I did and all the money I had just spent was for nothing because they could not authenticate it therefore it could not be apostilled. Third obstacle, failed. I left there a mess! Uneven hair wet from rain and sweat from running and tears. That train ride back home was the worst. On an up note, the train was full but I had the whole seat to myself, since no one dared sit next to the crazy looking emotional girl. When I got home my representative promised to present a copy on Wednesday and crossing our fingers they just might allow it. We also heard they might meet again at the end of the month. With that information hubby and I made the trek into the city Monday morning got the job done and paid to overnight the precious document straight to Peru. Here’s hoping Wednesday we get good news!!

So it appears that the universe always sends us good things just in time to keep us from completely losing our s&%$. Well this time it was two things, kinda waiting for the third (don’t things happen in 3s?). Anyway, the first one is that hubby is on the list to be promoted effective September 1st! Colonel in the house!!! He also just got a new position, that I should know what it is and I feel like a jerk for not learning but I will find out ASAP because it seems super important. This one of course is the best news but the next one is hella exciting for me. I recently made the list of Top 100 Mom blogs of 2018. Since there are, I’m sure, a bajillion moms and gazillion of those moms might have blogs, I think this is pretty special. Let’s just hope nobody is getting fired for choosing this one. Just in case, no givesies backsies, and if I could lick the widget I already placed on my site I would (and I just sort’a did). Well, well, well what do you know, you are not reading garbage and people like this blog. Ooooh now I feel like I have to step my game. Yeah….. I don’t do new stuff, it kind’a seems like a lot of work for a widget. Sorry but this is what you get.

Here is the crap I had to buy with his new rank….FYI NOT CHEAP 😦

And this is the fancy little widget I got to put on my site…..FYI FREE 🙂

WE ARE NOT OK! By we, I mean me. So in less than a week I will be dropping my son off at college. I like to say that I am excited and proud and happy for him, and although I truly am all those things, I am also super nervous and sad. What is my deal? I am generally not a feels kind of person. Some even go as far as to say I have a heart of stone, I punch those people in the throat, but I digress. This has literally been one of the hardest weeks thus far. I know I am probably smothering him but I think I’m fully justified since this is the beginning of the end, not in a dramatic weird way but in the “he will never live full time under my roof again” way. I find myself staring at him as he naps. Which FYI what the hell does he have to be so tired about, he already quit his job. Annd there’s the Jessica I know. Seriously though, every little thing he does now (no matter how moronic I thought it was before) sends me into hysterics because I will miss it. You might also say I am buying his love and time with dorm purchases but really I think he is also enjoying having some alone time with both his dad and I. You wouldn’t know it of course by the yelling match that transpired yesterday but we are in a good place. This is what the neighbors heard (I apologized already, not so much for what I said, but because our windows were open):

Me: Charlie, you are not going to another movie or dinner with your friends, since you promised time with me before you go to college.
Charlie: Oh my God mom, you are going to see me some weekends and breaks. (I let the ‘some’ go because it would have started argument #2)
Me: I don’t care, you are going to spend time with your father and I until you leave.
Charlie: Really? You have got to give me some personal space.
Me: (and this is the part I was not very proud of) What? Listen child you came out of my “personal space”, so until I drop your little butt of in NJ, you are mine.
Charlie: OH MY GOD MOM!! I want to jump in front of a car.
Me: Well it better not be until I drop you off at school.
Charlie: UGHHH and runs off.

So parents with college age kiddos, is this normal? Well not so much us, as the feelings and fights and sadness?

Today was a good day though. We went dorm shopping and I think I must have spent half a semester tuition. You are welcome Target! Who am I kidding it was Walmart. Of course the boujee kid wanted to hit up Bed Bath and freaken Beyond. I laughed and laughed, cause I thought he forgot who we were. He did say thank you so that was nice. Let’s hope I can make it to move-in day without a. Becoming a blubbering mess or b) Killing him. I tell you, the feelings are extreme right now.

Here is the damage we did!!

So last I left you, the resolution had been passed making the kids orphans free for adoption. Well we quickly sent a letter requesting to study their files and we waited to be approved to do so. We assumed Peru would take their sweet time because 1. That’s just what they do and 2. It was during Peru Independence day, which means nobody works. Well lo and behold we were approved within the week. WHAT??? We were shocked to say the least and quickly scrambled to write the letter of request to adopt. We were basking in our good fortune and enjoying the ease of the process when, of course, as per the usual, the universe raised its hand giving us the proverbial middle finger. We found out that our USCIS paperwork was soon expiring and we needed to redo and repay for fingerprints, background checks, homestudy etc. Oh YESSSSS! This is more how we roll!! Well played homeland security, well played. Every year for 5 years you have checked us out thoroughly (short of a cavity check, and I would authorized that if it buys us more time between them…..uhmmm yeah maybe not…I will need some serious wooing for that and lots of drinks) and have found us to be outstanding-ish citizens and ok-ish parents. Of course this couldn’t have come at at worst time, but if that wasn’t enough of a kick in the junk, Peru recently, and by recently I mean they found out things were going too easy for us and said hey let’s change an entire law here to mess with them. So, of course, the letter that we sent a week ago was given back to our rep with the explanation that, from here on (so from when the Oxendines gave their letter in) Peru now requires all letters to be notarized and apostilled. Oy vey! Here is the kicker, we were on vacation when we heard. Oh and by vacation I mean I tagged along when my husband had a work thing. Yes people, this is how we vacation these days because of how much this adoption is costing us, he travels for work and I either use points or find the cheapest flight and tag along. I get to stay in his room because its already paid for and I tour the city while he’s working. Well in this occasion we happened to be in Washington State and so one whole day was dedicated to just getting us over this hurdle. These are the steps I had to take: I got a friend to go inside my house (yes its always open….and I just looked through the blog to make sure my address wasn’t in it, not because of any of you honest readers….other people). find my computer get the letter we wrote and email it to me. After I made her swear to not look through my pics I thanked her and send her on her way. I printed said letter and looked for a notary that will take us on the spot. I had to find someone close to hubby’s work thing so he can walk over during lunch and sign with me. Once I got that I had to go to the capitol building in Olympia Washington (thank God we were in the capital) and apostille the document. After sending it overnight to our agency I was back at the hotel for happy hour…..cause adoption is hella stressful and momma needed a drink. I have to say, I was super resourceful and quick on my feet with this one. Full disclosure, after landing in Washington State and getting this voicemail, I was a mess for about an hour and then, as always, got my crap together, put my big girl panties on and went in all adoption beast mode. I do amaze myself sometimes with how determined and tenacious I am….buuuut then there’s times when I can’t even find my pants to leave the house. Its called balance people! So now we are patiently waiting to get a visit from our social worker for the homestudy redo, for USCIS to send us the clear and for us to be approved to adopt these kids. Basically we are just waiting, AGAIN!

Takeaways of this post:
1. Make note that requests have to be notarized and apostilled from now on
2. Make sure you are keeping track of the USCIS expiration dates
3. Don’t tell people your house is never locked.

Here are some pics of the Capitol building in Washington State complete with the beautifully apostilled document!

If you ever want to know all the things that could go wrong in an international (Peruvian) adoption, read our blog, ask us!  I took a hiatus from writing because I was truly overwhelmed….actually, overwhelmed probably doesn’t even cover the feelings we were experiencing these past few months.  We were both exhausted and deflated and very, very close to shutting this whole thing down.  There is only so much a person can take.  I’ll start explaining the last obstacle we came upon.  Back in mid May we requested to study the case of a sibling group of 3.  We waited to hear a response which did not come within the Peruvian constitutionally required time (we know this to be 10 working days).  Upon inquiry, we learned that an oversight of the orphanage had not gotten the paternal signature to formally make the children orphans and therefore free for adoption. (OMG Peru you are killing me, slowly)  Yes friends, if this was ever going to happen, it was, of course, going to happen to us.  This had to be corrected and we expected it to be done quickly by means of going to a judge in the city and the dad signing away his rights and granting us access to study files and eventually adopt them.  Just a little background on the parents without saying too much, mom checked out as soon as she could but dad remained in the picture, going as far as to visit them while they were in the orphanage.  I’m sure this is the oversight that gave him the opportunity to petition said court to keep the kids there.  Now we know he cannot have them for many reasons I won’t disclose, but the fact that he actively petitioned a court for this, tells me that there is a parent that wants them.  I am assuming that his petition came after learning that the kids might be adopted to someone overseas.  Now as you can imagine, that information made us die a thousand deaths.  At that moment, I can absolutely tell you that I had no idea what right or wrong looked like.  I found myself rooting for the dad though all the representatives and the staff at the DGA said the best thing for them was to be adopted.  How does one come to terms with that information?  It was hard for me to think that in the story we tell these kids in the future, we might not look all that great.  Anyway, this was in the courts for over a month with no resolution from the judge.  At this point, all we could do was wait.  We left it up to the judge, fate, destiny, God, whoever’s job it was to decide, but not us.  We were also given the priority list to review for the 5th time, in case this doesn’t work out.  We weren’t going to look at it anymore, we were walking away.  Then the resolution was given late last week and the kids were deemed orphans free for adoption.  We still have to wait to get the DGA approval and I am sure, as the sun rises in the east, that it won’t come without some challenges and delays.  So to recap, I have a son leaving for college, I have been unable to teach with the prospect of travel to Peru, we have recently bought ourselves one more year here before the army moves us, we weren’t able to make any plans to celebrate our 20 years of marriage unsure of travel timeframe and we are quickly losing our mind over the not knowing.  Full disclosure, we have had to take turns losing our s—— over this.  If both of us lose it we shut this down.  This is by far the most OUT OF CONTROL we have felt throughout this process.  Tomorrow Chris and I celebrate 20 years of marriage and if 14 moves, army separations, deployments, infertility, and this adoption hasn’t done us in, we are in it for the long haul.  We are definitely stronger than we think.