I am a mom, an army wife, and a teacher. We are a family awaiting a child through adoption.

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.

 

This post won’t have much on adoption since we are STILL waiting on an approval!  This post is going to be about the kid that’s already with us, our bio child Charlie and the rockstar parents that got him here.  Today is National College Decision Day!  I’m not making that up, it’s a thing, I swear!  Apparently it isn’t like what I went through, you see I knew where I was going because I played ‘auctioneer’ with the few state schools that accepted me to see who would give me more money.  So decision day for me went something like this.  “girl with no money here, very little As, excellent swimmer, who is giving athletic grants, go”, “I got 5000$ a year here, who gives me 6K?”, “I got 10K, who gives me room and board”, “10k, 5k towards room and board going once, twice, sold to the school with the crappy dorms”.  Of course that was followed by ‘national work your ass off to get the college deposit money on the due date’.  Good times, Good times!!  Today, however, we are celebrating all those high school seniors who, in this day and age, and with the brutal competition they faced, managed to persevere and reap the fruits of their labor.  They decided higher education was for them early in their high school journey and worked their little Generation Z butts to make that happen.  They visited schools, they explored different fields, they searched a bajillion grants and scholarships, they filled out many applications, wrote a million essays, took numerous standardize tests and waited, and waited, and waited.  These kids were left to see if all the effort they put in resulted in success, and during January through March the answers trickled in.  They had the disappointment that comes when a school gives you a NO but the YESes were the most beautiful validation they needed. Kudos to you, high school senior!  At a time when high school is more like a scene from The Hunger Games and you are looking for the odds to be in your favor, you did it!

Now to my high school senior parents, I see you!!  I lived your struggle.  I felt like I went through senior year all over again, and not the fun part.  We yelled, we nagged, we comforted and we celebrated.  We bit our tongue and we mumbled all the foul language…well..sometimes. At the end, we helped them get through this as best we could.  Cheers to you, high school senior parent, because at the end of the day, we kept the kid alive, they are graduating high school and they are heading off to college.  BOOM!! Drop the mic because they are (insert respective college here)’s problem now.  Truth be told, yes, we are going to miss them.  I personally, waver between “I don’t know what I’m going to do without him” to looking him dead in his eye and saying “are you still here? Start packing”  After all, they are still teenagers, am I right?

Now, my Charlie has made us proud!!  He is going to go out and do great things!  For the next 4 years he will be doing these great things at New Jersey Institute of Technology.  I cannot wait to see how he tackles this world.  Charlie may not be class valedictorian, or a division 1 athlete and that’s A-ok.  He is average and well rounded and the most compassionate and loving kid I know and THAT (with his great work ethic) will take him far.  To my hubby Chris, fist bump sweetheart.  We flipping did it!! Let’s drink to that!!

Happy National College Decision day to all these kiddos and all the proud parents.  Start collecting those tissues, graduation is upon us!

Feel free to share this post with your favorite HS senior or senior parent, the struggle was real but we survived 🙂

Ok I might be a little dramatic and to be fair, we are not done yet and I hope that all these things happen on this side of the process and not when we are in country.  To recap, with an agency closing, losing money to said agency, not being on Peru’s system AT ALL due to said agency not doing their job for a year, Peru not disclosing certain info that forced us to desist on our first match, Peru adding information (and an extra child) last minute on second match which we could not pursue either and finally the newest doozy, not doing the complete paperwork on the children of our third match which now forces us to wait until it is properly completed, I think we can write a book titled “What can go wrong on an international (Peruvian) adoption”.  I mean we wouldn’t have the answers on how to fix any of them, but at least we can tell you how to emotionally prepare for them.

Right now, we are waiting on a signature that should have been there since the kids were deemed orphans and went on the priority list back in June.  No one bothered to check this for a year until, of course, we requested to study the file.  Apparently we seem to be the family that has been catching Peru’s shortcoming so they can fix them.  We are the equivalent to Target’s secret shoppers, you know, those narcs that pretend to shop in order to catch the problems that target can then rectify for ‘next time’.  We have become Peru’s secret adopters.  You are welcome Peru!

Waiting has become this family’s superpower.  We are good at it now.  This time, again, they told us to expect an answer and the approval to come in a week.  Oh Peru, we do this dance EVERY SINGLE TIME.  You say one week, we wink and say sure but we both know you mean 3.  Let’s not do this! For once I want the conversation to go something like this.

Me: How long do you think it’s going to take to fix the simple problem you guys were so incompetent to let slip by for a year that a family now has to wait for?

Peru: (oh and when I say Peru, you know I don’t mean the entire country, right? Anywhoo) Well it will be one week for us to find a person to look at it, another week to decide who’s fault it was and complain about it and a third week to get around to it.

Me: cool, talk to you next month.

See, this would be a more realistic conversation of the interactions we have had.  It would avoid the stress level we have been experiencing at our house lately.  Yesterday alone, I had a 30 minute phone conversation and 20 of those I spent looking for my phone.  Yup, the stress level is high!  The one acceptable wine glass with dinner sometimes turns into 2…..3 tops….ok truth be told sometimes 5 go down like chubby me on a see-saw back in 3rd grade, fast, hard and freaking most people out, don’t judge.  The week is almost over and we have heard nothing.  And the ‘dance’ continues.

Sorry! No updates this time, trust me I wish there were, but I just wanted to thank so many of you who have offered words of encouragement, prayers, good wishes, positive vibes and just all who share in my shock and disappointment.  I am a linguist by profession, of course in Romanic languages, but seeing good luck, удачи (I think its Russian?)  B’sha’ah tovah, shubhkaamnaaen and buena suerte just warms this language lover’s soul.  I have to say, I was a little shocked that my blog is being read outside of the United States………and now I feel like I have to apologize……well… for this….all this….just a general I’m sorry for the bad grammar and the many incoherent rants.  Full disclosure: I am not a writer.  I am more of a talker and even that is kinda questionable since I tend to ramble.  Someone also suggested that I should turn this blog into a book when we have completed our adoption.  First of all, how sweet of you to think that I am that savvy with technology that I would even know how to do that.  Second, have you been following my blog? I think this ‘book’ might just kill my high school english teacher.  My intention for this blog was to document a real international adoption from Peru, however, recently I thought this might also be a great keepsake for our adopted children to read (when they are older) to see how much we went through for them, how much they were wanted and waited for.  Perhaps a book would not be a bad idea, if I can figure out how that works, of course.  I would hope it would be a great gift for them.

So again, thanks everyone for sharing words of encouragement, well wishes and just the opportunity for self-pity and to vent.  I gave myself some time to lick my wounds, throw my tantrums, get my sh-tuff together and move forward as quickly as we can.  Hopefully my next post will be great news.  Stay tuned!

Here are two memes that describe our last couple of days, for your enjoyment.  🙂

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