We arrived almost an hour early for our appointment with the US Consulate. Jack never wants to be late. He was not able to enter past security, so he verbally walked us through the process of what would happen and then handed us our packet of paperwork, including Mia's passport. Security was much like the airport. Once we got in, all adopting families stood to take an oath, saying that all of our information was correct and we were who we said we were. When they called us to the counter (they spoke behind a glass) they pulled out all of the papers and went through them one by one. This is where you hold your breath and hope it's all there. She's already ours, as of 9/4 the adoption was final in Shanghai. But this process gets her visa so that she may enter the US as a US Citizen. As soon as we hand over immigration paperwork in Chicago, Mia is a US citizen. Of course, all of the paperwork was in order, and I could tell the consulate assistant wasn't surprised, since it was Gladney. Gladney has such a good reputation everywhere we go.
Jack had told Mia, before we went in, that she would NOT be receiving any shots here. She's a little leary of every place we go after receiving her TB test. Can't blame her. He told her that some US officials had to see her papers and stamp them so that she can go to the US. She was ok with that. The funny thing was...the consulate assistant stamped every paper we gave him. As soon as he was finished, Mia looked at me and said, "Kennady, Ava, Carson, Landon!!" with the biggest grin ever. She has the kids' names memorized, in that order.
Throughout the week, Jack would remind Mia that she will have many siblings to play with at home. We saw a bike in a store. I told Jack to tell her she will have one at our house. We saw a scooter. I told Jack to tell her the boys have scooters she can ride. He told her about camping, bike riding at the park, amusement parks we have, and all kinds of things. He has helped so much with this process. He's helped get her excited about what's to come.
I have felt sorry for several families here who are struggling with one thing or another. One mother who is here alone with her two special needs girls has an assistant from her agency (her "Jack") who leaves her everywhere and she doesn't know where to go. He assumes since she has been here before with a previous adoption that she knows what to do. In the US she even had to call the US consulate herself to get some things fixed. When she was at the window today she said, "Thanks for all your help!"" and she called him by name. I said,"How do you know him?" And that's when she shared that she had spoken to him several times over the past few months. What a headache! I can't imagine!
Another family at the US Consulate today was trying to get final papers done and notarized before their appointment. They were going back and forth between offices nervously trying to finalize it before their appointment deadline. If you miss your appointment, it could be a week or two or more before you can get another one. Again, they were working with an agency! I realize more and more how blessed we are to be with Gladney. Not one detail missed. And we have done this twice, in two different Gladney programs...Ethiopia and China.
So, boring day. There's nothing fun about the consulate. A little shopping and a little swimming. That's it. No funny stories. So it was a hard day for Gary and me. Very homesick. He was worse than me today and I told him, "You can't do this! You have to be happy and normal or I'm going to go downhill fast!!" He tried to "get happy" but he's sad. I'm sure Mia senses it. Just gotta get home quick. We pack tomorrow!! Whooo hoo! And Jack will bring Mia's passport with the visa printed inside around 4:00. He'll also have the sealed immigration paperwork for us to give immigration in Chicago. Praise the Lord, it's coming to an end!