Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's about time

This is long overdue but since the last update, things have been going fairly smoothly.  Last time I went to the State Department and Chinese Embassy, I managed to beg an appointment at the State Department. (Most appointments at the State Department these days are walk-in service only which means that your documents are ready two days later.  If you manage to get an appointment, you walk in and out in ten minutes with your authenticated document(s) in hand!)  Thank goodness the man who answered the phone was sympathetic!  

While I was there waiting for my documents, I met a really nice older Chinese man who was in line after me.  It was just the two of us waiting and we had a nice chat.  He wondered what I was authenticating because he saw some Chinese characters on one of my documents so I told him about our adoptions...He so politely told me that our son's surname was "not very common."  "Not a name I've heard before" is what he said.  Our son's surname clearly identifies him as an orphan- it is literally translated as "Party", as in political party.  The man said it was probably because "the party gave him life."  

In case you've never seen a seal from the US State Department, here you go:

Very official looking, wouldn't you agree?  

Because I got my documents back that day, I was able to go right over to the Chinese Embassy.  I got an awesome parking spot which can be a major challenge.  So far things were going great!  
As soon as I got into the Embassy, I realized that it was the day after the May Day holiday (Embassy closed) and the Embassy was absolutely crazy due to the backlog.  There must have been close to two hundred people crammed into the room.  It's just a big room with several glass windows at the front of the room, sort of like a bank.  The Embassy is in a mid-rise building and very unassuming.  The visa/Authentication office is not at all what I had imagined when I thought "Embassy".  When you go in, you go down a long hallway then through the metal detectors and take a number.  From a deli ticket counter!   Most people who are adopting use a courier because they live too far away to go to the Embassy in person, so this might be interesting to some folks reading this who imagine that the Embassy is a grand, beautiful and intimidating place, like I thought at first.  See what I mean?

I got number 422 and they were only serving number 353.  I thought my luck was running out.  As soon as I sat down and asked the guy next to me how long the wait was, he told me he'd already been there 2 1/2 hours.  Ugh!  Then he gave me an extra number ticket he had so I was 397.  Due to a series of unexpected events, the kindness of strangers and the continued passing of number tickets, I got an even lower number which I gave to the original guy I sat next to.  He had been waiting three hours by that point and I was able to pass on my other ticket to the older Chinese gentleman I met at the State Department.  He was so thankful!  He told me if my son ever became famous he would remember his name and think of me.  It was a funny scene there- a really great place for people watching.  I ended up waiting only about an hour, thanks to the kindness of many people and a lot of luck!  Mission accomplished.  I-800A sealed!  Totally official looking, right?!

The last piece of the Dossier was done!  Once the labels were translated by our agency the Dossier was on its way!