This is an odd feeling. It is the feeling of not having something huge hanging over my head. It is the feeling of not shouldering a burden that feels enormous even when I’m not thinking about it. I think I may be feeling a little peace, at least for now.
Last Friday, exactly a week and a day after shipping off all of our dossier documents to be authenticated by the Vietnamese Consulate in San Fransisco, they came back, all authenticated and official. I now know why they charge so much for this government service. You see, unlike the county and the state folks, the Vietnamese Consulate folks do not merely staple their authentication pages onto your documents. No, no. They are much fancier than that. They use, and I believe this is the correct term, eyelets. Or maybe it’s grommets. Hey, I just consulted Mr. Webster, and it’s both. So, unlike the local yokel governments, our foreign friends apparently order their office supplies from the local Stampin’ Up consultant.
As I was organizing everything to send in to our adoption agency I thought, “Hmmm . . . I could decorate these boring black and white documents with some acid free/lignin free stickers and run some ribbon through the grommets, (or is it eyelets?) and attach them all together that way.” Ok, I didn’t actually think that, but the little metallic framed peep hole through each and every document was something I wasn’t expecting. Now that I think about it, it was something I didn’t much appreciate, either.
You see, once all of the documents are filled out, signed, notarized, county certified, state authenticated, and Vietnamese authenticated, then they have to be photocopied. “They” being each document and its corresponding half dozen pieces of paper that are, at this point, both stapled and grommeted together. It’s hard enough to copy pages that are stapled together. Don’t even get me started about the obstacle of the eyelet. I won’t complain too much though; they got those documents back pretty darn quick. And we didn’t even have to pay the $20 expidite fee. That would be $20 per document, for those of you who are international adoption neophytes.
I was out of town when the documents returned to us and, for a few days, wasn’t able to make all the copies and do all the other last minute things I needed to do before sending them off. Now, however, it is done. All of it. It is copied, organized, packaged and sent off. The agency should receive it all no later than the day after tomorrow. If I have done everything correctly there is now nothing to do except wait until they call us with a referral. That won’t be for several months, which is just fine for now.
So this evening I have found myself wandering around, not really sure what to do. It’s not like every spare moment of my life has been spent on adoption paperwork for the past several months, but a lot of them have. Even when I wasn’t working on it, it was there, looming in the background, its incompleteness casting a shadow over my other spare-moment activities. Now it’s gone, and nothing, for the first time in about two years now, is looming over me. No paperwork, no dying relatives, no divorcing siblings on the edge. There are some things in line to loom, but so far they haven’t fully materialized, and I’m hoping they won’t. Hmmm . . . maybe I should take up scrapbooking.
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.