WE ALL WENT TO CANADA AND HAD A FABULOUS FAMILY VACATION!!!
Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick
On Monday August 6th we went to Miami. Michael, myself and S got up at 3 am and loaded in the van for an adventure and a half. We got to Miami without incident, found great $5 all day parking, located the passport office and found the appointment line in the parking garage - oh my! I'm glad we had an appointment. We eventually got called from the appointment line and were permitted to go in the elevator up to the passport office. We went through security and got in another line where we would get a number to be called to a service window. After a relatively short wait we were called up to the window. I presented all of our paperwork - yes we had lots of extra paperwork due to the adoption not being final. The kind young man who was waiting on us was very quick to tell me "You won't get a passport with this as it ISN'T a valid birth certificate." Well guess what, it's all I've got and it will have to do - of course I didn't say that - how could I? I couldn't say much because my throat was swelling up with tears that I didn't want to cry. I tried to maintain my composure as I explained we had more paperwork, a judge's order and such, would that be helpful at all? He finally agreed to show his supervisor who in turn took our paperwork back to "the great Oz" and guess what - IT WAS OK! Not perfectly okay but okay enough to obtain a temporary passport valid for 1 year. Heck yeah - we'll take it! So it was a tense few minutes that felt like an eternity but it all worked out. Remember I said I would be okay with however it worked out at the passport office? In truth, not so much. I was quite surprised at how upset I was when the guy initally told us no. But here we are standing at the mercy of those in power of passports and they have given us the verbal okay for approval. Now we just have to leave and come back after 2 PM to pick up said passport. So given all the complications we had endured to this point you will understand when I say "I'll believe it when I see it." So off we went with tempered excitement to be over that hurdle. Now what do we do with an eleven year old boy in the city of Miami for four hours? Why not a movie? So we drove to a nearby Muvico where we had a private screening (i.e. no one else wanted to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Dog Days) complete with movie theatre food and beverages for lunch. A little shopping and low and behold it was time to return to the passport office which closes (they don't let you in) at 3 PM.
So we arrive and apparently they are too busy and we are once again put into holding in the parking garage. Then we go upstairs to the office, through security and this time we just wait to hear his name called. He is SO patient and it has been a looong day. We eventually place bets on which window will be the one to call his name - a bet he won and collected $10 for. So we happily go up to the window where a very sweet lady tells us she was born very near to where S was born in Puerto Rico and tells us what a beautiful area he is from. It was so nice to hear something like that and to have him hear it as well. She then asked where we were going to travel and tells S he will like it in Canada. So kind of her to take a few minutes to be so sweet. I pass the passport over to S and away we go. Happy happy happy happy - I text my mom from the ladies room because I'm happy crying now and don't want S to see me. We got it - we are ALL coming home!
We make our way down the street - the sun literally came out from behind a full sky of clouds just as we were back on the street walking towards the parking garage where we parked. We skip along giddy and chatting excitedly about Canada and plane trips and family.... blah blah blah.... When we get to the crosswalk I glance down at the envelope they returned documentation in - what's that? An "s?" His last name doesn't have an "s" but surely it is just on the label not on the passport right? I take a look at his passport - S! CRAP!!! We have to go back! His name is spelled wrong. Can you imagine? Now remember the office closes at 3 PM. It is now 2:45. We race back and the security guard greets us at the elevator and when we explain our situation he looks worried but says, "they should be able to look after that for you." We return to the office and the guys at security tell us to go straight back to the window we picked it up from - the sweet lady from Puerto Rico - she promises us she will get it corrected and back to us ASAP. So we wait. We wait until about 4:30 and receive a fully correct fully functional passport! AMEN! Let's head home. Big sigh of relief.
So all is well - what a great feeling - never better - SO much stress in recent weeks - pick almost any previous blog entry for proof of that. Now all I have to do is pack for 6 people to travel in 3 days. No problem. Tuesday morning I am basking in the glow of a fabulous weekend, Rays Game Saturday, back to school shopping in Ellenton Sunday morning, church Sunday night, a successful passport trip to Miami on Monday. Hahahahaha!!!! You don't think it could really be that easy do you?
Ring! Ring! I see on call display it is S's case worker - obviously calling to confirm the great news from Monday, how wonderful. What is that she just said? Not, "Congratulations, is he excited?" It sounded like she said, "I hope you haven't booked your tickets yet." The tone of her voice was not good. To keep this already way too long post brief suffice it to say there was an error on her part in not having submitted a travel order request in time. So all these big obstacles had been overcome to be completely shut down by a simple travel order? So I spent all day Tuesday on the phone with supportive friends, and anyone in "the system" that I could contact. I didn't tell the kids, any of my family in Canada or even call Michael to tell him this devastating news, I was really hoping it would be worked out before he got home from work. Not so. Luckily it was a very busy evening. I was at cheerleading practice with R when Michael got home and he left for his softball game before we got home. He got home after 11 o'clock and I finally broke the news to him, he took it much better than I did. I'm sure that was in no small part due to the three friends whose shoulders I had cried on (over the phone) I know they were all praying for the situation to be resolved and for Michael's reaction to the news. Needless to say I didn't sleep much that night and no packing got done. Bring on Wednesday... no news is good news just didn't feel like the right thing to say. I continued to get support from the three people I had confided in on Tuesday. Packed a suitcase for S according to encouragement from one friend to think positively. Just after 4 PM we received in hand the approved travel order. HALLELUJAH! Now finish that packing and get on that plane - TOMORROW!
I'm writing this almost 2 full weeks after it all happened and I just realized my tummy is all in knots just reliving it. It does have a very happy ending which I will cover in my next post. I promise it will be a much more encouraging read than this one. Thanks for hanging on through this one.