Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Showers of Baby Showers

Oh my goodness, baby showers are way more fun than I thought they would be. We have had 3 so far. I got a shared baby shower at work with my coworker who is pregnant. Then my family threw one for us in L.A. over Martin Luther King weekend. Bill's coworkers, since they are located in southern California, decided he must also have a virtual baby shower.

Everyone has been super generous. We got clothes, towels, diapers, stylish diaper bag, toys, bath stuff, crib, glider, pack and play, stroller, activity center, rocking horse, medicine, wipes, chair, etc, etc. As boxes have continued to roll in, Bill now knows the UPS and Fedex guys. You name it, we probably got it, and we haven't spent more than $20 ourselves.

We also have one more baby shower that MK is throwing for us. She insists we keep putting things on the registry. I could get used to this. Now we just need the baby to come home and enjoy what everyone has so generously lavished on him.

I also can't help but want to share photos on this blog. And even though I am still encouraged not to publish openly, I feel like I need to share him with the world. In an earlier post, before we met D, I was worried about hands and feet. Then we got photos with his hands in them, at which point, I only had feet to obsess on. Well, I'm proud to present my son's perfect little feet!

Oh what the hell, here he is in all his glory, getting a baby massage.

In Dire Need of an Attitude Adjustment

I really need to find a way to brighten my outlook. This past month since coming home from trip 1 has been so hard. We miss of little munchkin so terribly and I can't figure out what to do with myself. I couldn't bring myself to update this blog and I could barely participate or keep up with the Yahoo group. I just didn't want to subject anyone else to my gloom.

We have had and continue to have challenges with CIS and the Embassy of Kygyzstan and all this has caused us major anxieties. We still don't have our I-171H and despite going to our homestudy social worker and to our congressman's office, nothing has helped. I could no longer just sit and wait. I finally decided that we need to take our shot at going to the CIS office in person. My sister Joanne found how we could make an appointment. So we made one for this past Monday.

Bill and I went through every possible argument or counter argument the CIS may have for us as to why we should shut up and patiently wait for the paperwork to get done. I gave myself the butterflies in anticipation. I was ready for the worst but really hoped it would not be so bad. In my view, it was better to get bad news than to stay where we were at that moment, which is NO NEWS.

We take BART over to the city on Monday and when we got there, there wasn't a line around the block or anything even close. We got checked in right away and was given a number. While sitting there, I noticed banners saying "Celebrating Customer Service Week". Wow, yeah, we're off to a good start.

Finally our number was called and when we got to the counter (I was expecting private offices - not sure why my mind never envisioned counters), the CIS officer told us he wasn't that familiar with Orphan Petitions so we had to wait for the lady who handles these. Despite my initial dread that we would end up being called by him, he turned out to be very nice. Great, celebrating customer service week is working so far.

We sit back down and patiently wait for the lady who was monopolizing our CIS officer's time to finish her business. It took everything I had not to peel her away from that counter so we can have our turn. It seemed like forever but finally she walked away and was done. Our turn. Time to cash in on Customer Service Week.

I have to say that it wasn't all that bad. She was very nice. She let us know that there are more officers now being assigned to work on Orphan Petitions so things should be moving more quickly again. Then, she confirmed our names and went upstairs to check our file. She came back down shortly after to let us know that they have all the documents we sent but they needed other ones. She would not or could not tell us what the letter said but only that it was dated January 18. The funny thing is that at one point, I asked her a specific question and she said she couldn't give me that answer because I wasn't Bill. And for the sake of his privacy, she couldn't discuss it. Mind you, Bill was standing next to me this whole time. But in all fairness, it never dawned on me to offer to go wait somewhere else so she can give him the super secret answers. That's probably because I am a logical person. Whatever. That was weird.

Well, I guess there was nothing else to do but wait for the letter to arrive via snail mail. She suggested we wait another week to see if the letter comes. Then she made it sound like it wouldn't be long after that before we receive our approval. So at the end of this episode, we were left feeling hopeful again, which is 100% better than absolutely deflated. Oh, and she smiled at us reassuringly while talking to us. Maybe she was celebrating Customer Service Week with us.

Hopeful is not the same as helpless. It is now Wednesday the letter has yet to reveal itself in our mailbox. I have made another appointment for next Monday just in case that letter still doesn't arrive tomorrow, Friday or Saturday. I also plan on showing up every week until we get some answers.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Blab blab blabbing and venting about CIS

This wait is proving to be very tough for us. We say it every night before we go to bed. We want the baby to be here already, and then we get very sad that we can't hold him in our arms.

In the meantime, we are getting the house ready, putting in new floors, researching travel options, registering for more gifts, and coordinating baby shower stuff with friends and family who will be throwing them. We are also both just baby picture gazing a lot. We took about 300 over the 3-days we were there. Maybe a little obsessive but I love that we have so many to look at now that we are home waiting for trip 2.

OK and here is where I vent about the CIS. Since we have come home from trip 1, we've been bugging our social worker regarding how we can find out where our I-171 approval is. First he asked us to check with FBI to make sure they have sent in our fingerprint reports. Bill called and the report was sent on the same day we did them. Next, we get a phone call on Wednesday from our social worker telling us that CIS hasn't done much or anything at all since Dec. 12. The Orphan Petitions department is going through a transition with the old director leaving and the new one being in training over the last couple of weeks. The new director doesn't start until next week and the old one's last day was a few days ago. To make matters worse, the other staff person who actually processes the applications have been on vacation since Dec. 12. No one can say exactly when she will be back. Perhaps Thursday, perhaps Friday, or maybe next week. During all of this, they never bothered to make sure someone was filling in. As one of my friends said, there are so many unemployed people out there, you would think they could find someone to help keep things moving. No, they merely snoozed on all these families' applications, never considering how important this is to all these families. It's just insane that they feel that is acceptable planning on their part. I am so incensed at this and so afraid it will cause us to delay our dates to pickup D. Until the staff person comes back from vacation, we don't even have anyone to ask. Perhaps the next call should be to our congressman. I wonder if that will help speed things up. I guess right now, we have no choice but to wait until next week in hopes that the person on vacation comes back and can tell us where we are in the que.

So for now, we are still hoping that we will be able to travel in February, and planning for that. I hope I hope I hope.