Once again we were back at the passport office early in the morning. Although the office is only 82 km from Jinja, it takes about 2.5 hours because of traffic, frequent accidents, and roads that look like they were part of the world war bombings in europe. This morning we decided that Joey needs to get over his anxiety of me touching him, holding him, looking at him, breathing near him and generally doing anything in his general direction. This effort actually started last night with him screaming "Auntie" for over an hour. (naively we thought he would only scream for 10 minutes) He fought me, bit me, scratched me, and generally made it clear he did not want to be held. This morning he only screamed for 10 minutes and was silent. He rode the entire way to Kampala in my lap. Jump forward to the ride home. Ditte handed him to me and he did not make a peep. He sat with me and fell asleep within 10 minutes. Maybe we are making headway or maybe we exhausted him. The picture above pretty much sums up the day. As does the picture below. . .
Seriously, I will start by saying that things are well. I feel great, the weather is beautiful, the countryside we drive through twice every day is awesome, and things could always be worse. I am also learning a lot about the Ugandan people, language, history, and current politics. It is thoroughly interesting and I am blessed to be able to take part in it. That being said . . .
Today was by far the most frustrating so far. We arrived at passports early hoping to pick up Joey's but were told it was not ready. After spending two hours trying to track down why it had not been printed, we discovered that someone in the printing office (strong room) did not feel it should be printed without additional paperwork despite having been approved by the court, local government officials, passport control officers, and even persons involved with the NGO board. The strong room employee wanted it to go to the legal department for review. Who knew, lawyers would stand in our way--the whole lot of them should be at the bottom of the sea. (just kidding coworkers)
In order for legal to approve it, they wanted more paperwork. Before the legal department went to lunch, we spoke with the head and he understood what we needed to do. He instructed one of the other attorneys to do so and went to lunch. When he came back we had no luck with progress and remained at the same position. He again laid out to the other attorney what he wanted done and she began to move on it. We went to the passport control officer and were told that we had to locate Melody's file. (Note, Melody's passport was printed and in my possession.) To say we were stunned to find that they could not find Melody's file is an understatement. They could not. Eventually they found it and we were told to include the court order and ruling in Joey's file and then legal would sign off on it.
After having copies made of those orders (on a machine that has to be shut off and turned back on after every two copies) we went back to legal. The attorney was not satisfied and demanded that we include every document in Melody's file that is not in Joey's. True to what was asked we did so. This included many documents that were Melody-specific and for which we did not have copies for Joey because THEY LOST THEM. Nonetheless, we did as asked and returned to legal.
The attorney reviewed the file, including scouring the first four documents attached and not those that are Melody-specific, wrote a long letter to the strong room, we have been assured it will be printed and signed tonight and will be able to pick it up tomorrow. I hold my breath.
One of the most positive things of the day was that the consular representative to the embassy here in Uganda told us that if we could get the passports to him by 2pm tomorrow, he would still be able to get us visas in time for us to fly out on Monday. To hear of what can happen when you are on the plane ready to take off, please see the blog of another family that is here to adopt two children at http://www.jesusbabies.blogspot.com/.
We will continue to persevere and press-on and finish this process strong. I am hopeful, encouraged, and feel strengthened to continue on until we get those little kids back in the wonderful, only-place-like-it-in-the-world USA.
On that note, it is so interesting to be in an undeveloped country. Here everyone asks me for my contact information. They want my name and address so they can "stay in touch with me and learn how the children are doing." In fat, they want it so they can call to ask me to sponsor them to come to America--pay for them and be the name of the recommending person on their visas. I had 10 people today ask me for that information. It is quite difficult to tell people to their face you are not going to give it to them. . . I have gotten pretty good at it. One man shook my hand when we were standing in line for something. He then went to Ditte and told her that he would have to speak with me to be his sponsor because I shook his hand. I guess I will not be shaking anyone's hand tomorrow.