I'm writing Bright-less tonight. He has had SUCH a rough last few days full of sitting on my lap in cramped spaces for hours on end. I just felt too bad about making him come back to the hotel only to have me sit at the internet for over an hour (another cramped space). He's lonely and bored! And I have lots of AAI work to do. So he's having an extended play date at Hands of Mercy tonight. ;-) He was So happy to walk into the gate today and have space to run and play with his "brothers and sisters" there!!!
So...it was another early day today. Left at 6:30 from the hotel. Got to Hands of Mercy to pick Paul up at about 6:35. He wasn't ready so it took until almost 7 before we left. Traffic is a HUGE problem in this area. So some people try to avoid the "Americanized" road and travel on the "bush" (dirt) road instead. But there are two different bush roads you can take. Paul recommended one, so off we went. Many minutes into that trip the traffic got jammed so Paul and Percy (Edward's brother) decided we should go all the way back and use the other bush road! It was 7:20 when we turned around and I was supposed to be at the embassy at 7:30. Yep--pretty frustrated, but I kept my tears in.
We got to the embassy around 8am and of course there was no problem getting in. I feared there would be. We sat for over 2 hours before being called back. Adoption cases do NOT get priority processing here! Be ready to wait. In my exhaustion last night I filled out a few spots on the form wrong so I had to redo it but he let me turn it right back in. Then I found out that I got the wrong visa photos yesterday (the ones that took 2 hours)! Interesting, since I followed the instructions on the embassy's paperwork that said it should be a 3/4 view with right ear showing. Nevertheless, I had to get them redone. He said I should come back when everything was done. I took this to mean the medical as well.
So Paul and I headed out at 10:30 to get the visa photos. Peice of cake this time. In and out. Then we walked to the clinic to do battle over the vaccinations. The doctor talked to her boss who called the embassy and they all agreed that getting an exemption for the vaccinations was "not possible" here.
This was the low point of my day. Bright had had it! And Paul and I were going back and forth about the Ghanaian way to do things vs. the American way. American way says when I toddler throws a fit you don't give in. American way says that you don't constantly feed a kid to keep him happy. Ghanaian way says you do anything you have to to keep a kid happy at all costs no matter what. In Bright's case that means him constantly having food to eat. Paul couldn't handle watching him cry so he said he would take him "outside." I took this to mean outside of the room. But nope. When I got done waiting for that particular part to be completed I couldn't find Paul and Bright anywhere. Walked up and down the 3 story building. Nobody saw a man with a baby. I walked around outside the building. Nobody had seen him. I was in tears because my friend and my baby were missing and we were wasting time (!) when I hear Paul calling me from across the street. He had taken Bright to get some food because after all, anytime Bright cries he must be hungry! Urgh! ;-)
The stress of everything hit me at that point and I was MAD. I was mad he took Bright outside of the building. I was mad that he was spoiling him (more) even after I told him we needed to stop constantly feeding him (he had gone through a ton of snacks already). I was mad that I couldn't get a vaccination exemption. And I was scared to death for my baby because the doctor said that he needed 11 vaccinations TODAY and that he would be "fine."
So up to the third floor we went. I got to see the same woman who had been so rude to me the day before. But today, because I was crying like a crazy woman she was a bit nicer. Ghanaians just can't handle seeing someone cry. They are so embarressed for that person to have lost such control over themselves! LOL! Anyway, as God would have it, the doctor there decided that Bright only had to have 3 vaccinations and that we could do the rest in America. Thank you Lord!
Went back downstairs to talk to the "other man" about how to get the actual report. He was so kind and prepared it for us on the spot! So by 12:30 Paul and I were walking back to the embassy with medical report and the right visa photos. Feeling pretty good at that point.
When we walked up everybody was like, "Anita! They have called you twice! Where have you been!" [I'm the only white American I've seen at the embassy so everybody knows me by name at this point. Kind of cool actually. They are all very nice.] It was okay that they had called me. I just went right back. The man took the medical and the photos and then said I should go and eat lunch and come back in an hour or so. He would see me and make sure I was called back for the interview.
Paul and I went to eat at The Buka Restaurant (African cuisine). Not recommended unless you like real African food with lots of spice. ;-) After lunch Paul had to do another errand for AAI so I went back to the embassy myself, with Bright.
Around 2:30 they called us back to the window. It was Jehan--the person I had corresponded with by email from the US! She is *SO* nice. Totally loved her. Unfortunately, she said that they couldn't get the visa done by next week. It would be two weeks because they had to verify the validity of Bright's mother's death certificate. She said there is a small chance it won't be done in two weeks, but she said it was so small that she gave me a pick-up appointment time for June 8th.
So...note to all Ghana a-parents...the consulate does NOT send your case to DHS until AFTER your final visa interview! I recommend that unless you have time to hang out in Ghana you should have a representative do everything for you before you come.
I don't really know how I'm feeling. It sure looks like we'll have Bright's visa in a few weeks, but I don't have a guarentee so there's no release yet. And I don't know what to do about the extra week. Don't know if it's possible to stay here another week, or who might be able to escort him home within the next month or so. Lots of things to work out.
Guess that's about it for now. Too busy to take pictures the last few days. Hopefully the weekend will slow down a bit.
Thursday, May 24, 2007