We are getting so close!
Yesterday we started out at around 7AM. We had missed our 6AM alarm so we rushed to get the girls dressed and a bag packed for them; all while Zoe is followed me around the house like a puppy telling me her stomach hurt. "Great", I thought..."this is not what we need today". We had arranged for their Grandparents to keep them that day since six hours in a car is simply not enjoyable to a four and two year old. We are so very blessed to have such wonderful grandparents for our girls; they are all absolutely amazing and we would be truly lost without them.
I decided to pack Zoe some medicine, pedialyte and chicken soup. As soon as I zipped the bag up she threw up all over our living room rug. I hated to leave her for the day; especially since she wasn't feeling well but I knew we couldn't miss our USCIS appointment.
But God is good; and shortly after we dropped the girls off I got news that Zoe was feeling better!
Asa and I got to Birmingham without any major issues aside from some minor road rage. The USCIS office is on this back road that our out dated gps refused to find so we had to resort to google maps; which ended up being a life saver. I don't think we would have found it otherwise because we were way off course. We were a good two hours early for our appointment but we knew that it wouldnt be a problem for them to take us early.
We walked in to see two officers sitting at their desks discussing the details of their fishing trips the past weekend and griping over how their coffee had no kick to it. Their conversation carried on for a few moments while we stood their waiting; I quickly noticed that aside from a scared looking couple filling out paperwork in the corner the place was fairly deserted.
"Hey there; let me see your paperwork please.", the officer had a big grin on his face as I handed him our papers. He told us to fill out a form and have a seat. We only sat their for 2-3 minutes before they called us back.
I went first and was greeted by a very chatty woman with blonde hair. She did my fingerprinting while telling me all about her eight year old son and how he loved to help people so he would be happy to hear that we were adopting. Just as I was about to go into more detail about our adoption she told me that I was done and then called Asa over for his.
It was an extremely easy and quick process.
We got back in the truck; both pleasantly surprised that it had gone as fast as it had. Then it was on to Montgomery; ugh...more driving.
A few hours later we arrived in Montgomery. Our first order of business was to find a notary so we could get our last two documents done before heading to the secretary of state office. We ended up going to four different banks...none of which could offer us a notary either because they did not have one or because we were not members. We finally managed to find a Wells Fargo that would take us.
The bank was in an old train station and I was fascinated by the history and the architecture of the building. It had gorgeous exposed brick that was all original to the train station. I love it when they modernize an old building and still make the effort to keep its original charm intact. We waited for about half an hour for the notary to finish up with a client. But once she called us back we were out of there within ten minutes.
I got back in the truck and texted pictures of the documents for approval; no sooner had I sent the text that I noticed the notary leaving for the day. Luckily all looked good with them!
By this time it was pouring down rain and I started to worry that the documents would somehow get soaked before we could get them to the secretary of state office. So I sat in the truck until the rain died down; I am not up for taking risks with any "paper babies". After digging through the truck for quarters we paid the meter and headed inside.
I must admit; it was a gorgeous building! We asked the man at the desk about it and he told us that the exterior was mostly white marble (on the front at least) and it was trimmed with gold brass inside with hand etched glass doors. He then directed us to the elevators and we headed up to the 7th floor. We found the secretary of state office without any problems and they took us back right away. I don't know what I was expecting apostilling documents to be like....but I do know that it was a lot more anticlimactic than I had anticipated. A woman just took the papers from me and told us to have a seat just outside. A few moments later she asked us back in and said, "That'll be 45 dollars and here ya go!"....she handed them back to me like it was nothing. I suppose for someone who does this everyday it was "nothing" but for us it was a big step and in a way represented months of hard work (especially the home study).
"Really?! That's it?", I said.
"Yes, thats it. You are good to go!" she said as she waved her hand for us to leave her office. She was clearly very busy and was already ready to move on to her next task.
At least now I wont be so nervous when I go back down there to get the rest of our dossier apostled...it's pretty quick and painless.
We got back in the truck and started the hunt for a Fedex location so we could overnight the documents....this was probably the most stressful part of the entire day. We knew that if we didn't get the documents to them by 4PM then they wouldn't be able to do overnight delivery and it was already coming up on 3PM.
We ended up driving all over Montgomery searching for a shipping location. We finally follow the gps to one only to find out that it was no longer in business. So once again, google maps saved us. We pulled up to the Fedex store just south of Montgomery around 3:45 and I, literally, sprinted inside and slammed the paperwork down on the counter and said to the first clerk I saw, "I need to overnight these...NOW!"..... the poor guy could tell that I was obviously not in a waiting kind of mood so he helped me right away. We got the papers safely packaged, got a tracking number, and sent them on their way. It was actually a little hard to walk away knowing that it was out of my hands.
We then started the journey back to Huntsville. The whole time I was going over in my head what documents we still needed to get done and thanking God for letting the day go so smoothly.
We are close!!
We just have to wait for USCIS approval and get the rest of our dossier apostiled and we can be submitted!!
I am so close to being able to hold our sweet boys...we seriously can't wait! :)