The Tet Fret and Our Game Plan
Happy New Year everyone! I thought our New Year’s Eve was a comical piece of foreshadowing for 2008: Jackson passed out at 6:30pm, so we ordered room service and a bottle of champagne, but fell asleep at 10:30pm before we’d even opened the bubbly! I’ve already told Travis he’d better have several bottles of champagne AND a HUGE platter of sushi (yes, I finally gave that up for pregnancy too) waiting in my delivery suite. Same thing will probably happen there too though! So this NYE didn’t quite compare to last our last couple - 3 years ago was a wild time in Budapest, 2 years ago was a blast in Peru, and last year was wonderful with family Florida, right after we’d gotten home from Vietnam with Jackson. Ah well, let’s hope 2008 brings more Goods and lots of greatness;) I really crack myself up!
Ok, before I get into the not-so-fun part of my post, I’ll share something exciting…got my first “GIRL” guess by a Vietnamese woman assessing the belly today. Here’s a recent picture (29+ weeks) so you can judge for yourself using whatever old wives’ tales you know:
Here’s something else shocking: guess what Shane did today…yup, fell asleep in my arms. I am loving this napping concept!
Everything Travis does makes him laugh, smile, and giggle. I, on the other hand, have this effect on him, which is just fine by me! Shane’s nannies have told us that now, when we’re not there holding him, he just cries constantly. I don’t know if that makes me feel good or bad! A little of both, I guess.
So, at this point, I’m starting to wonder if all my kids will have been born in Vietnam! On the bright side, they’d all gain Vietnamese citizenship. Seriously though, we’re really hoping for approval in this week’s batch, but we realize that’s not the most likely scenario. We’re thinking we have a more realistic shot at getting it next week. Either way, we’ve decided we really have to find a way to stay here. Tet is rapidly approaching (Feb. 7th) and the number of applications awaiting approval is also mounting; according to our count, only 9 have gone out to date. It’s likely that a bunch will go out this week, and hopefully next week too, but there’s obviously still a huge backlog.
Since CIS is planning to stick to that 60 day timeframe we were all initially quoted, it means many of us will be coming up on that at the end of January. Our 60 days is up on January 18th. If we’re looking at a worst case scenario here, which seems to be what we’re moving towards with the pace of the US gov’t, a wave of approvals will be due to be issued right before Tet…just in time for there to be no affordable or available flights into the country, really expensive internal transportation, not to mention the Vietnamese gov’t shutting down for nearly a month! Sorry to be “Downer Debbie” (aka medical school Laurie) again, but that is seeming like the very harsh reality for those of us this new policy has
screwed affected. In other words, if we leave now without Shane, it probably won’t be feasible to travel for him until close to the beginning of March. Since Belly Baby is due the 2nd week of that month, it means Travis wouldn’t really be able to go until probably the end of March, and I’m just not alright with that. I know I am coming off as very self-centered at the moment, worrying only about my own family, but I have also thought about what this will mean for the others stuck in this new process too. I truly feel for them and hope that their adoptions are also not as delayed by this as we are all fearing.
It kills me to think about how this I-600 stuff is playing out for the babies - so many will be spending significant extra time in orphanages. Why? Because of a small handful of agencies who employ people willing to do disgusting things to falsify orphan status, or who were so damn sloppy and careless with their paperwork that they brought into question the legitimacy of an orphan’s abandonment in an attempt to rush out referrals. Now those families are stuck in terrible situations, as are those of us with other agencies, all of which have been subject to the new I-600 policy. Yeah, I’m pissed about it. And I know this is an extreme statement, but sometimes I wonder who’s worse off: the families waiting for I-600 approvals while their babies spend extra months laying on bamboo mats in poorly funded orphanages, or those families who have had their G&Rs, are living with their babies in Vietnam, and are now fighting NOIDs, the majority of whom are likely to have their NOIDs overturned due to the disparity in resources…big time attorneys battling an overstretched, understaffed, government agency with limited resources. Not to pit us against them because both situations totally blow, and I don’t blame those poor families, just their agencies. It’s just that 1 of these situations affects families with innocent agencies and is much worse for their babies in the short-term. I say the short-term because when it’s all said and done, I would rather my kid spend an extra 2 months in an orphanage as opposed to having to explain to him when he’s a questioning teenager that his orphan status came into doubt and we had to pay a big time lawyer to fight for his visa. Obviously, I wouldn’t rather be sitting here with a NOID. I’m just presenting an extremist perspective for argument’s sake. And because I’m frustrated.
Anyway, back to our situation here. Staying here means a few things: 1) I’ll be traveling more pregnant than I’d hoped, but as long as we’re en route home by 34 weeks pregnant, I’m ok with that (eek, I know) 2) Travis will be missing a LOT of school - since he’s done pretty well up to this point and he’s been a self-learner (read: never goes to class) from the start, his school has been very flexible with him (thank God he didn’t go to Georgetown for med school;). Depending on when our approval finally does come through, Travis may stay for the G&R, then fly home with Jackson so he can minimize the amount of school he misses. We would go through the drill of getting me Power of Attorney so I can stay with Shane and finish the rest of the paperwork (medical, passport, visa interview).
So that’s our plan. It sucks, but it’s the best we’ve got at this point. The part I’m most worried about is having to get POA and staying here without Jackson. It’d mean I might have to be away from him for ~1 week. This will be REALLY hard for me, and for him. I can count the number of times I’ve been away from him on 1 hand, and the only time it was more than 3 hours was the day I took boards, which was still only 8 or 9 hours. I thought that was bad! I guess I’m also a little worried about the long flights home potentially by myself, with a new baby, cankles, and a huge belly that makes bending over a little challenging. No one said this would be easy, but I didn’t imagine it would play out quite like this either. Wish us luck!