Monday, December 25, 2006
We're leaving for Kazakhstan on January 7th!!! It's time to turn preparations into TURBO mode!
We've got the neighborhood alerted that we will be gone and they will be keeping an eye on the house as well as my parents, who will be stopping out on a regular basis to take care of the cats and keep them entertained.
I don't have any bags packed yet, but the crib is unusually full of all things travel related. I have a mental packing list put together but will not pack our bags until a few days early so we can avoid over-packing. We can only take 2 suitcases each and they each have to be under 50 lbs. Yeah, right. Like that's going to happen!
Mom and Dad came over last week to help me sort through all the donated clothing and we filled the dresser in the nursery with all the clothes from 3-9 mos. and have about 6 boxes and bags of larger clothing that we need to haul back downstairs to save for a rainy day.
In the meantime, we're working on ordering the money we need to take with us and trying to make arrangements to get fingerprinted all over again for INS.
I've been working on locking in the cash order for about 3 weeks now. I asked about the procedure several months ago and was assured it would not be a problem and there are not extra costs involved. However, when I went to the bank to place the official order I was told there was now a $110 fee for this... not charged by the bank but by Brinks for handling fees. Jon at the bank did everything in his power to try to get this fee waived for us but could not... so we are stuck with either paying this fee or asking the tellers to start holding back like-new bills for us. With the stress of everything else in our lives right now I'm biting the bullet and paying the fee to order the bills. I guess in the whole scheme of things what's $110? But, when we're already scraping the bottom of the barrel to pay for travel, apartments, etc. it's less we have to take out of our savings account. And, if nothing else, it's the point of it all. I'm tired of getting charged extra fees by banks to use my own money.
Fingerprints... again? Yup! In total, this will be the 5th time we are each getting fingerprinted for this adoption! I've honestly started to lose track! I know we initially were printed for INS clearance and again for FBI clearance and I "think" we also had local police reports run on us. Then, in the past couple of months our FBI prints expired (were over 1 year old) so we had to have them done again. Now, we're told that our INS paperwork (our 171H) is still good for another couple of months but the fingerprints for that paperwork will expire while we're in Kazakhstan. INS will allow us into Kazakhstan but unless we get reprinted we might have quite a bit of trouble getting clearance to re-enter the US on our way back home! Sheesh!
You know, all in all... these snags are really starting to get kinda funny... in a really demented sort of way.
Well, enough for now... Merry CHRISTmas everyone!
Friday, December 15, 2006
Subject:test blog entry adding pictures!
LOOK! It's Tom, Jenni & Ryan!
I just wanted to try adding another blog entry but this time I want to try adding some pictures to see what happens... here goes!
I created these cartoon versions of our family at www.weemee.com and then photoshop’d them into one file.
It's been crazy lately to say the least! Shortly after Thanksgiving
we received travel dates to go to Kazakhstan to begin the adoption of
a little girl. We are scurrying around right now trying to get
everything ready to bring our little baby home.
Since our adoption process is taking so long and paperwork
requirements are steadily changing we've had to re-do a lot of our
dossier. We had to get 10 more documents re-done and each one had
to be notarized, authenticated and apostille... just that alone cost
me $58 let alone all the mileage put on my car to follow-up on
everything. We've had to get a second visa for each of us because
our travel dates came later than expected.... that's another $250.
We are supposed to order new $100 bills to take with us on our
journey. Our bank was going to have to charge us $110 just to order
the money because Brinks was passing that cost on to them. And... on
top of all those unexpected costs, because we are traveling to Europe
the week after New Year's we will be joining quite a few Africans and
Europeans on their way back to their homelands.... it will be fun,
but we're told that flights are filling up quickly and because it's
the holiday season... you guessed it... tickets on those planes are
higher than anticipated as well. We may not come home with much
money in our savings account but we'll have a beautiful little girl
to love and cherish!
We're still in the process of trying to get our Christian Bookstore
(shopthenook.com) moved to the other side of town. We were told we
could probably be open for the big sales the day after Thanksgiving
but several weeks later we still aren't allowed to move in. The
construction crews are still waiting for inspections to take place
and we have to have a certificate of occupancy before we are allowed
to move in and set up.
I'm looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my family this
year... but I'm looking forward to getting on that plane to
Kazakhstan and leaving all this stress behind me!