Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First I-600 Alone

Today was the first time that I went to the U.S. embassy with the adoptive parents all by myself. Due to logistic reasons, I have not been able to go to the embassy appointments with the adoptive parent. Today was finally the day. It didn't come without obstacles of course. I had to get up at 4am in the morning to get ready to leave at 4:30am. We got to Delmas 41 office at around 6am and I waited around for Roberto to come pick me up with the adoptive parents. I waited and waited.....this has become the norm. I tried to read my book, but I was just too tired. I went on the roof of the building and just looked a the pretty sun rise. Roberto finally arrived at around 7:50am and our appointment at the embassy was at 8am. OH BOY, we were going to be late. So I called everyone to let them know that we will be late and to somehow hope they will still let us in. Usually if you are late, you have to wait till 10am for the next set of I-600 appointments to take place. We were not about to do that, so finally after speaking with the guard, she finally let us in. It was around 8:35am when we got in. We sat down and waited for each of the scheduled appointments. It was fully packed with people trying to get their Visas, DNA testing, adoption appointments and passport appointments. Everyone had a scheduled time-slot. We were waiting for our names to be called. For the I-600 appointment, there is two processes. The first process is to hand them all of the paperwork pertaining to the I-600, which I prepare ahead of time for the adoptive parents. Then the second process is where there is an officer that questions the adoptive parents on their adoptive child and also their own background. This normally should not take more than 2 to 3 hours, but of course, we are in Haiti, so things are always dragged out. Long story short, we were at the U.S. embassy from 8:30am to 2pm. It was a ridiculous amount of time, because the actual interview and paperwork time only amounted to about 40minutes for each parent. It was all about waiting. At one point, everyone in the office went on their lunch break, some an hour, some more than an hour. This only happens here in Haiti.

After it was all done, Roberto came and picked us up. He had already gone to the airport to pick up another set of adoptive parents, who will be taking their children home to the U.S. in just a week. I was so excited to see them and talk to them about their adoptive children. It was such a bittersweet feeling. It was hard to see the children go, but at the same time, so happy for them that they are finally going "HOME." We all met up with Lucien at Petion-Ville and switched cars. Roberto and I both got a sandwich to eat in the car. He dropped me back off at Delmas 41 office at 3pm and once again, I waited and waited for Dieudonne to come pick me up. I was so tired. Just physically drained. I went on the roof again and just laid down in the sun light. I dozed off a little bit. The warm sun light felt so great, just beaming down on to my body. The guards and neighbors must have thought that I was crazy. Like "why is this Asian girl wearing business attire lying down on the dirty roof?" I am starting to become the master at taking 20 minute power naps, literally ANYWHERE! Dieudonne finally pulled into the office at 6pm and we took off. We had many errands to run before actually heading back to Lamardelle. We went to the grocery store for Manmie, where the people looked at me like I came from outer space, because I had a lot of dust and clay on my clothing from lying on the roof earlier, which I could care less. Then we went to the gas station to get diesel for the generator back in Lamardelle. The drive back to Lamardelle was long, especially with all the traffic. We finally got back to Lamardelle at 8:30pm. I took a cold shower and started to write reports at around 9pm. Finally by midnight, the batteries to my laptop ran out. I continued to write on a piece of paper with my flashlight. I finally went to bed at around 2am.

What a long day! 

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