With an 8:00 am appointment, we arrived about 45 minutes earlier than we should have. For some reason I didn't remember the "wait" outside to be so long. We lined up around 7:15, but weren't let in until 8:00 am. It had been a long time since our last Embassy appointment, So I couldn't remember exactly how it worked. Once in the Embassy, we squeezed next to the other 30+ families already present. Since we didn't have anyone handling this stage of the process, we tried to figure out exactly how it all worked. Basically you wait for windows 5, 6, and 7 to collect your adoption packet based on the number on your pink slip. Our number was 26, which happened to be the same number as another agency "rep" had, so we both went to window 6 at the same time to clear up the problem. Fortunately for us, ours was correct. When someone requests a change of their Embassy appointment, their attorney must take the issued pink slip back to the Embassy and have the change recorded on it.
At window #6, we were taken through the Embassy process step-by-step by a wonderful lady named Melody Santa Maria. I informed her that we were doing this on our own, so she may have to repeat instructions from time to time. She was absolutely cordial and helpful from the very beginning to the end. We thanked her profusely for her patience and kindness. Sometimes the Embassy staff doesn't always get a "fair shake,' but in her case she was exceptional. We received our "bill" for $380 and slid over to window #4 to press the little buzzer for assistance. We paid our bill and returned to our seat for the infamous call the to the "closet" for our interview, which by the way, did not amount to a whole lot - took all of about 3 minutes and we were back to our seats.
Called to window #9 for our final document check (health report of child, etc.) and we were out of there in about two hours! 8) I didn't get the fellows number who handled this part of the process, but he too was exceptional (reddish hair and beard, with glasses). He did tell us he didn't see many families come through that did not use an agency. I gave him a brief statement regarding my feeling about most agencies. He gave us the "most important" document in the entire process, the receipt for the visa the following day, and we were on our way back to the Marriott.
I wanted to mention a couple things that didn't have a lot to do with this adoption, but did with our first child's. I didn't mention any names in my introduction because of some legal issues I didn't want to get anyone else involved with. But, as we entered the Embassy, we ran into an old friend from Amaya's adoption. Colleen Fluery, prior to partnering with Traci Orr and starting the agency For This Child, was instrumental in our first adoption. She helped get us established in Antigua to foster and played a crucial role in getting Amaya home. We were together nearly everyday for the first few weeks of my stay in Guatemala. She translated for me, made phone calls, asked tough questions, and drove me to Guatemala City day in and day out. She was with me in nearly every stage of trying to identify Amaya when her identity was unknown. It was her contacting Rudy Rivera that ultimately helped us verify that we did NOT have the child we were referred. She is the consumate professional in everything she does, and we could not thank her enough for all she did for our family.
TroyPosted by Troy at July 12, 2007 09:28 PM