Mission Accomplished

What a day.

The dossier is on its way to Ukraine. But it was a challenge to get to that point.

The day started as expected: Donuts! I drove to the doctor’s new office at 8am and as soon as I walked in, he turned his head and gave me the “what the #$%&% are you doing here?!” look. He couldn’t believe the forms were done incorrectly. I couldn’t find the latest copy in the shuffle and he saw the old ones and was like…the letter head is there! I explained that those were the old copies that had missing info. and he told me not to worry about finding them. He walked away to be with a patient and then I found them, clipped behind the forms we were just looking at. The nurse was really nice and I told her what we needed, while we chatted about the adoption process. They don’t have letter head stationary at this office, so they printed one from the computer, folded it and taped it to the top of the new filled out forms that I brought, and made a photocopy. They were perfect.

The notary in the hospital next door doesn’t show up until 9:30am. So I sat down waiting for a while and then I went downstairs to wait for her. I had a chat with an old couple about how ridiculous the state of our medical system is and how they felt they were being “processed” in this hospital instead of being taken care of like human beings. Anyway, at 9:30am sharp, Ann the notary shows up. After a little explaining, she told me to go get the signed forms and she’d complete them as she had done several documents for the doctor before (probably most of them repeats of ours lol!). So I ran upstairs, picked the forms that had already been signed and dated, said goodbye to the nurses and went back down to Ann. I don’t know if the donuts were ever touched; no one commented on them. As far as I know, they could have gone straight to the trash! But hey, I tried and I had our forms.

Ann quickly stamped and signed the forms. I had already commented to my wife that this lady’s stamps were different than the other notary seals we’ve seen. She had no border around the name and no star. I asked Ann about that and she didn’t think it was unusual, so I just dropped it. She made me a couple of copies, I thanked her and ran back to my car to leave for Austin. By now it was 9:45am and soon after I left, I texted my mom to give me a call (my parents live in Malta, as does the rest of my family). Within seconds, my mobile rings and we chatted for about 30 minutes about the day’s events.

The weather was dark, muggy and rainy, with a stiff wind that made it hard to drive in a straight line. I was so sure I had everything in order this time. My last trip to the Secretary of State office, I learned a lot about how NOT to notarize recordable documents etc. in Texas! They made a lot of concessions for me and this time I wanted to be 100% perfect. I thought of everything, I even had plenty of change for the parking meter! I estimated that I should be done in about an hour, so I loaded the meter for 1 hr 15 mins, went in, sat down (no wait), took the documents out and within seconds of flipping through, I hear…”oh, you’re gonna have to redo these” and Maria points to the doctor forms and copies of his license. My eyes about popped out of their sockets in bewilderment.

I really cannot describe the feeling in my stomach. Between not wanting to redo these forms for the fifth time or drive back to Austin once again and postponing mailing the dossier, I just sat in awe and told her what we had been through to get those 4 documents. And you guessed it: Ann’s stamp was the problem. Let me tell you, always trust your gut! So after a while, she decided to go talk to their attorneys and after 15 minutes of silence, she came back and said they would Apostille them too. Needless to say, those 15 minutes felt a lot longer, but the outcome was great. She completed the 24 Apostilles (and again, thank you Texas for not charging a dime!! The Lone Star State charges a max. of $100 for Apostilles per adoption and we had already met the max. last September). I went to UPS, made sure I had every document accounted for per my list (27 total, 3 were Apostilled in Florida) and the package was ready for pickup.

I went back to my car with 2 minutes to spare on the meter. Then I drove to our Austin office, spent 4 hours there and visited with a few colleagues. I headed back to Houston around 6pm, making it home around 9pm and taking only a short stop to fill up on gas. And now we wait!

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