Sunday, June 15, 2008

What About the Dip-Tet, Bob?

Those of us following along with Laura's Twitter updates (see sidebar on left) are excited to see that she took custody of little Vic today, Father's Day, and had a relatively uneventful flight back to Almaty. What a great Father's Day gift for myself, and one full of special meaning for us. My own Dad, Vic's namesake, passed away unexpectedly a year ago. We flew to Kazakhstan to meet Vic on the one year anniversary of his death.

Gotcha Day and Father's Day, all at once.

Of course, Laura and I both tend to deal with the heavier or more stressful events in life with humor that is frequently totally inappropriate. Adoption is no exception for us. When I called Laura at her Almaty apartment tonight, her first words were, "we got ourselves a baby!" See, there is nothing about our adoption that we can't find some parallel to in the quirky Raising Arizona. In fact, we feel there's very little about marriage or children that can't somehow be linked, however abstractly, to Raising Arizona. Those of us who have seen the movie know, of course, that it isn't explicitly about adoption (at least, not adoption in the legal sense), but I'd still recommend it as worthy entertainment for anyone trying to adopt.

(Warning: below clip somewhat longish and NSFW)

This excerpt is a favorite scene from the movie. It captures all - the insecurity of new parenthood, the futility of measuring up to (unworthy) others, and the cruelty of infertility.

Juno is another excellent movie that IS explicitly about adoption (trailer), and much more recent. It's very entertaining, and it has a great message as well.

I'm praying and hoping that Laura's immigration processing goes well this week, as Laura must negotiate the many cheerful, helpful, and customer-service-oriented offices that guard national borders against the scourge of legally adopted children. She has double the administrative load of a typical international adoption. Recall that we must process both US and German immigration authorities, as we are Americans who live in Germany, and we are planning for Laura to travel directly back to home here in Germany. Even after she returns back here to Germany, we must then process a third and separate immigration authority of sorts - US Army Europe (USAREUR). Our experiences to date indicate that the USAREUR authorities make German immigration officers seem downright friendly - and yes, that's saying a lot.

I remain optimistic that Laura will handle all of this with ease. She's extraordinarily much better at persuading and negotiating than I am. My own track record over the last few weeks is illustrative. I've managed to get my virtual butt chewed via email by:
  • The chief of the aforementioned USAREUR office (I offered to share adoption immigration information with other families - whoops!)
  • My own agency's director (for inquiring about different travel options)
  • The VOLUNTEER leader of a VOLUNTEER organization (for a VOLUNTEER action I took as VOLUNTEER part of an organization, totally non-adoption related) - apparently, you no longer have to get paid to be abused by supervisors
So, it's probably for the best that I allowed Laura to travel alone and unafraid. She's well armed with every conceivable piece of documentation, including the highly coveted Verpflichtungserklärung. This is a sort of formal obligation affidavit that the German authorities issue after collecting a bunch of paperwork from us (to include 25€ worth of currency). It allows Laura to apply for a Schengen visa at the German consulate in Almaty.

Don't worry, I can't pronounce Verpflichtungserklärung either.


dnd82001 said...

Happy Father's Day and Happy Gotcha day!!

Sounds like Laura has it all under control, whats a little paperwork as she has the most important thing so no worries on the rest!


Angela said...

My, what an eventful day! Congratulations! It has to feel great! I hope all goes smoothly with all of those stony-faced bureaucrats this week.

I would really like to connect you and someone else who is going to Karaganda. Can you send me your email (