Monday, January 28, 2008

Embassy calls Bennett Interview "Best We've Ever Had" and "Simply Amazing"

They may not have used those exact words, but the interview did go well. That is not to say things went as smoothly as possible. Our embassy appointment was scheduled for 7:15 AM and our facilitator was supposed to meet us at our hotel at 6:45. Knowing Guatemala time, I was pretty uncomfortable with him showing up that late. I became even more concerned when he told us yesterday that: 1) The paperwork that he was supposed to fill out, we would now be filling out and 2) we needed to take some additional pictures for Ellie’s visa that our agency had not taken for some reason. We were assured that there was a photo shop near the embassy that could handle everything quickly.

At 6:35, we received a phone call saying that our facilitator was going to be late. I tried to pretend to be surprised, but wasn’t. His plan was now to meet us at the embassy. We were supposed to find the photo shop, take the pictures, get them developed, go to the embassy and find where we were supposed to be on our own within the next forty minutes. My type-A personality thought that was a great idea.

Surprisingly, we got out the door and found the photo shop quickly. Side note: Greenspan has some really interesting things to say about developing free markets in Latin America in his memoir I read last October. What we’ve seen here is that people work hard to fill niches in the market. The photo shop was a great example. Right by the embassy, several people have set up shops designed to meet the needs of Americans adopting babies who need visa photos whose agencies did not supply them with said photos. There is an entire economic system built around the adoption process. The hotel we are staying at, as another example, is populated almost entirely by families adopting. There is one guy we’ve seen who may be an exception.

Anyway, after getting the photos we needed, we made it to the embassy and a few minutes after 7:15 and waited in a line outside. They called for people who had 7:15 appointments to begin filing inside the embassy. Our facilitator had assured us that we would not be going in the embassy before 7:30. We were faced with the decision of waiting for him or going on in on time but without him. We decided to go on in. Now we were in the embassy with no facilitator and no idea if we had filled out our paperwork correctly.

The next 30 minutes were pretty nerve wracking. Every other family had their attorney filling out paperwork with them as they waited for their interview. I tried going around and looking at other people’s work to see how they were answering questions. At one point, I almost exited the embassy to look for our guy, but realized at the last moment I was going out a door I couldn’t get back in without paperwork that Whitney had with her.

Ultimately, I had faith in Whitney’s ability to fill things out correctly. She was the type of student in school who always remembered to write their name and date on the top, right hand corner of the page first thing. In fact, she was so good at it, she still does it. I figured she had done everything right. She was less convinced and slightly worried.

As they began giving instructions in Spanish, I went with the rest of the attorneys and facilitators to the windows. It was at this time that our guy showed up. He smiled and said, “Sorry, bro.” He then proceeded to do an excellent job finishing things up for us. Our interview was short and we were done by 10:30.

While we were waiting, Ellie came alive like we had not seen yet. We think being around so many kids made her more animated. She was laughing and smiling and just having a grand old time.

This afternoon we went to Antigua. For dinner, we went to a steakhouse near the hotel. We’re really ready to be home. Pray for our travels, especially our Atlanta to Peoria flight. If anything delays our Guatemala to Atlanta flight, our second leg is probably toast.

We are more aware than ever what a community of faith endeavor this adoption has been. We are so grateful that you are helping us care for this precious one. She is still very upset if she is put down. We think she will continue to come out of her shell the next few days and be really excited when we get her around some more kids.

1 comment:

Grammy said...

So pleased to know you are probably on your way home now and may even be in Illinois!
God bless you all! I check your blogsite every day along with Whitney's, looking for pictures and news. We love you all and pray for you all.
Grammy and Gramps