Yesterday I got a call from the Judge's secretary saying that a copy of some of our ET paperwork was missing from our file- I should have submitted in with the rest back in February, but she thought it would be okay for me to bring it tomorrow. But still... THE PANIC BEGAN!!! To be honest, I'm still not really sure what piece of info they specifically wanted, so I just copied EVERY! SINGLE! PAPER! that we received in Ethiopia just to be sure. We were filing Pro Se (no lawyer) and so I was extremely nervous about whether or not I had done it all correctly.
Then last night I noticed that there was one piece of documentation that I had totally overlooked. MORE PANIC!!! AND... it had to be notarized before we turned it in!!! Geesh. So needless to say I was a bit worked up about this appointment w/ the Judge.
I may have never had cause to mention this on my blog before... but I hate being late. I mean... I'm using the word HATE here. I would say that even the thought of being late makes me a bit manic. I tense up and start to think frenzied thoughts. My mind starts racing with all the "what if's...." and NONE of the scenarios I play out have positive outcomes. Irrational... I know. But there you go. I'm irrational. So thinking about the fact that I had to:
1. Go to the bank and get that document notarized AND...
2. Navigate parking downtown during the NCAA tournament taking place AND...
3. Turn the notarized document and the ET copies into the probate desk and get them filed AND...
4. STILL be on time for our 1:30 appointment w/ the Judge AND...
5. Hope that I had filled out all the paperwork correctly...
...well... it all made me a bit, shall we say... unbalanced.
And so I told Mick we had to leave home EARLY.
Because those notaries? They can be quick or slow.
And the parking? A complete unknown.
And the probate desk? I waited 40 minutes to file docs in Feb.
And who knows what happens if you are late for your court appointment!!! NO IDEA!!! But it can't be good!!!
So we left home to accomplish all these tasks... a full 2 hours before our appointment.
See? Irrational. BUT! that made me feel better b/c w/ all those unknowns I was feeling really edgy. And knowing that I had allowed for the maximum time each event might take was very calming to me.
And so what happened???
Notary took 5 minutes.
Parking was no problem
Probate filed all my papers in 5 minutes.
Which meant that we were 1 1/2 hours early for our court appointment.
Which meant that Mick wanted to officially sign me up for some sort of 12 Step Group for Psychos Who Can Never Even Think About Being Late. For Anything. Ever.
I felt pretty bad, but luckily I was prepared. (You know that "Be Prepared" song from the movie "Hoodwinked?" (not the scary one from Lion KIng... this one is funny) - well my kids think it's about ME.) I had a bag packed for just such an occasion and so we just found a bench on some floor of the Court House that didn't seem very busy and settled in to wait.
So we read books. We ate snacks. We used the restroom on various floors of the Court House. We rode the escalator and elevators. We peeked into court rooms. Oh, and did this...
I *DID* mention that we were ONE AND A HALF HOURS early, didn't I?
That's NINETY MINUTES of keeping kids quiet and entertained.
And it was too chilly to go outside.
Actually it was too chilly for her to be wearing that dress...
...but she got it from her Nanny at the orphanage and she's about to outgrow it...
...and she wanted to wear it for this special day.
So what'cha gonna do?
I'm telling you... it was a looooooong wait.
The kids did GREAT, actually. Here's what Mick did:
Seriously. I was afraid people were going to think he was a homeless man who wandered into the Court House to get out of the cold!!! What can I say.
The man has two speeds: 100 mph or ZERO mph. There is no in between. ;-)
But in the end it was all worth it. Our Judge was very sweet to all of us and made the boys promise to be good big brothers and to protect their little sister and look after her ALL THEIR LIVES. They both took it very seriously and promised to do so. I thought it was precious.
And a "BLAM" of the gavel, and that's it!
She's a US citizen, and we're a family.
But we didn't really need any court to tell us that. ;-)