All I have to show for a year's worth of paper chasing is a FedEx slip. This single piece of paper with a tracking number is supposed to keep me from falling off the edge of the world with worry. At least that's what the guy in the purple shirt told me when he wrenched the envelope from my hands.
I'm not superstitious, but I figured if I stopped writing, "The apostilles should be back before the end of the week so we can send everything off to Ukraine", maybe they actually WOULD show up. And wouldn't you know it, they did. The last set of apostilles came in the mail a few hours ago. I decided to scan every single seal and notarized paper (just in case) before carrying it to the courier office. My oldest son watched me curiously as I placed each paper on the glass screen.
"Mom, what are you doing?" "I'm scanning the paperwork, honey." "No, I mean why are you doing it . . . like that?"
I was a little confused until he mimicked the motion of me delicately taking each paper, arranging it on the glass, and gently closing the cover. I guess I must have looked like I was handling the Dead Sea Scrolls. But come on, you PAP's know that this set of paperwork comes in a close second to sacred writings!
Sam accompanied me to the FedEx office. I seriously thought about taking my camera with me, but I didn't want to freak the workers out. The Eimers have the best pictures of their family sending off their dossier. I took the international shipping bill and filled out each line as legibly as I could. Under "Value", I paused to think about what I should write. In a tangible way, this stack of paper is worth a lot to our family. Looking at it, an outsider would guess the whole dossier could be put together in a matter of a month or two. But the choreography involved in getting every signature, date and form in place tells a different story. If you go back through each letter we've written, the paperwork that had to be done and redone, the emails, phone calls, and sheer time we've invested, the value of a dossier would be quite high. When we consider what this dossier will bring us to, it is in fact priceless.
"I'm not sure what I should write here under 'Value'," I said to the man behind the counter. "What's in it?" he inquired as he turned the package over in his hands and placed it on the scale. "Our adoption paperwork. A year's worth of sweat and tears," I replied. "Well, then, its worth quite a lot. But we'll call it $2.00," he smiled knowingly as he placed an extra strip of tape across the seal.
He input our information into the computer and informed me that our paperwork should find its way to Ukraine by next Monday, my birthday. After a moment of panic when I couldn't find my credit card, I paid the clerk and headed out to the car. As of 6:00 tonight, I can begin obsessively compulsively tracking the envelope. That poor website is going to get more hits in the next week than Google.
So, nothing left to do now. Welcome to the waiting game. I hear I'm in good company.