As I said on Facebook this morning, I’m not sure why the expression is “bright and early”, because there is certainly nothing bright about waking up at 5 a.m. and being on the road by 6. Jeremy said there are lots of people up at this time and headed to work. But I am not one of them and don’t want to be. Waking up at 6:15 is hard enough. And yes, I know this will all change when EB gets here. But for now, I can enjoy my sleep. 🙂
Anyway, we made a day trip Birmingham to get our second set of fingerprints and to hand deliver our dossier paperwork to Lifeline. We aren’t really sure why HomeLand Security requires a second set since we have been cleared by the ABI and FBI. We just do what we are told. At least it’s only twice. I think to adopt from Russia, you have to be fingerprinted 5 times!
I did not expect this branch of USCIS/HS to be in an office complex. I guess I expected it to be similar to the ABI building. Obviously, the feds just rented some office space. And FYI, cell phones and cameras aren’t permitted, which we knew. But the guard at the door made me take my purse back to the car. I was only allowed keep my wallet with me.
We arrived about 30 minutes before our appointment. Luckily there were only two other men getting fingerprinted and they took us right back. The lady who did mine was not over friendly. But for some reason she was very amused by my fingerprints. She said they were swirly-whirly and got pretty tickled about it. At least I made her laugh. The whole process took about 10 minutes. We probably could have just gone anytime and not waited on our appointment letter. But it would’ve been bad to drive all the way to B’ham to be told they couldn’t see us.
After we were done with the fingerprinting, we headed to Lifeline’s office. We were happy to meet Mallory in person. Up until today we’ve only known her through email and phone. She is a social worker, so she does home studies for local families. But she also oversees the Haiti program and handles dossier paperwork for the China families. Mallory will be the one who sends referrals to us and we will work with her through travel time. It was nice to sit down with her and have her answer a million more of our questions. She is currently working with about 30 families. I don’t know how she does it! I think Jeremy and I sent her about 10 emails yesterday, so I can’t imagine how bombarded she is each day with phone calls and emails. Mallory assured us we weren’t as bad (i.e. crazy) as we feel like we have been! Hopefully she meant that. 🙂 Anyhow, we were also happy to hand over several documents for our dossier. Jeremy is relieved that we are done for a while!
Our last stop in Birmingham was lunch. Back in March we ate at Iguana Grill. It’s a Mexican restaurant right up the road from Lifeline. It’s so good and comes highly recommended. But Jeremy wasn’t feeling Mexican. Mallory gave us several suggestions including the IG. She had Jeremy wanting to try either Jim and Nick’s or some Mongolian restaurant where you pick your meat, veggies, etc. and they stir fry it for you. Neither sounded appealing to me because my heart was set on Mexican. As it pretty much always is. Since we couldn’t agree, we decided to eat at Roly Poly. 🙂 And that is always a good choice.
Not surprisingly, I have gotten long-winded. So I will blog more about the specifics of the dossier and our timeline later this week.