Tuesday, August 22, 2006

American Embassy in Guatemala

We woke at 5:30 am...just after we had all fallen asleep from the fitful first night. We got up, showered and waited until the last possible moment to wake Elvia. She seemed shocked to see my face this morning. I felt so bad...I reassured her that she was okay, that I was here and that understood her confusion.

It's amazing to me the immediate attachment that she has formed to me. I attempted to walk from the bed just two steps backwards to get something from a drawer and she started to fret...big crocodile tears streamed from her large, dark eyes. I immediately went back to her, picked her up and held her tight. During the rest of the day, I made sure to keep her close. Late in the afternoon, she was willing to go to Donny...he had a bottle for her!

The Embassy was quite interesting. We had to go to a small "foto" shop to have another couple's baby photographed and then walked from there, a few blocks to the Embassy. There were hundreds of people there, mostly Guatemalan's waiting in line. We passed by them and went to the front of the line. This was the first moment of embarrassment for me. Here we are, adopting one of their children, going back to the United States, just passing them by...

We went through security with no trouble. We had taken great care to follow the cameras, no cell phones, no electronic toys, just the bare minimum for baby supplies. Once inside, there were hundreds of babies. It was so shocking. It felt awful...all of these children...I cannot explain the feeling...but I just felt sad.

We went to wait in a smaller room with fewer families, a few of whom we had seen at the Marriot earlier that morning. Pedro told us to have a seat, that he would take care of things and come back. He came back once asking for the money...we handed over $380 for the passport, as did all of the other families in the room at one time or another. He came back, told us what we could expect and then sat down with us.

They called our name, we went to "door number 10" and went inside a very small room with two chairs, a desk facing a window with a woman sitting behind it. She asked for our passports and asked when we first met Elvia. She had Donny and I sign our I600 and informed us that we would be getting an IR3 visa for Elvia which meant that she would immediately become an American citizen upon entering the country.

We then had to go back to the room and wait, once again, for our name to be called. When it was, about 5 minutes later) we approached "window number 1" and were greated by another woman, seemingly American. She congratulated us, asked us to raise our right hands and swear that all of the information we had provided was true. She looked at our passports, asked us when we had first met Elvia, had Donny sign a few forms and we were done!

The entire process took about 10 minutes total, but we were at the Embassy for about and hour and a half.

We got back to the hotel, Pedro told us that he would meet us tomorrow afternoon with Elvia's visa.

We had the entire day to ourselves...a nap was in tall order!

No comments:

Post a Comment