Tuesday, July 31, 2012

But What About Your DOG?

First thing yesterday morning, I put Lakota in the car and took her to the vet’s office for her yearly shots and checkup.  Our vet is a lovely, patient woman who is terrific with Lakota, thank goodness, because from the moment we get out of the car to the moment we get back in Lakota is 60 pounds of “Get Me OUT Of Here!”  I am normally exhausted by the end of her appointment.  We had a good chat yesterday about keeping Lakota calm through the transition of bringing Francis home and all the best ways of introducing boy and dog.  It went well, and one of us (ahem, NOT Lakota) left the exam room happy.

Then we went back out to the waiting area to pay.

There was a woman with a small dog having a conversation with an older couple who had two cats.  They all started telling me what a beautiful Husky I had.  The gentleman asked if I wanted to trade her for two cats.  “No thanks.  I have six of my own,” I said.  The lady with the dog wanted to know how old Lakota is.  She’s 12.  Apparently she must be a groomer, because she kept telling me how great it would be to get her hands on Lakota and groom her.  I told her politely that Lakota did not like to be groomed and fought hard when we groomed her, and since she had been stressed recently, I was not pushing it.  But thank you. 

Then the vet tech came out and gave me the special pheromone collar I needed to keep Lakota calm and soothed through the transition.  She wished me luck with our trip and the adoption.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Miss Groomer couldn’t keep her mouth shut when she heard that one.  “You waited until the dog was 12 years old to adopt a kid?  How could you do that to her?  You made her live with six cats and now a kid at age 12?  Really?”

Are you KIDDING ME?  The nerve this woman touched was unbelievable.  My dog has been my baby for the last 12 years.  Gregg and I have been trying to adopt since she was three.  It would have been a million times easier on her if we brought a child into her world when she was a young dog.  And you don’t think I don’t know that?  I think every day about how this will impact her.  She already knows change is coming and shows signs of stress.  She’s like the baby of the family who feels their position is being usurped by a new baby. 

When Gregg and I brought the cats into the family, they were tiny kittens and we had heard that Huskies were known for killing kittens.  The two of us sat with the dog and the cats day after day, helping them to bond to the point that the dog thinks she’s the cats’ mother and they love her just as much.  Those were our cats.  Now we’re talking about our son and his safety, and we will go to any length to keep them all safe and happy.

And one more thing while I’m ranting.  The next person who considers saying to me, “Gee, you better hope Francis isn’t allergic to cats or dogs” better reconsider.  I’ve heard it one too many times.  Yes, we think about it.  Yes, we think about it often, and we know what the consequences are and what our priorities are.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but thanks anyway.

 Lakota and Boots are waiting for you, Francis!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Surprise Update

Francis had a successful trip to Manila last week for his passport. We are now anxiously awaiting Monday, when his passport will be ready and his visa appointments can be scheduled. While we are waiting, we are especially lucky to have received some new pictures of Francis! The letter that we mailed him in early June finally arrived, so our agency's liaison in Manila hand-delivered it to Francis when he met him on Thursday. The result of that meeting and Francis openings his letter was a few great photos. It does make the wait much easier.  The other bit of news that we received from the agency's liaison was that Francis is a "very sweet and charming boy" and he is "happy and excited" to meet his mommy and daddy. Obviously, this gives us a good feeling and we are happy and excited to meet him, too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Passport Appearance Scheduled

We just got the terrific news that Francis’ passport appearance has been scheduled!  Fortunately, it didn’t take a very long time to schedule after we initially heard of the delay.  Francis and his caseworker will be flying into Manila on Thursday the 19th, having the passport appearance the 20th, and flying back to Ligao City the 21st.

In an ironic twist, I also found out quite randomly that one of the major cities not far from Ligao City will be opening their own DFA (passport) office in early September.  One of those, “oh, that figures – ha, ha” moments.

It will take 10 days to process the passport, at which point it’s all systems GO to schedule Francis’ visa appointment.  It looks to me like that should be anytime after July 31.  I’m still focusing on September with “late August could be a miracle,” but we’ll see what happens.   We’re getting closer!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Here Come The Delays

I promised myself (and just about everyone else) that I wasn’t going to get cranky/moody/upset with the wait to go get Francis.  I was doing so well with that promise.  Until this week.  Yup.  Here come the delays.  I knew if we were going to hit any kind of major delays in the process to get Francis, we would encounter them after our NVC approval landed at the embassy. 

NVC approval was cabled to the embassy in Manila on July 3.  I was so excited because we were just about to the home stretch.  All we needed to do was wait for the visa and medical appointments to be scheduled and we would be off! 

Or not.  It turns out that while we were under the impression that everything had been taken care of with Francis’ passport, he had not made his passport appearance in Manila yet.  (This will make the first of two flights that Francis and his caseworker need to take from Ligao City to Manila before we get there.  He will be quite an experienced flier.)  In fact, there are some issues with the DFA and our agency’s liaison in Manila is hoping that news will come next week.  (Even if we hear on Monday, there will have been a full week with no news.)

So what does this mean? 

The passport appearance still needs to be scheduled.  Once it is scheduled and he appears, it will take 10 days to process the passport.  Only after the passport is in hand can the visa appointments be scheduled.  After that, we can go.

Realistically?  We’re looking at September travel now.  Maybe, if we’re lucky, the very end of August.  We’d just as soon look at September and be surprised if we get called early.  Either way, it’s a delay of about 3-4 weeks from our original estimate, and that’s a kick in the gut.  I just hope we’re with Francis for his birthday in September.

I’ve discovered that reason doesn’t sit well when the one thing you want is to hold your son in your arms – today.  I knew the delays were probably coming, but boy, I would love to know where we stand now.  How much time really is left?  Reassurance in that department would be nice.  Eventually just doesn’t cut it on a week like this.

In other news, Gregg and I are going through the anxiety-inducing process of finding a pet sitter for Lakota and the kitties for while we’re away.  Lakota has separation anxiety and is a big dog, so finding someone who is willing to take care of her is quite the chore.  Praying we’ll find the right person and they’ll be available on short notice when we go. 

Francis – Mommy and Daddy are coming.  We don’t know when, but we’ll be there as soon as we can.  We love you so much and hope you can feel the kisses we send you each day.  xoxo