|The Spikey look-no gel required :)|
We received his referral on a Friday, and I had a few questions. So it was scrambling to reach a couple of doctors so they could read his paperwork. What a looooong weekend that was. Lots of talking and discussions, but I think we already knew, he was for us! We contacted the agency, we ACCEPT and let's get things started. We had to update our home study, quick one page update, and we waited for orphanage approval. We received approval, and then more agency paperwork and dossier certifications. This is where is got a bit crazy and it was another adventure, again.
Those familiar with international adoption know that you must apostle (certify) your notary's signature.
We put together all of our documents, 21 of them, to be certified. Off to Trenton, NJ's state capital we head. I tried to call ahead, to confirm amounts, method of payment, hours, etc.; no one answered the phone. I checked on line to the website for this government office and, it changed since I looked before. Since no one answered the phone I couldn't confirm the change. After an hour of driving, with cash in hand, we arrive and take a number. There were only two 'customers' there, us and another man, taking care of similar things. Big glass window, little peep hole to talk through, and a couple of women behind the counter. It's 9:25 am and I'm thinking, we are good so far, this shouldn't take long. The other gentleman takes care of things and off he goes. Feeling a bit better I relax a minute. Bad idea. Both women walk away from the counter...? Can't be break already could it? Ten minutes later, one woman, Miss J returns and call us to the window, no number checked or needed apparently. I explain what we are doing, what is needed and how many documents we have. She politely asked when we would like to pick them up, I immediately want to say, in 30 minutes, but that wasn't an option. These were our options.......one hour service was the regular fee of $5.00 per document plus the "rush" fee of $1,000.00 per document totaling $1,005.00 per document. Go ahead read it again, slowly, yes, $1,005.00 PER DOCUMENT!! I can not repeat or post the thoughts that were going through my head at this point, it is NOT G-rated!! I'm sure anyone with sticker shock could relate. But if that's too much you could pay $500.00 for the two hour service plus the initial $5.00 per document for the bargain price of $505.00 per document. Holy Smokes, people, are they serious???? Yes, they were. We opted for the basic $5.00 per document with a 24 hour turn around. Miss J must have noticed the color draining from my face because she promised that if we come back tomorrow morning, at about the same time, she would have them finished. We agreed, paid the regular fee, and still in shock, we left. Upon reaching the car and thinking and debating if was really strong enough to take on Miss J, but realizing that's why the glass window with only a peep hole was installed, I thought better of that plan. She was nice enough and reminded me of Aunt Jemima. Then as if I was slapped upside the head, (thanks mom) I realized she over charged me by $100.00!!!! Driving home I'm going down the check list and knew the amount was wrong. I don't have my documents so I can't double check each one, so I had to wait. Oh, man, it's gonna be a loooonnnggg night for me. Every imaginable thought, scenario, or natural disaster went through my mind. I really did check the news that night for anything happening. Overload worry and panic was an understatement. Boy, have things changed since the last time I was in that office. Processing Emily's paperwork was $5 per document, but they did it in a couple of hours. We waited. Oh, and the phones, they didn't have voice mail to leave a message. They were part of the recent cut backs for the state. What?? A couple of people paying those outrageous prices could have covered the cost of voice mail for I guess six months, right? And the web site updates happened on February 1st, 2011. Figures. Conceding to the fact that this could only happen to me and only in New Jersey, I went to bed.
Next morning, up bright and early like a normal day, kids off to school, we set off, back to Trenton. Our plan was to go to Trenton, pick up the papers, fight for our $100, find a Kinkos in that city (I had to have copies before these documents leave my hands again), and head to New York City for our local TECO office. What's that saying about the best set plans??? What a true saying......