Adoption Journey – Day 26
This morning, we stopped procrastinating, and went out to get past one of the big roadblocks in our road to Mystery Baby: getting our passports. Now, for most people, in most instances, this is not an ordeal. However, if you live here in Canada, thanks to the U.S. government, this is now a big stupid ordeal indeed.
See, despite a billion years (I exaggerate for effect) of a peaceful and undefended border, certain individuals in the U.S. government decided that anyone from Canada who wishes to go to the U.S. now needs to have a passport. These individuals, it should be noted, are now considered to be bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling by most Canadians.
So, in deciding this, they set a deadline of “a day in January that I cannot remember at this time, but apparently most Canadians didn’t pay much attention to.” And because many Canadians tend to scurry to warmer climes in winter like pasty-skinned moths to a tropical flame, suddenly all these Canadians are realizing: oh shit, if I’m taking Myrtle and the grandkids to Disney in March, I need a passport. Hence, there are longer lines to get passports than at a Tim Horton’s drive thru in morning rush hour.
Now, we knew this deadline was coming. Our thought was to let it pass by, so the rush would be over and we could go get our passports in relative peace and quiet. However, we didn’t count on the procrastination of the average Canadian in winter.
There were people EVERYWHERE when we arrived at the passport office this morning at 8:50, just 5 minutes after the door opened. There had to have been over 200 people there. Half of them were lined up in a pre-processing line, where they check to make sure you have all the documents you are supposed to have and assign you a number, after which you go sit down in the waiting area, and wait to have your documents ACTUALLY processed.
We got in line, and chatted with the people around us, and just generally tried to be as pleasant and as patient as possible. It helps. Nobody likes the arsehole who comes in and complains about the lineups. “Hello, arsehole, where have you BEEN for the last 6 months when this has been all over the news??” Because, yeah, complaining loudly to the security guard is going to get you SO much further up the electronically-generated numbered queue. And Canadians hate people who try to jump the queue, so just TRY it in a room full of us who are trying our best to be patient despite being hot and crabby and wearing a ton of winter clothing against the -20 degree wind chill outside. Just TRY it. That’s a hockey fight waiting to happen, right there.
So we got up to the pre-processing wicket, and there sat the most atypical Canadian bureaucrat I have met yet: a young black man with a nose ring, tattoos and dreadlocks. And just the nicest kid you’d ever want to meet, too. He checked over our documents as quick as could be imagined, smiled and chatted with us, very sincerely wished us all the best on our adoption, and we were off to the next queue. It was lovely.
And as we waited for our number to be called for processing, I looked around, and noticed something really cool. All the staff, government employees all, were smiling and friendly and efficient. All of them were trying to make this bureaucratic nightmare, inflicted upon us all from on high by some bastard-coated bastard with bastard filling in another country no less, as easy and pleasant as they possibly could. All of them were working as quickly and efficiently as possible to make this process as painless as possible.
And I noticed it among the people sitting and waiting too. There was that gentle comraderie, that “we’re all in this together” friendly attitude you’ll find between people at a freezing cold bus stop in winter, or in groups of neighbours sitting around chatting on porches during blackouts, or coming out to help you shovel your driveway after a big storm. We’re all in this together, eh. How very Canadian.
Luckily for us, one of these nice clerks would come out and periodically find ways to speed up the process. They’d take a certain group — say, if you had submitted your forms online and had no kids and were paying by credit card — over to a specific wicket. This happened a few times, just trying to clear out groups of people as fast as they could. So… when they said “anyone who is not travelling in the near future who is paying by credit card and doesn’t mind having their passport mailed out”… DUDE. We were FIRST in THAT line.
And that was it. In, out, done. 35 minutes. Kudos to the Canadian passport people. It could have been so much worse.
So now, our passports should be in our hands April 1st. Which means, if we have to hold passports a minimum of 6 months before we can get a Visa to travel to Ethiopia, we’re looking at October 1 at the earliest to even think about travelling to get Mystery Baby. So hopefully, with no hiccups in paperwork, we can still have Mystery Baby home for Christmas as we had hoped when we started this.
Time is flying. It seems like a long time, but with everything we have to get done to make this family happen — it really is flying.