We got our travel visas for Ethiopia yesterday. With a turnaround time of two days — they got our request Monday, and it arrived here yesterday — the Embassy of Ethiopia returned our passports with travel visas included to us, and now we are officially able to travel to Ethiopia.
So, we officially have just one more document to obtain before we can become a family and bring our daughter home. Of course, we can’t go anywhere until the Canadian High Commission in Kenya gets that single document, our daughter’s visa, to us.
How they can take 8-12 weeks to do such a simple thing, I do not know. I am continually frustrated at the stupidity of some of the bureaucracy we encounter. And also, I am certainly more frustrated, not to mention angry, at the request we have received from our agency to refrain from exercising our right to ask our government representatives to advocate on our behalf. Apparently the number of calls and/or emails they are receiving at the High Commission is making it hard for the staff to get visas done.
Please. In 2006, there were 61 children adopted from Ethiopia by Canadians. So, let’s say that number has multiplied tenfold for this year, and there are 610 children. That means, if every single family called once for information on their single child’s visa, there would be about 2 calls per working day over the course of 2008. TWO. Okay, it’s actually closer to 2.5. (You know that not every family is contacting the office. And some are contacting more. And not all families are adopting singletons. So we’re talking about a rough average, here. And more often than not, they are emailing, but let’s for the sake of argument say they are all phone calls.) So, yeah — let’s say it’s 2.5 phone calls per day. Even if there were 1,000 children adopted, that would bring the number up to, what, 4? And the High Commission is saying that they cannot handle that kind of call volume?
To that I say: suck it up. Sweet merciful crap, people. If employees of my business get behind in our workload and my timelines are looking unreasonable, what do I do? I work overtime, or I hire more staff to meet the demands of my customers. It’s not rocket science. So, here’s a thought for my government’s employees: Work some overtime, or staff up to handle the demands. Because honestly? If the Embassy of Ethiopia here in Ottawa can turn a travel visa around for two well-travelled adults in two days, surely turning a visa around for a 4-month-old infant whose adoption is legal and final and has all paperwork correctly completed should NOT take 8-12 weeks at a Canadian office of similar function elsewhere. It’s ridiculous.
And, because these are Canadian employees, whose salaries are paid by my government and therefore ultimately by my tax dollars… I will definitely access my government and try to rectify the situation.
So I am sorry if this is not what our agency requests of us. But all along, we have done Every. Single. Thing. our agency has asked of us. Every. Last. Fricking. Thing. Without complaint, for the most part. And in this particular situation, when they are asking us to do something ON BEHALF OF THE HIGH COMMISSION, when they SHOULD be advocating on OUR behalf TO the High Commission… well, that’s not cool.
We have had no power, no say, and no control for close to two years in this process. We have an opportunity FINALLY to act on our own behalf. We are taking it.