Dearest Friends and Family,
This morning the US Embassy Accepted Easton's Paperwork! Praise God! This is truly a miracle and I'm still in amazement that my Visa tragedy has turned out to be a HUGE blessing!
Speaking of the Visa Tragedy, I have yet to blog about it. Basically, I was under the impression that my visa was good for 60 days. This was the information given to me by my adoption agency. When I was ready to renew it I gave my passport to one of my adoption agency's staff and he told me it was expired. He was going to draft a letter that I would take to the Immigration Department to renew it.
On Monday I went to the Immigration Department and was told, after 3 hours, that I would have to appear in court on Tuesday morning and they took my passport! On Tuesday morning I went to court, to be told to return at 1:30pm. When I returned I waited 2 hours, among Ethiopian prisoners and other law breakers, and then was taken into a room, told to be silent, and put my back against the wall.
The judge asked me if I was guilty and I said "Yes", she read me my charge and then issued me a fine of 1,500 bir ($110 USD). I thought that was going to be the worst part, boy was I wrong!!!!
On Wednesday, I returned to the Immigration Office, still without my passport, thinking I would finally be able to get my Passport back and purchase a 30 day Visa. I went into an office, waiting about 45 minutes and then was told that I may only have a 10 day Visa. I was holding Easton and as tears started to well up I said, "Sir, may I please have a 30 day Visa, I am waiting for a US Embassy date to obtain my son's Visa to take him home." He said, "No, 10 days only!".
I pleaded again and he agreed to let me speak to his Boss, the Director of Immigration. I went to the top floor of the building to a lavished office, with huge leather doors, fresh flowers and a flat screen TV. My translator wasn't allowed to accompany me, so Easton and I went into the office to beg for an extension. The Director insisted that I may only have a 10 day Visa because I broke Ethiopian Law. I excused myself from the office, stepped outside and sobbed.
I called Ryan at 3:30am and could barely get my words out. He assured me that we would work it out but at that moment all I could picture was me going home without Easton and Ryan having to come and get him. I was devastated. I went straight to my adoption agency's office to search for help, unfortunately, there was nothing that they could do to change the Immigration Department's decision. However, to my complete satisfaction, they started working with the US Embassy to see if Easton's paperwork could be submitted, reviewed, and approved! This is where we are today!!!!
The embassy will review his file and either give us clearance or possibly ask for more documents. There is very little chance that they will want to do a full out investigation but it is a possible. I have Faith that we will get clearance either today or Monday morning!!!!! =)
There is an open appointment next Thursday, the 19th. This is when the US Embassy interviews me and I bring Easton to them. They will ask about Easton's past, when we met him, and information on his case. They are checking to see that my knowledge is the same information presented in the paperwork. Checks and balances. It is typically a formality, all families that I know of have passed the interview. Then on Friday I will receive Easton's Ethiopian Passport with his American Visa inside. Finally, on Friday or Saturday night I will fly out! We are working on details now.
I will keep you updated and appreciate all of the prayers, well wishes, and thoughts you have offered us. Other families, who already have Embassy Appointments for next week, fly in tomorrow. I will have great company to make the next week pass by. (All of these families have already been here for court dates, they are great friends to Easton and me!)
xoxo Ashlie, Easton and Preston
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