Wednesday was to be our most important day in Guatemala after receiving Yosi. Our appointment at the United States embassy was set for 10:00 am, during which we would receive final approval for Yosi’s visa to take her home. We really didn’t know what to expect, but the ever competent and relaxed Veronica would be there for all of it, so we weren’t really worried. Much.
Veronica picked us up around nine and we scooted across town in her little car. We pulled in behind the Embassy, wedged the car into a gravel parking lot the size of a checker board, and walked around to the line waiting to get through security. The list of things you are not allowed to bring into the embassy is about as ridiculous as the things you aren’t allowed to take on an airplane, and for whatever reason includes cameras, so there is no visual documentation of our time there. After a surprisingly brief wait we got through the line and entered a small, packed waiting room. It smelled like the hallway of any YMCA.
An appointment to the embassy involves waiting, waiting, getting called to a window to answer a couple questions, waiting, talking to strangers because you’re bored, waiting, getting called back up to a window to answer more questions, waiting, desperately trying to keep your baby from having a melt down, fanning yourself because it’s 80 degrees and wall to wall people, waiting, receiving final approval, smiling briefly, then leaving because other people are waiting too. Also, you do a lot of waiting.
We met several interesting people while we sat in the uncomfortable chairs. Lyndie chatted up an older adoptive mother who was a professor at the University of Chicago, and we also talked briefly to a couple in their forties who were, quite possibly, the most nervous and emotionally fragile people I’ve ever met. I felt bad for them. I can’t imagine how they got through the anxiety of the adoption process in that state.
Our most interesting conversation was with a pair of brothers who we didn’t find out were brothers right away. We spent a good hour talking with them, both under the impression they were gay, before that little fact came out. They were very friendly and chatty and nicely dressed but somewhat nerdy in their polos and too short khakis; basically the perfect stereotype of a suburban, yuppie gay couple. We wouldn’t have cared if they had been, but it was still funny. One of the men was the adoptive father but his wife couldn’t travel because of her job, so his brother came with him. They were exceptionally good people, and the fact that they had trekked down there together to pick up the one man’s new son was adorable.
Finally we were called up for our final interview. We answered questions we had answered a hundred times, and I had a few moments of hot-faced panic when I couldn’t find a paper we needed. Finally the young man behind the window stamped something and smiled at us. We stared dumbly back. Veronica said Congratulations! to sort of clue us in. Then we realized – the last hurdle had been cleared, and Yoselin could now return with us. She was ours. We smiled, sputtered thank yous to the man and left.
Veronica dropped us back off at the hotel and we never saw her again. It is surreal the significance certain people have in your life when you have so little in theirs. Our family story will forever have a Veronica in it. For her we were just another couple. She was friendly, but this was her job, and I doubt she would remember us now if we met.
1 – Preparing to Travel
2 – The Longest Two Hours Ever
3 – Love and Terror
4 – So, Shall We Cry?
5 – A Peaceful Shore
6 – Fear in a Foreign Place
7 – Feeling Really Stupid but Too Tired to Care
8 – Venturing Forth a Confident and Effeminate Man
9 – Eduardo