I'm a rule follower, always have been. I take great comfort in the order rules bring to this basically chaotic world. Which is probably why I wanted to be a lawyer. Of course, once in law school I saw that mostly the legal profession is about finding ways around the rules. Which is probably why I ended up representing local governments, where I mainly help my clients write and enforce rules.
Anyway, my point is, it's always a bit of a stretch for me not to follow the rules.
Brad texted me last Friday to let me know we'd received our letter from the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) advising our appointment to have our biometric fingerprints taken was scheduled for April 10th at 8:00 a.m. I replied "so we're going on Monday, right?"
I have one friend (and fellow adoptive parent) who told us the Denver USCIS office is very strict about the appointment times; don't come early, don't come late. But several other adoptive parents, in Colorado and elsewhere, had said they'd been able to get their fingerprints done early. And another said they went early, were fussed at, but after begging and pleading were able to get them done.
So based on this unscientific sample, I thought our odds were pretty good. And if we could get them done a few weeks early, well, that would probably speed everything up by a few weeks: USCIS approval, getting a court date, getting "L" out of the orphanage in his dangerous home region and transferred to our agency's care center in Addis, and, best of all, meeting "L" for the first time.
Although our odds were good, I was still nervous heading to the USCIS office yesterday morning. Nervous that since I'm not a practiced rule breaker I'd be unable to adequately plead our case; you know, use just the right amount of whining that makes the person want to help us instead of wanting to toss us out of their office. It may sound overly dramatic, but I felt as though this was another test of how well I could advocate for our child.
Well, my friends, the staff at our Denver USCIS office were awesome. I'm not sure any of them even noticed we were there two weeks early; if so, none of them cared.
Operation Early Fingerprinting was a resounding success.
And when I emailed our caseworker copies of our USCIS letters, with the signed processing stamps showing we'd had our fingerprints taken, she gave us the best news of the day: Our case may be ready to submit to the Ethiopian court in a few weeks.
Which means we may be able to meet "L" as early as the end of May.
So, so happy.