Went to an appointment at the US Embassy today (have I mentioned how interesting it is to be American here and how “American” the Embassy building looks? The thing is a fortress. Literally. It looks like nothing else in Kampala- I can’t even imagine where they got the supplies to build the thing, it’s that different. It looks strong, powerful, secure- kind of like the way America postures itself in the world at large. It does feel good to know there is a place that is so secure and safe that we could go to if need be, and its very clean and its grounds make you feel for a moment that you are back in the states. Anyway… we went) to pick up our “blue ticket,” the form needed to begin the health screening process for the twins at IOM. Got the form, a checklist of documents that we will need to submit to them before our I-600 petition/immigrant Visa interview (it’s got 20 things on it). It’s VERY important to get everything right the first time, otherwise the process can become very delayed. We asked a lot of questions about requirements, what they were looking for, and who should be present. I’m glad we did. There were several things we would not have known otherwise.
Note (skip this paragraph if you aren’t planning a trip the embassy any time soon): it would have been helpful to know that they are very strict about what you can and cannot bring into the embassy. Pack a different bag with just your documents, passports and diapers (if need be), or be prepared to basically empty your whole backpack or diaper bag in front of a bunch of waiting people, two different times. On the list of things you cannot bring in: food, drinks, medications (this includes lotion and sunscreen), electronics (includes headphones and USB drives), cameras/phones, and a bunch of really obvious things (like weapons, drugs, animals, etc).
Next up is the wait for passports (we were hoping to have them today, but we are told they should be ready on Friday as the person who needs to sign them is away), lots of form filling-out, medical screenings at IOM, an appointment to file all of our documents at the embassy, an interview at the embassy, and a wait (if approved) for visas.
We still think we are on track for a return at the end of the month, so that’s good news!
We also met today with our lawyer, who is fantastic. I always feel really comfortable with where things are at when we have had time with her. She’s a huge help and advocate as she is so familiar with the process. Our driver has also been a huge advocate and a great source of information and so I am thankful for that as well.
In other news, the twin’s parasites have not gone away and so we are now giving them an even stronger antibiotic. Other than that, both are increasingly happy and healthy and learning the ropes of the Ludwig family (or, should I say, we are re-constructing the course completely as we go? “learning the ropes” implies we have been here before. not so! either way, you get the point. we are all figuring things out). The hour before bedtime continues to be the sweetest, with all the kids clean and laughing and wrestling each other on the bed. No matter what the day has been like, that time continues to put everything right back into perspective.
Speaking of bed time… it’s past mine.