So the paperwork is done...almost. It nearly wasn't but I'm getting ahead of the story.
Erich couldn't get the day off yesterday so I left early in the morning to pick up my grandmother (same one that has Celtic Noel impatiently waiting to be hung in her living room) and start our slippery route to Indianapolis. The roads weren't actually that bad, a little snowy but that all cleared up as soon as we were south of South Bend and out of the lake effect bands of snow. The ride was pretty smooth and we made it to Indy late morning. First stop was the home study agency which went well- in and out with my envelope in less than a minute.
Next we worked our way downtown to the Secretary of State's office which was a bit of an adventure as this office is housed in one of two rather large buildings that aren't marked all that well fromt the street. We did a trip around the block (they take up the whole block) and found a small, brick access road that cuts through the middle and started looking for parking. Some was marked No Parking, some drop off for one office or another and some not marked at all. We were a little concerned about making sure we had legal parking as there were plenty of state police cars around and the last thing we wanted was a ticket or worse to be towed to who knows where while we were inside getting the documents sealed. We finally found an end spot that was a little questionable but not marked as anything and did I say it was an end spot (yay for me as parallel parking is definitely not my strong suit!). Feeling quite pleased we headed for the entrance only to find the door nearest us was marked Employees Only. Okay, so we headed in the direction of the arrow pointing us to the public entrance only to find that the door it directed us to had a sign on it pointing us right back where we came from. Not amusing to say the least, especially in the bitter cold wind. We finally found a door not marked as anything but locked and a kind lady let us in out of the cold into some random hallway where we realized that the door we probably should have come in was completely on the other side of the building but oh well, we were in now.
We hit the Secretary of State's office at the perfect moment- no one was there but the lady working the counter. She took my documents, we took a seat and that's when it all fell apart. First approximately ten other people entered the office with documents to be sealed and assorted other business. Helpful hint-be nice to the ladies in the office, they will talk about you after you leave:) We know, we heard. I felt bad for the poor woman trying to do everything at once for everyone and tried to be extra patient and let her know I was in no hurry.
After 15 minutes or so help started to arrive for her and she eventually called me over to talk about the documents and their issues. Most were fine and she sealed them but one (my medical letter) had an unfixable mistake by the notary that notarized it and would have to be redone. This was annoying to me and apparently quite a bit more so to my grandmother who uses the same office. The other document with a problem was a real problem though- it was the petition to finalize the adoption and the notary who notarized it was nowhere to be found on the database that they verify everyone on. Long story short- after over an hour of phone calls to various people both by me and the office workers (who were fabulous, btw, they really went out of their way for us) we came to the conclusion that the notary had failed to properly renew her commision and was indeed no longer a legal notary. I could have cried, not only was this was going to delay us at least another week as we'd have to redo the paperwork, send it back to Indy, then send it on to the adoption agency but I wasted a whole day and dragged my grandmother halfway across the state with no time advantage gained by making the trip. The deputy notary was quite crafty though and worked out a way for us to attach an affidavit that I signed to the document and she notarized for me, making it legal for her to seal it which is all Russia really cares about anyway and after a quick call to verify things with the adoption agency everyone was happy again. The medical letter would still have to be redone but the deputy notary gave me her card and said if I addressed it to her specifically she would see that it got sealed and put back in the mail the same day she received it and our adoption coordinator assured me that this one document being late wouldn't delay anything. We thanked everyone and promised to send pictures of our son after we return with him. They have a picture frame full of pictures of adopted kids whose parents have used them for apostilling, very cool.
Sealed documents in hand, we wound our way back out of the building and back to the car which was thankfully still there and unticketed. Next order of business was to get out of town and get some lunch which was long overdue by that point. I called the doctor's office on the way out and arranged for the letter to be redone ASAP since they had made a mistake again. This is the same letter I had to wait for them to redo when I picked it up because they put the wrong name on it the first time. I thought I had checked everything over but the issue was with when the notary's comission was to expire (she put down the wrong year) so I had no good way of catching that unless I looked her up. Lesson learned there. Grandma offered to pick up the new letter and to check it over before leaving the office. Oh, and to give them an earful if there were any issues too.
We finally made it back home around 5:30 and I dropped Grandma off at home on my way to the nearest FedEx where I copied and mailed all my documents off.
Fast forward to today- Grandma picked up the letter and tells me there are no issues with it and also that she had a nice conversation with a lady in line while she waited for it about how they office had screwed up and were now delaying the completion of this adoption. She said the receptionists had some dark looks for her but no one said anything. I'm kind of glad I have no reason to go in there any time soon and very happy that there were no actual issues as I fear the fury of a great-grandmother-to-be would have been a scary thing indeed. Anyway, Erich is going to go retrieve the letter tomorrow and send it on its way so we really will be done with the paperwork after all.