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Small Victories

27 October 2017

Two (very) small victories last week that I have to share … mostly because I’m clinging to the memory of them as I try really, really hard not to be overwhelmed by paperwork and worry.

I shared this one on IG a few days ago:

But the one that happened before that is just too dramatic to type with my thumbs. Here goes.

The Paper Chase

I am simultaneously creating and gathering paperwork for a home study, U.S. government application, an application that officially gets us in the pool of parents who can be considered for children, and a dossier (a Chinese government application). You should see my spreadsheet.

One question on one form asks if you’ve ever been arrested, and Timothy had to answer yes. Twice.

Cue drama. Now we need a certified court disposition about each case.

I called my aunt, who is a court reporter in Springfield to ask what a certified court disposition was and how to get it. I asked her what kind of headache I was in for.

“Well it all depends on whether the county is caught up on transferring their documentation to digital. Most of the bigger counties are, but for McHenry county — for a case 20 years old — I’m not sure. Someone might have to actually pull a piece of paper out of a box somewhere.”

Lord help me.

Monday Morning at the Courthouse

I checked my work schedule for the following week to find the biggest block of unscheduled time. No one likes Monday morning meetings, so I had no digital place to be until 11:30 a.m. Fine. The sooner the better anyway.

adoption journey

The county courthouse opens at 8 a.m. It’s a 40 minute drive.

I blocked out my calendar, and notified my co-workers that I would try to be back for that 11:30 meeting but I really had no idea.

I got up early and made myself look pleasant. I loaded my accordion of paperwork and a set of 4T clothes in the passenger seat. I wrapped my sleeping man cub in a fleece blanket and tucked him in his seat. I drove through Dunkin’ Donuts.

For most of the 40-minute drive I prayed and prepped my team. (Man Cub woke up in the DD drive thru, of course.) We’re going to be patient and happy and kind. No one likes Monday mornings. We are going to smile and wait our turn and cooperate and be people that other people want to help.

We will probably have to make a few stops in the building – because I have no idea where to go or who to talk to. We will have to wait in some lines. We will have to jump through some hoops. We will have to sit and wait. We can do it. We will do it with smiles.

We didn’t get there until 8:30. (I underestimated the DD drive thru at 7:30 a.m.) The parking lot was filling up fast. People were streaming in the building.

“It’s okay,” I told us. “People are here for traffic court at 9. We’re not going where they’re going.”

I dressed the boy in the backseat and we ventured inside.

Miracles Do Happen

We slid through security fairly quickly and looked around. To the right was a counter with one window (out of six) open, and no line. Maybe she can tell us where to go.

We wove through the ropes that were standing at the ready to receive long lines. Man Cub at one hip and my accordion of paperwork tucked above the other, I gave the woman behind the glass my best, most sympathetic smile.

She was not impressed.

“I’m not sure where to go. I need a couple of certified court dispositions.” She swiveled toward her computer.


I spelled it, because that’s what we do. First name. Birthday.

“When was the court case?”

“Um … we’re not exactly sure. There were two, but they were about 20 years ago.”


“Driving on a suspended license?”


“How many copies do you need?”

“Two of each, please.”

The printer next to her hummed to life.



“Eight dollars each if I notarize them.”


I was so overjoyed that this was happening right before my eyes I would have given her almost anything.

I set down the accordion and started to frantically dig through my purse for my wallet. This was too easy. The other shoe was about to drop. Somehow, I knew I had to pay and get out fast, before something came up. Before the universe saw what I was getting away with.

I slid my cash below the window and she slid the papers, and a receipt, out. We were done. 10 minutes later, we were done.

I floated to a nearby chair to file my new treasures and kept telling my small assistant, “We’re DONE! That was so EASY! I can’t believe we’re DONE!”

He didn’t seem to care.

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