While our agency assured us that most people wait a year from referral to this portion of the process their statement was less comforting than it could have been as I watched all of our new friends moving forward with their process. I'm so sincerely excited for others that have moved forward but, I will admit, I have cried many tears wondering why our paperwork had to get slowed down - why does our son have to wait longer to be united with his family?
I could cry about it being unfair all day but the real issue here is the red tape and bureaucracy involved. So many little steps, appointments, papers, signatures, interviews, and so on are needed, and each state and country have different requirements. It's a very convoluted process, and my hope is to one day work with different agencies to help make this who ordeal more streamlined and effective so these children do not have to wait so long to start their lives with their families.
I appreciate the thoroughness of the process - we certainly wouldn't want people adopting that weren't qualified - but to be fingerprinted by several different federal agencies, and told we will have to renew our fingerprints in 15 months if we still haven't brought him home (whose fingerprints change in 15 months????) is a little overkill.
So, for now, we wait. Once we receive that one piece of paper from USCIS we can wait for the next batch of EP submits to be requested, which can be anywhere from 2 to 3 months (or more). Hopefully things move relatively quickly but, for the time being, I will get to practice being patient (and maybe work on learning some Korean - I need all the help I can get there). So, for now...
First stop, Charlie's Spic and Span which is our favorite little diner in Las Vegas, NM (truth be told, it's the only one we've gone to but we've been there about a dozen times and it's always fantastic).
Then it was off to the big city. The kiddos were on the tail end of a cold, so we spent more time in our hotel room than usual, but we still managed to spend time with some of our favorite people who happened to be visiting the same time that we were! Saturday morning started with meeting Daniel and Amanda in the Plaza.
We love Collected Works, it's a super cute coffee shop/book store that often has live music as well. It was a great place to start our trip. We had to check out our current favorite record store after we had our coffee, so we went down to Good Stuff/Cafe Vinyl after. Both Collected Works and Good Stuff are in the Plaza, which is super walkable. My best advice for spending time in the Plaza is to get there early (before 10am), especially on the weekend, and park in the parking garage off of Water Street. It's cheap and always has room so you don't have to drive around those narrow streets for ages looking for a spot. Been there, done that, not fun.
The kids love to hit up some of the toy stores in the Plaza too, so we try to make sure we can always get to Doodlet's and Moon Rabbit Toys. Deke has been waiting and waiting to buy his first Ugly Doll...so here's Frank!
We spent a couple of hours walking around on Saturday but went back to the hotel after lunch to recuperate.
Thankfully, everyone turned a corner on Sunday and we were able to hit up several fun places that we hadn't been to before (and a couple that we try to visit every time we're in town). First stop...Whoo's Donuts!
I got their Blue Corn Lavender (my favorite) and Nick "settled" for a Maple Bacon Pecan since they didn't have his usual go-to, the Habanero. Thankfully, he survived.
After our tasty treat, we parked at the Plaza and walked to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum with a stop in Burro Alley. Amazingly, we hadn't been to either of these areas before (although we've seen the Burro statue numerous times).
The kids were feeling much better...
And so was Nick...
On the way to the museum...
Georgia O'Keeffe's work is incredible, and we saw paintings and photos that really gave us insight into who she was. I highly recommend this stop to anyone going to Santa Fe. We've been to several other museums on past trips - I'll give more info on those in another post :)
After the museum we went to another favorite destination, the Railyard District. We mostly walked around and took in the sights. The old buildings are so cool...as are the brick roads and sidewalks.
We took some fun train pics here but, sadly, they were with the InstaMax camera and not my iPhone.
We also had to stop by Big Star Books, which is my favorite used book store in town because we always find a TON of good stuff here. And the prices are fantastic! After that, it was back to the hotel for swimming and to rest up for our trip home the next day. We decided that we wanted to leave early so that we could spend some actual time in Taos rather than just drive through it.
Taos is a neat place, smaller than Santa Fe by a lot but more congested since the main road drives right through the center of town. We spent some time in the Taos Plaza before checking out a few stores.
Even the sewer lids are cool...haha.
The kids favorite spot, and probably ours too, was a cool toy store/playground called Twirl.
It was a bit surreal inside, with the unique fireplace and a magical Koi pond.
But the outside playground area was their favorite by far...
Soooo much fun. And they worked up quite the appetite so we stopped by Taos Diner on the north side of town.
The food was good, not as great as Charlie's in my opinion, but the mountain view out the window was amazing!!!
All in all, it was another wonderful New Mexico adventure...quite possibly one of the best yet. And we can't wait to go back!