Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Wit's End

I don't often say, "I'm at my wit's end" but I do think it quite often, and when I do, it is always my mother's voice I hear in my head.  "I'm at my wit's end" was usually followed by with something like "with you, young lady" or "with you kids".

I have been trying for months to get Jemberu, who is a U.S citizen, a passport.  We applied for it the day after Halloween and we were warned it might take up to 6 weeks.  After two months with no passport, I checked his status online and learned it was 'being processed'.  Cool.  I checked again a month later. Again, 'being processed'.  Okay.  A few weeks later I called, and was told again that it was "being processed".  I told the man at US passport services how long I had been waiting.  He connected me to the Boston office where it was 'being processed'.  The woman in Boston told me that she had sent me a letter months ago (liar) alerting me that they needed his green card, as additional identification, to finish processing his application.  I told her I would be happy to send it, and mentioned to her that it had an incorrect birthday for Jemberu on it.  I explained that in Ethiopia, Jemberu was assigned a birthday when he arrived at the orphanage. But while in Ethiopia, while meeting a member of his birth family, we were able to find out his actual birthday.  When his adoption was finalized, his birthday was legally changed and I had already sent them the court documents to prove this.

I was informed that the birthday on the passport had to be the same one as the one on his green card.  'Okay, what do I do?'  'Contact USCIS for a new green card.'  This apparently was my only option unless I wanted Jemberu's passport to have an incorrect birthday.  So for hundreds of dollars, I applied for Jemberu to get a new green card, explaining to USCIS about the birthday.  I wait months for Jemberu to get an appointment at a local(ish) USCIS office for biometrics, which is fingerprints and a photo.  Today was that day.  I took him out of school and brought all of the required paper work.  We were brought into the office of an immigration official to explain ourselves.

Officer: "This is very unusual, the little guy is already a citizen you say?"

Me: "Yes he became a citizen when his adoption was finalized in the US."

Jemby: "I am not a little guy."

Me: " I was told by a US Passport agent that this is the only way my son can get an accurate passport"

Officer:  " I don't know if he actually can be issued a new green card, the little guy is already a US citizen and we don't give green cards to US citizens."

Jemby: "I. AM. NOT. A. LITTLE. GUY."

Me: silent trying not to lose my temper, trying to find new words to explain this situation to the officer

Officer: "Just calm down."

Me: "I haven't said anything yet!"

He lets me know we can go ahead with the biometrics but he can't make any promises that they will issue a new card to the little guy.

Jemby and I get in the car for the long ride home and he starts talking.  A lot.  About nothing.  I asked him if we could please have a little quiet time.  He talked some more.  I said "Hush Jemby."  He said "Hush is a bad word and I am telling dad you said it"

Me: Hush is not a bad word.

Jemby: What about "Oh my God?"

Me: "That is a bad word in our family. Please say 'Oh my gosh' instead"

Jemby: "What about penis?"

Me : "That's not a bad word."

Finally silence.  Jemby fell asleep for about 15 beautiful minutes.  He woke up too soon and the silence was broken.

Jemby: "Can we stop for ice cream?"

Me: "No."

Jemby: "You don't have to be such a penis!"

Anyway...that is how I reached my wit's end today.


  1. Umm... you left out some key elements of this story when you told it to me within earshot of Jemby. I didn't see that coming! I laughed out loud.

    Fingers crossed that the green card arrives with the proper date.

  2. You made my day,to laugh out loud .Children say the funniest things.Not laughing at your problem . I feel for you,but your son is a stitch. I do hope you can get all of your problems taken care of. A Fan

  3. Oh My Gosh!!!!! Sitting here watching the Sox and reading your blog....Literally started laughing hysterically and a snort slipped out. My husband had to know what I was "snorting" about and he too had a laugh outloud. Thanks for sharing and I too hope all works out for you and the Passport!
    Jen Bellemare

  4. Ha ha ha! .... ha ha ha ha ha!!! Ha ha ha!... OMG!! Ha ha ha ha...

    That's about all I have to say.


  5. Usually your stories make me cry.. but this one. Sorry Alison, I had to laugh. I didn't do it on purpose... It just came out while reading

    Donna Peirce