We can NOT thank you enough for your constant prayers. We asked here that you join us in praying that our paperwork would be in country before the first of October, and your/our prayer was answered. After our weekend in Atlanta, we were/are confident and convinced that you had been and still are praying for our precious baby boy to come home!
Prior to our trip to Atlanta, we had to have each document notarized, certified by the Probate Judge in our county, and then driven to Montgomery to be authenticate by the Secretary of State.
After authentication, we (actually Staples) scanned each document and emailed them to our translator in Paris to be translated to French. After our dossier was translated, each document that was notarized, certified, and authenticated had to receive one last stamp of legalization from the Haitian Consulate in Atlanta.....THEN our paperwork would be ready to send to Haiti.
I emailed our translator on Wednesday to check in on her progress, and in response, she told me that she would have our translation complete and sent back to me on Thursday!!! Prayer answered! We celebrated and quickly planned a quick and sudden trip to Atlanta and Tuscaloosa.....this "schedule" became quite humorous by the time the weekend was over...
And after waiting about an hour in a tiny waiting room, we were called back to an even tinier room for a lady to thumbed through our papers, shake her head, and tell us, "I can't do this". As you can imagine, we were speechless and filled with more emotions than can be described. Payt went round and round and round and round with her and another man. To make a long 3hr conversation between Payt and these people short, they told us that they could not legalize our paperwork until our French copies were notarized, certified, and authenticated....the same process that our English dossier went through as mentioned above.
Since most families that are adopting or have adopted from Haiti send their paperwork to the Haitian Consulate in Miami (who apparently do things differently), we were totally caught off guard and unaware of theses 3
SO there we were.....in Atlanta (at this point it was about 2:00), left to try to find a notary that spoke English AND French to notarize our French dossier, then find the probate judge of that county to certify our paperwork, THEN make it to the capital of Georgia to the secretary of State to have her authentication all before 4:30PM (offices quit taking paperwork at 4:30 in order to leave their office by 5:00) in Atlanta traffic on a Friday afternoon....seemed impossible!
After Payt insisted (thankful for a persistent husband at times such as these) on some help from the consulate, she nicely contacted a notary that spoke English and French that would notarize our paperwork. We hopped in the car (side note: Pax is in tow), FLEW and prayed our way to this guy's office and watched him take an hour and a half to notarize the papers. Payt is pacing and sweating (there was NO AC in this office....helped enhance this Haiti experience), while I am praying, sweating, trying to keep our 2 month old happy and content, and making phone calls trying to figure out where the probate judge and Secretary of State were located.
Around 3:45, we FINALLY left the sweet, but slow man's office, and we FLEW to the Probate Judge's office to receive the certification.Thankfully, it was only about 5 minutes down the road. Once I spotted the office describe by the lady I had spoke with on the phone, I literally flung open the car door in the middle of the road, barely giving Payt time to stop on the brakes, and with my arms full of paperwork, I sprinted to the front door of the office.
The sweet Probate Judge had an assembly line ready upon my arrival, and with the help of a few ladies in the office, they accomplished the task. However, at this point, it was nearing 4:30, and the ladies continued to reassure me that there was NO way I would be able to make it to the Secretary of State's office. We were 30 minutes away from the capital, not figured in with Atlanta traffic on a Friday afternoon, and dealing with political officials; there was just "no way".
With that said, once that last seal was stamped on the papers, I kindly but quickly thanked them, grabbed the folders, and sprinted back to the side of the road to catch my ride :).
While I was in the Probate Judge's office, Payt had been on the phone with Secretary of State's office BEGGING them to let us come by to complete the last step of legalization. It was 4:30, still 30 minutes away not including the stand still traffic we were approaching; and the SOS agreed that if we could get there by 5:00, she would authenticate our paperwork for us.
We made it to the capital/ SOS's office at 4:48. How? I am still not sure. I think the Lord froze time. But I, once again, grabbed our folders and the check book, jumped out of the car in the middle of downtown Atlanta, sprinted up to the capital in my knee high boots (I was NOT dressed for running a marathon all over the city of Atlanta), entered the sophisticated, professional building with sweat dripping off my face (if you know me, you know I hate to sweat) with arms full of paperwork, and run into a security guard who would not let me enter any further into the building without a photo ID.
UGGGHHHH! I think I did actually say that to her :(. Reminder: I now have 10 minutes to get to the SOS's office. No time to argue nor converse. So I sprint back out of the building, through the court yard, and down the sidewalk in HOPES that my husband would happen to be circling by in the exact spot that I needed him to in order to grab my license out of the car. Thank you, Sovereign Jesus; he was!!! I waved him down looking even more like a crazy, frantic lady so he would see me. He stopped, I grabbed my ID, and sprinted back up to the capital. As I'm sprinting past politicians and other professionals, I am finding this whole scene humorous and wishing we had cameras following us....this blog post does not do the entire scenery justice. The whole day was a sight!
I enter the building, throw my ID at the security guard, she lets me in, I sprint to the elevators, arrive on the 8th floor, enter the Secretary of States office at 5:00 ON THE DOT, out of breath to say the least with sweat dripping off my face, I introduce myself, and she responds...."Girl, its time for me to go home. I cant do this today."
I literally drop to my knees begging (understatement) and explaining to her that she HAS to do this for us. I briefly tell her our story, pulled on her little heart strings by telling her that it was our little boys 2nd birthday and the best birthday present she could give him was to authenticate our papers so that he could come home a few months sooner. That worked!
She takes our papers, stamps them with her authentication, and thirty minutes later; I am hugging her neck on the verge of tears thanking her for helping us get this impossible task complete in time to get our paperwork to Haiti on Monday!
I left the building with our completed paperwork in my hands, crying, praying, still gasping for breath, limping (from running in knee high boots), speechless, and full of so many more emotions. It is ONLY by the grace of God that were able to run (literally) all over Atlanta to complete what is usually a 2-3 week process in 3 short hours in an unfamiliar city.
There is no doubt that God's sovereignty carried us. And it is because of HIM and His favor that were able to complete these tasks so that we could receive our last and final legalization from the Haitian Consulate the next morning. And not to mention, the Haitian Consulate is open on Saturdays. Thank you, Jesus!
So we spent the rest of the night winding down and strolling through Atlanta.....
and letting this little guy who was a PERFECT angel, stretch out his little legs...
Paxton's afternoon nap time happens to be from 1-5:00PM, therefore he slept through entire adventure....thankful for a scheduled and easy baby!
There you have it....another "Rowen Adventure" and another chapter of God's faithfulness added to his story. We just can't thank you enough for your constant prayers....as you see, they are being heard and they are being answered! Stay tune...there is more.