Monday, February 1
We started the day off with breakfast and school. While planning what we were going to do on Wednesday (the cheetah park), we got a call from our lawyer’s office. They wanted to meet with us that afternoon at 2:00. Our first round of paperwork had been processed and had arrived. Apparently (I wasn’t on the email so I found this out later), our paperwork arrived later than expected because it had showed up a few days before…with two mistakes. They had misspelled our last name and someone forgot to sign a piece of the paperwork. Oops! After the errors had been pointed out, the paperwork was sent back to Pretoria, fixed, then shipped back to Strand. A lot of work for two errors!
The paperwork was filled out by the government reviewing our adoption. It reviews the process we went through, the training we completed, and makes sure the requirements leading up to Tisetso’s adoption were in line with the Hague Convention (a document written up and signed by many countries to ensure children are treated fairly and entrusted with the best possible care). We had to have this paperwork in hand to move forward with anything.
After not finding our lawyer’s office for a good while and driving around in circles (literally and figuratively) we arrived. It was great to meet all of the wonderful people who have been so diligently working on our case for so long. They were all excited to meet Tisetso, too!
While there, we were able to learn more about the process that is coming up. Now that we’ve got Tisetso’s adoption papers back, we can apply for his passport. This is one of two final major things we have to do before we can leave. How quickly we get the passport determines how long we stay here. We will be doing Tisetso’s immigration medical and X-rays tomorrow and Friday in Cape Town. Wednesday is the big day for applying for his South African passport.
After being at the office for over two hours, we headed to the mall. Before we could meet up with our friends for dinner, we had to get Tisetso’s visa and medical photos (think passport quality—no smiling, small size, and general bleakness). Tisetso does not particularly like getting his picture taken. He usually sees it as a negotiation. He tried to get us to agree to one photo. Because we couldn’t promise that, we said we would take as few as possible. Thankfully, the woman only had to take two photos total. While we waiting for the pictures to print and be cut, we ran to a store across the way.
With photos in hand, we headed to a restaurant we’ve seen many times but always shuddered to notice: "Spur."
This place is so incredibly politically incorrect (Native American kitsch) it made me uncomfortable at the thought to be there and give the company our money. BUT we were told we had to go. It was part of the South African experience. Thankfully, our new friends accompanied us, so we weren’t alone in our politically incorrect adventure.
We were told the best day to go was on a Monday. It’s buy one burger, get one free night. The place was packed and it seemed about half of the customers had a birthday. At Spur, they just pipe this catchy birthday jingle through the sound system instead of bringing all of the servers over to sing. It saves them time and energy, but means that, by the end of the night, you’ve heard the song nine times (I counted) and you can’t get the blasted song out of your head!
Another interesting aspect to this place is the massive kids play area. There were five employees specifically watching the kids and doing face painting. We only saw Tisetso and his friend, Julia, when food was at the table. Tisetso especially enjoyed the Xbox One with the motion bar. He was playing a rafting game when we went to fetch him.
The food was ok. The dessert was hot (I had chocolate mud slide cake). The company was great! We really are so thankful for Dan and Julie. Their heart to reach out to adopting families is absolutely wonderful. I think we get along so well because of our mutual love for hospitality. When our food had been consumed and I could handle the birthday jingle no more, we left.
Back at the flat, we had to pack everything up. Our time at this flat ends tomorrow, but we’ll be in the same building, different floor tomorrow. Getting our stuff out and things stored while we go to the medical will be a feat of organization and timing.
Caution! Politically incorrect photos following!