Last week, we had two days planned where we had to be over the border at appointments. So Tuesday morning came, and we packed up and headed out for our first day, in the big city, where we had a passport appointment for Grace.
The day, as a whole, went down without a hitch. The heat and humidity was oppressive, and, I can honestly say I've never been that hot in my life. Poor Grace soaked through two outfits with sweat (the back of the car doesn't get the best air circulation,) and we had to make a mad dash for a photography studio to redo her passport photos. Turns out, when we got her first passport photos done, at a passport photo place, mind you, they gave us the wrong size. This usually wouldn't be that big of a deal, but the embassy's hours are 1-3 pm. And that is it.
But we went as fast as we (legally) could, and made it back in time to submit all of the paperwork.
We had a late lunch at a mall food court, fed Grace in the parking garage, then made the two hour drive back. When we got to the border, Ian went into the office to get our visas cancelled for the country we were leaving. The officer inside asked to see me (sometimes, because of the culture, they will not ask to see the woman,) and so I, along with Grace came inside.
As soon as he saw me walk in with Grace, he demanded to see her passport. We explained that we didn't have her passport yet but we did have her paperwork (birth certificate from hospital and city, which is supposed to be acceptable.)
He said he could not let us through and he called in a higher ranking official who told us that under absolutely no circumstances could he let us into another country without having her passport.
You might think this would make sense. Usually I would say "of course, someone can't cross into another country without a passport!" But in this situation, the border is much more fluid than other borders, and the hospital told us we would only need the birth certificate. Plus, we had crossed back and forth 3 times already!
Ian followed the higher ranking officer backto his office and tried to reason with him.
"I have an 8 week old baby, she needs her bed. We don't have clothes or diapers. Please sir, think of my wife and baby! We don't know anyone we can stay with here!"
He basically told Ian "it's not my problem." He told us to come back once we had her passport, which would be in 2 to 3 weeks.
Frustrated and angry we got in the car and drove back into the country we had just tried to leave. We parked in a nearby apartment complex while I fed Grace and Ian made phone calls, letting people know the situation and trying desperately to find a place to stay. Of course there are tons of nice hotels, but we didn't have the cash to spend on that (believe me, we have reevaluated our emergency fund!) Finally we were put in touch with a guest house, given directions, and checked in.
As soon as we got in, Ian had to turn around and go back out. It was almost 10 and we didn't have any more diapers (problem!) and hadn't eaten since lunch.
I got Grace to sleep and she officially slept for the first time, not in her crib, but on a bunk bed!
The bottom one, of course, we aren't crazy.
Though, I don't think she'll be rolling her swaddled self anywhere soon.
Ian and I sat quietly, eating on the floor of our room realizing what a big deal this could be.
3 weeks, with only the clothes on our back and no way to communicate with our families back home. We decided we would probably go stay in the big city, 2 hours away, with some friends we had there, and we'd have to buy some clothes to get us through.
We weren't giving up yet though.
You see, the whole time I was pregnant, I had morning Dr.'s appointments. We crossed the border in the morning and returned in the evening. At the border, in the morning, we always got the same female border guard, and we had built a relationship with her. We had even brought Grace in to show her when we were first returning home!
She was also the guard who had let us (plus Grace) through, no problem, just like they were supposed to do!
So, the next morning, we got up, went to our Doctor's appointments like planned, then went straight to the border to try to catch our friend before her shift was over.
Miracle of all miracles, she was! I stayed in the car and she didn't even ask to see me or Grace, we got our stamps, then proceeded to drive over the border.
Coming home never felt so good!
Like I said at the beginning of this post, this could have been a much worse situation, but in the end, it all worked out. Praising the Lord for His hand on us during this time.
We can't go back over the border until Grace's passport is in, or we would risk not being able to get home.
I'm fine with 3 weeks of being stuck in this tiny town if it means I can brush my teeth, take out my contacts, and sleep in my own bed!