Friday, April 13, 2007


Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Whereas the party of the first part, also known as "Lawyer", and the party of the second part, also known as "Light Bulb", do hereby and forthwith agree to a transaction wherein the party of the second part (Light Bulb) shall be removed from the current position as a result of failure to perform previously agreed upon duties, i.e., the lighting, elucidation, and otherwise illumination of the area ranging from the front (north) door, through the entryway, terminating at an area just inside the primary living area, demarcated by the beginning of the carpet, any spill over illumination being at the option of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) and not required by the aforementioned agreement between the parties.

There are worse ones, and I would share them, except I don’t want to offend anyone... especially anyone who knows their way around torts, writs, motions, briefs, or appeals.

We have retained a lawyer. A gentleman who seems knowledgeable, thorough, concise, and is providing a set fee. He seems nice enough, probably makes a very good living, and has a face that instantly produces the urge to yawn.

He explained enough about the intricacies of adoption, visas, green cards and citizenship to convince me he knows what he is doing and that I definitely do not wish to go this on my own. We are trying to gain citizenship for our children of thirteen years, an oversight of the adoption process.

It is a complex process. Full of details I would never have been able to do on my own. For example, he handed us a stack of papers approximately the thickness one needs to purchase a home and had us filling them out, answering questions as we went.

“This part here says that we fill in the petitioner’s name, but is that us or Jeremiah?”

“Oh, do not worry over that. Our secretary can fill that out, but be certain you fill in the space marked 3.a-4... as it corresponds to the PW-400R form that needs to be sent to Homeland Security...”

On and on it went for two hours, after which we fled to a local Thai restaurant (relieved of a $1,000 retainer of course).

I can’t imagine he finds such work satisfying, but that is me. I’m glad I’m a teacher.

He is giving us a break on the whole deal. Instead of $1,600 for each boy he is going to do it for a flat fee of $2,000 (plus the $1,600 for misc., fees, and an estimated $400 for our own expenses in certified copies of FBI records, doctor physicals [not covered by ins.], passport photos, and other small items). We will then be getting green cards for our two sons and they will have legal parolee status to be in the United States of America.

Once that is done we can start over by applying for citizenship for Isaac after 6 months and for Jeremiah after five years (good thing he isn’t 21 or it would be ten!).

Brenda is about to tear her auburn hair out.

(Well, it’s really brown, but auburn sounds so much more poetic.)

Fortunately Jeremiah will start getting $500 a month from Social Security as a disabled adult which we can use to pay for all of this. Yup, that’s right. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to get Social Security benefits. (On the one hand I’m relieved about that, but on the other, the citizen-taxpayer part of me is saying: “What?!?!?”)

Brenda’s stress level is still pretty rocky, which makes my life rocky as well.

Little stresses add up. Especially for her. She gets cranky and falls into a manic wave of house and yard work, a five and a half foot tornado that I stay clear of.

And the reminders of Jeremiah’s actions of two years ago, the building going up, the talk of raising funds, the legal matters which still crop up. irritate her. A few days ago I was backing out of a parking space and a guy in a space across from me pulled forward out of his space at the same time. His slight exaggeration of the events implies I was totally at fault, but that will eventually work itself out. My back is aching and threatening, but that too will eventually unknot itself.

I am concentrating on staying steady. I’ve been thinking about simple truths.

Complex truths are fun, such as quantum mechanics and the mechanisms of galactic clusters (the largest gravity-bound objects in the universe!), but I think simple truths are far more important.

Here are some I have been contemplating:

God is good.

There is a creator.

God took the form of a man and lived a life just as I am doing.

God loves me.

Such truths act as anchors. They give me clarity and focus.

I rush through my day, writing lessons, building web sites, making videos, disciplining unruly children, explaining my program to parents, working with grants and administrators and the PTA and all sorts of things.

But when I think about simple truths...

God is good. There is a creator. God took the form of a man and lived a life just as I am doing. God loves me.

It is like I am lying on a hillside, watching clouds drifting through cerulean blue, and my heart steadies, slows...

I am not mentally, educationally, or temperamentally equipped to handle the intricacies of tansforming my children into legal U.S. citizens, that is why I have hired a lawyer. But I have been equipped to handle the simple things.

I need to support Brenda with focus and determination, help her in her struggles with the challenges which frustrate her. I need to hold steady to my roles of husband, father, and servant of the One True God... guiding my actions and thoughts in all those roles with the simple reminder that my life is guided by faith, hope, and love... most importantly, love.


bigwhitehat said...

I'm an adoptee. You are doing a wonderful thing.

Penless Thoughts said...

You've summed it all up well and most importantly correctly.

Noel Lewis said...

I finished reading this post 20 minutes ago. I've been trying to think of something eloquent to say and all I've come up with the past 19 minutes is "Wow".
I enjoy reading your posts.
Anyone can be a father. You are a great dad.

Jim said...

Nice to hear from you again, C.S. Thanks for the progress report.
It is sounding like quite a few steps forward for the just one back. Hang in there.

Mrs Jim reminded me yesterday [we had a long, sad ride into and back from Houston] that she (and me too) isn't losing her song. She couldn't quite remember the reference in the car but found it in Psalms at home.

January -- her mom died
February -- a friend we were responsible for her care who also called Mrs. Jim her next of kin--she never was married, had no kids, no sibblings, etc--died
March -- my dad died
April -- daughter Karen had a miscarriage, essentially Mrs. Jim's first natural grandchild died
May -- back to more normal retired life??

Didn't mean to dump on you, C.S, but wanted to show her thinkng about not losing her song.

Judas Hate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coco said...

so glad to see that you posted,
and that things are going well...

hopefully, once this matter is cleared, Brenda will be back to her "normal" self.

i, too, am glad to be a teacher! i wouldn't have it any other way : )

blessings to you and your family.

take care my friend...
we've got just a few more weeks of school left- yay!!

squirrel said...

So glad to hear you are taking the steps to make them citizens. You and your wife are wonderful parents. Your wife sounds a lot like me I don't handle stress well either. Has she talked to a doctor about it? My family doctor has been a God send to me. She doesn't have to see a psychiatrist her family doctor should be able to get her a mild non addictive stress reliever. Just a suggestion, it helps me. ((hugs))

forget me not said...

Inspiring post, CS. Hugs to you all.

Jada's Gigi said...

You're sounding a bit more steady...simplicity...focus...God is good...yes...

Pirate said...

God bless you.

Looney Mom said...

Life is hard but thank GOD we are never alone and that this is not our end... just a temporary stop. We do need to hold on the truths He's given us or how else can we make it?

I pray that the stress in your lives eases up, that your sons will be citizens without to much ado, and that you and your wife find some peace and time to relax. God bless you all.

Terry said...

It's a funny thing.
After all the sadness the last two days about that terrible going on in Virginis, I just HAD to come to your blog.
Even with all the sorrows that you have been going through, yourself I just needed the comfort of reading your postings Curious Servant.
Thats all I have to say..From Terry

4evergapeach said...

The title of your blog could never be more appropriate. You have been through so much and still enduring and finding the good God has given you (us). May God bless you in your endeavors CS.