My cell is ringing and caller id is displaying a strange number. It's only three digits long. I pick it up and answer, curious to discover who is on the other line. It turns out to be a woman from the Hague offices for international adoption.
"Did you have your fingerprints scheduled?" she asks, referring to the prints for the I-800A application. I nod, useless over the phone.
"Yes, it was scheduled for September twenty-fifth," I tell her.
"September, no I have August," she says.
"Um - let me grab the letter, I'm sure it was for September."
I yank open the door to the china hutch and pull the notification letter off the top shelf. The papers are in my hand and I scan it again my eyes sliding to the date near the bottom. Ice slides into my veins. This isn't good.
Sharply I bite down on my lip to keep the worse of what crosses my mind from coming out of my mouth. I sink into the leather side chair and say softly, "Yes, it is August."
There is a brief ray of hope when I think for a moment that it isn't yet the twenty-fifth. Then it flames and turns to ash when I realize it is well past the twenty-fifth of August. This is a bad mistake. I'm suddenly afraid everything is in jeopardy.
"I'm so sorry, I thought it was for September not August." I explain. I really can't believe we missed this appointment.
"That's okay, people make mistakes," she says. It does nothing to console me, I feel hollow and stupid. The Hague representative goes on. "You'll need to be scheduled."
"Of course. Oh, I'm so sorry."
"I'll put in a request to have you rescheduled, but they are very busy. It may take up to two months," she said. Each word feels like a lead weight dragging me further down. I listen without saying a word. "If you don't hear from anyone in ten days you can contact me."
I write down her email and phone number. Finally I find some words.
"Since they're busy, is there any chance of going up to Los Angeles to be finger printed?"
"No, they are just busy as everyone else. The real shame is this is the only thing left you needed, you're ready for approval," she says. The chipper tone is more like a blunt object.
"I really am sorry," I say again. We confirm that I have her phone number and then hang up. I sit on the edge of the chair, staring glumly at the original notification letter. My heart feels hollow. Not wanting to, but having no choice I open my phone again and dial Andrew.
"Honey, hi. I have some bad news."