So today we got up nice and early and got ready to meet our driver to take us to the US Embassy to process our immigration paperwork. We gave the girls a bath this morning and we all got a little bit of breakfast before we headed out.
If you are familiar with the US Embassies abroad, you are not allowed to take cameras, telephones or electronic devices into the Embassy facility. So we could not take any pictures outside or inside the building.
We arrived for our appointment with our stacks of paperwork. We had a stack of documents that had been translated and prepared to accompany our applications. We had forms that we had to fill out. It was a big pile of paper!
Right now, the girls still hold their national citizenship. And the passports that we received are from their birth country. When we get their immigration visas, we travel to the continental US and pass through the immigration office at the airport where we enter. At that point, their passports and visas will be stamped and will give them US citizenship, too.
|Naomi (Shawna) - Waiting for our medical appointment.|
Afterward, we went to the medical facility that does the physical exams for the immigrant visas. Eugene got us registered and signed us up to see the doctor. Before we saw the doctor, we stopped by the nurses' office where they took their weights and heights. Oddly enough, we didn't have to undress them to get the weight. They had their clothing on, their snow pants, and snow boots.
No big deal, right? Well, that was all fine until I saw what they weighed on the scale with all those clothes on.... Hannah (Lindsay) weighed just a little over 10 kilograms with all of that on.... that's about 22 pounds.... with clothes and boots! She is tiny, and skinny, skinny, skinny! Size 4T pants are falling off her non-existent hips. Naomi (Shawna) weighed 11.1 kilograms on the scale... roughly 24 pounds... with clothes and boots! I was having a hard time believing these number. I knew they were tiny, but I didn't think they weighed so little.
We met the doctor afterward and she did a quick basic exam for each of them. She commented at how "severely underweight" they were and how this was "highly abnormal" for a child with Down syndrome. She wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know. A child being this tiny and skinny is highly abnormal for any child.
We shared with her that we were already aware of the many health conditions that are commonly associated with Down syndrome and that we already have a son at home with it. She actually seemed a bit relieved. She said, "Oh, so you are experienced? Very good then." She asked how old our son was, and I told her he is 7 and very healthy. She really seemed to lighten up at that point. I kicked myself at this point because I left my photo book back at the apartment. I really wanted to show off some pictures of our son.
She quickly checked each of them over from top to toes, and listened to their chests. She commented that she didn't find any clinical reason that they should be so underweight. She assumed that it was due only to neglect and poor nutrition. She completed the forms that we needed and made some copies for us.
After the exam, we had a bit of lunch in the little cafe in the building. They had some really good borshcht soup. Both girls each had a full bowl of soup and a side of cooked buckwheat. I couldn't believe how much they ate!
|Hannah (Lindsay) - We're done for the day!|
We made it back to the apartment and had a little nap to recover from the late night.
Tomorrow we have our appointment to pick up the visas! I can see Texas on the horizon!