After we left the agency office we both started calling family and friends to share the news. The first person I called was my mom - she thought I was kidding when I told her we were matched with twins. Originally we had said we wouldn't tell her we had twins until we saw her in person, but I couldn't keep such big news from her. After the family and friends were called we both called our offices and shared the big news with them. Once we were where we could send photos via e-mail we did and a few people actually thought they looked like boys. I can see it now, but at the time I was sad thy they thought my little girls were boys. We both had to go to work the next day and I must confess I got very little work done - I was just too exited to concentrate.
After we sent our letters of acceptance in we had a big surprise. We were told that one of our girls had a couple of lumps under her skin - one on her cheek and one on her elbow. They sent us a couple of photos with the lumps circled, but you really couldn't tell anything from the photos other than she was very upset. We were scared, but knew we couldn't do anything about it until we got her home and had her into see a doctor.
The next few weeks were a blur. We had a phone conference call with our agency and our travel group. We got a packet of information of all the steps we had to complete - they sounded simple on paper, but did not take into account dealing with government agencies. A short while before we had come to this point, the USCIS offices had all been consolidated and the agents were stretched to a breaking point. While our assigned officer was nice she was clearly overwhelmed by the volume of work, was slow to respond and wound up having some sort of family situation that took her out of the office at a very critical point for us. Our approved paperwork somehow did not get sent in a timely manner and we came very close to not getting our US Consulate appointment which would have possibly meant not getting our girls before years end. I have to confess that I spent precious office hours on the phone holding for someone to help me. I also cried - a lot. We also had to get VISA's, arrange for hotels, get airline tickets (including seats for the girls since they were over to years old) and arrange for pet care.
In addition to all the travel and paperwork we had to get our house in order. We went from furniture for a baby to toddler beds, two of everything including booster seats, car seats, a twin stroller and did a ton of baby proofing since we were going from expecting a younger child to expecting two mobile toddlers. We printed out packing lists and purchased suitcases, a luggage scale, money belts, and travel sized everything we could think of. We purchased diapers, wipes, Cheerios (we were told they were like baby crack), stacking cups, and blow up beach balls. We filled prescriptions for scabies, antibiotics for us and for the girls, packed cold medicine, allergy medicine, Tylenol and baby fever reducer. One of the only things we didn't pack was duck tape and we wound up regretting that omission. We also traded in our car for a more family friendly SUV.
While we were doing this we were also both working full time. The week before we left my office threw us a wonderful shower and I was touched by all the well wishes and wonderful people who were happy for me. However my bosses gave me a huge list of tasks to do before I left - I did my best to complete them all - but it sucked so much energy from me and added to my stress. Because of the volume of work I needed to complete I had to work up till the day we left. It was funny we spent all that time waiting and then once we were matched we had so little time left.
Next: Hong Kong Bound