Sorry folks for not posting a blog entry yesterday... Chris and I were hit with a small hiccup in the adoption process. The adoption itself is fine... it's the 'interstate' that we have an issue with.
In Tuesday's posting, I stated that the paperwork that was sent to PA was a courtesy filing and we didn't need to hear back from them before we can enter the state... well, that was incorrect. Tuesday evening Barb heard back from New York stating that we could leave the state. That same morning she heard from Pennsylvania saying that we were not allowed to enter.
The agency that we went with to do our homestudy [NOT Friends In Adoption... they're not licensed in PA so we used our a different agency for the homestudy process] didn't realize that on January 1, 2008, PA passed a law stating that we needed an additional FBI background check. Prior to this date, you needed to get state clearance from any state you lived in within 5 years - so we did all of the background work for for both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The person from PA Interstate rejected our application. Once we heard the news, it was non-stop phone work to get things worked out. The director from our homestudy agency informed us that they were not aware of the law change because a majority of their clients live and adopt within PA. Barb tried working it from her end... the director of the homestudy agency tried working it on her end, and Chris made some calls himself to get this situated.
Chris called the single representative for PA's Interstate and informed her that this was an agency oversight and asked what could be done. Getting the Cogent ID screening was a must. The only thing is, it takes 2-3 weeks to process it. Chris explained to the representative that this would cost us an additional $3,300 in hotel cost alone, not withstanding Kensington would miss her appointment with her pediatrician and she needed to see him within 2 weeks after the birth. "The child's feet can not touch PA soil without getting your Cogent ID screening approved."
Well... the funny thing is, we have to drive past our house to get to a Cogentid site (which is located in a UPS store?!?)
Chris called up several UPS stores (around 1pm), all which closed at 3pm on Wednesday, and asked what the possibilities were of getting screened. None of them cared about the situation we were in... and said we could come in at the next available screening time, which was Monday afternoon, which would now increase our hotel bill to approx $4,000. We did find one store saying that they didn't accept reservations, and the first opening was Friday morning.
Needless to say, things got a little emotional. The hotel was amazing, and said that we could stay as long as we needed to. We looked into downgrading hotel room (into a single room versus the suite we were in). They called us back and informed us that we could stay in our room and they'd lower the cost of the room - now the total bill would only cost us an additional $2,000.
Chris then called John Siptroth's (our State Representative) Office, and spoke with his Chief of Staff, Steven Washington, who he has a working relationship with. Steven informed us that his office has a relationship with Senator Casey and the congressional delegation that could help work this. We'd have to get scanned, and then called his office with the identification number so his people could call their people and than they can process it.
Then I was hit with an epiphany - if NY and PA didn't border each other, would we have to get clearances for any states we traveled through? So Chris called Barb and found out that we could travel to any state - even Hawaii - with Kensington. Once hearing this, we made some calls to our NJ friends and family and explained our situation. The one thing we've said over and over again, is that we have the most amazing friends ever. We were offered guest rooms, basements, etc. And we would have taken you all up on it. And then last night hit (see posting below). After Hurricane Kensington, I wouldn't dare bring her to our friends' houses (for a stretch of three weeks).
Another epiphany... we have friends who have a beach house that they rent out during the summer. Is it available? And it was.
So tomorrow morning we will meet one of our friends at the NJ side of the NJ/PA border to watch Kensington while we travel to the Cogent ID site and get scanned... then we'll call Steven and then the waiting game begins.
The good news is, my Primary Care Physician is an Internist and a Pediatrician, and he's already seen the prenatal medical records of Kensington and has them on file. While it's not the pediatrician she'll be going to, I know him and trust him and have a co-worker who has used him for years for her son.
So... it's just one small (or I'd say medium) hiccup in the process.