The ink has dried on another “first” in Penelope’s life. Halloween 2012 is over, the candy mostly eaten (by me, not Penelope), and the monkey suit hangs empty, waiting for another child to dare look as cute.
The day was filled with tricks and treats. I took time off of work so we could initiate the “re-adoption” process, or “Domestication of Foreign Adoption” as the paperwork says. Halloween morning after breakfast we drove to the courthouse with a stack of copied paperwork. I spent the morning in Picasa labeling the first page of each document “Exhibit ___” and printing it all off. With everything organized and checkbook in hand, we stood at the Superior Court Clerk’s window and was told “Sorry, you need originals”.
Originals! I understand why. These are three documents we got in China; Certificate of Abandonment, Birth Certificate, and Certificate of Adoption. The woman promised we’d get them back yet my cautious nature kicked in. Sensing my unease the woman reassured me “Don’t worry, we won’t lose them”.
“What choice do I have?” I thought.
“And the documents shouldn’t say “Exhibit” on them. Can you take that off?”. Argh.
We arrived back home and I edited each document, removed the word “Exhibit”, and reprinted all the necessary pages. I went back to the courthouse alone. Back at the Clerk’s window the woman said “You are going to kill me” followed by a pause as she flipped through the original Chinese documents. “I need translations”.
Relief. “They’re part of the Chinese document” I said. She flipped through and found the translations. “That will be $204.04 made out to the Superior Court”. Argh again! The CCAI paperwork said it was “around $100” so it was a minor shock. I wrote the check and left, wondering when our court date would be. The clerk told us a letter would be sent with instructions. When the date was set we would go before the judge, representing ourselves, and state why we were there. Really? We filled out ten pages of documentation and provided original documentation, our ORIGINAL home study, a copy of Penelope’s Visa and we need to tell you why? Oh, and we paid you!
Later that evening we drove to Stephanie’s house for Penelope’s first evening of trick or treating. Charlie was already dressed as Spiderman and Steve had a wagon ready for Penelope. With cushions and a blanket it was a Halloween chariot fit for our little monkey.
We set out, Penelope lounging in the wagon holding a plastic jack-o-lantern for her stash. When we arrived at the first house Charlie took Penelope’s hand and led her to the door. Charlie rang the doorbell and the homeowner emerged. We didn’t even think about prepping Penelope for this. As the woman opened her door Penelope stepped in, ready to have a sit or jump on furniture as little monkeys are prone to do. Jennifer ran to the door with her cat-like reflexes and grabbed our curious Georgette.
Penelope got back in the lush chariot where she spent most of the evening. As her candy accumulated she inspected each piece. Penelope couldn’t leave the candy in the bucket. Ring pops, M&Ms, and Twizzler’s made a circuit from the jack-o-lantern to the wagon’s corner and back. She was oblivious to the carnival of adults shepherding their children from house to house for small doses of tooth decay and belly aches.
Every few feet someone would look into the wagon and see Penelope and say “She’s so cute!” I never said anything but inside I was agreeing wholeheartedly.
At one corner of the neighborhood a man with a hockey mask and chain-less chainsaw would start the motor. As we drew closer I hoped he would ignore us. No luck. Maybe we were lingering in one place too long. He yanked on the cord a few feet from Penelope and the chainsaw howled. Her eyes got wide as she looked over at the masked man. Jenn and I found a way through the hordes and kept moving.
When we stopped Penelope continued shifting her candy around. Stephanie, Steve, and Charlie enjoyed hot dogs while Jenn and I sat and soaked in the insanity neither of us had participated in for over a decade.
We continued on, Penelope rarely getting out to ask for candy. When we arrived back at Stephanie’s the kids were running around and yelling “coco!” and falling on the floor. I still don’t know where the “coco” came from but it amused both of them. It reminded Jenn and I how important it is for her to spend time with other children.
For us,the time spent with family and friends was the real treat.