Thursday, July 12, 2007

Confessions of a Bad Mother (or why I'm not in the US right now)

Okay, so Emily reminded me that I've been remiss in telling a sad but true story... Some of you know that I was supposed to be in the US just now. Well, in fact, I had gotten everything all packed, had my suitcases in the hall and was ready to go check in my bags at the 7th circle RJ terminal. But, something our household helper said about a friend having trouble and having to wait on the consulate got me thinking about our passports. The twins and I got ours last year, so clearly there would be no SNAFU with the American passports for us. Then, I got to thinking that Butterbean's passport was supposed to expire, next year I thought. But, I'd just check to be sure. Well, it wasn't next year, it was last month. What a bummer. I called a friend of my Sister-in-Law and she went to ask the American Citizen Services about the situation. Nope, they told her, we wouldn't be let into the country. Or at least Butterbean wouldn't. It takes 10 days to renew the passport and there is no expediting it. I tried finding a number on-line for the US Passport Agency to ask the same question, but all I got was VRU purgatory. I couldn't get an option that was right for me and couldn't get to talk to a live person. Now, had El 3atal been coming, we would have gone on. The worst that could have happened is that we would have been turned back and one of us could have brought Butterbean here and gotten a passport for her. But, since he wasn't going with us, I couldn't go knowing that if we had issues, my poor helper would have been stuck trying to navigate Chicago's airport with two small children and imperfect English when she's never even had to deal with customs or immigration.

I had hoped to change my tickets by 2 weeks, but then the price would have gone up by about $2K. That was far too much for us to handle. So, we moved the rip back to the fall. While we're all disappointed, it seemed like the best option available to us. So, we find ourselves unexpectedly in Amman for the summer, living it up and loving life as always. I hope your summer is going well.

Happy summer days!


At 7:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I know, even if your passport is expired. You're allowed to go home.
You're allowed to go home on a birth certificate. Or even temperary documents if your passport got damaged/lost/stolen.
Unless butter bean is not going home :)

At 7:40 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Well, that's certainly the way it works in Jordan, but the US is a bit more picky than that, I fear. At least so says the embassy (not saying I believe them). What swayed this in my mind is that travelers coming from Canada and Mexico must have valid passports these days :(. I'll be asking when I go through though.

At 9:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you will had been allowed in the US with an expired passport, but you would have been charged a penalty (~100 USD)....this might have changed in the past couple of years but I have personal experience with this. Using a birth certificate to get into the US is limited to land travel btwn Canada the US and Mexico, but this will change soon where a passport will be required for all regardless of mode of transportation.

What would the embassy do if someone "lost" their passport? Wouldn't they would give you some sort of emergency permission to enter the US. You should have done that! ;-)

There is a huge backlog of passport processing stateside b/c of the new regulations requiring all air travellers to have passports even if visiting Canada, Mexico or the Carribean.

At 10:45 PM , Blogger UmmFarouq said...

Oh Dear!
I have been waiting to hear from you. I was thinking, oh, she's just getting settled in, hanging with family, very busy, etc.

I too had major passport troubles, but that was with trying to leave Jordan, not get into US. I'll write you a personal email. Hi to kids and family. Take care.

We can plan and plan, but God is the best of planners.

At 1:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am Sad to hear that. But maybe you should have checked the passports when you decided to travel.
so here is a lesson to be learned for every one of us.. :>

At 2:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not at all a bad, mother, a busy mother! Plus, we get to enjoy you this summer! :)

Haha, forgive me for making light of such a frustrating situation!! I can't even imagine the feeling.

At 12:19 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Maher, thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I was so focused on getting a Visa for our helper to come that I neglected our passports. Of course, since 3 were obtained last year, that didn't help trigger my memory...

Kinz, thanks for your kindness. Definitely busy Mom and also abit forgetful.

At 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry!:( And you were all packed, but coming in the fall will be a nice time, too. Isn't your mom in the South? Maybe you will get a chance to see the leaves changing (always my favorite)!
ps- will your helper's visa still be good in the fall?

At 8:46 AM , Blogger Sam said...

o wow that sucks! poor mamabean! and u were so keen on going home...o well...we'll get to meet u and the little beans sooner now:)
i almost forgot about my passport too...but phew i got it done on time! i would have never heard the end of it from hubby had i forgotten to renew my passport:)

At 2:47 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Emily, Thanks! And you are SO funny. Don't you know that the leaves don't cahnge in the South? Teehee. Home is full of evergreens, in fact, so we'll get to see lots of green and lots of water. But it is mild and lovely then as well. And HelperBean's VISA is a good long one, so no worries on that score.

Sam, welcome! Be sure to send me an e-mail when you get here so I can have you and the kids over. We've got lots of toysa nd fun stuff to help ease the transition (and JuniorBean would love to have boys to play with!)


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