Well as you have guessed we did not get a travel call last week like we expected to. I assumed we would be on a plane to Korea this week but God had other plans. Honestly there is not much of a chance that Jack will be home before Christmas. Why? Well the answer is plane tickets. Two families that I am in contact with got travel calls on Thursday. One was able to get tickets for Monday the other family had to wait to leave on Christmas Eve. According to both families here was only one other choice available to them and it was not a good choice. The flight they both mentioned had horrible layovers on the home leg of the trip. I am talking layovers of around 10 plus hours. Way less than ideal. The rest of the tickets available seen to be business class tickets that cost 6K a ticket. Not something we are willing to pay to an airline. We have not gotten our TC yet and things may change but we expect that even if we could get tickets before which is not a huge possibility; we would most likely have to be away over Christmas which does not work well for our family or childcare arrangements.
Usually families are asked to travel within two weeks of the call. We were concerned about this wondering if they would expect us to pay the holiday business class prices and or be traveling right over the holidays. I called to ask what the expectations of the agency were. Our minds were put to ease when we were told to wait for TC, since it is always an unknown, then book tickets that have prices that we are comfortable with that line up with our family arrangements. Then they would notify Korea of what works best for our family. So it sounds like there is a bit of an exception to the two week rule. She also added that there will be closings of the offices for Christmas and New Years and we would not be able to meet with the agency on those days so being in country at that time may not be the most effective either. So she said that even if we traveled at the beginning of Jan. She is sure that the HOLT agency in Korea will be ok with that. We feel much more at peace with this information and not as stressed out about receiving our TC. We were not worried until we heard the flight news on Thursday. Funny the difference a day can make.
This week was also stressful on Wednesday when we found out that our home study which we thought to expire on the 29th which we assumed we would be home by then actually expires on the 23rd. Well that sent us into a panic since we didn't know if it had to be good through travel or up to travel date or until we had Jack in our arms etc. There was even a point we thought it may have an expiration date of the 16th. So back on the phone calling two different people to figure it all out. Now our home study update appointment is for the 23rd. If we are gone in Korea no big deal, if not no big deal and our social worker will make a visit and update it. Of course it is going to cost to update and it will not be a valid home study once Jack is home because it is a study on our family now not our family with Jack. (sigh) Nice huh? Oh well, at least we know that it won't affect our travel call.
I am kind of doing this post backwards. So going back to before that part of our stressful week, we had a bit of more stress, not huge but disappointing news. We and a few others had Tuesday as our child's Visa Interview date. Others I knew had Visa shortly after the interview that showed up on the system in DC. Not us. When I called DC Jack was marked as a "no show" to the interview. This would send most people into freak out mode! But not me. I had remembered seeing this many times, although not for a long time, from other parents in the process, it actually doesn't mean that Jack's representative didn't show up. What it means is that the person, who enters the visa information into the system at the US embassy in Korea, did not get around to entering all of the cases into the computer. (I always blame things like this happening to us on having a last name that starts with a "W" although I am not sure if this was the case in this situation) Anyway, if the visa does not get entered into the system on the day or within a certain amount of time from the interview time, we are not exactly sure how it works, the system defaults to a "no show" entry. Time after time when this happens the visa is input into the system by the next day. This was the case with us. Of course I was a little worried when no one else remembered this info from the past posts on the HOLT board. Yet I was right and a couple people reassured me a bit as well. Jack does have his visa, just had to wait a day longer than the others, so we are again just waiting for the call that the others got on Thursday. There are other things that can hold up his TC. They will not clear Jack for travel if he has a bad cold for example. We will never know for sure.
What a week! Here's to Monday!