making progress (slowly)

A couple weeks ago I wrote about all the things we have to do before moving. Well, I’m here to report we’ve made some (frustratingly slow) progress:

  • We got Flynn’s birth certificate which allowed us to apply for Flynn’s diplomatic passport. This in turn will let us apply for our visas. We hope to have the passport in a week. (A note for anyone in Virginia who needs a birth certificate quickly – just drive to Richmond and pick it up. We made the mistake of ordering an expedited certificate through Vitalchek as recommended by the hospital and it took over two weeks to get it and cost about four times as much. At one point our order was “in processing” for a week so I ended up going to Richmond anyway.)
  • Our pack out is now tentatively scheduled for June 22. But first we need our revised travel orders that include Flynn. Getting these orders, of course, depends on Flynn’s medical clearance coming through. He seems like a healthy (if spit up-prone) baby to us, but our pediatrician has to fill out some forms and they have to be approved by the medical office. This is supposed to be a relatively quick process, but we’ve already been warned to expect delays due to the volume of medical clearances needed this time of year.
  • Alex and I received our vaccinations on Monday. Aside from some sore arms, we are in good shape. Plus we’ll be better able to sympathize with Flynn when he gets his routine vaccinations next week.
  • We think we have our nanny situation sorted out in Benin. At the very least we’ve decided on the person we want to hire initially. If it doesn’t work out, we can always make a change, but she comes highly recommended. Having something in place when we get there will be a relief.
  • Our consumable shopping is going well. We have large piles of diapers, wipes and paper towels in our guest room, plus more shampoo and bug spray that I’d ever thought I’d buy. A few more trips to Target, Autozone and Amazon.com and we should be all set.
  • We’re a little closer to figuring out how Abbey is getting to Benin. After initially thinking we’d use an expediter, now we’re leaning towards doing this ourselves. We were told we were flying on Delta which has pretty tight restrictions on transporting pets during the summer. It turns out, though, that the flights are operated by Air France, who is much more lenient. Now we just have to sort out all the entry requirements for France and Benin. The problem is that no matter who we ask, we get a different answer. France needs Abbey’s rabies vaccination at least 30 days before arrival, but apparently Benin needs it within 14 days of arrival. Do we get her two vaccinations to satisfy these contradictory requirements? Also, we need to have our health certificate signed by the USDA 3 days, or 10 days, or 14 days before arrival in Benin, depending on who is providing us information. This is by far the most stressful thing at the moment, but I’ve sent out emails to several different sources and hope to have answers by the end of the week.

Sometimes it seems like we have so much to do and everything is so difficult that there is no way we’ll get it all done. We just have to stop and remind ourselves that many other people have navigated similar situations before. Even though having a dog and a newborn make moving to Africa more complicated, we’re not the first people to do this. We also have to focus on the important thing – getting everyone there safe and sound. If we didn’t buy enough paper towels to last two years, or if we forgot to pack chocolate chips in our consumable shipment, well, it isn’t the end of the world.

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10 Responses to making progress (slowly)

  1. Meredith says:

    I have little confidence that any UAB chocolate chips would make it to my house in tropical climes unmelted, so I left room in my suitcase to stock up on chocolate in Paris. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  2. Camille says:

    I think I got an ulcer just by reading that. Yikes! To top it all of, I can guarantee you aren’t getting enough sleep with a little baby around. Good luck you guys! Keep us posted 🙂

  3. Jeanne says:

    Hard to believe it’ll all come together, but it will. Wishing you sleep. And if that nanny doesn’t work out…..

  4. Kristen says:

    ugghh, I feel your pain about shipping Abbey. We just went through the whole process with our dog Cash, and in the end we also did it ourselves and we are so glad we did because it saved a lot of money. We flew to post (Armenia) with Air France and they were great with Cash which helped me not freak out quite as much. We flew through Paris and we had a 6 hour lay over and were able get him and take him potty and let him eat something and hang out with him for a few hours which really helped to calm his nerves, and mine. If you have a long layover, that may be an option for you guys. Good luck with everything and here’s hoping it all goes smoothly for you 🙂

  5. Wow! You guys have my prayers — and my confidence. It all sounds terribly overwhelming, but you’ll manage it all, because you have to. Thanks for remembering to blog with all that’s going on. God be with you!

  6. eve says:

    just a word on the dog thing… I experienced much of the same getting our mutts to Angola. No one had any idea if I needed the USDA stamp or a 14 vs. 30 day cert of health from the vet. I didn’t really sweat it and (kindof) erred on the side of caution with an unstamped 14 day cert. (and of course vaccination records, etc.) But once we arrived at the airport- no one said a word about the dogs (or our vaccination records for that matter) We just breezed on through… This place is fairly lawless, but the moral of the story is, don’t stress yourselves out, it’ll be fine.

  7. rich kolker says:

    I ended up bringing twice as many paper towels and rolls of TP as necessary, so don’t sweat the small stuff. Besides, you can always do a second consumables shipment.

  8. Stmemory says:

    I love that your post is a bulleted list. I know I could only think in lists and bullet points for the last three months before moving. Good luck checking it all off!

  9. Nancy says:

    Hi – we are in the same situation with a newborn who arrived last week. Do we need to call Richmond first before heading down to pick-up the birth certificate? Best wishes to you on your journey and your check list from three weeks ago is very helpful!

  10. Alex says:

    Nancy — Our hospital gave us a tracking number so we could tell when the birth certificate had arrived, so we didn’t call. But if you don’t have something like that, it certainly doesn’t hurt to check in before making the two-hour drive. Good luck, and congrats!

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