After much researching and conversing and comparing and reassessing, we finally thought we had our bids all figured out.
There were three places that had good tandem prospects, allowed dogs, and just generally seemed like fine places to spend two years of our lives. There were a handful of jobs in each of these places, so they filled up a good portion of our list of 30. They also weren’t exactly dream posts for most people, so by putting them at the top, we were likely to get one.
We were still tinkering around with the exact order of our listings, but we were feeling pretty settled in our fate. Three places. We would most likely be going to one of these three places.
We finally heard back from the State Department’s Medical Department about where Andy would and would not be allowed to go. Because of his recent health issues, he doesn’t yet have a full medical clearance and needs to get approval for each specific post. Guess where was NOT approved: those three places (and a few others too).
The thing is, Med’s rulings just didn’t make sense.
Those three cities are all much, much, much more developed than Cotonou, where Andy was allowed to come back. They are much more developed than a lot of places on our list that were approved. Quick Google searches revealed what seemed like world class medical options. When I reached out to the American doctors stationed at the Embassies in each of these places, even they were baffled. Yes, this city has everything your husband needs at high quality, they all assured me. They sent emails to the Medical Department on our behalf.
Our case rose to the attention of the highest person in the office responsible for such decisions. He was great. He reviewed our case himself and then wrote several long emails explaining things, helping us understand Med’s methodology. He admitted mistakes had been made and apologized profusely for that. One of the three posts that was rejected initially should definitely have been approved. He would change that for us immediately. Phew. One good option was back in the running.
Some of the other posts that had been approved should have been rejected — but no big deal, those were ones that were much lower on our list as they wouldn’t have been great for us anyway.
However, the two others of the posts on which we were banking, well, he agreed with the initial ruling that those weren’t good options. He explained why he thought this and what information he was working from. I still am not entirely convinced that he’s working from accurate information. These are world-class cities. Medical tourism destinations, for goodness sakes. I don’t get it, I really just don’t get it. But he’s the highest person in the office making these decisions. There’s really nowhere else to go from here.
Fortunately he seems like a very kind and fair person, so I’m going to try to have a phone conversation with him Monday to gently make our case for these two posts. I don’t want to go anywhere that actually isn’t suitable for Andy, of course, but I’m still not convinced that these two places aren’t. I consider the conversation ongoing, but I also realize there’s a good chance I’m not going to get anywhere with it.
T minus one week until my bids our due, and we’re no longer feeling very confident about our fate.