I know lots of times, you hear about all the hoops adoptive families have to jump through. You look at me with sideways eyes when I tell you that it took me 28+ hours to get a package shipped. You can’t imagine the amount of red tape and bureaucracy, much less time zone hopping that has to be done to just mail a letter.
So, while I’m still in the emotional throws of it, I wanted to share what my last 28+ hours have looked like.
I think last you heard, we were having an issue with Rob’s visa invitation. We have a scan of the invitation and the FMS service inputted the visa into the ‘system’. This took 24 days to accomplish. But, there was a typo in the inputting process. The number on the bottom of the scan doesn’t match the number in the system. Our travel agent said, you have two choices 1. Correct the system 2. Get the original.
We have requested #1, but since it took 24 days the first time, we are also pursuing #2. You would think this would be easy. They scanned me the original, so now they need to put it in a Fed-ex envelope and ship it to me. They even have my fed-ex number.
Cast of Characters:
Judy – Adoption Agency contact – US side
Vita – Adoption Agency contact – Sweet Girl side
Michael – DHL, US
Svetlana – DHL (region)
Here’s where it went downhill:
Judy – “(Region) has (only) DHL direct service. They told Vita that they would send you corrected original documents by DHL. What they would like you to do is visit or call your local DHL office and ask them to send confirmation that you would pay for the DHL from (region). Evidently this is something they have done successfully before.”
Me – I tried to call the DHL 800 number. The person didn’t speak English well. He told me that he couldn’t give me the number to the local DHL office. I tried to see if they would send confirmation to (region). He said he couldn’t do that. I asked if they could send it COD, he said (country) is an at risk country and COD, prepay, and recipient services aren’t available there. He wants me to contact the shipper and give them my account number. I told him I didn’t have one and could I create an account. He said I couldn’t have an account to ship internationally if I wasn’t a business.
Me – Try DHL online chat services. They are of no help.
Me – Fire off emails: 1. Whitney asking if she has DHL. She doesn’t, but she’s trying to get a DHL account started so we can us. 2. Judy and ask for alternatives including asking if they can mail it to Vita and she can DHL it to me.
Vita - I think it'll be much faster if Adoption Center will ship the invitation through DHL. But for that they and DHL office in (Region) asked to confirm that the Gorrells will pay for DHL. For that the Gorrell family should contact any DHL office in their area and inform them that they are expecting the package from (Address) and they are ready to pay for that package. The contact person in (region) is Zotova Lubov, phone number is (xxxx) 32-38-61
I was told that as soon as DHL office in USA contact DHL office in Vladimir (their email is: XXX@vinfo.ru) they'll pick up the documents and send them to Gorrells.
Me - I try the online chat again. I get a guy who is willing to look for the shipment in the system and see if there is a hold on it. He can’t find the shipment and tells me he can’t help until it’s in the system. We proceed with a circus of me asking what else I can do and him saying he cannot help for what feels like forever.
Me- Using my sleuth skills, I find what I think is a local DHL number. Call and Michael answers the phone. Explain situation to Michael and he tells me to forward him the email and he’ll see what he can do.
Me- Freaking out wondering if I messed up his email and dreading the morning when I’m going to have to call back and ask if he found out anything.
Michael – “I was able to contact DHL (region), they advised the below information:
(Svetlana at DHL (region) emailed: As I understand, there is a consignee in the USA who needs to get an invitation from (country).So, there are two ways: 1. Shipper calls DHL (region) and pays for sending. We will p/up it and send to the consignee. Or 2. The consignee calls the nearest office DHL and makes Transport Collect, if he wants to pay.)
We do not offer the transport collect option in the US, are you able to have the shipper use there DHL shipping information to send this to the US and send you the bill? We could try to have an account set up in your name but we would still need to get your account number to the shipper to process the shipment. If you would like to create an account customer service would be able to assist.”
Me – After evaluating the risk and alternatives, I emailed Svetlana my credit card information including security code thinking this would satisfy her #1 since she was DHL (region).
Svetlana – “You should call the nearest DHL office and make a request for delivery from (country) to USA. You will pay there. Our colleagues will send your request to our office and then we will make pick-up.”
Me – I attempt to beg Svetlana through email to just charge my card. I also email Judy again and ask if Vita can just pay for it. I also email Michael and ask for other ideas.
Svetlana – “I'm sorry, but we can't use your card. The procedure says that your local DHL office should send the request to (country).”
Michael calls. We brainstorm some options. None sound great to either of us. He says he’s going to go look into some things.
Whitney is still trying to set up an account, but DHL is slower than molasses.
Got a call voicemail (because I’m attempting to work in between all this!!) from Michael – says to call him.
Call Michael back. He says it’s ridiculous that we have to jump through these hoops. He’s going to contact DHL (region) and just use his DHL corporate number. He says he’s going to handle all the details and try to get it out tomorrow. I tell him as soon as it gets there Rob can go pick it up (DHL is about 30 minutes away, between our house and Robs work) and will pay for it. He says that we aren’t allowed to pay for it and he’s so sorry for all that we’ve had to go through just to ship a piece of paper and it wasn’t supposed to be this hard. I’m a sobbing mess.
We know there are no guarantees that he can get it here, but just the fact that I’m not fighting alone anymore was so great to me.
Part two to come later! Do you think we’ll get it shipped?