On Wednesday last week, we had to get biometric fingerprints done as part of the adoption process. Have I mentioned these before? It is part of the process with the USCIS. We sent in our application to be approved to adopt internationally and we received a letter a week or so later informing us that we would be receiving written notification of the date, time, and location of our biometric fingerprinting. It felt like a covert op. I kept thinking I should have a code word I would have to say to the mailman before he would hand over the letter. A week or so later* it appeared, and - just as they promised - it had the date, time, and location of our biometric fingerprints. No instructions on what to do if this date or time didn't work for you (I did have to reschedule a test I was supposed to take the same day and time). Nothing. I half expected there to be note at the bottom saying that it would self-destruct in 5 seconds (I watched too much Inspector Gadget when I was a kid...).
I can't tell you how exciting it was when they day arrived. This is the only thing we actually DO in a period of 3-4 months of mostly waiting to hear back from CIS. It felt so delightfully productive. What we did realize (a night or so before) was that we had to be in Detroit (a decent drive) at 8am, and we had forgotten to find someone to watch our kids. So we had to wake them up and take them with us. Thank goodness we had just done the same for long road trips. My children don't even question being awakened before dawn and carried to the van in their pajamas...
We had to go through security at the Homeland Security building. It was like being at an airport. For some reason, I wasn't prepared and got really flustered. I forgot my keys were in my jacket pocket, so I set off the metal detector. And then they had to inspect my bag because there was a suspicious object (a battery operated dump truck that I had confiscated in church - because it makes noise - a few days earlier and forgotten was still there). Thankfully, everything went smoothly after that. There was almost no line, we got in really quickly, and the people seemed to enjoy my children and their innocent delight over EVERYTHING. In fact, they thought it was so cool that they wanted theirs done too (CIS has a policy of not fingerprinting anyone younger than 14...the fingerprint taking girl apologetically informed Allie...plus it costs like $80 - more than I want to pay for a fun experience). But, since the twins were so interested, I helped them do their fingerprints at home!
Sorry for the poor picture quality. I left my camera at Logan and Mindy's on Memorial Day, so I only had my phone to document the activity.
We used washable marker because 1) it is easily washable 2) they could pick whatever color they wanted. I colored their fingers and pressed them onto the paper and it worked! They aren't the most clear (they look even less clear because I blurred them for the blog), but the twins could clearly see the dermal ridges (or "special lines" as we call them) that make up their fingerprints. We talked about how everyone has the lines on their fingers and the lines make up a special pattern that is like no one else. They really liked knowing that it was something unique to them. And now they have become obsessed. They put their fingerprints on the fridge, but adjust them several times a day so they look just perfect. And I frequently find the twins staring at their fingers saying things like, "Look at my lines! They are so cool. No one else has lines like me."
This also opened the door for some more conversation about the adoption and getting new brother(s)/sister(s). The twins still don't have a great grasp on what all is going on, but they know it will mean little siblings. Allie is thrilled. Can't wait. Ryan is unsure. If he gets a brother he will like it more. I like looking for opportunities to talk - on their level - about what we are doing. I hope each time it helps them understand a little more. But it will probably just lead to them asking their friends if they got to do their fingerprints before their younger siblings!
*Time frames might be skewed. When you are waiting on something, every day feels like a month. When it arrives, you look back and feel like barely days have passed since your application...