My Wit's End


I don't often say, "I'm at my wit's end" but I do think it quite often, and when I do, it is always my mother's voice I hear in my head.  "I'm at my wit's end" was usually followed by with something like "with you, young lady" or "with you kids".

I have been trying for months to get Jemberu, who is a U.S citizen, a passport.  We applied for it the day after Halloween and we were warned it might take up to 6 weeks.  After two months with no passport, I checked his status online and learned it was 'being processed'.  Cool.  I checked again a month later. Again, 'being processed'.  Okay.  A few weeks later I called, and was told again that it was "being processed".  I told the man at US passport services how long I had been waiting.  He connected me to the Boston office where it was 'being processed'.  The woman in Boston told me that she had sent me a letter months ago (liar) alerting me that they needed his green card, as additional identification, to finish processing his application.  I told her I would be happy to send it, and mentioned to her that it had an incorrect birthday for Jemberu on it.  I explained that in Ethiopia, Jemberu was assigned a birthday when he arrived at the orphanage. But while in Ethiopia, while meeting a member of his birth family, we were able to find out his actual birthday.  When his adoption was finalized, his birthday was legally changed and I had already sent them the court documents to prove this.

I was informed that the birthday on the passport had to be the same one as the one on his green card.  'Okay, what do I do?'  'Contact USCIS for a new green card.'  This apparently was my only option unless I wanted Jemberu's passport to have an incorrect birthday.  So for hundreds of dollars, I applied for Jemberu to get a new green card, explaining to USCIS about the birthday.  I wait months for Jemberu to get an appointment at a local(ish) USCIS office for biometrics, which is fingerprints and a photo.  Today was that day.  I took him out of school and brought all of the required paper work.  We were brought into the office of an immigration official to explain ourselves.

Officer: "This is very unusual, the little guy is already a citizen you say?"

Me: "Yes he became a citizen when his adoption was finalized in the US."

Jemby: "I am not a little guy."

Me: " I was told by a US Passport agent that this is the only way my son can get an accurate passport"

Officer:  " I don't know if he actually can be issued a new green card, the little guy is already a US citizen and we don't give green cards to US citizens."

Jemby: "I. AM. NOT. A. LITTLE. GUY."

Me: silent trying not to lose my temper, trying to find new words to explain this situation to the officer

Officer: "Just calm down."

Me: "I haven't said anything yet!"

He lets me know we can go ahead with the biometrics but he can't make any promises that they will issue a new card to the little guy.

Jemby and I get in the car for the long ride home and he starts talking.  A lot.  About nothing.  I asked him if we could please have a little quiet time.  He talked some more.  I said "Hush Jemby."  He said "Hush is a bad word and I am telling dad you said it"

Me: Hush is not a bad word.

Jemby: What about "Oh my God?"

Me: "That is a bad word in our family. Please say 'Oh my gosh' instead"

Jemby: "What about penis?"

Me : "That's not a bad word."

Finally silence.  Jemby fell asleep for about 15 beautiful minutes.  He woke up too soon and the silence was broken.


Jemby: "Can we stop for ice cream?"

Me: "No."

Jemby: "You don't have to be such a penis!"

Anyway...that is how I reached my wit's end today.