Authentication Nightmare

Look I don’t care what nobody tells you authenticating documents are a nightmare.

I am already abroad so multiple the nightmare to make it hell.

For Kuwait I needed my degree, FBI, clearance and Elise’s birth certificate. BAM and done….not really I paid someone to finish the work but still. I thought authenticating documents for Kuwait was bad….nope China is worse.

Two pages of instructions…..yep TWO pages.

So I started reading through the documents and started thinking breathe and don’t panic. I would need a background check either one from the FBI or local country if you have been there longer than a year. Okay simple I only need to do one here for Kuwait.

Next get the highest degree and teaching certificate authenticated. Okay no problem. Add Elise’s birth certificate that brings it to a total of 4 documents. Cool. Take some pictures. Get a physical no problems.

Wait new email, updated visa requirements. Reading over the same two page document and BAM!!!! here is the new change. I now need to complete a background for BOTH my home country and current country of residence. ALL documents have to be authenticated in my home country. WAIT WHAT!?!?!? I don’t live in the US and I won’t be in the US until June. UGH!!!

So now I’m asking around my school where can I go get fingerprints. I kid you not in a span of 4 days I got 6 different answers. The Chinese Embassy has the weirdest hours (9:00 am to 11:30 am) WTF!!?!? The US Embassy does not do fingerprints (seriously people I am a US citizen the least you can do is have a live scan machine here, whatever fine) Then I was told they don’t do fingerprints here because if you committed a crime you can’t leave. Okay yes I know that but can SOMEONE type up a document saying I didn’t commit a crime and I am free to leave. It’s not really that complicated. You have my prints from when I enter and exit the country anyways come man just give me my document. Then I was told I can do to the local police department and they can do the fingerprinting. Okay great, I just need the location and please tell me I don’t need a translator cause I really don’t feel like this extra. I go do some digging around via Google an low and behold there in info on the US embassy website….wait for it….. apparently I need a letter from China saying I need this document for a reason and not just because I have nothing else to do with my time. I swear with everything I got I have never seen anything more extra and bothersome.

LEGIT TAKEN FROM THE US EMBASSY WEBSITE

Where to Obtain Fingerprints in Kuwait:

To obtain fingerprints in Kuwait, please visit the Department of Personal Identification and Automated Search, General Department of Criminal Evidence, Ministry of Interior located in the Farwaniya-Dhajeej area, Airport Road 55, opposite the Kuwait Airways main building. Phone: 2434-6101. Fax: 2434-5790.

Each applicant must provide the following:

  • A letter from the local sponsor or requesting entity*
  • One recent front-view color photograph
  • Passport and one photocopy
  • Kuwaiti Civil Identification Card and one photocopy

*U.S. citizens and other individuals seeking fingerprints should obtain a letter of request from his/her local sponsor, or if seeking employment in another country, contact the corresponding embassy. The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait does not issue letters of request for private U.S. citizens.

Kuwait Police Clearances

At times, U.S. citizens may need to obtain a police clearance from Kuwait. Please note that the U.S. Embassy does not intervene in this process and does not issue letters of request for private U.S. citizens. Once the Kuwait police clearance has been obtained, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait can authenticate the signature/seal from the Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs if the document will be used in the U.S. Please see the notary services guidance for information. For use in other countries, please contact the appropriate embassy.

Where to obtain a police clearance in Kuwait:

Available only to those residing in Kuwait; age 18 and above must get the police clearance certificate if resided in country for 6 months or more.

A police certificate, or ‘Good Conduct Certificate,’ can be obtained from the Ministry of Interior, General Department for Criminal Evidence, Department of Identification and Automated Search located in the Farwaniya-Dhajeej area, Airport Road 55, opposite the Kuwait Airways main building. Phone: 2434-6101. Fax: 2434-5790.

Each applicant must provide the following:

  • A letter from the local sponsor or requesting entity*
  • One recent front-view color photograph
  • Passport and one photocopy
  • Kuwaiti Civil Identification Card and one photocopy

* U.S. citizens and other individuals seeking Kuwait police clearances should obtain a letter of request from his/her local sponsor, or if seeking employment in another country, contact the corresponding embassy. The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait does not issue letters of request for private U.S. citizens.

I am ready to scream! This is causing the most hassle. Let’s not forget to add my other documents. I have to get a service to do the authentication process for and everywhere is quoting me $600 for my documents. UGH

I have to get my passport renewed because I will not have the required 4, yes FOUR clean pages to enter China. So here I am with roughly 2 months left in Kuwait and I am ready to BOUNCE for so many different reasons and I have this to deal with.
I still have to get a physical and get some photos done.

PHOTOS!!!

Look this is not your average regular 2×2 photos EVERYONE else requires nope

  1. it must be have a white background
  2. Photo size: 48mmx33mm, width of head: 15mm to 22mm, height of head: 28mm to 33mm.
  3. neutral expression
  4. glasses yeah might as well take them off
  5. no jewelry (one time I wore earrings, thank God you can’t tell I have them on)

I probably would not care so much if it was just me and if I were stateside. Taking deep breaths and doing what I can do without screaming and losing my marbles.

FBI

okay life happened and I had to go stateside. This part of the process became the easiest thing I did and only because I had to return stateside. I went in on a Monday to the local police department. I mailed it off overnight. They would receive it by Wednesday at 3:00 pm. I received an email on Wednesday stating they have my fingerprint card and would process it in the order that it was received. Not even an hour later I received an email telling my results were ready. Praise him. Now I get to send four documents to be authenticated.

LOCAL POLICE REPORT

This is whole new circle of hell. Welcome to a new level of hell. First it’s not close to where I am. I was lucky enough that a co-worker is also going to China and she already did her good conduct certificate so she knew where to go. She was picking hers up and I was going to complete it. I was along to see what needed to be done next after I pick mine back up. It took all of ten minutes to scan my fingerprints. I have to wait a week and come back. Here is the new hell. We knew something else needed to be done before going to the Chinese Embassy. Problem is NO ONE else knew how to help. Three different people tried and no one knew. I had to return back to school. She continued on the hunt. Apparently it’s just foreign affairs and then Chinese Embassy. I swear nothing is online to help and these offices close at like 12. When they open at like 9. It’s not very conducive to people who work. Anyways. I sit here and wait a week. Go back and head to foreign affairs office and then the Chinese Embassy. One document down. Four more to go.

Authentication Service

This time I forced to use a service and I HAVE NOT ONE REGRET. This process seems so much more difficult. I’m sure it’s because I live abroad and I am changing countries. I sent my four documents off today…well my brother sent my four documents off today to be authenticated. I pray they get finished by the end of May or prior to the end. I received an email from HR stating I needed to submit the scanned documents by May 31. I am hoping it doesn’t take that long. Next up I need to get my physical and go back to pick up my local police report. The only thing I would need is a letter from my current school.

SURPRISE

Not done yet. I receive an email telling me that the service I am using are in possession of my documents.

YAY ! GLORY HALLELUJAH

But wait. They need an notarized authorization letter from stating that I give them permission to authenticate the birth certificate………………… And they need both parents to sign and a copy of both parents passport

Yeah see how that’s not gonna happen. I have a mild panic attack. I email back stating how there is not father listed so what we not gonna do is this.

She replies stating that I just need to day I’m the sole legal custodial parent in the letter and all will be fine.

I find a notary thing online. Praise God. Scan the additional documents and move on about my life.

Here is hoping there are no more hiccups between now and when I land in China.

Local police report CHECK and DONE!!!!!

It turned out to be a fairly simple process. Go get your prints done, come back in a week. I gave them two weeks because this is Kuwait and what we not gonna do is inshallah me and I have to take time off from work. Went to pick up my prints, then went to the foreign affairs office, spent 5KD for a stamp and signature. Then off to the Chinese Embassy. Make sure you have everything you need or you will not be seen. Dropped it off came back in 3 days well 5 because again I had to take time and as a teacher you have to strategically plan time off. Plus it was graduation time, add in Ramadan and well yeah okay….that’s a whole different post. So all in all it was about two weeks total from start to finish including wait time. Waiting on the confirmation email about my documents in the states. Then all I need is my physical and letter from my current school.

Went and got my physical. Yeah that cost me 56KD because my insurance did not cover 3 of the blood test required. I didn’t get the X-ray because it’s Ramadan and they were closed until 8:30 so I will try again Sunday.

Got the email that my documents are being sent to my brother’s house.

I just might get all my documents in on time for the May 31st deadline.

Physical done and over.

Waiting on my brother to tell me the documents are at his house. Gonna ask my school if they will give me my letter now so I get the show on the road.

ALL DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN SCANNED TO MY SCHOOL

 

So in short:

  1. pray your school sends you a detailed list and China does not change any of the requirements.
  2. FBI fingerprints need to be completed. You can go to your local police department and send the prints to the FBI https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks start here. I was also told that your state background check would do as well… I say go ahead and get the FBI one done just in case, unless you have time for errors
  3. Complete background check for any country you have spent more than a year being a resident. For Kuwait go to the Ministry of Interior, get a stamp from the Kuwaiti government, then the Chinese Embassy
  4. You will also need a full physical including chest x-rays, blood work, EKG, etc. Give them ALL the paperwork from your medical exam.
  5. Your teaching degree and highest degree will need to be authenticated. Go ahead and order an additional copy if you don’t want your original copy stamped or dealt with.
  6. If you have dependents, their birth certificate will also need to be authenticated. Yep go ahead and order a new one, this needs to be issued within the last 6 months of your authentication.
  7. get some pictures done. Check the requirements because it is not the standard size. https://www.visaforchina.org/SGP_EN/generalinformation/news/282849.shtml
  8. for my sanity I paid ProEx to complete all the steps for me plus I was living in Kuwait and dealing with the death of mother and closing out for the school year, I could not add anything else to my plate. https://www.goproex.com/specialized-services. You are more than welcome to complete the steps yourself or choose another company. It is definitely cheaper to complete it yourself.
  9. I should have mentioned at number one HAVE A PASSPORT you would think this is an common sense thing but you know just in case.
  10. oh there is a form you have to complete to accompany your documents and it has to be typed. I got my form from ProEx. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/ this will help as well
  11. follow whatever your school tells you. I uploaded (scanned) my completed documents to my school and I waited.

 

As of July 9, 2018 I am still waiting on my letter of invitation so I can apply for my Visa however all documents have been turned in and I find my patient button and wait.

Mental Health

Let’s take a moment to discuss mental health

I don’t know why this is a taboo in our community. We neglect it consistently and it’s slowly killing us.

We as women are worse. We shoulder EVERYTHING!

I picked up one of many things from my mom and I am struggling to change one major thing. She passed on to me the idea of not being a burden to people. So I keep A LOT to myself. It took my mom passing away for me to realize I needed to take my mental health more seriously. I started seeing a counselor along with my daughter. Yep! I know insert gasp…..black people seeing a counselor???!!!! What about Jesus? Don’t you trust Him to see you through your trials and tribulations…..look let me stop you right there

red stop sign

 

Yes I grew up in the church and yes I believe in Jesus and all that jazz but let me drop this nugget you won’t sit around and pray a broken bone away, you take your behind to the doctor…. you have to put some work in behind those prayers. There are people, professionals who went to school and specialized in various things to assist you because you just can’t do it yourself. So going to seek help does not mean you lack faith. If anything it means you are putting your faith into action. It takes a strong person to say hey I need help let me go get some help. You were never built to do this life journey alone.

Now when reaching out for help or talking to people about your problems, you do need some discernment. You can’t go depending on everyone. You should have AT LEAST one person in your corner you can rely and depend on. Someone that whatever you tell them stays right there with them and the four walls. You don’t have someone, use a journal, write those thoughts down get them out. Shoot talk to yourself if you need to. They have counselors you can talk to online for a fraction of the cost. Research local support groups in your area.

We check our physical health from time to time. Yet we constantly neglect our mental health. I won’t give out stats and data because all you need to do is look within yourself. Stop and take some time and listen. Listen to your body.

backlit beach dawn dusk

Take five minutes out your day and just empty your mind. Start a journal. We have so much in our minds it’s ridiculous. We carry so much inside it is making us sick.

I know as a single parent. I feel like I NEVER have time to just have an emotional meltdown and feel all the feels. Well one day while tucking my daughter in for the night and after one “mom” too many from her. I just sat on the floor and cried. EVERYTHING I was holding in just came pouring out. My mom being sick, a recent break-up, being an expat, being a mom, being single, being a single mom, being a woman…all of it just came out. I knew I needed to seek help. I wasn’t crazy but I needed someone to help me process my life. I put it off. I didn’t think I could afford it. I didn’t think I could trust someone enough. I didn’t think I really truly needed it. I mean hey I could pray, I could write in my journal, I could take of myself by myself…..yeah, okay WRONG

My mom took a turn for the worse. She was released into hospice care. I came home and one week after I came home my brother and I were making phone calls telling people our mama had passed away.

Something about being in the room as your mama takes her last breath does something to you. The grief of her death was overwhelming. I cried for simple reasons. I cried for big reasons. I just cried all the time. I didn’t know what to do.

I started small and joined a Facebook support group….yeah I swear that made it worse seeing all these post of people who had lost their mom. I got my daughter into counseling with no problems. Me on the other hand I was scared. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I needed help. I didn’t even want to acknowledge that my mama was dead. I finally sought out help. I felt the world being lifted off my shoulders as I talked with my counselor.

She is helping me take care of myself. I take time each week to get a massage. I take time each day to carve out at least 5 minutes to myself. I have a mediation app on my phone with a reminder. I am slowly getting back into yoga. I have an adult coloring book. My mama always said “I have lived my life, you need to live your life”

Well I can’t live this life half-assed. I can’t live this life neglecting myself. I have a daughter watching my every move. I want her to see my happy, not grumpy as she puts it.

We have got to stop neglecting ourselves.

We have got to stop shouldering the world.

We have got to learn to let it out.

UPDATED

I started writing this thing weeks ago and never published it. I didn’t think I was fully finished and guess what? , it’s not. In the past week two celebrities have committed suicide and now social media is a buzz about suicide hotlines, how to help someone who needs help, mental health, depression….you know the normal hype social media does when the wound is fresh.

I had to stop and re-evaluate somethings.

adult art conceptual dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I observe people a lot. We have lost the art of creating meaningful relationships. How many Facebook “friends” are your friend in real life? How many followers on Instagram are your “followers” in real life. We put on this social media facade. We post this happy life. It’s time to pull the mask off. Stop hiding behind posts, pictures, and tweets. Get out and have a conversation. Look at your friend and say “How are you doing, no really how are you doing?” Would you even know if your friend or family is hurting? Would you know that someone is struggling? So many of us smile and walk around like nothing bothers us. Then we go home, shut the door, crawl under the covers and wish to die or cry ourselves to sleep. We go through the motions called life but deep down we are hurting.

I remember the first time I knew someone personally who committed suicide. Shook my world to the core. I had so many questions but not one answer.

I know what it feels like to not trust people and afraid to open up. Look I am here to tell you re-evaluate your friends. If there is not one somebody in your life you can talk to, remove them or remove yourself.

It’s 2018 mid way through the year. We should not be afraid. We should not hurt in silence. The suicide rate should not go up. Depression should not be taboo. Seeking help should not be taboo. Mental health should not be neglected.

I encourage you to take a moment and unplug from social media for the day. Go out and talk to real people. Pick up the phone and check on someone. Just to say hey. When you are down and out, depressed, not feeling yourself, you are not going to reach out to people. Make some genuine friendships. So when you say “hey I’m here if you need me” they know they can pick up the phone and call. Drop by and say hey. Sometimes just being there means so much than spitting out all the cliches.