Monday, March 05, 2007

Redemption

We finally received our pink slip after another I-72. I just couldn’t bring myself to post again because I felt like wallowing in my own pity party. Another case of swollen corneas also made writing a tad bit interesting. But here I am, back again. Eyes are still a bit out of whack, but on the mend. Sayonara contacts; hello, glasses. YUK!

So, back to the good news: After submitting the “missing” paperwork, we waited over the President's Day holiday expecting to receive our precious pink slip the week of the 21st. Nothing arrived and I emailed the embassy asking for an update. OH SILLY GIRL. I can’t believe I didn’t bother to read my own history to know that if you ask questions, you won’t like the answers. I got a quick reply – another I-72!! It seems that they didn’t like the form our attorney submitted. Our original signatures didn’t make it original enough. So another form had to be completed and over-nighted to GC. We were finally resubmitted and held our breath. Surprisingly, two days later, we received PINK!

Now, the irony is that apparently the embassy is conducting training or spring cleaning or taking some time to reorganize their Rolodexes instead of conducting visa interviews during the month of March. So we are forced to wait another three weeks before we can go get our son. Our appointment is at the end of March. Another month will go by that we can’t get back. In the end, I’m just grateful to have the pink slip. I’ve been watching others who are now being relegated to some time in April for their visa appointments. Even worse, for those still further back in the process, more delays can be expected on the Guatemala side with Holy Week being early this year. There are so many parents absolutely terrified with the goings-on of the VP of Guatemala and HRH Wendy de Berger and the whole Protocolo. My thoughts are with all those families that are faced with the prospect of not bringing their children home. Truly, I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.

So now, I am packing like crazy and planning the pick up trip. I’m also trying to get my affairs in order at work. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty much the only person at my site that does my job. If I’m not there, it doesn’t get done. I’d like to say that I will be taking off my 12 guaranteed weeks. Alas, my employer is being an ass. Personnel is saying that I’m only allowed to use my personal leave and not my medical leave. When I questioned this, I was told maternity leave requests are generally granted for the entire 12 weeks because the mother is able to use her medical leave as she is recovering from a medical event. When medical runs out, she can use her personal leave – all up to the FMLA allowed 12 weeks. For me, since there’s no medical issue, I can only use my personal leave. (I should point out that I have over 550 hours of medical leave and had planned to use most of it for this. Personal leave? I’ve got less that half of that.) So, I can exhaust my personal leave then beg for leave without pay, or just suck it up and go back to work early. Thankfully, Mr. Beans (my beloved husband) is almost through with law school. So, I’ll most likely be off work until May, and then beg for a flexible schedule until his graduation. My immediate supervisor has said she is willing to work with me on a flexible schedule. Hopefully I can take her word for it. We shall see.

Speaking of Mr. Beans, he went for a job interview out of state… hell, out of our region of the country! The interview went really well. He was told they would make a decision by the middle of the month. I don’t want to say where until we know for sure whether we’re going or not. We’ve talked about it for awhile now and have pretty much decided if they offer him a position, we’re going. So, cross your fingers! We are very excited about the idea of moving because we’re both pretty sick of living in the Bible Belt. I was born and pretty much raised in the South. It’s NOT what it’s cracked up to be. I know when I travel I find myself defending it a lot because I know what a bad rap it gets. But in the end. I’m not so sure it’s worth defending anymore. Taking a dip in the gene pool CAN be refreshing.

More to come…..

6 comments:

art-sweet said...

Yippee for pink! It's about time!

Starfish said...

Congrats on finally getting pink!

I'm confused about the 12 weeks though - you're entitled to all 12 weeks of FMLA no matter what... FMLA has nothing to do with medical issues. Maybe I just misunderstood you?

Irshlas said...

Starfish:
Yes, you are right. FMLA really doesn’t have anything to do w/ just medical issues. I should have clarified my problem. I am civil servant…. AKA state slave  Since I DO have leave (of both kinds), Personnel is basically looking at my being on leave as a matter between my supervisor and myself. (I’m requesting to use leave to be with my child. Leave is being granted.) I was under the impression that it would be treated like maternity leave (ie. I could use both personal and medical leave in any combination to care for him after placement.) My reasoning, and the explanation given to me at the last state agency, was that IF it were an FMLA situation (ie. I had no leave) I would be eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care of my child. In the case of an FMLA case, the agency didn’t care whether it was birth of placement. As such, when granting leave requests for those who have leave, the agency generally approved requests up to 12 weeks. The idea being that it was an arbitrary number to pick – 12 weeks. If you were a good employee who didn’t abuse leave and saved it up, then you were given the opportunity to use it.

Now back to MY situation: I transferred to another agency in the state. I was under the false assumption these two agencies had the same policies as we’re all part of the same department within the state. WRONG. This facility is very anti-employee. Leave requests are scrutinized to the minute. Pregnancies are treated with kid gloves because staff can provide doctor’s excuses to be out for “X” amount of time. If the staff person has the leave, and the doctor’s note, the agency doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. Since I’ve got no “medical excuse,” I’m then at the agency’s mercy to grant my request for personal leave since that’s always their discretion to grant / not grant.

Obviously I’m the idiot that ASSUMED my decade of state service would be rewarded by allowing me to use my time earned as I see fit. I had no problems with the other agency and they were always willing to work with good employees. Here? Not so much. A rose is NOT a rose is NOT a rose....

Good grief - sorry so long :-)

erinberry said...

Glad you got pink!

I'm still a little confused about what your company is telling you about FMLA. FMLA is the LAW. If your employer has more than 50 employees, it HAS TO allow you 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA. Adoption of a child falls under the FMLA rules.

Third Mom said...

Go pink! This is great news!

And I agree that you need to look into the FMLA situation again. Check out this link:

http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/HTML/fmlafac2.asp

I've never heard that you have to have exhausted any other leave to use FMLA. There are some requirements and restrictions (I think I remember that you have to have worked a certain number of hours in your position to be eligible for FMLA, but I could be wrong), but they primarily have to do with what the leave is used for. And adoption is definitely on the list. Hope you can make it happen, because you're entitled to it!

Kristin said...

congratulations, I'm not familiar with all of the ins and outs of adoptiong internationally, but it sounds like you are heading in the right direction :) I agree with everyone else. I would take it up the the ladder about your leave. Laws are laws, whats good for the goose is good for the gander. They can not just "decide" to give it to you or not. If you are entitled, end of freakin' story! :0 )