The light of day felt a little bit better the morning after discovering no divorce certificate in that envelope from UPS. I warned all the co-workers in my immediate area that things could get ugly when I made phone calls to the Virginia Vital records people. I spoke first with the woman who handles all those VS-4 forms, who assured me that if that form came past her desk she would have processed it. The director of Vital records, who was next on my list, even remembered having talked t me 6 months prior. She suggested I go back to the clerk of the court in Fairfax County and start all over.
Calls to the clerk of the court didn't get much better. By the end of the day, all parties had a plan of action: the clerk would overnight me a new VS-4 form. I would then overnight it back to her filled out. She would do her magic and overnight it to the Director of Vital Records in Richmond, who would personally see to it that my divorce certificate was processed and overnighted to me. I was promised I would have the correct document before the week was out. Wow... I could not believe I had all parties on-line and ready to do their part for me. The only hitch was I was going to be out of town and would not be back for 4 days. We decided to stick with the plan and I would process this paperwork as soon as I returned. But-- this would now be too late to have the document for the planned trip to the Italian consulate.
I researched the fine print of the citizenship requirements that morning and determined that an alternate documentation could be used.... a letter from my attorney stating that the divorce was not able to be appealed, translated into Italian, would satisfy the consulate rules. I set hot on the trails of my divorce lawyer. I had not spoken with her in about 8 years, but I was able to track down her phone number. She no longer practices law.. seems she is a fiddle player in a Celtic band. Strike One.
Maybe my ex-husbands lawyer would want to earn a couple hundred bucks that day. I was able to find him and leave a voice message. To my surprise, he returned the call but declined to help me. Fortunately, my husband Michael came to my rescue. Mike, also an attorney, contacted an old law school friend who practices law in Virginia. Inside of an hour, he had faxed a letter to us which would do the trick. I faxed that to the Italian translator and I relaxed about the whole incident. I would have all the documents necessary for the next trip back to the Consulate in Philadelphia.
Once again the gods have smiled on me. It just took me awhile to push away the grey clouds in order to see those smiles :)
OH.. before I forget.. there is another interesting twist to this story. When I returned from the long weekend out of town, I found a fed-ex envelope waiting for me.... beleive it or not, the Virginia Vital records had miraculously located my original VS-4 form and had send me the divorce certificate! Miracles do happen!