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All Packed!

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I am happy to say: Everything is packed! (My back is broken, but everything is packed!)

The 40′ container arrives at 8 a.m. to be filled up with our copious amounts of stuff. We had originally scheduled a 20′ container, but after calculating the cubic footage of all of our belongings (finally, algebra in action!), we came out with 28 cubic feet of belongings. I’m not sure of you’ve ever calculated the cubic footage of your belongings (what else is there to do on a Saturday night?!), but 8 cubic feet is A LOT of stuff. So instead of culling, we upgraded to a 40′ container.

We have movers scheduled for two days to make sure we have enough time. In addition, we have to make sure everything is tied down and secured because on the ocean liner it’s not just back and forth movements but also vertical movements from the crane as well as the ocean waves.

The container will leave our place on Wednesday evening and will make its way to the Port of Long Beach where it will be loaded onto a boat and should leave shortly after we leave on Sunday. It is scheduled to arrive mid-September, barring any storms. (As luck would have it, the container is scheduled to arrive at our place the same week that I’m back in the States! Woohoo! I mean, shucks!)

After the container leaves we’ll be ‘camping’ in our place for a couple of days and then this weekend we’ll stay with my stepson and his wife until our departure on Sunday. Then it will be off on our big adventure!

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Three Weeks!

Only Three Weeks left!  (Well, slightly short, I missed it by two days!)

We’re slowly getting the house packed up.  Most of the decor is packed (which in the house with an interior designer is A LOT!).  I’ve packed about half of the kitchen.  On the docket for this week is to get my sewing space packed up and go through Oliver’s closet.

We also received Oliver’s visa on Monday.  So he’s set to go as a little American tourist with a long stay visa.  (Hopefully only until the Socialist-controlled French government legalizes same-sex adoption, which they’ve promised to do before June 2013.)

Time is ticking, ticking away…

Countdown: FOUR WEEKS!

It’s a bit unbelievable, but as of today we’re at the FOUR WEEK mark for our departure to France!  It’s incredible to think that our departure is almost here.

What’s more frightening is that our belongings leave in THREE AND A HALF WEEKS!  The container that will carry our possessions to France via boat will leave our place on August 9.  For the remaining few days we’re going to find a hotel to stay in.

And of course during all that time, I’ll continue to work.  I’d say the same for Hubby except that he broke his leg a couple of weeks ago, so he’s more or less home bound.  Unfortunately that complicates the move a little, but we’ve gotten through worse, right?

To date we’ve leased our new home, enrolled Oliver into preschool, bought a new car, and our utilities are set up to be installed when we arrive.  None of this would be possible without our incredible family in France!  We can’t wait to give them some huge hugs and kisses to thank them for all of their work on our behalf!

The Hardest Part Is DONE!

Yesterday I completed the hardest part about our move to France: telling my clients! (For those who don’t know, I own a salon in Santa Monica.)

No, really, that was THE.HARDEST.PART for me!  I’m a people pleaser to my core so the thought of my clients being upset with me for moving and “abandoning” them didn’t feel comfortable to me.

But now it’s done!  And there hasn’t really been any negative backlash (I had feared that some clients wouldn’t want to continue with me knowing that I was going to be gone).  I think the fact that I am going to be traveling back every 6 weeks to be in the salon for a week is helping.  And we’re also adding a lot of people to our staff as we continue to grow but also accommodate my clients.

The rest is going to be a piece of cake!

Aside

Maison Sweet Maison

Despite the blog silence, there has been a lot of forward momentum in our preparations to move to France!

The MOST exciting is that we FOUND A HOUSE!  Actually we found a house that we wanted when we were there visiting in January but the owners aren’t quick to decide and take forever to get back to us about every little detail.  So in the meantime our Aunt and Uncle found a different one.  This one isn’t quite as regal, but it’s still got TONS of charm.  And the owners have been very quick to respond to our questions and inquiries.

It’s three levels and has 7 bedrooms, a small yard on the side, a huge basement, as well as an attic.  And although you’d think it was really expensive, because it’s in a small town, the rent is quite affordable for us.

Here are a couple of photos:
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With the help of our family in Limoges we also had Oliver on a waiting list for preschool (maternelle).  And since then we’ve actually been accepted and are completing the paperwork to get him enrolled!

Lots of exciting things happening; we can’t wait to make this our Maison, Sweet Maison!

They’re The Same Everywhere

Bureaucrats that is.

Hubby and I had our appointment with the French Consulate today.  As we had surmised, the French government ordered the French Consulate in LA not to issue a PACS to us because we are married.  To each other.  A marriage they do not recognize.  Well, they recognize it enough to allow it to prevent us from entering into a PACS!

Which leads us to the second infuriating, illogical issue:  when we asked the French Consulate for information on how to proceed with acquiring citizenship for Oliver, we were told the (current) French government does not recognize same-sex adoptions and as such Oliver would not qualify for French citizenship.

Now mind you, we’re not asking for the French government to approve, sanction, or otherwise weigh in on our adoption.  He’s adopted.  Period.  We would only like for our son to receive citizenship and the rights that should be accorded him for having a French citizen as a parent.  Apparently that logic doesn’t work because we were told again today that because Laurent and I are both listed on his birth certificate (and we’re the same sex) he would not be eligible.  Period.

Unfortunately, there is only one option for that: hope the liberal government is elected and that they fulfill their promise to legalize same-sex adoption.

Thankfully, if I can get a visa (either a work visa or if I can get one if we happen to get PACSed), then Oliver will be able to get social security benefits from my account rather than from Hubby’s.  Of course, getting a visa is going to be the challenge.  At this point we are going to proceed with our plan to leave for France at the beginning of September and for us to go to the local prefecture (equivalent to a county seat) to apply for a PACS.  If that works, all is well.  Otherwise I’ll have to try to find a potential employer who is willing to sponsor me for a work visa.

Oh yes, work.  That’s for another blog post.

“So Let’s Get Divorced!”

This post has been floating around in my head for a long time.  Actually, it’s been so long that it’s title at that time was, “We’re Making History.”  My how time flies!

When last we spoke, Hubby & I were throwing in the towel and moving to France.  A few days earlier we met with a lawyer to discuss the various intricacies of our case:

  • we’re a gay couple who are legally married in California
  • we have an adopted son
  • one of us is French the other is American

Our lawyer pointed out some interesting things, the highlight of which was that we were likely the first legally married gay couple to petition for the French PACS (pacte civil de solidarité or civil solidarity pact or domestic partnership) and hence we’d be making history (see the tie-in?).

She also pointed out a little known California adoption law: an adoption in California is not considered final until 5 years after the adoption is finalized by the court (I am well aware of the inconsistency in that sentence!)!  So up until 5 years after the finalization, an adoptive family can apparently still, um, rescind?  renig?  Not sure.  Basically they can give the child back.  Other than the obvious horror, we were further surprised to find out that because of this, the French government has two levels of adoption (specifically for adoptive families coming from California!): “adoption simple” (use a French accent when you say that) and “adoption pleniere.”  The former acknowledges the child is your adopted child but denies them citizenship, inheritance, and social security rights in France.  After the 5 years have passed, it becomes an “adoption pleniere” with the full rights and benefits, as previously denied up until that point.

So in that one little meeting we learned that this was not going to be a simple task.  Little did we know!

Now a few more weeks have passed and we’ve had many, many enigmatic, unclear, and sometimes unprofessional emails and phone exchanges with the lawyer.  We’ve found out that she’s pretty much a nutcase.  Unfortunately she may be the only lawyer in SoCal who can complete the process for us.  (But she’s still a freak nutcase!)

In her last enigmatic email she recommended we contact the French Consulate to speak to them directly to find out the news from France (they were basically waiting for information from France to find out how to proceed with our PACS).  Obviously this didn’t sound good, so Hubby called to speak to them directly.

The only news we were able to get over the phone is that the French consulate is not able to establish our PACS.  Further details were put off until we could meet in person on Monday.

So Hubby and I have been going crazy trying to figure out why France would deny us a PACS.  The only possible scenario is that  we are legally married in California, and there’s a rule that one cannot be married or one cannot become PACSed (yes, the French use it as a noun!).  Of course, this is directed at heterosexuals (who can also get PACSed) because marriage trumps PACS (as it does in most states where domestic partnerships exist, because the rights of marriage are more plentiful than the rights of domestic partnership).  Of course the twist is that France won’t recognize our marriage!  So (it seems, we’ll find out for sure on Monday) we’re being denied the right to establish a PACS because we’re legally married in California despite the fact that this marriage isn’t recognized in France.

So of course, my initial response was, “So let’s get divorced!”  (Unfortunately that’s going to take at least 6 months.)

We’ll find out more on Monday.

(And if you think that’s insane, wait until I tell you the rest of the adoption/citizenship story!)

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