A Massachusetts woman whose purse was stolen lost more than her wallet-she also lost her passport, complicating her plans to adopt  a little girl from Ethiopia.

According to WBZTV.com , Colleen MacRae was shopping inside a Home Depot store when a man distracted her and then made off with her purse. Inside was her passport.

The lost passport is potentially more than an inconvenience-it also puts her and her husband’s plans to adopt a child in Ethiopia next month in jeopardy.

As Mrs. MacRae explained to WBZTV:

“Anybody who has ever been through the adoption process knows having to change one number on your home study, your application, your dossier, means possibly getting lost. It could mean that some bureaucrat is going to put that wall down on you and prohibit you from adopting all together.”

Since there is so little time for Mrs. MacRae to replace her lost passport, Senator John Kerry’s office has stepped in to try to speed the process up.

Whether you have a lost passport or a stolen passport, the replacement process is the same: First, you must report the lost passport to the Department of State at 1-877-487-2778 between 8 am and 10pm, Monday through Friday.  This invalidates the passport so that no one else can use it.

Then, apply in person for a new passport. You must submit the following documents:

It usually takes 6 weeks to get your new passport back in the mail for regular passport processing and 3 weeks if you use the government’s expedited processing.

However, if you need your passport sooner, you can either make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency office, or use a private passport expediting service. The latter option is quicker and easier-considering the cost of taking off work and getting to a passport office if there isn’t one nearby, the extra expense is usually worth it and you may even save money in the long run.

Replace your lost passport today!