Thursday, January 25, 2007

Because THEY said so that's why!

We are just swamped at the moment. Our road to DD/DS #2 is not going as smoothly as we'd hoped. Everything is, as usual, done. We are waiting for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (also called USCIS) to process our I600A Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition (no seriously that is what the form is called!) and we have hit a real bump. The USCIS has apparently received a flood (avalanche, landslide, large pile) of requests for Advance Processing of Orphan Petitions for GUESS WHICH COUNTRY!!!?? Give up... rhymes with SCHMINA! Oh, AND rhymes with SCHWATAMALA! See a pattern here!?

I can't really speak to the Guatemala problem - except that it seems likely that the Hague Treaty will finally be ratified here in the USA and then unless Guat. complies that Americans will be barred from adopting from there for the foreseeable future. Hence, the rush to get papers in before the ratification closes this extremely popular program.

It is not really different for China - it's those of us who were waiting in the lobby - trying to make up our minds, or wait till our children were a little tiny bit older, or wait till we had unpacked from our last trip, saved more money to pay for a second,.... and on and on, and suddenly the door to seems to be closing in our faces before we even had time to make the decision. I am not, by any means, the only one (well that was obvious wasn't it) the room is apparently quite crowded. And the door is about to not just close but, slam shut.

We filed our form (with 1/2 inch of paperwork in supporting documentation) and so did many many others and now we are waiting - and the US Gov. is estimating that our processing time will be 11 weeks and we will miss the cut off. If this is true I have no idea what the likelihood of our being accepted by China after May 1, 2007 could be. I am not really upset - not yet anyway - I guess there is still an optimist somewhere in me that says this will happen. That we will not be shut out completely. Now that we have started - not to mention invested time and money - I want another child. I don't mind waiting - but I would like to know that there will be another so I can focus on the one we have.

On the domestic front - the bullet we dodged in having our China HS dated 1/9/07 and on its way to USCIS on 1/10/07 means we did not have to worry about getting FBI fingerprints BEFORE our HS is certified and complete. The law in NY changed effective 1/11/07 and there are a ton of International parents caught between a rock and a (really FBI) hard place. It can take the FBI 12 weeks to process these requests. No HS - No USCIS, it's all really tough. Well - the bullet is still ricocheting around and bit us in our Domestic butt. Our foster care license can't be processed until we (Did you see this one coming?) get our fingerprints done by FBI!! So I wrote to our caseworker to find out if they would accept our 171H as proof of our FBI check having been completed and approved. We are waiting to see what she says.

Dumplings, Three tagged me so here goes: Six weird things about me

1. I don't like (I mean really don't like) when food boxes aren't opened properly. I like the boxes to be neat and not all torn (which can also make things inside the box stale).

2. When I misplace something I can not do anything else until I have found it - including sleep or eat. I should just misplace everything.......

3. I buy three different toothpastes every time. One is for the Empress, but the other two are for me and DH. I can not share toothpaste with my DH. HE is a squisher, cap leaver-offer, dry-crusty-paste-leaving-in-the sink sort and I am decidedly not. He is also a minty-fresh and I am a cinnamon or vanilla mint (but only if I can not find cinnamon).

4. I have a pile of books near my bed and I am usually reading all of them at the same time. Same for mags, and a few periodicals.

5. I can not sleep or actually do anything without lip balm nearby. I seem to have perennially chapped lips and must have balm or lipstick on and available to reapply all the time. I have been known to get out of bed and go downstairs to restock. I also can not retire for the evening without a bottle of a particular brand of spring water (Schmoland Schpring). There is actually a really funny story about this that has to do with almost costing me my graduate degree! Someday I will write it up.

6. I do not like to drive my car without my little seat belt adjuster. I am short (5') and the seat belt chokes me if I do not use one. My old one broke and so far the replacements have fallen short of my expectations... I use them because I must - but it is cramping my Super Mom Mini Van-ness to have to use the substitutes until I find the right ones.

If you are reading this AND you blog.. consider yourself tagged!! BTW Dumpling's Mom - I totally would have put your second item: Sleep all day and stay up all night - but I do not consider that weird!! LOL


dublin said...

Wow, I am so sorry to hear about the complication with the USCIS paperwork. With our last adoption we had a somewhat similar dilema, though the ramifications were not so grave...the predicted delay would not have stopped our adoption, but simply would have made our child miss the window of opportunity to be brought home--meaning he would have had to wait possibly months for the next available was an adoption from Taiwan, already finalized by proxy. We were still reeling from the costs of our second China adoption (just a year earlier) and simply didn't have the means to fly to Taiwan and bring him home BUT he could be escorted home for free IF our paperwork was completed quickly enough (translation: an unheard of SEVEN DAYS...when we had been told to expect anywhere from 3-6 months). Of course that was impossible. And it broke my heart to think of our son (already legally OURS as the adoption had been finalized in the Taiwan courts by proxy the week before) having to spend 3-6 needless months longer in the Children's Home simply because of beaucratic delay. I did more calling than you could believe...starting out with NO NUMBERS AT ALL by which I could reach a REAL person that was actually IN our USCIS office instead of Ten Buck Two. (Our office does not release ITS phone number publicly!)

In the end, I tracked down a real phone number and the name of the actual person who was in charge of processing all the I600's and I600A's for our area. She was not at all helpful. After more undercover work, I managed to wiggle out from a different employee there the phone number for HER supervisor. Turned out HER supervisor was the sympathetic ear that could move mountains! After I explained our situation to her, she saw to it that our paperwork was processed within 24 hours! And, our son made it home to us the very next week!

My advice is diplomatically but RELENTLESSLY beat the bushes until you find someone who has the power to help you. Don't just settle for the answers you are being given now. Call and talk...write down names and phone around the system and discreetly find out the information about what specific person is actually in charge of reviewing these particular documents at your ISCIS office...and find out who THAT person reports to (if, when you speak to that person you can't make the needed headway). I wouldn't ask THAT person for his/her supervisor's name and number (that sounds threatening...and that probably will make matters worse)...rather, I would keep finding excuses to call until you can catch THAT person away from their desk and then innocently ask for the next person up in the line of authority there. Each person you speak with, try to find the empathetic spot in their heart. And pray before each call.

By the way, your six weird things thoroughly amused me! Actually, after I read your list, I could have identified items for my own list much more easily! I, too, hate the toothpaste tube getting mauled and crusty. The culprit is not my husband, though, but our son! (It bugs my husband even more than it bugs me!) I can also identify with your seat belt woes! (Being 4' 11.5" myself!) When I misplace something, I sleep on it...go to sleep musing where it might be...and, often, I will have a lightbulb moment in the middle of the night while I am half asleep/half awake. My memory is lousy...but, my subconcious is really quite useful at times!

redmaryjanes said...

I have been thinking that the new rules for China would cause people to taper off, but it has evidently started a frenzy. We are waiting for our LID.
Are you in a situation where you would not qualify under the new rules?
I hate for anyone to miss their dream.
I will say a little prayer for you.

Beckyb said...

Ugh - I am so sorry - that gov't stuff can be so frustrating and it seems as though our hands are SO tied!! I will also pray for your family - We have a big God!! It is so sad that it is taking this long and there are so many little ones that need homes.

MomEtc. said...

I'm praying for all of us! I'm with Dublin regarding mercilessly making those phone calls, emails and so on to find the person who can really help. Like you, I'm just not sure where we stand at this point.

Lisa & Oliver said...

The changes in rules have certainly got a lot of people buzzing. I will send good vibes that they won't affect your newest venture!

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