Today I was prepared to sit down and write a blah post, a nothings-happening-round-here post. I’ve been following adoption blogs for a few years and it seems like inevitably this post always happens. A month will go by where there is not post and suddenly there will be a quick update. The gist of the post will say “nothing to report. frustrated. discouraged. downcast. helpless.” And I was all geared up to post that.
But it turns out today is not that post!
To recap: after our homestudy was completed and approved by our facilitation team and umbrella agency, it was sent to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS approval is the FINAL piece we need before sending our dossiers overseas. They received our original application and $890 fee in October 2015, back when our adoption process was on track and running on time, before all the derailments started *sob* Then USCIS received our homestudy in February followed by our fourth and final round of fingerprints on March 3rd. I had heard of people receiving approval within a a week or two of the fingerprints so I was all geared up to have our dossiers on their merry way before the end of the month.
March came and went without our case even being assigned to an officer. April came and days on the calendar kept slipping by without any progress. I knew our paperwork was sitting somewhere, waiting for someone to say that everything was in order and we could move on. As recommended, I called the USCIS office once or twice a week to remind them of our existence and see if there was any progress. Day after day, week after week, no progress. The worst would be when the person on the other line would say “oh yes, i see your paperwork right here, hmm it looks like it hasn’t been assigned an officer yet” AHHHHHHHHHH! Could you pick up the shiny stamp, you know, the one that cost us nearly a thousand dollars, and approve us!
Now that you’re up to speed:
This week hasn’t been the best week at the Heath household either. After sunny warmish day in March, our Wisconsin weather sent gray snowy days all week long. We’ve all been cooped up. Kitty has learned how to shriek like a full grown screech owl (description courtesy of church member on Sunday). Della can match her pitch for pitch and, given that she has years of practice, has the diaphragmatic stamina to outlast her little sister in the screaming matches. I’ve miraculously stayed ahead of the laundry, but it hasn’t been nearly as satisfying as I’d hoped. There has been a lot of Shaun the Sheep. I bought 4 varieties of cookies while grocery shopping but forgot to pick up applesauce or sandwich bread – I haven’t bought cookies in years.
I already called USCIS twice this week but after Kitty went down for her nap, Shaun the Sheep season 4 was running for Della, and I had *ahem* munched on a couple cookies, I decided to give it a shot and call one last time. The officer who answered didn’t give her name and seemed exhausted, it sounded like I wasn’t the only one who wanted the week to be over. She asked by my USCIS #, which I happen to now have memorized, and then there was a loooooooooong pause. I wasn’t on hold, I could hear the clicking of computer keys on the other end with deep sighs from the worker, then suddenly I was clicked to the “hold music” and then clicked back to the officer who apologized that I had just been sitting there listening to her try to get our info up – she’d forgotten to put me on hold then placed me on hold when she started talking to me – and then we sat there in silence again because the computer had frozen up again. I’m not great at small talk on the best of days, trying small talk today with someone I don’t know on the phone…nope. We just sat there waiting in awkward phone silence.
Finally she told me good news! Our case was assigned to an officer! In fact, she was our officer and had our case in front of her! She anticipates having USCIS approval sent out next Monday or Tuesday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What that means is we need to get all our dossier paperwork in order, notarized, apostilled and ready to go so when approval comes I can hot-potato it out of the country! We also need to finish fundraising the final $3,687 we need in order to be fully funded. Ater the paperwork is in country we have approximately 2 months more of waiting before travel while our paperwork is translated and reviewed by the other country. I will save my humdrum “nothing-happening” post for that time since I can’t post it today!