Tuesday, August 22, 2006

DMV Redux

Day after day after day has ticked by with us hearing nothing from USCIS regarding our file. Is it complete? Were we not-so-patiently waiting only to get another misinformed letter dictating unnecessary corrections to our paperwork?

After yesterday's mail revealed another fruitless day of waiting, I couldn't stand it anymore. I dug deep in my email where I had stored the most precious of info offered up by another frustrated adoptive parent - an actual, real telephone number to the person I needed to talk to at USCIS. The fates must have aligned just right at the moment D. dialed, because he got her on the phone. On the first try. And she had .... no.... idea.... where our paperwork was - she never received it from the flunky I spoke with a week ago. So, D. conferenced me in and I answered her questions - who did I leave it with? what did she look like? what time was I there? and so on...She then commented matter-of-factly that our paperwork should never have been sent back to us in the first place, because, the rest of it was stamped "Paid" . Fast forward to today...the paperwork has been found, and a fingerprint appointment has finally been assigned.

Where was it, you ask? In a bin. On the flunky's desk. Waiting to go upstairs. With one other piece of paper from another file. And the flunky doesn't walk upstairs with the papers until the bin gets full. Completely full. Who would have thought that a few flights of stairs would grind our adoption to a screeching halt?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just Like DMV

After rushing around in an effort to mail our home study last week to USCIS, we received it back a record two days later with a note indicating that we had included the wrong fee amount. Which was impossible, because we hadn't included a fee at all. USCIS had cashed our check for the fee (in the correct amount!) almost four months ago when our file was originally opened. So, this morning I had to pay a visit to our local USCIS office. No phone. No water. No knitting needles, either. I don't know if it was due to the recent terrorist threats, or if security is always that tight at an immigration office, but I was searched twice for illicit items before even entering the building.

I think they recruit USCIS workers from the DMV. I got up to the window and showed the worker the letter that had accompanied the return of our paperwork. She flipped through the pages once, then twice, then a third time and said - you included the wrong fee. I explained the situation and showed her a copy of the canceled check. She flipped through the papers yet again as if they were tarot cards, and told me to have a seat. Fifteen minutes later she comes back and says that she'll pass my file onto someone with a clue. That person, of course, wasn't in the office, and no - she can't tell me what her hours are. Or if my file is complete. Or give me a fingerprint appointment. Or tell me when I might hear from someone. Or smile.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Week What?

Whew. We finally got our home study report back from the court, approved! Now we are officially licensed to adopt in the state of Arizona. All of the failed ttc, fertility treatment, and surrogacy attempts have brought us to this piece of paper telling us we're fit to be parents. It's funny what it takes to feel validated.

In the next day or so, I'll send in our home study to USCIS so we can begin the next wait for our immigration fingerprint appointment, and then the coveted I-171H form. Once that form arrives, we can get all of our paperwork authenticated, and send it to our agency for review. And that's it folks - barring errors, we'll be officially waiting. For a projected couple of years, but waiting nonetheless. We're on our way...