Tuesday, November 27, 2007

USCIS Woes

Things are not going well on the I-600 front. I contacted my Senator Durbin's office today and they had me fax a letter requesting help. Here's what the letter said:

I am currently in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. Our son has his passport and is ready to come home, but I have been experiencing issues with getting the I-600 approval needed so that he can get a visa. I am hoping that perhaps Senator Durbin’s office can speak to USCIS in Chicago on my behalf so that the I-600 approval can be expedited.

I applied for the I-600 on May 1st, 2007. At that time, I asked to be included in the AOF (adjudicate orphan first) program. In July, I received a letter stating that my son, Louines, had his I-600 approval. However, I noticed that the visa classification was incorrect (IR-4 rather than IR-3). When I emailed USCIS to inquire about this, I was told that Louines had received his I-600 approval in error and that it would be revoked. I was told that, since I had opted into the AOF program, I could not get my I-600 approval until the Chicago office received form I-604 from Haiti.

Meanwhile, I spoke with someone at the USCIS office in Haiti who informed me that I should not have participated in the AOF program because my son already had an adoption decree. I immediately called the Chicago office and asked them if I could opt out of the AOF program and asked what documentation I would need to submit in order to get my I-600 approval from the Chicago office. The officer informed me that I would need to submit a copy of my son’s adoption decree and a letter asking to opt out of the AOF program.

On Sept. 6th, I faxed these documents to the Chicago office. The fax was apparently not received and I faxed them again on Sept 13th. An officer emailed me and informed me that I also needed to submit Louines’ IBESR authorization of adoption in order to get I-600 approval. This document had never been mentioned to me in past conversations and I did not have a copy. Because I had opted out of the AOF program, I now needed this document in order to get approval.

I was not able to get a copy of the document until my son’s passport was printed and the file was returned to my orphanage. As you can imagine, I was now incredibly anxious to submit the document to USCIS and receive the I-600 approval. I emailed and called the USCIS office several times both before and after submitting the document in order to find out if anything further was necessary in order to receive my son’s approval. I never received a reply.

Today, I received word from the consulate in Haiti (via my son’s orphanage) that my son’s birth parent interview cannot be scheduled until the I-600 approval is received. I called the USCIS office once again and this time was able to speak to the officer. She was very confused about the state of my file. First she said that it had been approved in July. When I explained that the approval had been revoked, she then said that they were waiting for the orphan investigation results to come back from Haiti. I reminded her that I had opted out of the AOF program and told her that the consulate’s office had informed us that they would not begin the orphan investigation until we received the I-600 approval. She then said that she needed a letter from the consulate saying that she could give the I-600 approval without the orphan investigation. She indicated that she had requested this letter, but I honestly don’t believe that this could be true, since, at the start of my call, she seemed to think that I had already received approval. Overall, she just seemed confused about what needed to be done. I asked if there was someone at the consulate that I could call to make sure that this letter gets sent. She said that she would call me back with a name. That was this morning. I, unfortunately do not have much confidence that this matter will be settled anytime soon.

I am sorry for this long explanation, but I wanted you to understand what has happened so far - what I have already done to try to rectify the situation myself. I am hoping that someone in the Senator’s office can help me with this matter. I am hoping that the I-600 approval and the scheduling of the birth parent interview can be expedited so that we can get our son home. Noah (as we will name Louines) has been in hearts since we first visited him in October 2005 and has legally (in Haiti) been our son since February 2007 – I’m sure you can understand that we are heart-sick with waiting and just want him home soon.

Thank you so much for your help!
Nicole Hewitt

2 comments:

ManyBlessings said...

Oh my word Nicole. Praying your senator can find his way through the mess.

I must say I despise the day I ever sent in that AOF. It has given us nothing but headaches too. Ugh.

d

Momto13 said...

I am so frustrated for you!!! This is unreal with all the waiting on Haiti, and now you have to wait on the US. Please do keep us all updated, I am praying that they are able to put some pressure on the USCIS and get the ball rolling so you can bring your son home ASAP!
Hugs
Sarah