Friday, December 21, 2007

Good News at Last!!

I got an email back from USCIS last Thursday saying that a decision would be made on my file within the week. I was extremely happy to get any response at all from them, since I knew that the officer was on vacation until the 20th. That meant that someone in the office was at least responding finally.

Well, as of yesterday, I hadn't heard anything. I wasn't terribly surprised. Since the officer was supposed to be back in the office yesterday, I replied to the email I had received and asked if anything had been done. I also called the office (three times), but, of course, never got an answer. I left a message and felt defeated - yet another message - sure to be ignored.

Well, today I got an email from USCIS saying that MY APPROVAL HAD BEEN CABLED TO HAITI on the 19th!!! Hip, hip hooray!!

Scott said "Maybe it was good that the officer was on vacation because someone else finally took care of our file." One way or the other, I'm thrilled.

So - next steps. I'm going to call the consulate today and see if they will now schedule the birth parent interview. The medical appointment is already done. After the birth parent interview, we will have a visa appointment. The day of the visa appointment is the day that we bring our boy home!!

Things are looking up!! Thank you God!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Out of Office Autoreply

That's what I got just now when I emailed USCIS again (read the post below for this morning's USCIS drama). Apparently, the reason I haven't heard back from the Chicago USCIS officer is because she's out of the office - from DEC 3rd to DEC 20th!!!! Not that she got back to me before the 3rd either, but that explains this latest round of silence. In her out of office email, she gives a number to call if you need to contact someone in her absence - Ironically, the number she gives is her own office number - the number I've been calling for more than a week with no answer. Obviously, no one is listening to her messages or handling her workload. That's three weeks where no one is even attempting to solve the problems that this officer has created. I know - I'm starting to sound spiteful. I just can't help it at this point.

Before I received the news about the officer's vacation, I called Senator Durbin's office again. I decided that it was just ridiculous that in two weeks my case hadn't even been assigned to anyone and I begged to just talk to someone who could help me. I did end up speaking to the person who handles international adoption cases. She said that she corresponds with the officer via email and would let me know when she hears back. I was feeling hopeful that I might at least hear something when I decided to email the office myself as well. That's when I got the out of office reply. I had to decide whether to scream or cry - I chose cry. It's looking like nothing will be done on my file until after the holidays. I guess we might not have Noah home in January after all.

Still Nothing

Okay, this is getting beyond frustrating. I finally got ahold of the consulate in Haiti last Thursday and they told me that the person I needed to speak to was on vacation until Monday. I then called back again today and the consulate told me I needed to call USCIS in Haiti instead. I did get ahold of someone in USCIS. They never got anything from the Chicago office stating that I had opted out of the AOF program. As far as they knew, they were still waiting for documentation from the orphanage so that they could conduct the orphan investigation. I'm guessing that, since the Chicago office had mistakenly had my file marked as approved (instead of pending), they never even sent it. The Haiti office said that the Chicago office needs to send them the letter and then adjudicate the I600 themselves (which is what they were supposed to be doing all along). She gave me their email address to give to the Chicago office.

Now, for more frustration, though. The officer in the Chicago office DOES NOT ANSWER HER PHONE. She also DOES NOT RETURN MY CALLS!!!! I called her at least a dozen times today with no luck.

I tried calling Senator Durbin's office again and was informed that my case hadn't been assigned to anyone yet (it's been one day shy of two weeks since I faxed my letter) - she said to call back in a couple of days if I still hadn't heard anything. Can I scream now?? Why is it that dealing with the US government is just as hard as dealing with the Haitian government? Haiti has lots of excuses - shoddy electrical system, no computer system to speak of, poor road systems - what excuse does the US government have?

Okay, I'm done with my rant for now. I guess I'll go back to calling the USCIS Chicago office another dozen times. Sigh...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

No News is... Bad News

Well, I know the famous phrase says that no news is good news, but I'm afraid it's wrong. I still haven't heard anything from Senator Durbin's office or from USCIS. I call USCIS every day and leave a message, but the officer never calls back. It's so frustrating. She was simply supposed to get me the name of someone to call at the consulate in Haiti (I've tried calling there without a specific name since and haven't been able to get through) - Somehow, she can't even manage that. I called the Senator's office and they said my file is being actively worked on and that they will let me know when they hear anything. So, I wait. No news is definitely bad news.

You'd think I'd be used to it. But, I have to mail a Christmas present to Noah. I've been avoiding it. I had been so hoping that he would be home with us, opening presents here on Christmas. I have to face that it's not going to happen.

In some ways, it might be better for Noah. He's a shy little boy and the hubbub of Christmas might be a bit overwhelming for him. I just have to keep reminding myself of this fact. I'm actually okay with it most of the time, but if things don't start moving again soon, I think I'll go a bit insane. Heck, I'm already halfway there. The US government doesn't want to have that responsibility on its shoulders, right? Okay, USCIS, get moving!!