Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lost and Found

Well, my file has been found!! This is a wonderful thing, but it also makes me want to scream because of the complete incompetence of the Chicago USCIS office (okay - being honest here - after I got off the phone, I did scream). Turns out, they never sent it. Yep, you read that right - hard to believe yet another mistake could have been made with my file, but apparently the incompetence of USCIS knows no bounds.

When I spoke to the officer yesterday on the phone, she assured me that my file had been sent. That they are always sent the next day. After much cajoling, she finally agreed to have a clerk look at my file and make sure (I tried to convince her to do it herself while I was on the phone, but she couldn't be bothered with this). She took my phone number and said that she would have a clerk look at it and then she would call me back.

Of course, she never called. Finally, this afternoon, I called her back and she said, "Oh, I found out that it was never sent. I forgot to call you." Just like that. I wish I would have had the foresight to tell her yesterday that I would pay to have the file overnighted if it was found. Since she never called me, it had already been sent out and it was too late. She assured me that it would only take a week or so to get to NVC (funny, yesterday she was insisting that it could take up to four weeks). Scott and my mom both reassured me that it wouldn't have mattered if I had offered to pay for overnight shipping. She's not the helpful type - she would have just said, "That's not how we do it." I'm guessing they're right.

The truly frustrating thing about this whole ordeal is that I have never once gotten a single "I'm sorry" for anything that has happened with my file. Apparently, the US government has no need for customer service because, let's face it, it's not like I can switch to another vendor. (Hmmm... Canada sounds good about now). And obviously the officer working at USCIS Chicago doesn't have the human decency to come up with an "I'm sorry" without a customer service policy forcing her to do so. When my file was approved back in June and then that approval was rescinded, they simply sent me an email stating that the approval had been given in error. No, "I'm sorry for any inconvenience this has caused." Nothing. Then, when the officer gave me incorrect information on what was needed in order to approve my file (which caused months of delay), again, I was never offered a simple apology. USCIS Chicago never sent my letter to USCIS Haiti to let them know that I had opted out of the AOF program. They also never showed an ounce of regret. After all of this, they forget to send my file. You would think that the office would feel horrible that yet another mistake had been made. If it were me in her position, I would have said, "I am SO sorry that this happened and that your file was delayed yet again." Go back and read what she actually said in the third paragraph. It's pretty much verbatim.

Every time I spoke to this officer and explained to her that my son had had a passport since the beginning of November and that this approval was the only thing holding me up, she would respond with a completely non-committal, unsympathetic reply. Usually, she would suggest that we should just "wait" for some paperwork or other from Haiti (which was never coming - I talked to the people in Haiti and they had no idea what she was talking about and said there is no reason that she shouldn't give me the approval if I had opted out of the AOF program). She even chuckled once at the fact that she was waiting on Haiti and Haiti was waiting on her. So very amusing that my son was stuck in limbo due to her incompetence! She would repeatedly tell me that she would check on something and then call me back - She never once called me back during this process. I've been treated as though my child coming home is completely unimportant - like I've been waiting for a baby doll instead of an actual child. What's a few more months, right?

A few more months in the life of a three-year-old child. It's a lot.


ManyBlessings said...

Well! I'm glad they found your file (for Pete's sake, how hard is it to LOOK), but honestly they should really take some lessons in common courtesy and kindness. Talk about no compassion. I'm sorry you are dealing with this and do think the file should be at the NVC quickly. Good grief, huh?

Julie said...

Ahh Nicole...I empathize. The only thing that keeps me sane is knowing this is a spiritual battle and Satan just does not want our boys in our home. I am so thankful we know who wins in the end.
Waiting like you.

Momto13 said...

I am glad that they found the file but I am in awe of the way you have been treated and the madness that has been going on!
Praying things things get better and more timely from here on out.
Enough is enough already!

Ericka said...

Wow! This journey has definitely been a tough one, BUT the end result is worth all the pain.
I"m so hoping this ends soon and you are on your way to Haiti.
I hope there some comfort in that you are definitely helping others with their process.