Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are You KIDDING Me???

It’s 4:30am and I’m up again, except today isn’t because of jet lag. That’s long gone.

Today I’m up because at 3:30am the double knots in the stomach came back in full force after replaying yesterday’s events in my head. I thought at this point I would be posting pictures from our trip and telling warm & fuzzy stories about how we have the most adorable, perfect son in the world. Not so.

I received a call from our caseworker mid-day yesterday. She wanted to recap all the bits of our trip and asked if I would be interested in being a guest on next week’s conference call with a Q&A style covering any pertinent details for fellow families. Absolutely!
The conversation then turned to one that involved the words...great concern you will not travel as expected.

Our CIS fingerprints have gone missing. They expired on 7/15, so the extension we filed and reprinting we did on 6/29 did not make it into the newly updated USCIS centralized computer system. Once our prints go through the state division, they are then processed through the National Visa Processing Center where they are reviewed and once given the okay, cabled through to the embassy in Ethiopia. (Our embassy date is 8/5)

Six business days remain for the above to occur and nobody has records of our prints to even start this ball rolling. The alternative? To reprint, we’re looking at an estimated two months. Embassy dates in Ethiopia are only every other Thursday. We would have to fit into the next available one, which is anyone’s guess.

This is what caused an eight minute mental breakdown in my boss’ office yesterday, which enabled me to decompress and come back in full force with proper frame of mind to be productive. (she gave the okay to work on this for as long as necessary, ending with “bring that boy home”) I gathered all necessary documents and began emailing and calling anyone who would listen that works in immigration in the U.S. Three hours in, a “live” woman answered her phone. She referred to herself as an Officer. I liked that title for what we needed right now and knew this was our woman.

I think the most productive 30 minutes of my life were spent with my Officer. She willingly engaged all resources on her end after listening to our situation and began recreating our paperwork! Much more to it, but this is the gist…if this works, our file should show in the National Visa Processing Center by Monday of next week, allowing three business days for processing before being transferred to Ethiopia. (I am purely speculating that they need three days, only because that’s what WE need to meet deadline. I’m hoping that’s reasonable.)

If this new scenario works, we will travel next Sunday, 8/1 as planned. If our file is not in Ethiopia by next Friday, we will not travel. We’ll then await word on reprinting or await the appearance of our file and then wait for a new embassy date.

I must also mention (and this is the advice part, should this happen to others) that during those three hours of scouring for officials to listen to me, I had left messages with the NJ senators’ offices. After speaking to my Officer (the one who helped) I did receive a call back from the senator’s office. They listened to our situation and advised to call back Monday if we still need assistance. My advice is to get them on the horn immediately if you see your prints lapsing in the new system, just in case you need them down the line.

I’ll end with this…a new mother recently asked me if she could ask a personal question which was, At what point in the adoption process do you have the attachment feeling of a mother/child bond? (I welcome all questions like this because it makes ME think too.)
My answer was, it’s a gradual process that grows stronger through each phase of the process. I’ve now changed it to…
Meet your son, play with him, hold him, squeeze him, have a federal judge deem you a family by law, get on a plane, leave him behind and then be told you can’t get him because a piece of paper is missing.

You’re far beyond a mother/family. It’s like this little guy has been with us forever now and someone has temporarily taken him away, not that he hasn’t arrived yet.

And on what planet do fingerprints expire?


  1. ahhh! I just got a knot in my stomach reading that! what a nightmare! I have to say that experiencing red tape in ethiopia is a whole other beast - we had a little passport issue over there, and it was insanely frustrating! I'm glad you have Officer on your side!

  2. Oh wow. I will be praying fervently that your prints go through smoothly and in time for you to travel as planned.

  3. Oh, Tam, aaaaaaah!!!! It sounds like you've got the right people working on it now. We had a small glitch at the last minute too with our homestudy update and once I was able to figure out who to talk to (the Special Orphan Officer in our local USCIS office) things went through quickly. It's all electronic these days so hopefully that means things will move quickly. Oh, Honey, hang in there!!!

  4. Oh my goodness. This is a nightmare indeed. Hopefully everything will go smoothly from here on out. Sounds like you've contacted everyone and have done the best you can!

  5. Our re-prints went missing for a couple of weeks--we, too, called anyone and everyone who we thought could help. Glad to hear you found an officer who is on your side! Hoping you can put this behind you on Monday so you can go get your son!

  6. This frustrates me beyond words!!!! My stomach hurts. But it sounds like you did everything in your power and hopefully this Officer will get it taken care of in time. I will be thinking of you like crazy and HOPING that it gets resolved. XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  7. Holy crap. I can't imagine. I would be a mess. Thank you for your courage and determination and for sharing your experience as we all wait to see how this new process works. August 1st, August 1st, August 1st.

  8. BLeeeeck!!!! oh you poor girl!! no wonder your stomach is in knots!! that is CRAZY! you pro-active-ness is inspiring! you go mama bear:) don't forget to breathe...august first is just around the corner, we're praying everything lines up so you can go get your son!

  9. This is hiddeous! Don't know if y'all are the praying kind, but you and those fingerprints are in my prayers today. Good luck!!!

    Love your explanation at the end. I definitely understand what you mean about him being missing.

  10. dude. that is just wrong. seriously! i am so sorry you have to have this stress that tears at your heart. you need to have him in your arms. i am glad that you were able to talk directly to an officer. oh please just be some silly, we can laugh about it on the plane kind of thing. sorry honey. love you lots.

    and yeah ... i'm with you on the what planet question!!!!!!!

  11. Oh jeez...this NEEDS to be resolved!!!!! Sooooo Glad you were able to talk to a Human and not some weird alien from a planet where Fingerprints actually expire:)
    Got all my fingers and toes crossed for you, that you are on that plane on Aug 1st!


  12. Wow! I'm so sorry you all are having to go through this craziness. I'll be praying everything goes smoothly over the next week and that you can be reunited as a family ASAP!

  13. OH, I had a knot in my stomach just reading about your ordeal. You're a trooper, Tam!

    You'll be a great asset for the upcoming Gladney conference call!


  15. ARGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! I didn't know fingerprints expire. I'd better check mine! How can they possibly do this to you??!!*&%$!! It's just unbelievable that this could happen at THIS TIME!! I am feeling your pain. It just HAS to be resolved by Monday. I am thinking only positive thoughts.


  16. We are thinking of you. We just received our referral on Friday for a little girl. I pray that everything works out for you and you travel soon. Would you be open to taking something for our little girl with you. Let me know. I greatly appreciate it - Laura

  17. Oh, Tam. I'm so hoping you get some good news tomorrow. I'll say a little prayer for you tonight. :)