Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fingerprinting - check!

On Tuesday we went to get fingerprinted. We were an hour early and then realized that no one cared if we showed up at the time of our appointment, just as long as we came in on that day. So in theory we could've just went at 8 a.m. and not missed half a day of work. We had to draw a number and an hour and thirty people later, they took our fingerprints and we were done.

So now we sit and wait. We're still not done gathering our pictures and writing the letter to the birth family, and I am currently feeling very unmotivated to do so. On one hand I do want everything to be ready for when the approval comes, but on the other hand it's hard to do it right now when it's not needed until about three months down the road. I don't function well without impending deadlines!

I am a little relieved that we've almost done everything we can do and are now just waiting, so we can sit back and enjoy our time as a couple. The past few months we've had to do so much for the adoption that it was always on my mind and we talked about it constantly. Now we can just go back to being a couple for another year or so before we get the referral of our son or daughter.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We got our appointment to be fingerprinted in the mail today.Of course our appointment will be on a weekday in the middle of the day, so I'll have to take an entire day off work (in this town, my 10 mile drive to work takes about 1 - 2 hours). 

I don't want to jinx it, but so far I'm very happy with our USCIS office, even though they have one of the longest processing times. I've personally had a great experience with USCIS (in a different state though) when I became a citizen, so I am hopeful that things go well again this time.  I don't want to think about the horror stories that I've heard (and know to be true). 

Most USCIS offices have one (or more) employees dedicated only to adoption cases. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as if the states with more cases get more personnel. In some offices the turn around time for orphan visas is literally days (many of the offices in the Mid-West fall in that category), and other offices take 3 months and longer. Our neighboring state  processes visas in about a month, ours takes three. The USCIS office in Orlando was even taking 5-7 months! 

I wish the government would make more funds available to staff all offices appropriately, especially for the processing of the I-600. This is the visa you have to apply for once you've been matched with a specific child (which is in the far future for us), while the I-600A, which we've just applied for, is a general permission for us to bring an orphan to the United States. 

While slow processing times for the I-600A are holding up the process for us, the wait for the I-600 will be much more painful. 

Imagine being pregnant for 20 months or longer, and then you finally give birth to the child you have been dreaming about for so long. The hospital staff takes the baby - YOUR baby - but instead of putting it in your arms, they only show it to you briefly. It is the most beautiful child you have ever seen, and you ache to hold it. But they don't hand you the child; they whisk it away and tell you that you now you have to wait for your paperwork to process, which will take 3 - 6 months. During that time, all you have are a few pictures to look at and monthly updates about the progress your child is making - without you. 

While bureaucracy is necessary, I would love to see an improvement in those wait times!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all moms in the world - whether you're a mom to your biological children, an adoptive mom, a step-mom, a foster mom, or a first mom. May your children appreciate everything you do and all you've sacrificed for them. And if they don't appreciate it now, I hope they will appreciate it when they are grown.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Home Study Approved!

Can I get a woohoo!?

Our home study has been completed, officially approved, and mailed to USCIS, so they can begin processing the I-600A. 

Our agency emailed us the home study for review on Tuesday night, made the few corrections we suggested, and approved it the next day. 

It is very beautifully written, they did an amazing job. It is very weird to read about our lives on paper and from the perspective of another person. How they were able to condense everything into 17 pages is beyond me. They seem to have covered every aspect of our lives, and the lives of our immediate family members. I even learned something new about my husband! 

The home study includes sections about each of us, our marriage, our values, our outlook on parenting, and the factual part listing our financials, medical information etc. 

The most surreal thing was to read the title "mother" and then my name. Sometimes I feel that we get so wrapped up in the process, the technicalities of the paperwork, and the long wait, that it's almost easy to forget what is at the end of all of this.

We are almost done with our part, now all that is missing is a letter to the birth family and some photos of us that will accompany the home study when it eventually goes to Korea. I have to admit that I am so clueless on which photos to send (I am always taking pictures, so I am in none of them), and even more so on what to write to the birth family. We were told that it is highly unlikely that the birth family will ever read our letter, but what if they do? I do not have the slightest idea what to say.  But the cluelessness doesn't stop there; I am even obsessing about what kind of stationary I should use! 

We'll probably finish this in the next couple of weeks, so everything is ready to go to Korea when our I-600A is approved (the estimate for that is mid-September - yikes!).