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!