Since my last two posts were about infertility, I thought I should get back to the adoption for a bit and let you all know where we stand right now. I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to know that we are waiting on some paperwork to be processed. As I’ve stated many times before, I am terrible at waiting and my patience is wearing thin. I guess I should have written this post several weeks ago, because the last time we had been waiting for a long period and asked you all to pray, what we needed came the next day! So once again, I’m asking y’all to pray that we have finally been cleared/approved and that our 800 paperwork be in our mailbox tomorrow.
We received our LOA (what I requested prayer for) on April 12th. After two+ months of agonizing wait, we were ecstatic to finally see that piece of paper officially granting us permission to adopt Ella Blair. We quickly got to work filling out visa and 800 paperwork. The visa paperwork was lengthy, but thankfully there were explicit directions on the website. Lifeline recommends a courier service out of Chicago. The lady who operates it is Denise and she has adopted children herself. She understands how important it is to take extreme care of people’s paperwork and get everything delivered as quickly as possible. Jeremy is actually the one who filled out the visas (and 800) and said Denise was very helpful and easy to work with. So if you ever happen to need tourist, adoption or business visas, we highly recommend her as well. About a week after mailing our passports to Denise, we had our visas back in our hands. For those of you who have never traveled internationally, you typically are given a visa (a stamp on your passport) at the airport. With China, they basically have to invite you to come into their country and filling out extensive visa paperwork is part of the invitation process.
We also had to complete more paperwork for USCIS. You may remember back in the fall that we had to fill out something called 800A. This time, we had to submit 800, which is gives us permission to classify a convention adoptee as an immediate relative; basically permission to bring EB back to the States as our daughter. The typical timeframe for approval is ~two weeks. Jeremy hand delivered our papers to our SW on April 18th (he was in B’ham with his mom for a doctor’s appointment) and Mallory overnighted the 800 papers to the National Benefits Center in Missouri (at least I think that’s where it goes).
Well, on April 29th we got a letter from USCIS stating that our paperwork couldn’t be approved because my DOB had been listed as 8-14-2013. Are.You.Kidding.Me.??!! When I walked in the house and Jeremy told me, I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry or scream or have a complete mental breakdown. I was sure, however, that I was very mad at him. Then I quickly realized I couldn’t be angry with him because he spent several days filling out about a thousand pieces of paper and I didn’t check behind him to make sure everything was correct. I couldn’t point my finger at him without turning it back on myself. Anyway, the good news was that the letter also stated that if we would make the needed correction ASAP, they would give our 800 priority attention. Our SW even called and talked to our officer and we were assured this kind of thing happens a lot and it shouldn’t slow us down too much. So I kind of calmed down and stopped panicking for the most part. Until one day last week when I realized how long it had been since the corrected form had been mailed back to the NBC. In case you haven’t realized it at this point, it is now May 19th, one whole month after initial submission, and we have not been approved. And every day that goes by without 800 clearance, is another day my baby is in the orphanage without us. Obviously, I am not in a good place right now. I did find out through LL’s private FB China group that there was apparently some system shutdown a couple of weeks ago which of course caused many families’ files to be backlogged. I guess that was better to hear than being told that our papers were lost. But it is still extremely frustrating nonetheless.
Other than praying that we receive 800 approval tomorrow, please pray for the other LL families who are waiting. There are several in the same boat as us, but the Fowler family got a letter Friday stating there was no record of their case! I cannot even imagine the added stress and worry. Please also pray that the remaining steps we have to take before travel will be expedited so we can get to our baby girl much quicker than anticipated!!
Thank you all for your concern and prayers. I hope I’ll be back with a good news report very soon!