Friday, June 26, 2009

Adoption Adventure Continues On

Adoption is a roller coaster ride. In the last week or so we have certainly been reminded of that again. We are plugging along with the adoption of Jacques. His adoption is especially tough because he is 16. 16 is the magic age that kids are suddenly no longer adoptable (by law) so we had to be at certain stages of the adoption before his 16th birthday. Because of his age we have had to file his immigration forms before his last birthday and if they are denied we will not be able to refile. We've got one shot with no room for anything to go wrong. So what happens?... Things start looking like they could go very wrong very fast!

When we turned in Jacques' immigration forms we were told we would only need to submit a couple more things of paper work, including a home study update, and an adoption decree (which we can not get until the adoption is complete in Haiti). We were told that we were automatically given one year to turn in the remaining paper work, but if we needed more time it would be no problem to extend that.

Fast Forward several months~ We moved from Southern CA to the Bay Area so we had to transfer our file from USCIS (immigration) office in LA to San Francisco. The transfer went just fine. Once we were moved into our new place, and got everything settled for Stephanie, we were now finally able to move forward with getting our home study update done. I spent some time researching the many adoption agencies in our new area and eventually chose one to begin the process with. We needed a simple home study updating the changes to our last home study update. At least... that's what we needed according to the USCIS website and the letter we got from the LA USCIS office. A quick home study update still usually takes about 2 months to complete and we had only 2 months until we needed to have our paper work turned in. Knowing that it was going to be a very close call I contacted USCIS and asked them how to go about getting the extension for more time (as we were told by the LA office). The SF office responded and told us that they would not give us an extension. We were very disappointed but also motivated to hurry up and complete this update. USCIS also sent me a long list of additional information that they wanted (some of it were things that we do not receive with a Haitian adoption, and most of it is not what the instructions say to include). Ah, the stress! If only that was all that happened~
So I got my hands on the home study paper work and started in on it at record breaking speeds! During the week we received another blow when the agency called and said they contacted USCIS and were told that they would not accept a home study update from us but were requiring us to do an entirely new home study! A new home study done quickly usually takes 2-3 months at least. We didn't have that long! What can we do? We had to give it a shot. So I got back to the paper work and making contacts to gather everything asked from us. I was just wrapping up the majority of the paper work and feeling really encouraged when we got another phone call from the agency. They told us that they suddenly realized that, due to a new law that affects their license, they might not be able to complete our home study at all. Are you kidding me? So all the work was a waste and we were back to square one. In my last conversation with them they told me that our home study was so complicated that they didn't think they would be able to have done it in time for us anyways. Nice! So now all the work we had done was unusable, very valuable time had been lost, and we needed to start all over again. We also learned that the decision of USCIS that we needed a whole new home study was due to the agency misrepresenting the home study we did have. :(

With a sense of dread I started calling around agencies to see if any of them thought they could complete a whole new home study in just 7 weeks or less. At last I spoke with someone totally unfazed by our deadline. They are working with us in an attempt to complete it in just 3-4 weeks!!! And, by the way, they are willing to do it for us for less then a third of the cost then the last place. My jaw dropped and I was so relieved. So here we are again, working non-stop on our new home study but this time without feeling as stressed about it. We still do need to receive all of the paper work, including adoption decree, from Haiti before the deadline. If everything does not fall into place on time then we will have a legally adopted son in another country with no way to bring him home.


Lisa said...

This makes my head spin - I can't imagine what this is doing to you. Praying for your family!

Amanda said...

I just sighed VERY HEAVILY at this, dear Angela. This is just soooo crazy messed up. At least to my eyes. But, I'm not God, thankfully so! He's not flinching as though He didn't know what was coming and He is able to steadily work all things for your and Jacques' good!

Praying for Him to move for your family and you can finally be complete.

ManyBlessings said...

Wow!! Still praying for you guys!!

DotBlogger said...

Lord, come swiftly.

Anonymous said...

Angela, I have been praying for you and for Jacques adoption for so long. I am glad the home study is working out. Praying that the paperwork in Haiti continues to move quickly too!!!

Keziah said...