Ready for some more? Here goes…so yesterday we left off with me mentioning that I had asked for assistance in notarizing the enhanced disclosure. In fact, I first asked our American adoption agency social worker (known hereafter as ASW), who had no idea (keep in mind that we specifically chose our agency for not only its ethics, but because they claim to work with Americans living abroad). Then I asked our British social worker (whose company has the initials US in it, and who our adoption agency recommended to us). Now this lady (hereafter known as BSW) has been very kind to us up to this point, and wrote great things about us in the rough draft of the home study (of course, we haven’t seen the final copy yet). And yet on this question she becomes mysteriously…hmmm…not evasive so much as unhelpful. She fowards me a paragraph that explains how to get the document notarized under the British system. I respond by asking what exactly the document is supposed to say and look like, since I am going to be dealing with the JAG office on base, under the American system, and while the JAG office staff are very nice and helpful (and free), they do not think outside of the box. She then responds with a one sentence email telling me to read the paragraph she had sent previously.
Now… I am not a stupid person. My husband is much smarter than me. Neither one of us can figure out what exactly we are supposed to do with this stupid document. One further inquiry to BSW results in a similar response, even after I told her that I was sure we were making this more complicated than it needed to be, but if she could just spell it out for us, that would make it easier. I feel at this point that she thinks that we are huge dumb-a**es, and is treating us as such, which really actually pisses me off.
Of course, that could just be the British way. After all, this is not the first, or even tenth time I’ve been made to feel like a dumb-a** in this country. Like the time I asked the washing machine installer where in the machine the bleach goes. Because apparently any moron knows that bleach is not for washing machines, its for dishwashers. WHAT??? And like the time I asked the cell phone salesman if The Hunk and I could share a cell phone plan (which is not done here, everybody has to have his/her own plan), or if the grocery store carried bagel chips (just got blank, pitying looks about this one). I have many other examples, but the point is that in this case, it is really really REALLY important that we have these documents done exactly right, because if they aren’t exactly right, we won’t get to adopt a child.
Anyhow, then I ask people on the APV site and the AmericansAdopting from Abroad yahoo group, and get some answers, but in retrospect, what I really needed was an EXAMPLE or a TEMPLATE to follow. I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think that this is too much to ask from a person that supposedly helps US citizens living abroad adopt internationally, whom we have paid $1500. So the bottom line is, I still don’t know if our documents done at the embassy are right. I emailed BSW yesterday morning, and haven’t received a response yet, which also irritates me (patience being my long suit).
Lets move on from the enhanced disclosures, and onto our homestudy. OK, we had our homestudy visit April 12th. Prior to this visit, we started accumulating documents. And following this visit, we continued accumulating more documents. Finally, on May 29th, the last of our documents and the rough draft of our home study had been received at our American adoption agency(most has been received weeks before). On June 11, I email ASW for an update, and he emails me back a few days later, saying that due to Hague accredidation training, he really has been behind on his regular work, but that now he is done reviewing our home study and will get signature pages from BSW. This is the last we heard from him on that subject. I really, really try to be patient – after all, sending things overseas takes time. Finally, on July 9th, I can’t take it anymore, and email ASW, asking for an update on our homestudy. Keep in mind that the homestudy was WRITTEN before the end of May. He says he sent the pages to be signed on June 13th by Fed-Ex, they attempted to deliver them to BSW on June 18th, and were finally able to deliver them on June 26th. BSW apparently sent them back on June 26th. But did she send them back Fed-Ex? No. She sends them registered mail…from England to America…which apparently takes FOOORRREEVVEERRRRRR, because they have not arrived back in Texas yet. You would also think, because her company is about helping Americans living abroad to adopt by working with American adoption agencies, that she would know how long it takes registered mail to get to America from over here. And you would think that because the paperwork had already been delayed a week because she wasn’t there to sign for the package, she might think about sending it back by Fed-Ex to help us out a little. But no, apparently not. Of course, these papers could very well be lost in the mail because although BSW and ASW have the tracking number, neither one of them has checked it. Why would they?
The cherry on the ice cream sundae that is this situation is that the prices for submitting an I-600A are being raised on July 30th. By hundreds of dollars (the old price was $540, which I already thought was pretty steep). And so now its totally unclear as to whether our home study will make it to the London USCIS before this deadline, completing our file there, and whether we will have to pay the extra fee. And the thing is, I don’t even really mind paying the extra money (much), but I can only imagine the flaming hoops we’ll have to jump through to find out if we have to pay the extra money, since USCIS doesn’t really welcome customer phone calls.
So that’s it. Thanks for listening. I must add that the vast majority of people, including bureocratic officials we’ve come into contact with so far, have been super nice, and that really, before this, the process has been pretty smooth in terms of getting documents from America, and so on. Hopefully we can get this mess straightened out soon and get to the waiting for a referral part! And I promise that the next post will not be a bitchy one (I really hope).
On a totally different subject, O and I are going to his first movie tonight, Ratatoulle (I know I probably butchered that one). I think I’m definitely more excited than him about this milestone. Only 2 more days till he’s 3!