May 15 - the day we go to get fingerprinted at Immigration (or USCIS). After having been delayed for over a month and a half with my "unreadable" fingerprints for our homestudy, we were set to get fingerprinted AGAIN (this time, though, for a different purpose). Immigration requires 2 sets of rejected prints before allowing you to give an affadavit. The process for checking the prints takes 4 weeks - so we were looking at a possible lengthy delay here as well. The interesting part is that the entity who checked my prints and deemed them unreadable, the FBI, was the same entity that processes the Immigration set of prints. We thought for sure that I would "fail" yet again. So, we contacted our U.S. Rep.'s office to lend a hand in expediting this process. To make a long story short ;0) our Rep.'s office found out for us that my prints were accepted 3 days after I was fingerprinted. Great news! All that was left was the wait for our Immigration approval form, which happened to be the very last piece of paperwork that we needed to supply before our dossier could be shipped to China.
Normally, receiving the approval form takes 4 weeks. Well, four weeks came and went. Not wanting to lose any more precious time, I tried, to no avail, to contact the Adoptions Unit to check on the status of our application. "All voice mails will be answered in 3 business days, but you will get a more prompt response to an e-mail enquiry," I was told. I left both. Nothing. I finally got a person on the phone - not the right department, mind you, but a live person none the less - who quickly told me that the (one and only) Adoptions Unit Immigration Officer retired and they were having trouble finding a replacement. Great. So, we called our U.S. Rep.'s office again, hoping that they could find out something for us. After 6 weeks, we received the form! Gosh, I bet you heard the screams of joy at your house, didn't you? You were just too polite to say anything about it.
Right now the last of the paperwork is being processed at a Consulate, and we have been told and are hoping that our dossier will go out on Jul 16. So, everyone then asks, "When do you think you'll be traveling?" Hmm. At this stage of the game, with the Olympics in Beijing and a week-long holiday the beginning of October, you're guess is as good as mine. Oh, yeah, remember that I told you that God has been faithful to uplift me during these trials of patience? Another family traveled to Lanzhou to get their little boy during the Immigration wait, and we were following them on their blog (something the kids and I like doing). One morning I log on to their site and am face to face with a nice big picture of Jack! The dad had made the trek to visit the orphanage and was kind enough to get that picture for us! Thank you, Andy and Trish! They also took a care package to Jack from us. I've learned that just as there is a bond between you and your adopted child - there is also a unique bond between adoptive families. We understand. We've been there and know what simple things, like a photo, actually mean to families huddled around their computer screen gazing at this person, who is still a stranger, yet a part of you ... a part of your family.