Ahhhh...the sweet signs of progress to end our year on a great note. We finally received our approval from USCIS to bring Charlie home!
It wasn't without event, for sure. In a "preventative" measure, we filed an additional I-800A, Supplement 3 approval with USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) to update our home study and extend our fingerprints, since they were expiring in early February, and I recently discovered that we wouldn't be able to obtain a visa for Charlie with prints that were within four months of expiration. Oops...that would have been a problem!
Jimmy, Madi, and I drove to USCIS in Royal Palm Beach on 12/23 for fingerprinting to accomplish the task. On 12/27, we received email notification that MY prints came back as "Unclassifiable". HUH? Can someone please explain what the #%&* that means??!!! Naturally, panic set in. I called our agent at USCIS for an explanation. Apparently, my bone-dry, wrinkled-up, 43 year-old fingers FAILED ME!! Does anyone know where I can find that "Madge" lady? I'd like to have a few words with her after she recommended that I 'soak' in that Palmolive crap all these years. Thanks buddy...
Jimmy says, "Thank the Lord it wasn't my fingerprints."
Our kind and exceptional case worker, Matthew Elliott, issued me a new appointment for 1/7/11. I couldn't rightly deal with that date, so I set out very early the next morning, on 12/28, to get the job done. I was amply prepared, I might add, by using an insane amount of hand cream the night before and drinking lots of water that morning, per Jimmy's advice. I took a sigh of relief as they honored my week-early attendance and waited patiently (I think?) for my turn. In the meantime, I snuck in a little more hand cream, obsessively massaging my fingertips to an oblivion...
Finally, the moment of truth. My number was called, and I marched over (nervously) for my second shot, thankfully knowing that if I failed a second time, I could rely on submitting my background check from my home study for an approval. I ended up with the same attendant who remarked that my prints were much better this time. I have no idea how I went so wrong the first time, but whatever--the job got done right this time:)
So, the bottom line is, after all my ranting and rambling on this post, we were approved on 12/29 by USCIS to bring Charlie home and our prints are now good for 15 months!!
Oh, and Madi would be absolutely appalled if I failed to mention that she endured a painful typhoid vaccine last week--without shedding a tear, I might add. The tears came days after when we tried to remove that silly bandage. She winced every time we even looked at it. I think she knew how badly we longed to rip it off. Thankfully, Bubba was able to remove it when she wasn't paying attention. Only Bubba could have gotten away with such a major offense...
I know what your next question is. So, when? When will we travel? Well, our approval must now go to China, and then China will issue us an approval to travel for Charlie. We will start applying for our visas asap, but we really can't make travel plans until we know more. We still think a "safe" bet will be late February or early March. We'll keep you posted.
Thanks for being a part of our extended family and sharing in our special journey to Daniel in 2010. We hope you will join our special journey to Charlie in 2011!
Happy New Year to all of you! God bless you and yours:)