Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Home Study / USCIS muddle

Since I have a few minutes, I thought I’d be a bit more specific about the paperwork delay we’ve run into. I feel silly about it, mostly because it highlights my inability to let go of a fantasy. I’ve always dreamed of adopting two children, young siblings or twins. ZM and I decided early on in our adoption journey that we would only adopt one child. ZM has always wanted only two children so doing this adoption is a compromise on his side. I agreed that one child would fit best into our lives right now and so we continued on with the goal of adopting one infant of either gender.

Then a few months ago I sat down to fill out the I-600A and it has this pesky little box labeled “Number of Children Adopting”. Well, several folks on the adoption boards I’m on suggest that you fill out two children even if you are only planning on adopting one because you never know what might happen. This sounded like a good precaution to me… who know, maybe the agency would screw up and refer us twins, or maybe they would refer us a child who we later discovered had a young sibling that also needed a home. (Can you say delusional?).

I mentioned this in passing to ZM when I asked him to sign the form (without the fantasy two children referral thing managing to work its way into the conversation.) He was fine with the contingency plan, so I sent our paperwork off to the USCIS.

Now comes the fun part. On Christmas Eve of all days, I was perusing the Ethiopia Adoption board and came across a post that basically said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Oh crap I put down 2 kids on my USCIS app. but my home study only approved me for one and now my application is in limbo for the next 2 months.” Needless to say that this was the moment when I remembered that I had neglected to mention the number of children we put on the I-600A to our social worker and I knew that the home study only said one child. CRAP!!!

I quickly sent a polite email for clarification to the SW but since it was the holidays we didn’t hear back from her for several nerve-racking days. ZM called the home study agency later that week and we learned that the USCIS office here does indeed require the number of children to match. Luckily the HS agency had just received the notarized copies of the home study from our SW, had them notarized there, and were preparing to send them out that very day. She called our SW who was happy to edit the HS to approve us for one or two children. With the holidays this has delayed us by about 2 weeks. We called the HS agency again yesterday and learned that they should be mailing the HS out by the end of this week.

While I’m thankful that we didn’t get delayed longer by having the USCIS discover the error and kick it back out to us, a process that can take months, I still feel very embarrassed that I caused this delay. And I’m also a little ashamed because while I know that I shouldn’t hope to circumvent the agreement I made with my husband, I now keep thinking…

We’re approved for TWO KIDS!


Maggie said...

I'm glad that it got straightened around. Even if you're just planning on one child, it's nice that your hs approves you for two, just in case. My hs is open to two kids even though I'm only really planning on adopting one.

M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

Good for you! Although ya know... sometimes people get referrals for twins... ;-)

MMrussianadoption said...

Congrats, congrats!!!!