Life is moving at a breakneck pace here in the FullPlate House. The holidays are upon us. These days of preparation and family time have been a welcome distraction from the slow moving paperwork that will, hopefully, bring Isabel to us.
We have sent an application to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to classify an orphan as an immediate relative. This application is form I800. It should have taken approximately three weeks to process. On Friday, we received word that the immigration officer in charge of our case felt that FullPlate Dad’s signature on the supplemental support document wasn’t an “original signature.” It looked like a photocopy.
Yesterday, a freshly signed form arrived on the officer’s desk. I don’t think our approval to classify Isabel as a relative will come until after the new year. Once we receive this approval, there are two final checks that need to happen to make sure that Isabel can receive a visa to the United States and that our adoption has met all the legal and ethical standards of the Hague Treaty on Intercountry Adoption.
All these steps simultaneously encourage and frustrate me. This process, for Isabel, is more transparent than the process we went through to adopt our Ghanaian children. Ghana is now ratifying the Hague, to comply with its standards when it comes to international adoption. That is a necessary step. We watched families pulled apart that didn’t need to be pulled apart. That should never happen.
Isabel needs a family though. She needs permanency, but she also needs access to comprehensive heart care. Every day is a day of damage to her little body. Every day that we wait I have to push that frustration aside and just focus on the end of the journey, that moment when we will finally bring her home.
–FullPlateMom, who will sit in the warmth of the holiday season and try to let that comfort her.