Monday, April 21, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

That is the Song and Question of the Day. If I was a super-hip, with-it, techno- savvy blogger, I would somehow upload this song so that it would start playing along with this post. But I'm not. So, I really hope you enjoy the silence. Think of it as a purposeful, zen-like blogging experience: reading a blog in silence.

Down to the nitty gritty. With Haitian adoptions, you can file for your child(ren)'s Visa's one of two ways. You can somehow get the paperwork you need mailed from Haiti to you, have it translated, and then file it at your local USCIS office. The paperwork is somehow processed, and then sent on to The National Visa Center in D.C. A few more people look it over, and from there it goes to the U.S. Consulate in Port au Prince Haiti. The Consulate then conducts the Orphan Investigation, approves the file for Visa. You then travel to Haiti to pick up your kids, go to the Consulate to get their Visa, and then on to HOME.

Got that? I barely do. Here's the paperwork trail: Port au Prince-home-Milwaukee-D.C .-Port au Prince.

The benefits are:
1) You don't have to fly to Haiti to file.
2) Your Orphan Investigation can be done while you are still waiting for passport approval.
3) You don't have to fly to Haiti to file.

Sounds pretty good, right? Wrong. The Consulate is slow, disorganized and what used to be a 5-day process is now going on 3-5 months in some cases. Of course, promises are always made to politicians and D.C., and the Consulate could at some time get their act together and finish a file in a reasonable amount of time; maybe that file could be ours. However, all of those in the American adopting world are all under the impression that the U.S. employees at the U.S. Consulate aren't all that fond of their fellow U.S. citizens.

HOWEVER dim, there is another light at the end of the tunnel. We could choose to fly to Haiti to file our Visa paperwork. If one does that, you do NOT file it at the Consulate; you file it at the Port au Prince USCIS office. USCIS then processes the application and conducts the Orphan Investigation. After they approve the file for Visa, only then does it get sent over to the Consulate, who then approves and prints the Visa. Yes indeed, there is both a U.S. Consulate office and a USCIS office. They are not the same thing.

The benefits:
1) USCIS is much faster, more organized and a little more seasoned in these matters.
2) The Consulate then only has to review our file and schedule our Visa appointment, two matters in which they seem to have under better control and timeframes.


we have to fly to Haiti. For a number of reasons (finances, the effects of a very short visit on the boys, and the current political climate, etc.) this does not exactly thrill either of us.


we have a better shot at getting the boys home in a more timely fashion.

I just LOVE the fact that I have to choose between two competing offices WHO BOTH PLAY FOR THE SAME TEAM. In my blog's zen-like silence, I bet you can actually hear the sarcasm and frustration dripping off of that sentence.

We're not going to make any decisions just yet. We have yet to be able to obtain the paperwork needed to file here in the States (through no one's fault). We need to find out if we can file the paperwork now, while we are still in MOI, or if we must wait until we get our passports.

Funny how just a few blogs ago, I commented on how I had zero intentions of going back to Haiti until I pick up the boys. Never say never.

I know that all my adopting readers are still with me. How about the rest of you? If you are, I give you FIVE GOLD STARS, as this stuff has even my own head spinning. If I was a supercool blogger, I would somehow change the plain old black font on Five Gold Stars to a glittery gold font, maybe with little sparkles all around it.

Why am I hyper-obsessing? In this whole big mess of the adoption, our choice in how we file Visa paperwork is the only thing I have an ounce of control over. Being Big Mama Bear, I want to do this right. Or as right as I can. I could sit and wait and see if the paperwork comes, and if it does, file that. Or I could make a proactive decision in how we are going to do this.

The whole issue of control/letting go is often a topic of conversation in our house. I recognize the futility in trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. At the same time, however, I recognize that you can't sit back and expect good things to just happen if you aren't willing to work for it.

I just re-read my blog. Sheesh. I am seriously starting to annoy myself. Time for bed.

G'Night all.


small town girl said...

Are we voting? I asked JC, mama of TnT, fellow Georgian, this same question. Her answer to me was short and succient (zen?) "Too complicated to file in the US" She has been there and done that, so I will take her advice. I will be filing on my next trip, which I hope is in June. Yes, the finances. Yes, the security issues. Yes, the attachment issues. Although it hurts to go thru the leaving, I believe that in the long run there will be no permanent damage, and I hope that the benefits of one on one attention for even a few days will outweigh the negatives. It also depends on your children's histories. The bottom line is that I think filing directly @ uscis in Haiti will streamline the process, and my goal is to get them home as quickly as possible. So this is how I made my decision. But you will have to make the best decision for you and your family.

PS you forgot to mention hurricane season LOL thats what I'm really afraid of!

A Blessed Life said...

I'm with you sister! I would love to file stateside but I am not sure - for all the reasons you've just stated. It's very frustrating.

Jen said...

Being a good ole' Canuck I do not have these issues, but if I did...i would file in Haiti. I know my biggest concern would be the effect the visit would have on the boys. If you decide on filing in PAP you could keep the visit to two days, not keep the boys at Wall's, and keep bonding to a minimum. You could also have Marie sit with you and the boys to try and explain that this visit was gong to be quick but it means that their adoption is almost done and they will soon be going home...

This Mama said...

I am not sure of what to say (different process than here in Canada) but I got 5 stars for reading it through ;) I am not sure what I would do - likely go down there if it meant a shorter process BUT who knows? Moneywise, if it would be too tight I wouldn't go. In the long run 3-4 months extra months in the orphanage (though they drag on now) will also just be a blip of forgotten time once they are home.

Take care and whatever you choose will be the right decision :)

dreamingBIGdreams said...

wow i have no idea what i'll do when we are in this position. i know i'd probably love to get to haiti to see my kids though.

i'm traveling next week for a visit! I CAN'T wait!!!

Me said...

You know what I think as I emailed you about this. I say go! Wish we could all go together but I'm hoping your boys are leaving Haiti in June when I plan on going. Good luck with your decision-it's a tough one!

Paige Mann said...

Enjoyed your blog! What a long strange trip it is, no? Best of luck with yours!