Wednesday, June 30, 2010

not exactly progress, but we'll take it!

We heard today that our paperwork should make it out of the MOJ next week, moving on to the court. YAY! no serious hurdles! We should hear from them within 2 weeks at least when our case will be "heard" in court and (hopefully not!) if they want any additional documentation. That will be it for the adoption itself!! There will remain "little" details: new birth certificate with our names, doctor's appointment as part of his US Visa, and then the final interview (this time with us!) at the Embassy. And, of course, the flight back with a ~4 year old who knows little English, has little exposure to cars, let alone airports and planes, etc...

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's broken!

The stalemate between USCIS and the Department of State about who should "give" and allow the paperwork to proceed is finally over. Actually, the USCIS officer says that USCIS will make a correction soon, and that we will get an updated form in the mail.


So we should be in the slide to home soon, relatively speaking. The last check points for our paperwork will be: a stop at the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria for a couple of signatures (about a month) and a trip to the courts there. For the latter, they have 2 weeks to set a date for the hearing on our case. That hearing cannot fall in August because the government pretty well closes down. We should travel 3-4 weeks after the court date - we are guessing September, though we hope to know the time line in July. And, of course, the Embassy gets one last stab at what they call an "ineligibility review" when we are in Bulgaria and finally meet them face-to-face for the final visa interview. We probably need to begin the tongue restraint training now!

Ineligibility review - are you kidding me???!!!??? It's honest, but wow... The threat from these horrible terrorist-in-training preschoolers must be enormous!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Living for Monday...

Friday came and went with no news about our case. All emails and phones calls were done with no reply. So we will wait out another weekend and see what happens on Monday.

We did hear some good news on Thursday. The Article 5 letter was released by the US Embassy. So we are moving forward. YAY!!!!
After reviewing the visa application, the consular officer sends the Convention country’s Central Authority notification – called an Article 5 Letter – that you are a suitable adoptive parent and that the child will be able to enter and reside permanently in the United States. (The Central Authority is the entity designated by each Convention member country to serve as the central point of contact for Convention adoptions. For the United States, the Central Authority is the Department of State.) This was pulled from

We were worried that the Embassy was holding our case until our I797c was updated. Thank goodness they released it. We should be finished with the US side of things except for the visa interview at the end. The Article 5 has to get translated and legalized before it is turned over to the MOJ. The MOJ starts the Bulgarian side of approval. We are hoping that it will be at the MOJ in about 2 weeks. please please get there..
Our dream of picking Nikolas up before his birthday is not going to happen. There are NO court dates scheduled for the month of August. NONE!! The courts go on vacation.

Happy Weekend!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

an outcome

Our email inquiry with our agency last night came back with the stomach emptying question: what phone number is the best to reach you?

And after 40 minutes of question, answer and utter shock we found out that the current status of our case is ridiculously far from where we thought it would be, even could be...

So, the back story:
Our home study reads that we are ready for/ will accept a child 0-3 years of age at referral.
Our I-800A (the 1st provisional approval from USCIS, of sorts) approval reads 0-3 years.
Note the lack of specificity.

And the not-so-surprising twist:
During our provisional interview, a consular official in our Embassy in Bulgaria has decided that these do not match, and deduced that Nikolas will be 4 years old by the time of our final visa interview. (Just to keep things a little straight in a world where 2+2=5: the Embassy is part of the Department of State, not Department of Homeland Security, so they don't have to listen to each other, like each other, coordinate, play nice, or anything else)

In at least 3 other cases where our agency has dealt with this sort of issue, USCIS has "simply" changed THEIR own verbiage on the I-800A approval form. Our officer there (different than the idiot above) told our director that she would have to consult with her supervisor before making such a change without an update to the home study.(likely a 3-4 month process) She also offered up some choice lip about why we didn't catch this last year. And in a separate breath said that the Embassy should refer back to the home study. But they don't have to play nice. Nor do they have to talk to each other to get the changes they "want" - since CLEARLY the source paperwork is just fine.

More back story on this point:
  • the age consideration information in our home study is on the first page, in the first and only 5 line paragraph on the first page, in the FIRST sentence!!!!! It's hardly buried...
  • the home study is the key source document, arguably the most important source document representing our interests and capacity, for nearly every stage of the adoption process and figures into every decision made by officials in both governments; most other documents are derivative.
  • One of the jobs of the consular official is to review our case, including our home study for errors and to rejudge our compatibility with Nikolas. They must read it, because they can't make their decisions based on the decisions of their "rival" government branch (USCIS/Department of Homeland Security).
Which should be as simple as: we matched at referral. We match now. OF COURSE he going to age as this process drags on. Where is the common sense??? Where is the humanity?

This smacks of ulterior motive: political, personal value, ego seeking power/control, etc. This kind of decision-making shows up in countries where stalling paperwork is a great way to earn extra money from a bribe.

and when Donna was crying this morning, Tam asked "why?" Barry explained that people were trying to keep us from his brother. Tam immediately replied, in a low, serious, almost growl-ly voice: "Me yell at them, tell them to let me see my brother."

So, we are refitting our Vietnam mental battle armor, with a big alteration: we are trying to tame the anger beast at least enough to remain loving for Tam. Our faith that this will all work out is NOT in question. But we know that we cannot be idle because our relationship with Nikolas is threatened. So, we welcome actionable advice :-| (grimly determined face) and your prayers for our serenity, strength and wisdom and the warming of hearts of a few choice government employees :-} (shaky smiley face)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Still waiting...

No news today about our interview with the US Embassy:(
I think I might have confused some people. We are here in the US. We were not present for the interview. I should have said that our paperwork and our Bulgarian representative had an interview.
We just get to sit and wait for the outcome.


Monday, June 7, 2010


Our provisional interview with the US Embassy in Bulgaria is tomorrow. Hoping to know the outcome by tomorrow afternoon. May our interviewer be in the best mood ever!!!!!!
Wish us luck!!!