Friday, October 23, 2009

Hopeful News!

This is our one year anniversary of leaving to get the kids from Liberia. It also is the day that we heard from the USCIS office in Accra, Ghana, about Abraham's case. The last we'd heard was in June that the file had been sent from Washington, D.C., USCIS office to either Rome or Accra.

Ruth Lincoln from the Office of Children's Issues has been a great help tracking down the case and reported that it was in Accra about a week ago. We then sent the file with the doctor's evaluations of Abraham's Mercy Ship xrays to the Accra USCIS office since they were reviewing the Consular's denial of his visa. Today we heard back that we needed to update the paperwork to more accurately reflect his age i.e. a sibling group under the age of 16. Then we need to update the I-600A with the Jacksonville USCIS office and get the updated paperwork to Accra to "reflect approval to adopt a child of Abraham's age".

SO...I THINK this means that they intend to approve his visa!!! Now we need to continue to lobby Liberia to open their borders so we can bring Abraham home with the other 30 or so kids that already have their adoptions completed.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers. We're getting closer....closer than we were all year!

In the meantime, Abraham has been with a foster family attending school in Liberia. He is having a struggle since he is so far behind his class in his schoolwork. We know he is still hopeful that he will join us in America, though, so keep praying for him and for the officials to get him home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We're starting over with paperwork

After nine months of waiting for word from our government about why Abraham was denied his visa so that we could start the appeal process we have started the process to refile the I-600 document.

A summary of what happened is that the US Embassy denied Abraham's visa claiming him to be too old. We came home with his sisters and without him on November 1. Mid-December we had a tracking number that Abraham's visa case was returned to the National processing center in New Hampshire. We waited many months until the Office of Children's Issues in the State Department stepped in and recreated his file and sent it to the USCIS office in Washington, D.C. After that we heard rumors that the file was sent to Rome's USCIS office and Accra's USCIS office in Africa. We never received the document saying what the status of his case was and how to appeal the process.

We're hoping that our paperwork gets processed by the time Liberia decides to open up adoptions again because even though we've finished the Liberian adoption, no visas are being issued for any children except very special needs kids. Diamond, Kindness and the rest of us are anxious to bring him home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Abraham's I-600 appears to be lost....

Long time, no post. We have had a difficult time with personalities meshing for a few weeks but seem to have worked everything out now. That plus getting schoolwork done and having Erik in another play always ties up things around here.

Regarding my title, we still have had no word from the US government regarding Abraham's I-600. We've been searching for it since December when we know it arrived in the states. However, no one seems to know anything about it or where it was sent. We've contacted our US Representative again to see if they can help us but we're pretty skeptical because it seems that two of our government agencies managed to lose our paperwork.

What then? you ask. We will refile the I-600 for AB here in the states before our fingerprints and I-600A approval expires. We haven't given up yet. We're still praying that we can bring Abraham home. We should be able to do this since Liberia is a non-Hague convention country and the law allows siblings to come. However, from what I've seen in the government is that what SHOULD happen doesn't always happen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Abraham news.... not much

I haven't been very faithful in providing updates these last few weeks. We've been working hard at getting back into our schoolwork and regular routine. We've also been pestering the Liberian doctor to give us his conclusions after he reviewed Abraham's x-rays from the Mercy ship. I finally spoke with him this week and I think he accidentally told me more than he wanted to. He said that since the x-rays he reviewed were obviously from a much younger person they (the x-rays) COULDN"T be from Abraham. When I asked if he would evaluate Abraham again the doctor said no. When I asked if there might have been a clerical error, he said no. When I asked for a copy of the original x-rays from the doctor, he said they weren't for personal consumption and he hung up on me. So I think we've followed that path to its end. The silver lining as we see it is that even the Liberian doctor recognized that Abraham's x-rays validated what we believed, that he was much younger than 17 even though the doc wouldn't admit he made a mistake.

We are proceeding with interviewing an immigration attorney to help us with our government's paperwork and procedure. Hopefully this person can help us make some progress.

I have more to add about the rest of the family in a later post.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SSN, ATIN, and Barbies

Well, I spent the morning trying to get the girls' SSN but found out I didn't have all the paperwork in order. Actually, I didn't have the processes done in order to get the SSN. To get the SSN, they have to have their American birth certificates with our names as their parents. Since we don't have that yet, we have to get ATIN, or Adoptive Tax Identification Numbers. Yeah.... lots of fun because I get to interact with our government some more. Can you tell I'm excited? Not.

On a postive note, a nice lady from town gifted us with about half a dozen Barbies through Freecycle. If you haven't checked it out, Freecycle is a great way to pass along clothes, toys, books, and all sorts of STUFF that we accumulate but don't need. Diamond told me she doesn't 'loove' them anymore, though, because Erik took out the batteries for the voice boxes for the talking ones. I guess Erik takes after us. :-) We'll see how long she avoids them. Our little Liberians really don't know how to play with toys. Outdoor, playground toys they are fine with but dolls and blocks and coloring books aren't as fun for them. Karl and Craig have played many rounds of Candyland to help get the girls going on their own. They are having to learn how to play quietly and not be entertained.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We're back....

Well, the girls survived Wisconsin's cold and snow, although the weather was not as cold as it is now! We went to WI to spend Christmas with the whole family. Our first stop was at my dad's house for a couple of days. Diamond made her first snow angel with Karl there and shoveled Grandpa Jerry's sidewalk.

Then we went to visit Jessica, Brianna and Emma for the day. Diamond and Kindness went sledding with Jessica's girls, Craig and Karl. Brianna and Emma introduced the girls to Barbies, playing dress-up, and icy pops.

Emma and Kindness enjoying a snack and play-doh stacking.

Brianna showing Diamond how to eat a candy cane.

After Jessica's we went to Rachel, Steve and Mattea's house to spend the night and have Christmas lunch. Diamond got to build her first snowman there but I didn't get a picture before the rains came and melted it. We had a house full but enjoyed playing R & S's Wii and visiting.

Saturday morning we headed to Grandma Leah and Grandpa Howie's house for another round of gift opening and great food. Grandpa played tea party with Kindness, too.

Then we went to Aunt Corie and Uncle Steve's house for New Year's Eve/Day. We were supposed to have a last rendezvous with the whole family but in our travels from one to another we shared our love and our sickness. Yep, we infected my dad, Nancy, Jessica, Rachel and Steve with the respiratory cold/flu that we had. So we missed them at New Year's Day. Diamond did get to go back outside to play in the snow. Here she is making a snow angel and NOT enjoying snow on her face.

On our way home, the last place visited was our old house. Here it is in it's winter glory. By the time we were back in Florida, the temps were in the 70's and we were ready for our own beds. Thanks for all the great hospitality and memories for Christmas 2008.