Friday, August 31, 2007

Call Me Stupid

So...Apparently I'm an idiot.

But, before starting this story I am going to let all my internet friends know that when I have a story of major frustration to share that I am going to TRY to come up with a silver lining at the end. You know...I'm trying to work on my cynicism. And I've got a lot of it. So, by the time I finish writing this story, I am going to try to come up with something that makes me feel just a little bit better.

Quite a while ago, we applied to have our 171-H changed to reflect our desire to adopt from Ghana, instead of Ethiopia. This meant sending in a new form....200 additional dollars....and a general pain in the butt. But, we did it all, sent it in and thought we were golden. A couple of weeks later we got a letter from DHS stating they needed a copy of our homestudy that stated our desire to adopt from Ghana.

Hmmm....the original homestudy we sent them stated our desire to adopt from Ghana. Did they not read it?

So, I email them to ask them - "Do you need me to send you a copy of the homestudy, even though it will be EXACTLY the same as what you already have in your file?" You know...I want to save the planet, one sheet of paper at a time...why waste paper if they ALREADY have the file?

No response.

A couple of weeks after that, we received a letter from the consulate in Ghana. Unfortunately, we took this to mean that they (the local DHS people) indeed opened our file, noticed their mistake and processed the form.

However, we never received a new copy of our 171-H. So, I emailed them again to ask about it. They tell me that they sent a request for our homestudy and they haven't received anything. Well...I didn't get a response from their office either.

So, I email again.

Then I call.

The "customer service" representative that I spoke to said "I don't have any information on any particular cases here. I think you should just set up a meeting with them to talk about your particular case. You can make an appointment on our website. Or you can just send the documents in."

I ask: "So, what you're saying is that I should just re-send the documents they already have, or I should make an appointment to tell them in person that they already have it."

Response: "mHmmm...yeah"

Ok...So, I'm angry at this point. Can no one check our file to see that they already have what they are asking for? Its Friday....the Friday before labor day. I leave work in the middle of the morning to go home, gather up the homestudy documents and the letter the DHS sent us and then head off to Staples to make copies. I fill out the envelope, put everything inside, drive to the post office and spend almost $5 to send it priority to an office that's only 30 miles away.

Lesson Learned:
When DHS says they need you to send them something - just send it. Just waste the paper and send it, even though you KNOW they already have the same EXACT document in their file. Just send it. Don't bother emailing; don't bother calling. Just send it.

Silver Lining:
At least when I headed back to campus to go back to work I managed to score rock-star parking in the parking lot. A space only 3 cars away from the bus stop.

So, after all of that I finally got a response to my email (my second email asking the same question). The email said that they no longer had our homestudy because once we were approved the homestudy was sent on to the consulate.

So...if you ever have this issue that is why you need to send the new copy of the homestudy. Who knew? I just wish I hadn't assumed several weeks ago that they had approved things and sent them on to Ghana. Then I would have sent in the documents and all of this would be done by now.

I need a vacation.


fully operational battle station said...

UGH! USCIS is just LOADS of fun.

Glad you got it all worked out.


Leslie said...

So frustrating... Ah, our government at work...