Last Wednesday (September 28, 2011), our guide delivered Raean’s US Passport with her IR3 Immigrant visa to our hotel. On Thursday morning we set off on our journey to Honolulu, Hawaii via Seoul, Korea. The journey was long and wore us out! I do want to say though that in my last 20 years of international travel I have never experienced better customer service than with Korean Airlines! I wish they flew to Africa from the States! When Stephen was throwing up during the night due to motion sickness they took care of our every need! They didn’t treat us as “customers” but as friends. So thankful for their service, care and attention! They also took great care of Raean and made sure we had bassinet seats and everything else we needed to take care of her.
After we arrived at the Honolulu airport (9am) we proceeded to immigration where the officer said, “Are you the family we’re supposed to ‘expedite’? We loved the sound of that! “Yes!” we replied. He told us he would make sure the USCIS got our file that day.
We rushed to get a car rental, find a bite to eat and then make photocopies of adoption paperwork in preparation for our appointment that after noon at 1:30 with the USCIS office downtown. I was only 10 minutes late after trying to find the office! I paid the N600K fee, submitted all supporting documents and then the immigration officer said that we probably needed to redo Raean’s passport photos (we had taken extras in China in prep for this appointment but the color was faded). I didn’t have Raean with me and their office was closing. So, that meant another trip into town on Friday to have her passport photos retaken and submitted. At this point, we had done all we could do. Now it was time to wait.
Yesterday (Thursday, October 6, 2011) the USCIS office called (and emailed) us our interview appointment date and time! We are hoping that this means THERE ARE NO PROCEDURAL CHANGES in the Certificate of Citizenship application process for us and that next Tuesday, October 11th, we’ll be able to complete the interview and receive her CoC.
In the last week we’ve been working on four paperwork issues at once and have made numerous trips to OfficeMax for copying, scanning and emailing:
- Certificate of Citizenship: We now have an appointment for 10/11/2011 for an interview.
- 1st Post Adoption Report (PAR) for China: Our first PAR is due October 31st which means that we had to find an accredited Social Worker in the Ft. Worth area to visit us while we are in Texas and do a “home” visit and prepare all of the necessary documents to file our 1st PAR. To begin the process we had to fill out more paperwork and submit it to the agencies office in Austin, Texas (via email)
- IMG Health Insurance: We were able to file the application and medical records this week and IMG already granted her Health Insurance Certificate adding her to our family insurance. They even back dated her coverage to the day she was adopted in China!
- Re-Adoption in the US: We were able to file the necessary application forms and supporting documents with a law firm in Ft. Worth to “Re-Adopt” Raean in the US and get a court date for October 21st with the Tarrant County Court to complete the process. This will ensure that in US legal terms, she’s our adopted daughter! When the process is finished, we will have a US Adoption Certificate definitively stating that she’s our daughter! Here’s the legal wording that will be in the court document that we just love:
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Petitioners’ request to adopt the child in the United States be, and it hereby is, granted; that the name of the child be, and hereby is, RAEAN LI CROWSON; and that the parent-child relationship exists under Texas law between the child, RAEAN LI CROWSON, and Petitioners, MURPHY ATHEL CROWSON and CHRISTINE CAROL LANGSTON CROWSON, as if such child had been born to Petitioners.
If/When we receive Raean’s CoC next Tuesday, the next “filing” will be for her US Passport in Honolulu.
In-between all of this paperwork we have been able to enjoy several days at the beach, 2 snorkeling trips, a Hawaiian Luau, a visit to the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor and lots of swimming:) We’ve also enjoyed having Papa and Mama Dear (my parents) here with us as we continue to “bond” with Raean as a family.
We have had a few challenges in Paradise though…. The traffic in souther Oahu is TERRIBLE! One day we spent over 3 1/2 hours in traffic! Can you imagine my frustration! Raean DOES NOT LIKE BEING CONSTRICTED IN A CAR SEAT! Every car trip is fill with lots of tears crying for mama to rescue her! This is one active little girl that does not like to be tied down! On day three of our car rental this parking lot post/column jumped out of the ground and hit our car on the driver’s side causing some significant cosmetic damage! Did you know that Hawaiian parking lot columns are ALIVE! So glad we bought collision insurance. Lots more paperwork now though filing the claim. I joked that as we were coming to an end of our adoption paperwork that I was subconsciously looking for more! NOT!
We appreciate your prayers for our paperwork processing to much. It’s all coming together at once! If all goes as planned, expected and hoped, we will have Raean’s Certificate of Citizenship next Tuesday, apply for her US Passport that same day (with a two-day turnaround) and then leave for DFW next Friday night! We’ll let you know how things go!