February 23, 2006

Embassy Progress?

Many of you are familiar with Focus On Adoption, of which I serve on the Board of Directors. Members of the FOA BOD, including FOA President Hannah Wallace, have been working to address the concerns about embassy timelines. Below is an update on that from Hannah.

The USCIS in Guatemala has notified Focus On Adoption that they are opening a window from
9 to 9:30 A.M. Monday through Thursday where they will only be accepting finalized adoption papers ready for the "pink slip". They are also hoping to get a window that is only designated for USCIS., which would allow more time to receive and review adoption files. Right now the Embassy is under control of the Consular section and CIS has only been allotted one window, which is also used for other matters.

CIS is also in the process of setting up a "stakeholder's" committee which will be composed of representatives from Focus on Adoption and JCICS as well as Attorney's Associations and the officer in charge of CIS in Guatemala and the Consul General. This will be a solution driven committee attempting to resolve systemic problems and will not address individual cases. We're hopeful that a smoother interface between all the participants in the Embassy
process can be effective.

Over the past couple of weeks all inquiries have been diverted to the Mexico City CIS office. They've done an analysis and report that 43% of the inquiries have been premature. They are attempting to provide preapprovals within 30 days and have, for the most part, met that goal. They are asking families to wait at least 30 days from the time DNA results are received by the Embassy before inquiring on the status of your case. Congressional inquiries shouldn't be used except in the case of complications or after 30 working days have passed., as they are processing an increasing number of cases, are still short staffed, and premature inquiries from Congress
have to be answered, taking away more time from adjudications.

Hannah Wallace, President, Focus On Adoption: An Intercountry Adoption
Advocacy Organization

Posted by Kevin at February 23, 2006 09:11 AM

Thanks for this information. We are currenty waiting on PINK and have been caught in several Embassy delays. I understand things change and cause disruption. It is nice to see that there is a positive response from the Embassy to try and alleviate confusion and wait time for families.

Posted by: Teri Belin at February 23, 2006 10:49 AM

Thanks for posting this. I feel I need to refer to this post on my blog as well since I addressed the delays about a week ago. I find it interesting that 43% of the inquiries have been premature which then obviously mean that 57% are legitimate inquiries. I think it definitely is important for families to wait for the 30 days to pass as I'm sure handling premature inquiries will slow things down. Hopefully the other changes being worked on will help bring down the number as well.

Thanks for the update.

Posted by: The Moose at February 23, 2006 12:38 PM

What about those of us who have been waiting for two months for DNA authorization? I'd love to be complaining that it's been 30 days since DNA was taken, but I can't even get to that point! What about the changes that are constantly being made just to get the authorization in the first place? Or once the attorney gets the new requirements, they can't get to the window? Two months has been too long to wait before you can even start counting the 30 days. Or is that being "premature" in my concerns, since it's only been 4 months since my referral???

Posted by: Stacy at February 25, 2006 03:17 PM


I (we) feel your frustration! We had a referral and "lost" him and so have managed to be in the new "requirements" with our new referral!

Posted by: joyce at February 27, 2006 06:15 PM

Stacy, I definitely feel your frustration every day and it is totally depressing me. We got our referral on 11/17 and we still don't have DNA authorization either. They are asking for a form that the country our birthmother is from does not even have. I have tried everything from contacting my senator to complaining to my agency but nothing seems to work.

Posted by: Tracy at March 2, 2006 07:00 PM
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