Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Is that a light up ahead?

I received the following letter from the United States Department of State National Visa Center, twelve days ago:

Dear Elizabeth Hard Shaw:
Your inquiry has been received at the National Visa Center (NVC).
Your request for expeditious processing of this immigrant visa petition was denied by the assigned U.S. Embassy/Consulate General. This petition will continue processing at the NVC. Once all the required fees and documents are received and reviewed, and an interview appointment date is scheduled, this petition will be forwarded to the assigned U.S. Embassy/Consulate General.
For further information regarding NVC processing, please visit

I read it, with shaking hands, these official seals always make my hands shake, that is what they are meant to do, no, while sitting on the back steps in the warm early- days- of March sun.

When I got to the part about the request for expeditious review being denied, I cried. I had been counting on that, I don't know why, but I realize now, there is no reason why I should have expected it to be granted. Who am I?

After a brief pity party I wiped my face and went back inside to face my children. I had decided not to tell them about the letter.

That evening, just four hours or so after reading the letter, I got an e-mail from the NVC. It read:

Dear Sir/Madam,

The attached correspondence relates to an immigrant visa referenced on the subject line.  This case is being processed by the National Visa Center. Please read the information carefully and follow the instructions.
Dear IAN M.:
The enclosed information pertains to IAN RODGER M's interest in immigrating to the
United States of America. The National Visa Center (NVC) has completed its processing of IAN
RODGER M 's petition, case number XXXX; and forwarded it to the American
Embassy/Consulate in PARIS.
An immigrant visa interview has been scheduled for the applicant at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in
PARIS on April 10, 2012 at 01:00 pm. 

"Interest in immigrating to the United States of America? Why does that wording annoy me?

The attachment goes on for another three boring  pages. I'll spare you.

I should be excited, I know. We have a date. Well an interview date. And I kind of am excited. Excited and relieved. But I'm also kind of irked that every step has to have at least six weeks in between it and the next step. It feels gratuitously cruel, or somehow manipulating.

I mean, dentists appointments must be made months in advance too. But no one really wants to go to the dentist anyway.

But the very widely-spaced steps put forth by this immigration process take a very long stride and an enormous amount of patience, more than the average little girl who is missing her daddy has.

But what's another month, or two, when your daddy has been missing for 10 already?

Baby steps. Progress. Lights at the end of a long, dark tunnel. And all that.

It's good. Really. It's good. It's just not "now" enough for me, right now. 


Sue Kol said...

Yes, it is a very nice bright light at the end of the tunnel. I was thinking of your family just this evening as I was driving home from work.

Sue Kol said...

Submitted before I finished my comment, sorry. I am happy to hear that you have news. I know how it is to not hear from INS. It took me 6 looooong years to get my Green Card. The Department of Labor just filed a few of our paperwork as 'done' and ofcourse never responded for almost 4 years. When a change in their management finally prompted a review of their processes at which time our cases were 'found' again.

In short, I feel your pain.

Julie said...

Whenever I see that you've written a new blog post my heart jumps a little in hopes that you've heard some news! I know I don't know you personally, but I've been reading your posts on Baby Center since you started writing for them a few years ago. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for you and the girls to be away from your husband for this long and over such a stupid, bureaucratic thing!

Rachael said...

I'm with Julie. I get so excited everytime I see numbmum pop up. I am praying for you guys and hoping this all gets resolved soon.

i.ikeda said...

This is definitely good news! He has the interview date, and it's less than a month away. Once the interview is done it shouldn't be long before he can go home. I know it still seems like forever, and it has taken a long time. But now you have a date - something to put in your calendar and count the days until it's here. Hopefully the whole ordeal won't take longer than a year, of which 3/4 have already passed. I'm very happy for your family.

Tina G said...

I want to reach out and give you a virtual's hoping things move along more expeditiously. (if that is even a real word)

Anna said...

Good news. Though I still have a hard time believing how long this is taking. REally amazing. REally terrible.

Kathleen Trail said...

My heart also lurched and soared during the reading of this. I'll just keep sending lots of good thoughts that your "now" comes soon. (That sounds suspiciously like a Smiths song...)

Betsy said...

Funny. I always loved the Smiths and Morrissey and Ian cannot stand him. "Oh please, please, please, let me let me let, me let me get what I want this time."

Anonymous said...

Betsy I'm SOOOO excited for you guys. God speed.
Keep talking, we're listening.

Kingsmom said...

Hooray for progress!

Robin said...

Morrissey and the Smiths do seem strangely apt for this post: "You say it's going to happen now, but what exactly do you mean? You see, I've already waited too long." I get why that "interest in immigrating to the U.S." would bug you--uh, duh, he already lived here for a long time and his whole freakin' family is here waiting for him! It sounds like typical bureaucracy speak for a situation that no one has paid any real attention to besides your family. Anyway, I have a good feeling about the interview. I feel like a conversation with a real human being is a better sign of progress than the weird language of the letters. A work friend of mine and her husband are planning for his daughter in Mali to come live with them in the U.S., and they're waiting for an interview date, too. It sounds like they'll have one this summer, and I'm hoping for resolution soon for both families. Like some of the other posters, I only "know" you from BabyCenter and here, but I think of your family often.

mooserbeans said...

Yay! It does seem so long away, but at least there is a date set. It is almost like a light at the end of a very long tunnel.

alouise said...

Excited for you and your family!!!! I will keep my fingers crossed for you that there is waaaay less than a 6 week wait between the interview and Ians homecoming.

Was Living Down Under said...

Betsy that photo of Ian's hand made me cry.

We just spent a wonderful week down south in the sun just the 5 of us. It's been nice having daddy around for the children especially but for me too. We're back to reality and for some reason I feel like I've taken 3 steps back in the whole grieving I left Australia process. At least it's getting warmer and brighter...

Those last few weeks, hours, days, minutes always seem to lag longer than the time you've already spent. If that makes any sense.

I too look forward to your posts and root for you - even though I'm only a virtual observer... Hugs if you need them! :)

Irishmama78 said...

Yeah! Oh my did my heart jump at your opening picture. How I wish there was something 'we' could do for you to speed up this process. In the mean time I will pray for you and your family and keep reading...waiting for that happy day! I am pretty sure I will cry.