The FedEx Endorsement

Countdown to Day 75 of USCIS international adoption approval

By Alan M. Murray

Employees at our local FedEx Office know us on a first-name basis. We’ve been there so many times over the last few months that it’s hard to imagine our lives without them. I think they might give me a desk if this keeps up. They’ve been with us each time we had to make more copies or rush more documents off to Illinois, Washington D.C., Maryland, Utah, and Texas, all to complete our international adoption dossier, a major step toward bringing “Alejandro” home.

We’ve been trying to bring him home since August when we made that difficult afternoon drive to the Philadelphia International Airport for his trip back to Colombia. Navigating through all the regulations, paperwork, security clearances, and government approvals for two countries is mind-boggling. We’re grateful for the dedicated, tireless service of our team of social workers at Madison Adoption Associates, who have been available every step of the way to make sure that everything is done with precision.

Clarissa organizes photos and copies captions onto the back of each one at our local FedEx office. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

But even after all the checking, and verifying, and double-checking, and double verifying, occasionally changing requirements from either the United States or Colombia take us by surprise, and we end up having to redo a key part of our application. I guess that’s the unintended side effect of a process that moves at a snail’s pace over many months.

So tonight, we went to the FedEx Office yet again – this time to prepare photos of ourselves, our families, our church, our area school, and our house – indoor and outdoor.

We had previously submitted color copies of these same images with neatly typed captions. But this afternoon we learned that the requirement changed and that we now need to resubmit the photos on regular photo paper with captions written on the back.

When we arrived, Halima, the tall, intelligent, FedEx employee we know best, asked how our son was doing. She was surprised that we were still waiting for approval, and even offered to write us a letter of recommendation, anything to persuade the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to send the letter we’ve been waiting on for almost 75 days – official approval to adopt. Halima, thanks for your offer. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but be ready just in case.

We had previously sent photos as color copies with printed captions, but a recent change required us to reprint them on photographic paper with captions written on the back of each one. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

So, we’re still waiting. We appreciate your support. We appreciate the considerate, thoughtful enquiries. We appreciate your help sharing the enormous costs of an international adoption. And we appreciate your prayers.

We’ve tried contacting USCIS. On the phone, they aren’t allowed to comment except to say that it is their goal to notify us within 75 days. By e-mail, they pretty much say the same thing. We’ve been told that USCIS is unaffected by the lingering government shutdown since they’re funded by fees – we paid $945. So hopefully by Monday – that’s Day 75 – we’ll see this singular, most important letter in our mailbox.

If not, I want a refund.