Dear Framily (Friends and Family),
I have to say that Doug and I are overwhelmed at your rally cry on behalf of us as we try to bring Mary and Comfort home, where they belong. I’ve been flat-out brought to tears as I’ve seen every signature and read your comments on our petition to #bringthemhome. Thank you isn’t enough, but it’s all we have, so thank you.
We have heard from several of your senators, as well as our own, and we’ve been happy to give them information and sign away our privacy rights. But here’s what we now know from our senator’s staffer, based on some of her legwork:
- The Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS will likely take the entire 6 months allotted to them to read and respond to our appeal. Why we have a 30 day deadline on submitting our appeal and they get 6 months to evaluate is beyond me, but that’s the way it is. Doug and I knew that the 6 months was a possibility, but couldn’t imagine why it would take that long, because our case shouldn’t have even needed to go there. But oh, well.
- We’ve been advised that we can now submit a case for and expedited response. However, knowing that these folks are people, first and professionals, second, if we do this, we’ll have to tread carefully to avoid angering/pestering them. We want our appeal read with openness and fairness, not resentment and overly critical/biased-against-us eyes.
- She advised us that our “case is not unusual.” This horrifies me beyond belief, but alas, “you will really have to document your case for expedite with facts…”
- So, the long and the short of it is, unless someone big advocates for us at an extremely high level, or we find someone compassionate to expedite our case, we won’t hear until around 10 March 2015.
At this point, we feel like the petition has run its course of effectiveness, so we are taking it down. From what we’ve heard from our senator’s office (so far) and some others, it seems like the USCIS AAO is fairly untouchable, and their offices can make the same inquiry as our own senator, but can’t seem to get any further. Thus, continuing to urge other senators to bark up the same tree seems burdensome and a waste of their time, since they are getting the same result as Senator Cantwell’s office.
We’re not giving up hope, and are definitely considering an argument for expedition; however, we’re also prepared to wait some more. Sigh. Was sure hoping to have them home this fall. Comfort turns 8 next month. But I guess it’s not to be.
We love you and are grateful for each of you. Also, to end on a happy note: Mary and Comfort are starting school on Monday. They are so excited, and we are excited for them. Seems like their new foster home is a good environment for them, which is so important to us. Hopefully, we’ll be talking to them each Sunday evening before they go to bed.
Thanks again. Soli Deo Gloria!