06 September 2008

Next Step

The first part of the immigration application has been approved and we were able to get Social Security cards for the girls.  This means that the concerns about them getting deported are over.  Thanks to everyone for their help and support throughout.  Once the final paperwork gets back, we can start trying to recover some of the excess costs that were so burdensome.  We're already working on amending the Income Tax Returns (again), but it looks like some of the deadlines are passed for certain deductions, i.e. Adoption credit.  I'm not an income tax guy by any means, so we'll let a professional look at it.

I'm going to continue to focus on family and staying as healthy as I can.  That doesn't mean I won't be blogging at all, but probably not much and not regularly for a while.  No great loss really since McCain picked Palin and "re-charged" an almost-dead blogosphere.

Be well.

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11 July 2008

How Is Everybody Doing?

Sorry for the long hiatus and thanks to everyone who emailed.  My health has been very poor and I may be looking at surgery in the future because of stomach problems.  The energy to blog just wasn't there.

The fingerprinting ended up not going very well.  For a facility where that is their only function, not only are they arrogant and arbitrary, they're incompetent.  We were notified that one of the girls had to come back because the fingerprints were not of sufficient quality for the FBI database.

Unbelievable?  Not really.

Allie may be forced to leave the country because U.S. immigration officials are questioning the legitimacy of the Guatemala native's adoption by her parents, Lori and Scott Mulvihill, in 1994.

1994?  Are you kidding me?  This girl has been living here as an American, with an American family, as their daughter, for 14 years and the government is so worried about her now that she may be deported?

The Mulvihills also say U.S. embassy officials in Guatemala interviewed the woman claiming to be her biological mother at the time of the adoption and did not raise any concerns. The embassy officials, however, did not conduct a blood test of the woman that would have definitely proven that the woman had given birth to Allie.

The Guatemalan government also never challenged the adoption, the Mulvihills said.

But U.S. immigration officials still aren't satisfied, and the dispute over her adoption has become a roadblock on Allie's path to citizenship. Neither Allie nor her parents have a way to track down her biological mother and the adoption agency used by the Mulvihills used to adopt their daughter has gone under.

The fact that she can not get her immigration status resolved means the fear of deportation continues to loom.

So, over 14 years later, the government can arbitrarily decide that what it did back then wasn't good enough.  Puts the phrase "Good enough for government work" in a new light, doesn't it?  I may need to re-think my stance on illegal immigration and amnesty because it doesn't seem we are isolated cases.  During our own efforts, I have not seen anyone I thought was trying to do something shady to stay here.  Just dozens and dozens of people trying to work through a broken system, some of them terrified of making the slightest error (as we were for the first appointment to get fingerprints).

"We're told to go in one direction and when we do, we're told to switch gears and go into another direction. And when we look for council from the government to give us a definite answer, we get stuck with people who are supposed to be working on marriage contracts rather than immigration contracts," he said.

And now that she is getting older, the consequences of Allie's immigration status are getting tougher. Her lack of citizenship means she cannot get her driver's license, vote, apply for a job or qualify for financial aid.

I know the feeling.  Our income tax situation will be screwed up for years to come because of this and may never get resolved for the past three years. 

Nobody can really understand the desperation the Mulvihills family feels, but I'm sure we come close.  If you have children, you can come close too.  Pretend you just got a letter from the government.  There is no contact information on the letter, no instructions.  The only thing the letter says is that you must send $3000.00 immediately or your children might be picked up and taken from you forever.  All your efforts to find out more are futile, so you send the money. 

Then, another letter comes.  This one says that everyone in your family must go to the next town over, stand on the corner of a certain intersection for exactly 190 minutes starting at 3:15am, and on your way home, you must drop off a money-order (no cash or checks please) for $171.38 at the Probate Court for "costs".  Or your children will be taken from you forever. 



That's how those of us navigating the immigration process feel.  Never knowing how much money the next step will cost, just that it's going to cost.  Never knowing why some of these things are "required" when they don't make sense.  Never knowing when someone will decide that what was good enough before is no longer acceptable.  Just knowing that you love your kids and you might lose them.

"All along I've really known that I'm not like everyone else," she said.

Is that what America is supposed to be about?  Have I been wrong all this time?

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30 May 2008

Back Home

We are finally back home and everything is ok right now.  Most of this post is adapted from an email correspondence with very special friends and turned into a bit of a rant... the arrogance of government workers was very frustrating.  But the play-by-play generally goes like this.  The drive was long and we hit two very bad spots of weather, rain so hard that we couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of us, if not less.  Both lasted for just a few minutes and all we had to do was slow down for a while and have the emergency blinkers going (so the fools who didn't slow down didn't run into the back of us!)


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28 May 2008

Update On Legal Issues

We're out of town to the "big city" for the rest of today and most of tomorrow for the next step in the application process.  The applications were submitted and now the girls must be fingerprinted.  Of course, it can't be done locally at a time of our choosing.  It has to be done by appointment (they make the appointment, not us) at a specific location and time.  The letter with the appointment information says that if the appointment is missed "your application will be considered ABANDONED."

Nice, eh?  That would mean starting over from the beginning, so we're going up the night before so we're not trying to rush tomorrow.  We don't want to take a chance that an overturned truck on the highway or bad weather (or extra-terrestrial abduction) might delay us, making us have to start everything again.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who donated so far and pledged to donate in the future, to help with our legal costs.  There's no way to fully express our appreciation in words.  This has been a long process which we hope to complete within the next two months.  It would have been much harder to get through all this without the generosity, advice, and prayers that have been offered.  Bless you all.

Be well. 

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12 May 2008

How Buffy Are You?

Ok, EW1(SG) tempted me into taking that Jedi Quiz yesterday, so I'm going to see about returning the favor. (heh)

I'm not posting any more of these, but Buffy is always worth an exception. And before dpud asks, I like Buffy better than Tron... don't even go there.

Thanks to dpud for squaring me away on how to use html in the mee.nu environment. When you're ready to put some in, hit the "<>" button in the comments, place your html code wherever you want it to go, then hit apply and ok.

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11 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

A Mother's Day Fable

The kids prepare to surprise Mom for Mother's Day...


Suddenly, a problem develops...


Mom steps in to do what she does better than anyone...


And another successful Mother's Day comes to a close!


To all the Moms...

Happy Mother's Day!

(To my wife, Mom, and Grandmother... *smish*)

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08 May 2008

Welcome Conservative Grapevine Readers!

How the hell did that happen?  Welcome... take a look around, feel free to drop a comment or two, check the links... whatever, it's pretty relaxed here. (yeah, right... until a rant or meltdown occurs).

I've never been an "Of The Day" anything before... tastes like chicken.  Just sayin'

Thanks to Conservative Grapevine and John Hawkins of Right Wing News for the link.

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07 May 2008

Thank You Ace

Welcome AceofSpadesHQ readers and thank you Ace for everything.  Ace and Patterico are the two biggest reasons I started blogging.  This has been a long, frustrating process and I was starting to get burned out.  When doubleplusundead and others emailed and suggested asking for help, it was very difficult to do.  The prayers, advice, and donations have all been overwhelming (in a good way).

We still have several months worth of paperwork to get processed and the attorneys we have now are (mostly) very good.  Pursuing any redress from the original attorney is going to wait until DHS and ICE are happy.   So far, they have been very understanding with extensions to our daughter's visas, but if that were to change our daughters might end up deported.  Doing anything right now to complicate their applications would be unwise.

For those who are interested, the adoption is complete and has been for a long time.  We have an adoption decree by the court.  What we didn't know was that the first attorney had arranged for the girls to come here on a student visa and never prepared anything to get that status changed.  This eventually caught the attention of the IRS because the girls were unable to get Social Security Numbers and we couldn't understand why.  Trying to get all this sorted out since then has been nerve-wracking at times and we needed to go much farther into our financial reserves than we ever expected would happen.

Thank you all for taking the time to listen... your kind words and any donations will be passed forward when our own situation is stable again.  I promise you that.


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02 May 2008

Returning Tomorrow

Due to overwhelming demand and improving health, I will return to regular posting tomorrow.  The overwhelming demand of course comes mostly from my wife and kids, as my wife is getting nervous watching my fingers twitch in keyboard withdrawal and the kids want to do their own homework (thankyouverymuchI'veegotitDadwhydon'tyourunalongandwritesomething?).  I know they appreciate the help when it's needed, but the "extras" might be more an incentive towards figuring it out themselves most of the time.

Extras would include changing the variables on problems "just to make sure you're clear on the principles being taught", moderate-to-long discussions on how this might ever apply in the real world (just the algebra examples can let me go on for hours without even trying), or "extra credit" that the teacher might not be expecting (like we did last night making geometric shapes out of paper cutouts as 3-D representations of geometry problems.)  If I had been that diligent about my own homework in school, I probably wouldn't have so much fun when I do get to help with theirs!  (heh)

The improvement in health can be directly attributed to the great support we've received from so many people.  The prayers, advice, and donations have pushed a lot of dark clouds over the horizon and the skies are steadily clearing.  Thank you all... the rest and recovery I've been able to take the past few days has been qualitatively better than it has for several months.  When doubleplusundead suggested asking for help after reading my "burnout" post, then began working tirelessly on getting the word out, I felt like a great weight had been lifted off that I hadn't even noticed was there.

I won't ever be able to repay the individuals who gave their time, wisdom, and money to help my family.  There are just too many, most of whom chose to remain anonymous angels.  I do promise that when all the legal dust has settled and things are stable again, we will pay everyone's kindness forward and help others in need.  Things are going to be tight for a while still, but I know we'll get through everything now.  Failing is not an option when you have angels watching over you.

Be well and bless you all.

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28 April 2008

Thank You *UPDATED* *UPDATED x2*

Several kind people have asked how they could donate to help offset our expenses. The outpouring of support has been amazing to me. I signed up for an Amazon Honor Pay Box which can be accessed below. At some point, I'll figure out how to embed it into the main page or the sidebar, but until then I'll sticky this post to the top.

Thank you all again. It's kind of overwhelming still, but in a good way this time.

*UPDATE* Funny, but once I got it to show up in the post, it started showing up in the sidebar and at the bottom of the page.  I'll still be taking some time off from blogging to concentrate on getting these legal matters settled, but my stress is greatly lowered already thanks to some pretty wonderful friends.

*UPDATEx2* I just had to add this update as well.  And I took out the Amazon button from the post since it's working on the page now.

It looks like anyone who donates has up to 30 days (Note: That was according to the confirmation email that people can send.  Some research reveals that it's 7 days from Amazon and up to 30 days to contest it with a credit-card company which, since it's on the "honor system", would be automatic.  However, anyone who changes their mind can contact me and we'll work out how to return a charge with as little hassle as possible.) to change their mind, no questions asked (by Amazon or me).  This is great because I would rather someone cancel than regret a donation.  If anyone selects the option to reveal their information, it sends me an email with payor information.  I'm not going to mention individuals here, but I will be sending emails with additional thanks after giving a blanket thank-you now.  Also, the minimum is $1.00 and the maximum is set by Amazon at $50.00 per transaction and can't be raised (I was asked that... really.  Can you believe the generosity of some people?  Incredible.).  The more I learn about the Amazon system, the more I like it.

The donations are very much appreciated as the extra attorney fees, filing fees, travel costs, and a HUGE tax hit from having to amend the tax returns for the past couple of years because of this, have really driven us into our reserves much earlier than anything we could have otherwise expected.  We hope to be able to re-amend (is that a word?) the income taxes once all the paperwork is filed and complete, maybe recovering some of that extra tax money we ended up paying (that we shouldn't have had to pay in the first place because we did everything they told us we were supposed to do and how can... :breathe: ok, I'm better now. ).

Anyway, thanks to everyone again for their support, prayers, and donations.  All three are appreciated in whatever amount offered.  Bless you all.

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