A week ago I called the National Benefits Center (Department of US Immigration) to ask about our I-800 approval, and I was told that they are waiting for our file back from the Visa center in China. I offered to mail copies of everything, and someone was going to get back to me. Well, still no word from the NBC. I called again on Friday and left a message. On Friday night, I received an email that our caseworker is moving to the Russia program, and we have a new caseworker assigned to our adoption. I hope that doesn't mean that more things fall between the cracks now. WACAP also asked me if I'd please send the signed updated photos and medical reports for FengHong. I sent all those over a month ago, before Christmas! Well, I guess I'm going to have to send them again on Monday. In addition, there has been a new step added now to the adoption process. This is the new step: Beginning January 15, the Consulate will be requiring WACAP to include a letter that families receive from the National Visa Center after the I-800 application is approved, so that they can submit the Article 5 Letter. After WACAP receives the I-800 approval, we need to watch for a letter from the National Visa Center and alert our case manager as soon as we have received it! The National Visa Center does not mail WACAP a copy of this letter. Additionally, the Consulate reports that they will now have fixed processing times for Article 5 letters. From now on, paperwork can only be dropped off on Mondays and Thursdays, and the Article 5 letter will be ready two weeks after the paperwork is submitted to the Consulate. The new process, AFTER we receive the letter of confirmation now looks like this:
1. Letter Seeking Confirmation and Article 5 letter are received by WACAP from the CCAA
2. Your family signs and returns the Letter Seeking Confirmation, I-800, and DS230 paperwork
3. WACAP submits your I-800 paperwork to USCIS, your signed Letter Seeking Confirmation to the CCAA and sends your DS230 paperwork and Article 5 letter to our representative in Guangzhou
4. National Benefits Center (NBC) approves your I-800 paperwork
5. NBC forwards your approval to NVC
6. NEW STEP: NVC will now issue a letter informing you when they send your approval to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou – please send a copy of this letter to WACAP when you receive it.
7. WACAP will send your NVC letter to our representative in Guangzhou who will then submit your paperwork to the Consulate
8. Two weeks after your DS230 and Article 5 letter are submitted to the Consulate, your Article 5 letter will be ready for our representative to pick it up.
9. WACAP representative sends the Article 5 letter to the CCAA
10. The CCAA issues your Travel Notice and sends it to WACAP
This whole ten-step process has been taking approximately 10 – 15 weeks.