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Showing posts from February, 2008

One last post from Seoul

I wanted to post one more time from Korea in case anyone is still reading after we wrenched your hearts out with the last video. LOL

SaRang slept from 8:30 last night to 4:30 this morning, napped again from 6:00-7:00, and again 10:30-12:00. I think we have worn her out!

We did decide to make a trip to Dunkin' Donuts this morning. SaRang clearly likes to be outside and to walk. In fact, she walked the entire way there (and it took us 20 minutes to walk yesterday so that's a long way for little legs). We decided to take the subway back because it was so cold (and we were getting lots of looks and stares from the Koreans), but we got off the wrong stop and ended up walking at least as much if not more than the way to Dunkin' Donuts.

After SaRang woke up at noon we sat outside in the hallway with the American couple and their 9 month old baby boy. It was nice to have some adult conversation and to talk about our experiences here. We fed SaRang lunch, and she seems to have turned …

Getting SaRang Video

This is Brian again. It is 3:55 a.m. in South Korea. I've been up since about 2:30 a.m. SaRang is sleeping well. I couldn't sleep knowing I had this video to get done for all of you back in the States. So the only music that seems to fit the videos so far are Steven Curtis Chapman songs. If you needed a box of tissues for any of the other videos, then you might want to go get a roll of paper towels for this one. I've watched it over and over, and I'm crying even as I type about it. What an emotional moment this was/is in our lives!


SaRang is ours

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This afternoon was so hard. We were both so nervous, and, of course, there is no way to describe the magnitude and emotion of those few final moments with Mrs. Park and SaRang. I felt like time was whizzing by as Ms. Lee, the social worker, went through last minute papers, went through all the things that Mrs. Park had brought for SaRang, asked us if we wanted to sign up for the newsletter, etc. We quickly took a few pictures, and then Ms. Lee told us that we would say goodbye to Mrs. Park at the elevator.

The director of intercountry adoption walked with us and then Mrs. Park bent down to speak to SaRang. She was already crying pretty hard at this point, but she soon pointed into the elevator and told SaRang to go. She shook her head no and so Mrs. Park picked her up and set her in the elevator. At this point, SaRang is crying. I picked her up and tried to soothe her, but she did not want me. The director of intercountry adoption was trying to console Mrs. Park while Ms. Lee was on th…

Countdown: 1.5 hours to go

1. I'm a basketcase. Apparently all the emotions have waited until now to come rushing out.
2. I'm having the worst hair day of my life on one of the most important days of my life.
3. I do not recommend watching this video of Losiah coming home if you're already emotional. (this is the video that convinced us to travel.) It did not help me to stop crying.
4. Brian left over an hour ago to look for some lunch and some flowers to give Mrs. Park. He's still not back.
5. I think we just might be really ready to come home. Well, after 2:00 today, of course.

New Video

Don't get too excited - there's no Rory on this video! Just more of life in Seoul.

Thursday's events

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We woke up Thursday morning at 4:45 a.m. wide awake. It was a strange night. Actually, they've all been strange. I can't seem to keep my eyes open past 8:30, and I'll sleep like the dead but wake up ready to go at midnight. I take a sleeping pill, go back to bed and then wake up again about 4:00 a.m. Brian has had a similar schedule, although he's somehow been able to stay up later than me. It's actually a bit strange since when we're at home, Brian can barely make it past 8:00!

So, anyway, we woke up and were at the computer reading all the blog posts from those who had seen Rory's pictures and videos. We loved reading all your comments! We really look forward to the emails. While we're having alot of fun here, it's hard not to be able to share such a huge event in person with our friends and family. I don't know what we would have done if I couldn't blog and share pictures! We walked to the corner market about 5:30 a.m. to buy a calling car…

Random Things about Korea

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I'll post about Thursday's events later when I've got a clearer head (and when Brian isn't hogging the laptop with all the pictures), but for now I wanted to make a list of random things about Korea. I know I'm giving probably a ton more details than any of you wanted to read, but it will help me remember what Korea is like in years to come.

Okay, some random things about Korea.

Everyone either speed walks or just plain runs. There is no such thing as a leisurely walk. We feel like old people with everyone passing us all the time. It's no wonder that they're all so trim. I have seen very few people, young or old, who looked out of shape.

The smell. Oh, the smell. Korea definitely has a unique smell that I don't really know how to describe. Part of it is just cultural, I think, and isn't too bad. I'm sure it has to do with the different spices they use for cooking. But there are also times when the smell just smacks you in the face, and it is HORRIB…

Thursday morning

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Wednesday night in Seoul, we decided to try to go out for supper about 6:00. We had directions from some other friends who have been here (Beth, we did not end up finding the restaurants you mentioned), and we walked and walked for probably 30 minutes in the frigid weather battling rush hour! Honestly, by 7:00 last night, I was just beat! We did find a Mr. Pizza (their slogan is "Love for Women" LOL) and it was decent. We stopped at a Starbucks on our way home and then arrived back here about 8:30. I was in bed by 9:00, woke up at 11:30 and played on the computer until midnight and then we both got up a little after 4:00 this morning and after a quick trip to the corner market at 5:30 a.m., we were able to call both of our parents this morning, and it was wonderful to hear English! We're going to get showered and dressed and then head out again for more shopping and sight seeing. I'm wondering if a nap might help this afternoon so we don't go to bed quite so earl…

Meeting Rory Video

This is Brian. I'm not sure I'm supposed to be hacking into Melissa's blog, but you'll think its worth it. This 15 hour time difference has us really mixed up. She went to bed early and I'm the one staying up late on the computer. That is always the opposite way at home.

I have successfully uploaded the Meeting Rory video! Grab a box of tissues and enjoy!


Meeting SaRang

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I'm not even going to type anything until after the pictures - that's what you're really here for anyway! So look your fill, and then see my post below the pics. I'm warning you - it's long!







So, I dare anyone to tell me she is not the sweetest girl ever! We met the case worker at SWS at 1:30, and she was so sweet! Her name is Miss Lee. We were also able to meet several other staff members including the director of SWS and had our picture taken with him (I'll post that later). We then took a taxi to the foster family's house. It was about a 20 minute drive, and honestly we were both so calm. I have no idea how to explain it, but no nerves whatsoever. And, seriously, we should have been nervous. Not only were we driving to meet our daughter for the first time, but the traffic is so unreal here and we narrowly avoided who knows how many wrecks. We arrived at the apartment complex (more like blocks and blocks of high rises) and were all getting out of the car, m…

Wednesday morning

I'm waiting for Brian to finish getting ready so that we can head out and look for a Starbucks and breakfast (we're STARVING - only airplane food for the last 36 hours), so I thought I'd post a few more details about our trip.

Both our flights were on time and completely uneventful yesterday. Just about as uneventful as hours and hours on a plane can be! Brian was so proud because I chose the Korean meal BiBimBap and seaweed soup to eat on the plane instead of the American choice. To be honest, I only chose it because I wasn't that hungry and knew it wouldn't kill me if I didn't like it. The BiBimBap was okay - it is cold ground beef, noodles, some seaweed stuff, and other noodles that I'm not quite sure of. You miss the cold ingredients with hot steamed sticky rice and then add soybean paste and sesame oil. Sounds interesting, doesn't it. Seaweed soup tasted about like you think it will - like water pulled from the ocean that has had fish swimming aroun…

We've arrived!

Oh, my! First, let me just say that spending 14.5 hours on a plane does not constitute a good time for me. Neither does then spending 3.5 hours making it to the guesthouse. But here we are at 8:42 p.m. Tuesday evening starving but way too tired to make the effort to figure out where anything is. On our trip through Seoul from the airport, I have seriously never seen so many people and cars in my entire life! Korean Air Lines was definitely the best airline we've every used, though. The flight attendants were all gorgeous and extremely pleasant and helpful. The TV's actually worked, and there may have been an extra inch or two of leg room.

We're staying at our agency's guesthouse, and while I'm sure the conveniece will be nice, I wish we would have paid a bit extra for a hotel. I'm already feeling a bit clausterphobic. It is a room about the size of our living room divided into 2 rooms - a bedroom and a living/dining area. There are no windows, and it's pret…

Trip Details

Depart Nashville: Monday, 6:55 a.m.
Arrive NY: 10:28 a.m.
Depart NY: 12:40 p.m.
Arrive Seoul: Tuesday, 5:10 p.m.

Depart Seoul: Saturday, 6:35 p.m.
Arrive Atlanta: Saturday, 6:15 p.m.
Depart Atlanta: 8:13 p.m.
Arrive Nashville: 8:24 p.m.

The time change makes our flight times look so strange! Pretty sure it will wreak havoc on our sleep cycles too. We'll pretty much miss out on Tuesday, but we'll have two Saturdays. We still don't know when we'll be meeting Rory - there should be instructions for us at the guest house when we check in. It will probably be Wednesday morning. Depending on how Rory reacts to us and how our first meeting goes will determine when we actually receive her for good.

It's 7:31 Sunday night. We're all packed up, and I'm going to crash. Here are a few fun facts about our trip.

Number of suitcases: 3
Number of carry-ons: 2
Number of shoes for Brian: 2
Number of shoes for Melissa: 2
Number of shoes for Rory: 4
Number of hairbows for Rory: too many to …

Tired

We're exhausted! Preparing to travel across the world for a week and meeting a new daughter is hard! We've spent ALL day today running errands, packing, hanging curtains (I know - why did I wait until now), and attending the last seminar which completes the official "educational" part of the adoption paperwork. The seminar actually ended up being fairly useful. It covered attachment and adjustment, and while there were many things that we had already planned on doing, it definitely confirmed that we will be doing the right thing. Another adoptive parent was there to share her story, and let's just say one of their children had many issues that we want to avoid.

We're supposed to talk to our agency tomorrow night after they've received word from Korea about when we'll meet Rory. I'll post specific flight information after we hear from them.

We're going to Korea!!

We are leaving bright and early Monday morning at 6:55 for Korea! We arrive home Saturday evening on March 1. I will post full details about our trip as soon as they're finalized.

I cannot tell you the immediate sense of relief and calm Brian and I both felt when our agency called last night to tell us the good news. All the heaviness and tears and burden of the last several weeks just melted away. Because Brian had worked so hard earlier this week to finalize all his school plans while we're on our trip, he has a pretty easy day. He will be able to teach and then turn in his lesson plans for the next 2 weeks and then we'll enjoy the weekend.

Yesterday was my last day at work - what a bittersweet time it was. I have spent 11.5 out of the last 14 years of my adult life at this school. The first 3 were spent as a student, and the remaining years as an employee. It has played a very important part in my life, and while I was sorry to leave (and especially sorry to be leaving my…

No news yet

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Well, we frantically did laundry, made list after list, etc. last night hoping that we're going to get final approval to travel this morning. I expect that we will hear something pretty early this morning. They called yesterday at 8:15 so I'm hoping to know something soon. Of course, at this point, we are going to be so disappointed if they tell us we still have to wait, but at least we'll know that we're very close. Brian is very busy trying to get lessons plans and instructions for a substitute teacher for 2 weeks. He won't actually be out of the classroom for a full two weeks, but he is planning to be gone for about 8 days.

I finished this page up earlier this week. It is a picture of Camden and his Valentine's Day box. I bought Valentine bug stickers (it was the most boyish thing I could find), and he decorated it before his school party last week.

Update!!

Seriously, the Korean coordinator at CHSFS is my new best friend! She called me this morning at 8:15 (which was wonderful because she didn't make me wait all day for an update!) and told us that Korea said Rory's visa is being issued. She also gave us her new measurements: 19.8 lbs and 30 inches long (isn't that pretty teeny tiny for a 17 month old?). And now for the big news! She said that she is going to call Korea again tonight and ask them if we can start making travel arrangements, and that she felt fairly confident they would say yes. So as early as tomorrow morning, I could be making plane reservations and getting ready to go to Korea!

Lunch Bunch day

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Today is my final Lunch Bunch day. I am going to miss this group of friends so much. It is definitely the hardest part about leaving my job, but for today I'm going to just enjoy lunch. And because it's my last time, I get to choose. Of course, I always have the hardest time making a decision - so many good places to go!

Here's a page I scrapped weeks and weeks ago and never posted. It's a picture of all four siblings at Christmas.



Packet 3

Well, no news from our agency yet, but we did discover that "packet 3" has left the Embassy in Seoul. Basically, this means that our paperwork from the NVC arrived at the embassy and was processed and then mailed to our Korean agency. The Korean agency will then send a representative to the embassy for Rory's visa interview. The embassy will then grant her a travel visa usually within 24 hours. Of course, we have no idea how long it will take for the agency to send a representative, but it's nice to see progress anyway!

Tuesday

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Camden was so sweet last night. At 4.5, he still thinks it's a big treat to help me around the house, so we worked on laundry, the dishwasher and general picking up last night. He was so helpful! Brian is glued to the computer these days trying to research our trip and figure out the best way to share videos while we're in Korea.
I made the best chocolate pie over the weekend (mom and Becky, it tastes just like the Village Inn’s chocolate pie). The recipe came from Pioneer Woman’s blog, and if you want to see all her pretty pictures of the pie and funny description, click here. Otherwise, you can just copy the recipe from here.Chocolate Pie
1 baked pie shell (no, I did not make mine from scratch)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I used leftover Dove dark chocolate melts)
1.5 cups sugar
2 sticks butter (yes, the real thing)
4 eggsMelt chocolate and set aside to cool. Mix 2 sticks softened butter with 1.5 cups sugar until fluffy. Add melted chocolate and mix well. Add 1 egg and beat 4-5 m…

Happy President's Day

Brian and Camden are enjoying some father/son time together today since they're both out of school. I am working, but find that I don't really mind. (somehow knowing you've only got days left to work make it not seem so bad!).

Friday night Brian and I left Camden at his Gram and Gramp's house and went to Olive Garden to eat. I had the lasagna rollatini (all those commercials about it really suckered me in!). Brian has his typical Tour of Italy. We then spent the next several hours running errands for our trip. We went to Target (my second trip of the day), Kohl's, a bookstore, and Toys 'R Us. (by the way, if you have any good suggestions for small toys that a 17 month old might enjoy on an airplane - send them my way because we're feeling clueless).

Saturday we took Camden to Chuck E. Cheese, and that was not an experience I want to go through again soon. Camden definitely had a good time, but it was SOOOOOO crowded and noisy that I was sure we were going to…

It's Friday!

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So our Valentine's Day 2008 was quite eventful, but not exactly in the way we expected. Although it did involve beautiful cookies (from my boss) and gorgeous tulips (thank you, Micah, Becky, William, and Xavier), the rest of the day did not involve romance! I blogged yesterday about the news that we received on Rory. It was cause for many tears and no small amount of emotional anguish, but we're feeling much more calm and at peace this morning. And while we were not expecting this news about her medical condition, it does not change the fact that she is our daughter. The truth is, the doctors in Korea are only speculating. We could easily bring her home and things be either better or worse than we're expecting. We are trusting that God knows what is best. I was thinking on the way home from work yesterday about what would be the best way to explain to Camden, and I immediately thought that we need to tell him that "God made her this way. He doesn't make mistakes.&…

Thursday update

We heard from Korea this morning. The bad news is that Rory's official medical diagnosis has changed and they want us to make a decision about whether or not we will bring her home. The two possible scenarios they gave us sounded very scary initially. We did discuss the situation with our pediatrician, and he was not overly concerned and cannot see how they could have diagnosed her based on the tests that they have done. Either situation will probably mean some reduced physical capabilities, but not diminished life expectancy or mental capacity. They're going to contact Korea this evening and have them send us her most recent developmental updates.

The good news in this is that she is ready to travel, which means that as early as next week, we could be heading to Korea!

Happy Valentine's Day

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Having the day off school and work yesterday was wonderful! We all enjoyed a quiet day. Brian spent some time working on his school and church work, which was very helpful. We also spent about two hours packing Rory's suitcase and making packing lists and "to do" lists of things we need to purchase and take care of before we leave for Korea. I'm feeling much more prepared after the time we spent planning yesterday. Yesterday was also the first day I was feeling better physically (my cold finally seems to be on its way out), and I also just felt better emotionally. I allowed myself to feel excited rather than worried about Rory. The apprehension is creeping back in this morning, however, since I know that she has had her medical tests and we now begin the wait to hear something from Korea about when she might be ready to travel.

Our Valentine's Day is pretty unromantic and boring! For the first time, I didn't even get Brian a card of try to do something nice. A…

Snow Day!

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Sometimes living in the country with a couple miles worth of side roads is worth it. It's a snow day for all of us. Brian and Camden are both out of school, and I'm taking a personal day off work. I decided a while ago that I wasn't going to risk the commute anymore driving on icy roads. It's just not worth it. Of course, it helps a bit that I've only got about 2 weeks left of work! We're all looking forward to a nice quiet day at home. Brian made pancakes for breakfast, and we've all had hot chocolate this morning.

Not much else is going on. In preparation for our trip to Korea, I'm doing my best to keep the house clean and all the laundry done so I won't have to worry about it when we get the call. I think I might start working on a packing list today.

I did scrap last night while watching American Idol.

Monday update

And this is why I can't just relax and enjoy the thought that Rory should be home soon. Our agency got a fax from Korea this morning stating that the test is going to be done Thursday and then they'll let us know whether or not she can travel. I'm so frustrated about all this! Frustrated that she might be sick and we can't do anything about it. Frustrated that it's more likely she's fine and this is just precautionary, but we still can't do anything about it! Please pray that we hear something Friday, and that it will be good news.

Monday

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We had a nice weekend in general. The trip to Chucky Cheese was postponed because Camden had such a horrible day at school (we're talking a 2 page note from his teacher!!). I'm not really sure what's going on with him, but she did mention that he has been spending alot of time with another boy in the class who is in trouble often and she thinks his behavior is rubbing off on Camden. I'm hoping we can get it under control!

I was wrong on Friday when I said Brian only has a 3 day work week. That's not until next week so he started off today as normal by getting up at 4:00 and grading papers!

I'm very busy at work trying to prepare to leave for good. I don't think it's really quite hit me yet that I will not be returning to work. I have a feeling the next two weeks could go by very quickly!

We talked to our pediatrician on Friday night, and he was very reassuring regarding the news we had about Rory. Brian and I are both feeling much more at ease about it. Ho…

NVC

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We are logged in at the NVC as of yesterday afternoon. This means that if everything continues to go smoothly, I feel like our travel call should come in about 2 weeks. I'm trying to breathe a sigh of relief, but am not quite feeling it yet.

My plans for today are pretty normal, although I am going to try to take a little while and just relax. I am so stressed out because of the last week, and I'm hoping maybe a bit of quiet time might help. Camden filled up an entire sheet of stickers (he's hasn't woken us up at night in almost a month) so we're taking him to Chucky Cheese tonight. He is so excited. I'm sure it will be an experience. I have visions of 100's of screaming kids running around like mad.

Tomorrow I'm meeting two friends from work for lunch and a movie. I'm so excited to have a "girl's day out." Brian is pretty excited for this weekend to begin as well. He is off work Monday because of President's Day and Tuesday is a tea…

Rough Day

Today has been very difficult. Without going into any detail here, we got some news regarding a potential medical condition with Rory. We've asked the agency to allow us to do the testing here in the United States rather than wait on the doctors in Korea, and we're hopeful they will allow us to do that and this won't delay our travel call. Of course, we're mostly just concerned that she is okay. It is difficult when your child is sick at any time, but when your child is across the world and you are completely not in control of what happens makes it 100 times worse.

We're still not logged in at the NVC. The sweet supervisor at the NVC actually went down to the mail room digging through all the paperwork and DHL packets trying to find ours, but ended up giving up on it so we don't really know where the paperwork is at this point.

Our I600 did arrive today, and it was dated January 17, so we know we lost at least 3 weeks because of the immigration office's mista…

International Mail

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We had an interesting mail day yesterday. My baby carrier arrived from Korea, and I received the nursery print I'd ordered from Scotland. Fun! I love this artist and wish that I could buy canvas paintings, but I settled for just a print. I almost didn't order anything because I was having so much trouble choosing a favorite. I ended up ordering Brian's favorite, and it is going to look so good in the nursery. I definitely plan to order from her again. Her name is Suzanne Woolcott. Her Etsy shop is here if you want to look around. Another Etsy shop I really enjoy is Boutique Mia. The handmade dresses are so sweet!

Memphis emailed me this morning and said that they have delivery confirmation that the packet was delivered to the NVC at 10:07 yesterday morning, so I'm not sure why the NVC is showing that they don't have it. Hopefully, they just hadn't finished processing it and putting it in the computer and that's why it didn't show up in their system yeste…

Afternoon update

It appears that Memphis did not actually overnight our paperwork to the NVC on Monday because as of 3:15 this afternoon, it still had not arrived at the NVC. Ugh!

What a night!

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We had crazy thunder storms and tornadoes until about 2:00 a.m. so I am feeling a tad foggy this morning (yes, I actually stayed up to watch the coverage). We only went to the basement once, and by the time we actually got down there, it was okay to come back up. Camden never even woke up. Brian barely did!

No real news on our paperwork today, but I did speak with a very nice supervisor at the NVC yesterday, and because our paperwork was held up in Memphis, they are going to expedite it there. We're really hoping and praying (and think that it's possible) that Rory will come home in February.

Camden came home from school last night with a piece of paper that had been folded several different ways. He was so excited about it and wanted to tell me a story. I thought that he must have colored a picture or maybe it was a worksheet. Nope, just a blank piece of paper. But he told a very imaginative story about soldiers and the Israelites, etc. Funny stuff!

I went through Rory's clo…

Progress

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So I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we got an email from Memphis immigration office yesterday telling us that there had been a mistake and our I600 had never been mailed to the National Visa Center (NVC) two weeks ago like they had said. The good news is now that we know what the problem is and Memphis was sending it via DHL to the NVC and hopefully things will progress more smoothly from now on. We should be looking at about another 4 weeks before travel. I know losing two weeks in the process doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but when you're waiting for your baby girl to come home, two weeks seems like an eternity. I am very grateful that we know what was wrong, though, and that it seems to be fixed.

I am a horrible U.S. citizen. When I changed my drivers license a couple of months ago, I also applied for a new voter's registration card since we had changed counties. Well, it never even occurred to me until last night when I tried to find the card, …

A New Week

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I'm running late this morning, so I don't have much time, but wanted to pop in and say I'm hoping for a good week! I'm actually kind of happy to be headed back to work after almost a week off. It will be good to be back in a routine. My boss has been interviewing people to take my place and that is kind of exciting.

We did have a Superbowl party last night with family, and it was fun. Camden thoroughly enjoyed himself and picked the Giants to win from the very beginning (and he was quite enthusiastic about cheering for them throughout the game - that's a nice way of saying he was VERY loud!).

I did manage to scrap a bit this weekend. I can't believe how grown up Camden looks in this picture (taken in June). I think it's the camera angle that makes his legs look so long!

Friday

I started not to post today since I have nothing interesting to say - tracking down our immigration paperwork pretty much consumes our every thought and doesn't leave room for much else, but thought there might be someone actually following the saga so here it is. (I'm actually watching Pirates 3 right now, but it's boring me to tears and Brian is snoring away on the couch.)

No I600 today, but our caseworker did agree to contact the immigration office on Monday and try to inquire about it for us. I also contacted our senator's office, and they're going to look into it Monday as well. The lady I talked to said they've had many complaints about this office lately. Hopefully, our caseworker and the senator's office investigating into our case will get things moving. We probably would not be as proactive in this if we didn't have friends who recently have gone through a nightmare experience with the same immigration office, and I have no intention of letti…