We witness a miracle each time a child enters a life. But those who must make their journey home across time and miles, growing in the hearts of those waiting to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny. And placed among us by God's own hands.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Visa Denied!!!!!!!

I am heartbroken to announce that upon returning last night from a one week spring break trip to Arizona, that we found waiting for us a letter from USCIS. This letter officially announced that the Humanitarian Affairs Branch of the International Operations Division of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services had after careful consideration denied Vanessa's application for a Humanitarian Parole Visa. The reasons given were not specific and stated only that the requests are based on "urgent humanitarian reasons". They nicely informed us that "Although the facts as presented are certainly unfortunate, it has been determined after careful review that a favorable exercise of the Secretary's discretionary authority is not warranted."
How nice of them to point out to me that it is unfortunate that a 9 year old traumatized orphan, and survivor of the Haitian earthquake, continues to live with a physically disabling condition which if not treated very soon will result in a life long permanent disability.

I have not completely processed this news and really do not know where to begin with my own emotions on the matter. I am angry for sure. Angry with my own government. I pay my taxes, I follow the rules and I am 100% willing to cover all of Vanessa's living costs while in the US. I understand the immigration laws and understand that she would have to be returned to the US once her surgery and treatment was complete.
It makes me sick when I think of the extreme medical and therapeutic measures that are taken at the expense of US tax payers, for US citizens who could have simply avoided their medical conditions if they had taken better care of themselves. Vanessa did not do anything to bring on her own disabling condition. I am not asking the US government to pay for anything for this child, in fact we are now out the $400 and some application fee that we had to send to USCIS just so they could deny the application. Everyone involved from the Denver Children's Hospital to ourselves was on board with covering the costs to treat Vanessa and get her walking. If she had been born in the US she would already have received bracing and surgery as well as extensive physical therapy. She would have specialized equipment and she would have a team of people at school who do a ton of paperwork to get her every service and accommodation available through the school system.

All we were asking for this child was to receive a piece of paper for her to enter the US. I am openly airing my thoughts here because I am soooooooo tired of the average person not understanding why we have a illegal immigration problem in the US and hearing people in the US say things like if illegal immigrants want to come here legally there is a way. Well, yes there is a way for a very tiny, limited and lucky few who have the resources to support them in the process. I have barely been able to understand all the USCIS rules and regulations and English is my first and only language. We have had to drive 40 miles just to get our fingerprints taken for USCIS and when there was a problem with our last adoption I had to get up at 4am to call the National Visa Customer Service Line because you can NEVER get through to a person at any other time of the day then when they were unable to resolve the problem I have to drive another 60 miles to get 10 minutes with a USCIS officer in person. The mounds of paperwork, hoops to jump and expensive fees to pay for US visa applications are overwhelming. In this case we can't even get a fragile 9 year old orphan temporarily into the US to receive a life altering surgery. Am I the only one who thinks that is wrong?

We did contact our local Senators' offices and Senator Udall's office was supposed to be looking into the matter. However, we never heard back from them and they did not return our phone calls or emails. Very dissapointing. It all leaves me wondering what do we really stand for in the US? Certainly not for what is written below the Statue of Liberty:

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset hates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lighting, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

~ Poem by Emma Lazarus

Photo from Tony Czech
*Please do not copy and repost


  1. I am so sorry! I too get very angry with the way our government handles situations like this. Can you start a petition? Or get someone in the news industry to listen. When our friends were having a hard time getting their little guy home from Nepal they got a local news station to cover their story and all the attention really helped their cause. I know you don't know me but please let me know if their is anything I can do to help. I am constantly thinking of the people in Haiti.

  2. I am so sorry for this- and for your job loss. Sending you a hug....


  3. Hi Kari! Yes the blog world is very small isn't it? I would love any information you have on the humanitarian parole. At this point, anything is worth a try! Here is my email: kmschell20@comcast.net if that is easier. I love your blog, it is such a wonderful resource. Sorry about your job. My husband is a teacher here in NJ and it sounds like CO is just as bad as NJ right now.