Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chile Is Like Haiti

I have said many times in the past few months that the only good thing about Chile's crazy paperwork requirements is that they make me a little more understanding/patient with the insanity that is Haiti's paperwork requirements.

Even so, I had to shake my head today when the doorbell rang and a mailman delivered a letter from the Chilean immigration department directly to our home. Last August 14, we survived an incredibly draining day (read part one & part two of that day here) of running all over Santiago in an urgent, last-minute rush to apply for our permanent residency in Chile. As a result of those efforts each member of our family received an in-process sheet that extended our visas for six months, after which time we would supposedly receive our residency.

Six months later, after another exhausting day of trámites we learned what we needed to do in Iquique in order to inquire about the status of our paperwork. We dropped off our in-process sheets and returned a few days later to another set of stamps extending our paperwork for another 60 days. The immigration office back in Santiago requested a copy of my original international policy registry, due within thirty days, which I promptly mailed.

Fast forward two months, and yesterday we dropped off our in-process sheets once again. Now today we received this letter. In it, the immigration department in Santiago is requesting that I go to the civil registries department downtown to request a criminal background check, also due within thirty days.

Why is my paperwork the only one in question? Who knows. Ironically, everything they have asked for so far was in the original packet we mailed last August. Did someone lose a document? Who knows! Needless to say, I doubt our residency will be granted when we pick up the in-process sheets in a couple of days.

So once again I think: Chile is like Haiti. While visiting my boys in Haiti last week, I spent time working with our adoption coordinator on children's files and learned of so many times when a paper is re-requested with a different stamp, or a different name, or a corrected this or that. Each time, it adds days, weeks, months to the family's wait to bring home their children. I can handle waiting for my permanent residency in Chile to be granted. But waiting for my children to come home ... that is a different matter. Please keep praying for a paperwork miracle to bring Ian and Alec home!

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