Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Damn the Citizenship Office!

Back in May we decided to apply for direct Citizenship for our daughter, instead of applying her Permanent Resident Visa first and then applying for Citizenship once she is in Canada. We were told that taking the citizenship route we would be saving money, less paper work and it would be much more straight forward.

We sent in the Part 1 application to be approved as adoptive parents and received an acknowledgement letter,dated June 2, that told us we would be assessed in 8 weeks. Since the citizenship office is notorious for long waits I wasn't too worried when I didn't hear anything at 8 weeks. I called the only public number there, which is only a call center, at week 16. They couldn't find our file based on the reference numbers I had, nor my name or birth date. The operator wasn't at all concerned and just stalked it up to the fact that my case hadn't been assessed yet. She also told me the wait time had jumped to 27 weeks and there was nothing for me to do but wait.

When we received our proposals I called again. That was week 22. They again couldn't find my file but it wasn't concerning to them. They just said I'd have to wait until week 27. I contacted my MP and asked them to make an inquiry on our behalf. They were told the same thing... we just have to wait.

Now we are at week 28. I called again and the operator couldn't find our file. He said the client ID and receipt numbers that were on my acknowledgement letter and payment receipt did not match up with their system. The client ID number had letters that it shouldn't and the receipt number didn't have enough numbers. There was nothing he could do. I started crying at this point. He apparently felt sorry for me and gave me the non-public fax number to the Nova Scotia office, where our file is supposed to be. He told me to fax all the documentation I have along with a letter telling them what has happened and hope for the best.

Immediately, through tears I wrote the letter and immediately faxed it. Jon was livid. We also contacted our MP office, who was angry for us. She also prepared a fax to send to the number that they have and hopefully they take note of one of us and can figure this out. Jon says the next step is the Minister's office! He is not going to accept anything that is going to keep Sofie in her orphanage longer than is needed. I love my husband!

This is potentially a huge set back. Sofie will not be allowed in country unless we have her citizenship, a PR visa or emergency Visa. To get the emergency Visa we'd have to go to Romania, where the closest Canadian Embassy is, with all the paperwork from Bulgaria before we can take Sofie home. Starting the PR route now would set our adoption back a few months and restarting the Citizenship route is looking at 9 months! I'm feeling distraught, frantic, angry, etc... The thought of Sofie having to stay alone in a orphanage that doesn't have all the bare essentials because some stupid government agent screwed up is heart-breaking! I feel helpless.

5 comments:

Louise Chapman said...

Very stressful and heart breaking. I'm hoping that you hear some really, really good news from the Nova Scotia office before the weekend. Can't even imagine being so close and having this come up.

Anna and Andrew Mayo said...

I cannot imagine the frusteration :(

LeAnna et David said...

this is so awful. and so absolutely typical of bureaucracy--incompetence hurting the people they should be trying to help.

David and I will be saying many prayers for you, including Catholic ones asking the intercession of St Anthony, patron saint of lost things. Good luck, and I hope this gets settled quickly.

In the words of my father, whenever one has trouble--"write the news papers". He is a firm believe that media attention solves many a problem.

emily and mike said...

Oh Katie, that is SO horrible! You should go online to some yahoo adopts groups and share your story. I know a LOT of people who have been screwed over by CIC and had tons of mistakes made. Some of these people are now working with specific government advocates to change things but it is SLOW. I do think they may have some good ideas for you. What does your agency say?
I know we decided to go PRV partly because Cit was so new and that made me nervous. But this sounds just ridiculous. And why do they not even care to figure out what happened when clearly they have made a mistake??? Ugh. This is making me really mad too! Don't give up and keep calling them. I know other adoptive couples who call daily b/c of things that are misplaced and sometimes they joke about how you can call and get one answer one day, and a completely different answer the next day. But perhaps you will get someone who is a lot better at their job if you keep calling???

Good luck you guys.

Katie said...

I am so sad and angry for you guys!!! what terrible news. I agree, don't give up! They don't know what they're up against; they've messed with the wrong couple!!!! I will be praying for your daughter.