This is a double-post-- it'll go up on Tate's blog, too. But this blog gets a bit more traffic. Hence the double-post.
We were initially told that if we received our Travel Approval in the next week or so, we could plan for September travel. October travel to China is tricky because of a National Holiday the first week (which shuts everything down) and because of the trade fair, which runs every weekend in October and triples the prices. Many adoption agencies won't schedule travel in October at all. And this year, the Asian Games are in Guangzhou in November-- so the prices are much higher then, as well. So we have been hoping for September travel.
Now we have learned that most of the September consulate appointments are full in September (already!). In the past, agencies have been able to schedule these appointments for about 3-4 weeks after receiving Travel Approval from China. Families swear an oath at these appointments so that their children can receive visas and become U.S. citizens upon entry into the U.S. (or, in cases where only one parent travels, upon completing of additional paperwork after entry into the U.S.). It is a required appointment/event. (They basically shuffle you into a waiting room, have everyone raise their right hand and swear an oath, then file you in several lines to a window where a consulate employee asks if your paperwork is accurate and if you promise to treat your child like your child is your child and you say yes.)
Now we are being told there could be an additional 2 week delay (which definitely pushes us to October) because there are not enough appointment slots available.
The fix is very simple. The consulate can add additional appointments. They could add a second swearing-in (so to speak) for a given day (or two) or just add more people to the ones already scheduled. To make this happen, though, we need to apply PRESSURE. And that's where you come in. PLEASE write to your state senators and congressional representatives. I've made it easy for you. Just cut and paste the text below into an email to your representative. (I've sent in a modified version of what is below.) Here is the link to figure out who your senators are (just choose your state). And here is the link to figure out who your congressional representatives are (enter your zip code).
Dear Senator _______:
I hope that you will be able to help with an issue of great concern to many U.S. families. The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China issues travel visas for newly adopted children traveling home with their families. A number of families have had difficulty scheduling appointments in September, which has resulted in a delay of a couple weeks before they can travel to meet their children. Additionally, because there are few appointments available, families who anticipate receiving their approval to travel to China are now being told to anticipate even longer delays. This is particularly problematic because of the upcoming Chinese National holidays and a number of special events in Guangzhou throughout October and November, making travel more difficult.
Meanwhile, these children wait in orphanages for their families. Many of these children and their families have been waiting to find each other for years. To be further delayed due to restrictive scheduling is terribly disappointing- and unnecessary.
I would appreciate you taking any action you can to encourage the Consulate to open additional time slots in September and October to accommodate families preparing to be united.
Thank you for your consideration.