I don’t know if you can recall but last April I wrote that my biometrics letter came in the mail but my noa1 never did.. I called uscis to have it resent and it still did not show up. Strange right? I called again to ask for it to be resent again and they told me they can’t resend it twice. Here I am baffled at why I wasn’t receiving it in the first place. I opened a po box specifically to avoid that issue because I lived in college housing and I was moving soon so I didn’t want to disrupt the process.
Anyway I was told by the uscis representative that I can ask for the i551 stamp through an infopass appointment. She told me that it would be easy to get one and shouldn’t be given a hard time so I scheduled an appointment the Monday after graduation.
That day eventually comes and I brave the trip to downtown Philly. I head to the uscis office and lo and behold, the officer almost refused to give me one! First she said I needed to just call back and have it resent and when I told her that they wouldn’t she said I should insist. It was such a terrible experience, she left me almost in tears! I ended up getting one after begging and showing her all my documents like Tim’s orders, the biometrics letter, I even showed her the form for my teaching certificate just to prove that I was like a good person. She eventually gave me one that was valid for a year but told me never again to use a po box for uscis because it will be returned to sender.
So there’s my experience and a warning to all- stay away from po boxes for uscis purposes!
Oh my..it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted and I do have a lot to tell. I’ve been so busy lately being a mom that unfortunately blogging was placed on the backburner. I do have some time this week to hopefully get caught up, so I will apologize in advance if you see a sudden influx of posts this month.
Anyway, lets move on to what this post is about: On June 26, I got a notification that my greencard was approved and card production was ordered! Woohoo! I’m actually in the Philippines right now (more about that in a different post) so I wasn’t there to see its grand delivery. According to my sister in law and to the tracking number (I think it’s very neat that they provide one!), it was delivered July 1st. Woohoo! Overall, this whole process only took about 3 months for me without an RFE or interview. That was pure luck because I did not even request for an expedite or anything! Needless to say I am ecstatic!
That only means that I must have sent adequate documentation.. What a relief!
So there’s my first update for now. Stay tuned for posts on my graduation, my first job, my vacation, Johnny and Tim and more uscis posts- change of address and i551 stamp! I promise to discuss all that in detail in the coming week
Hope everyone had a great 4th of July, including all my fellow military families who’s husbands are away serving in this joyous time. God bless you all!
Well its been over 3 weeks since my ROC packet came. I received my biometrics appointment letter but never got my NOA1. So today I called USCIS and requested for it to be resent. The agent I spoke with was very pleasant and made a service request for me. So fingers crossed it will come soon! Figures that I would be one of those people who would get a missing extension letter/receipt lol. Anyway, biometrics appointment is in two weeks! Its a 2 hour drive so I’m not really looking forward to that. But at least my case is moving and I am one step closer to coming home in June!
And for other news, baby Johnny is doing well! He is 2 months old now Updates on him soon Also, we are six months into this deployment! woohoo!
I am filing for Removal of Conditions tomorrow!
(Take note that this isn’t a guide because every case is different at this point. We all led different lives so naturally we would all have different proof to show)
First and foremost, I had a cover letter and of course the I-751 form that I filled out together with the check for $590 (gasp!). Make sure its the most current form based on the USCIS website
The evidences I provided are as follows:
- Copy of Green card (front and back)
- Copy of biographical page of passport
- Copy of Driver’s licenses and Military IDs (front and back)
- Birth certificate of our son
- My husband’s life insurance listing me as a beneficiary
- My husband’s current military orders (He is currently deployed in a combat zone)
- A POA appointing me as my husband’s designated power of attorney
- 2011 and 2012 Tax Transcript (filed jointly as a married couple)
- Bank statements for our joint credit card, checking and savings accounts showing both our names (in quarterly increments from 2011 to present)
- Copy of our apartment lease showing both our names as tenants
- Copy of our car insurance card listing both our names, and a letter from GEICO addressed to us both
- Dental insurance bills showing me as a dependent.
- Electric bills showing our names (in quarterly increments from 2011 to present)
- Gas bill listing both our names
- Copy of our airline reservation when we spent a holiday in Las Vegas last December 2011
- Receipt of stay in Fort Benning, GA
- Various photos of us together on vacation/other events from 2011 to 2013
I am sending my packet to the Vermont Service Center. I also decided to get a PO Box and use that as my mailing address for USCIS because I will be moving three times in the span of this ROC process.
Wish me luck!
I know I haven’t posted in a while… But a lot of things have happened to say the least! I’ll try to backtrack and recap my life the past couple of months.. Definitely the biggest change that has happened is that I am now a mom! John Franklin Kramer was born February 3, 2013 at 2:13pm and he is amazing and incredible. I am so in love with him! Before I go on and on about John, let me first get to the things that happened leading to his birth…
At this point I was still in the middle of doing my school placement even though I looked like I was ready to pop anytime. From 36 weeks to the day before I gave birth I still went to work everyday.. In a nutshell my school placement was amazing and a completely fun and enriching experience. It solidified my urge to work for a school district. Kids are just so much fun and I think I have a knack and passion for this field of speech pathology. I had such great supportive supervisors who really guided me and were so understanding about my situation. Being a pregnant intern was definitely a challenge! I was also going to weekly doctor’s appointments and everything seemed to be progressing well with my pregnancy. I was even cleared to just keep working until my due date. I was definitely getting more and more uncomfortable at night when I tried to sleep but the pregnancy was actually still quite manageable. I was very fortunate! I was expecting to go over my due date which is why I booked my mom’s ticket for February 4th, a week before my due date because I was pretty confident I would make it till then. By mid-January, Christy, my aunt who flew in from the Philippines to help with the baby had already arrived and it was a relief to have someone around at home to help me with chores as well. I was definitely getting too pregnant to do things around the house, like carry laundry to the laundromat and shovel snow! But now I wasn’t alone and just having the company was so amazing. I am truly grateful for her! Last but not the least, a fun surprising thing that happened this month was that I had another baby shower! It wasn’t just for me though, it was for all the military wives in Tim’s unit who’s husbands were deployed. It was conducted by the PA Masons, the March of Dimes, the national guard and American baby. I got a whole bunch of stuff for baby John and it was just very sweet. It was awesome to meet other military wives who were going though he same situation as me and it felt good to know I wasn’t alone. It was a sweet gesture, and I am very grateful to everyone who helped make it happen. It made us all feel special despite the circumstances.
When February came, I knew it was definitely coming close. Since this is my first time, it’s not like I knew what labor felt like so at that point I definitely felt like nothing was happening and I just felt like a normal pregnant woman. I would get contractions here and there, I never had any discharge or loss of mucus plug, I never leaked milk, never really had any intense back pain or basically anything that could signify that labor was coming.. So I just kept working and I even worked until
February 1st and did an evaluation. I had an appointment that day and even asked my midwife if there was anything I could do to help jump start labor because I worried about becoming overdue since mom’s visit and my “maternity leave” from school was so limited. At that time I was 38 weeks and 4 days and she checked me and I was 2cm and 50% effaced already (though that’s not really a good indicator of anything so I didn’t really get too excited upon knowing that). She suggested that I start taking evening primrose oil orally and drink some raspberry leaf tea as well just to soften my cervix. On my next appointment the following week when I would be 39 weeks and 4 days she offered to do a membrane sweep to see if it would help as well. I was just pretty excited at that point because I knew my mom was coming in 3 days and would be staying for a whole month!
On Saturday, February 2nd, I woke up like it was any other normal day and just went about doing my regular business. I did the laundry with Tita Cristy and even went out for lunch. At that point I already started feeling funny. I could feel some light contractions coming and going but they were still about 15-20 mins apart and not really painful. So I decided to lie down and drink water and rest just to see if it would go away… It didn’t. Tim called on Skype and I told him I was feeling funny. He could see me getting contractions and told me that they were already 10 mins apart. It was about 2pm then. I started getting nervous so I told Tim to just go to bed and I would wake him up later either to let him know if it was a false alarm or because I was headed to the hospital. After that I nervously called my mom to let her know that I thought I was getting contractions. Of course she was devastated and nervous for me because she wasn’t there yet but I had to be strong… After all what could I do at this point? It is what it is. I called my doula, Virginia, who was a volunteer through Operation Special Delivery, a program that helps pregnant spouses of deployed servicemen so that they don’t give birth alone. She came over right away, took one look at me and knew I was in early labor. I was freaking out! She arrived at about 4pm and just helped me labor at home. Contractions by then were getting more intense and steady and coming in every 5minutes. I stayed home until I felt like I was already getting very nervous and uncomfortable. Finally at around midnight, I decided it was time to go to the hospital. So Cristy, Virginia and I headed over to Geisinger Medical Center at Danville and I messaged Tim to let him know I was going to the hospital. He was fast asleep so I had to message some other wives in the hopes that their hubbies were awake and had them wake up my husband. It worked, and by the time I got to the hospital, Tim was already anxiously awaiting my Skype call.
We got to the hospital around 12:30am and they admitted me and checked me so that they could decide if they were keeping me or sending me home. I was told that I was already at 5cm and 80% effaced so that meant I was staying and I was having the baby. Boy was I shocked and terrified! I called my mom to let her know the news. They then proceeded to check me in my room and I refused the IV because I wanted to labor in the tub and also have the chance to walk around and move. I also did not need the epidural yet at that point because I was still managing the pain. Virginia was doing awesome as a labor coach! She really guided me through everything. The first thing I did was get on the tub and we called Tim. Tim just stayed on Skype with me the whole time, leaving only for bathroom breaks. So I stayed in the tub for a while, then they checked me two hours later and I was a 6.
We then walked the halls and got on the birthing ball and an hour later I was a 7.
I got back on the tub and labored there again and an hour later I was an 8. That was around 530am. So I was making good progress! By the time I was an 8, the contractions were already so painful and intense. I was definitely getting exhausted but I felt like I was already so close to the end so I just kept going. When they checked me at 7am, 8am and 9am I was still an 8! For some reason I just stalled and stopped progressing. I was tired and running out of energy and I was already getting the urge to push even though everyone kept telling me it wasn’t time yet. I was just miserable! At that point my midwife suggested starting me on Pitocin to increase my contractions to get me out of that 8. They were worried that my cervix would swell because I was getting the urge to push even though I was only an 8. I agreed to the Pitocin so they started me on the IV and I needed to have a couple of bags before they could put the pit so I had to wait till I was hydrated. It was terrible! They ordered bloodwork for me at 930 and asked me if I wanted an epidural and I finally agreed. They called for the anesthesiologist and by 11am I had the epidural. It felt amazing, especially since I had already been through so much at that point and I was just nearing the point of exhaustion. By 1pm I started pushing and it took a while, but finally at 213 pm Johnny was born! He was 8 lbs, 4.5 ounces and 20.5 inches long. I had a 2nd degree tear but I was just relieved to be done with it!
My mom’s flight was at 2:30pm and they were about to takeoff and she was about to turn her phone off when I managed to sneak in a phone call to let her know that Johnny and I were okay. The entire 15 hours that I labored in the hospital Tim was on Skype with me, and Virginia and Cristy never left my side. Although it wasn’t my ideal labor, I still think it was memorable and I am just so darn proud of myself and my little man! My mom arrived the following day at 930am and was welcomed by my sweet baby. I ended up giving birth at 38 weeks 6 days and I seriously believe that he came early because he wanted to welcome my mom.
So there’s his birth story. More about his 1st month on my next post
Yep, I finally did it!
This week I defended my thesis (I passed!) and I took my last finals ever (Hopefully, I passed that too! lol)
How does it feel?
Amazing, Exciting and Exhilarating yet at the same time I feel lost, sad and lonely because for the past two years this is all I’ve known! I’ve been busy just studying, working on my thesis, being a graduate assistant.. This was my life! And it kept me busy and distracted from Tim’s deployment. Now that I am done, I don’t know how to entertain myself. I actually bought a Netflix subscription for the first time last night.. that’s how much free time I have now! In a way I am glad because I can rest more and I no longer have 14 hour days. Now I just need to complete my school and medical externship and then I am all set to graduate. O-M-Gee!!!!
I started my externship last week at the Central Columbia School District last week and I am having tons of fun- I think I really like the schools and that is most likely where I want to end up. I’m hoping I can land a good job somewhere here in PA. I can’t wait to start looking around for jobs
P.S. If anyone is wondering, baby is doing okay! 32 weeks now. Soon I’ll be posting the birth plan I’ve come up with for L&D.. I can’t believe its already time to start looking into birth plans!! I just hope this baby cooperates and stays till my due date, because I plan to work till the week before my due date! (Then I’ll take a month off and start my medical placement on March)
Anyway, here are some highlights of my last few weeks of school!
The three of us defended our individual thesis studies this week- and passed!
Panoramic shot of the class and some professors after the last final!
The first lesson plan I prepared for my school placement- Reading the book “Soldier’s Night Before Xmas” and then writing letters to the troops
Our class Christmas party! I will miss everyone!
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Not just the families of the victims, but of the survivors as well, because their lives will never be the same too. It’s a devastating, senseless and terrible tragedy.
I wish there were answers, I wish this event would change things. But I don’t believe its about gun control. So many factors come into play. Parenting, maybe? Maybe he did not receive appropriate help? Why did he have access to those guns knowing he was so unstable? So many questions- and its too late now.
I still want to work in a school district someday. I believe it is still a safe place for children, and I still want to believe that there are more good people out there than bad.