Unfortunately, the immigration service won't take responsibility for lost mail. You will need to file the I-824. The priority date should be the date the I-130 was received. Yes, it is possible that is 10/12/2009. There are free, non-profit, attorneys for people without the funds to hire a private attorney.
www.capriotti.com -- email@example.com -- Senior Legal Counsel -- Capriotti International Law -- Legal disclaimer: This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Contact the American Immigration Lawyers Association www.aila.org for a referral to an experienced immigration attorney.
The priority date is the date of filing of the I-130.
You will need the approval notice if the person petitioned will be filing an I-485. You will not needed if the person petitioned will process at a US Embassy/Consulate abroad.
J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.