Thursday, February 23, 2006

Show us the baby!

We're starting to get a little antsy about this wait. When we began this process we expected to have our referral by now and be preparing for travel, but instead we're still at least a month (and perhaps two) away from getting any information about our daughter at all. Waiting is really difficult. Lance has even started having bizarre dreams (not that dreaming that we went to China and found out our baby was a 2-year-old boy who spoke English and was a drug runner is that bizarre, really).

Our first travel meeting didn't yield any more information about how soon we can expect a referral. The social workers are all very careful not to say anything that you'll stress over! We are getting closer, though. We learned about all kinds of things at the meeting, like what not to take photos of, how to dress, and what yuan (Chinese money) look like. We also learned that our "log-in date" is July 25. That means that when we check the internet for rumors or look at the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs' web site, we get a true idea of how our dossier is moving (creeping) through the process. It does appear they've almost finished reviewing July dossiers, so we hope to be in the matching room soon!

You can see that we've got a good start on turning our guest room into our baby's room. My friend Debi was here last month, and she helped me paint the walls a beautiful yellow (and she helped me get a whole lot of that yellow paint out of the carpet after I dripped -- OK, poured -- it there). She and I went out to buy the crib and changing table, and Lance put them together. Lance and I moved the "grownup" furniture out of that room. The latest addition is the beautiful glider my parents bought us last weekend when they were visiting. I love that chair so much that I've gone into the room several times just to sit and rock. The only problem is that makes me wish the baby were here to enjoy it!

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we wait -- we know the perfect child will be matched with us, so we're trying to be patient!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It's getting closer!

We have some great news -- our adoption agency has scheduled our first travel preparation meeting for next Thursday. We see this as a sign that the agency expects us to receive our referral soon, because we don't think they'd want to risk us forgetting all the important information they give us! This meeting will prepare us for receiving our referrals and also give us some basic information such as what we'll need to take to China, what we shouldn't pack, things we can expect to do or see on the trip, cultural issues, that sort of thing. We'll have our second meeting after we get a travel date to go over our exact itinerary and other instructions.

Our travel group includes 10 other families whose dossiers were mailed with ours on July 13. We met most of our travel mates at a pre-adoption seminar we attended last fall; we exchanged e-mail addresses and some basic information then. In the succeeding months we have run into each other at events like the agency picnic or the Chinese New Year celebration, and we have exchanged occasional e-mails wondering HOW MUCH LONGER we'll have to wait! Not only will we be sharing a life-altering experience with these other families, but they'll be our support system in the years to come -- many travel groups continue to get together periodically after bringing their daughters home.

One of the reasons we chose this agency, Sunny Ridge Family Center, is because of the support they give adoptive parents during this trip. For one thing, the entire travel group will take the entire journey together. That may sound basic, but many agencies have the families make their own arrangements and meet up with each other after they arrive in China. Another thing we really like is that a social worker from Sunny Ridge will take the entire trip with us. Not only will we have someone with us who has made the trip previously, but he or she will be experienced in helping parents and their babies bond in those crucial first few days together. In China, we'll also travel with a man named Bill who is employed by our agency and lives and works in China.

Sunny Ridge wisely has us spend a few days sight-seeing when we first arrive in the country. This is to give us time to adjust to the time change and to learn more about this beautiful country where our daughter was born. After that, we'll travel to the province where our daughters are living. Often, all the referalls for one group are of children from the same welfare institute, which means we continue to travel together. If the children are from two different places, we'll split up to travel to those two provinces, with the social worker staying with one group and Bill with the other. We will spend about a week in the province, actually completing the adoption there. Then we'll head south to Guangzhou, where we'll do some more paperwork to get visas to bring our daughters home. We'll also have time for more sight-seeing, shopping, and just spending time together as a family.

You can tell we're excited, and we're eager to start our preparations. I'll share details with you as we know them. Most importantly, we should be getting word on our daughter in a month or two, and you'll be able to read it here first! So keep us (and the Chinese officials) in your thoughts and prayers as we await this news.

The photo is from the Chinese New Year celebration on Jan. 29. I WILL post photos of the baby's room, just as soon as we move some extra furniture out of there and get it arranged!