Thursday, May 25, 2006

Baby Steps

On Tuesday, the China Center of Adoption Affairs announced it had matched children with families whose dossiers were logged in by June 15, 2005. The newest referrals are arriving now at adoption agencies, and many families are seeing their children's faces for the first time. If you'd like to see some of the referrals, go to this page.

We really hope it won't be too much longer before we can share our child's photo with you, but it sometimes gets discouraging. The CCAA matched only 5 days' worth of dossiers in March and 7 days in April. Matching 9 days' worth in May was an improvement, but a small one. If they keep matching at this pace, it will take another four or five months to get to our dossier, which was logged in on July 25. We do think it will speed up a bit in coming months; we're just going to have to be patient. Meanwhile, please enjoy looking at the other referral photos so you can share in the families' joy.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Preview of coming attractions

One of the ways we adoptive parents-in-waiting pass the time is to follow (OK, obsessively read) other parents' web sites or web logs. One of the moms from our agency's May group has given me permission to post this link so you can see her brand-new daughter, Miss Genevieve (Gigi) YuMi Irwin.

Michelle and her husband, Dave, received Gigi's referral information at the end of April, when their daugther was less than 7 months old! They should be traveling to China in the next month or two, so if you check their blog from time to time, you'll get a preview of what we'll be doing in just a couple of months. They plan to post updates from China (as we hope to do when we go!).

The referral photos are always kind of funny to me because the poor little babies are usually so bundled up that you can barely see their sweet faces. Gigi was only three months old in her referral photo, and the clothes she is wearing just swallow her up. You'll notice she's propped up on some kind of inflatable toy chair; at least one other family in that group has a photo of their own daughter in the same chair.

One thing our agency does differently from most others is that they will not give families photos of their children until all the information that comes with them has been translated. The reason for this is that they strongly recommend you have a doctor look over the medical information so you can make a good decision on whether to accept the referral. They figure if you've been staring at the photo for a week first, you'll be madly in love and unable to hear what the doctor might tell you. I think they're right, but I also think it is going to drive me crazy to have to wait a week or 10 days to see her face! We will get her name, birth date, and where she lives right away, though, and that will give us enough information to shout from the rooftops!

I also want to share another blog with you. I don't know these people at all, but I love reading about their beautiful twins. I especially recommend you look at the March 4 entry so you can click on the video and get a great laugh. I've watched that video over and over; it really keeps my spirits up, and I think you'll enjoy it.

You can find other web sites or blogs fairly easily if you search, and it is interesting to read other families' experiences. But keep an eye on Gigi and her parents for a great preview of our next few months!

Thanks for waiting with us!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Little bits of news

The day after I returned home from my visit with Debi in Washington, our social worker, Bernie, came by to recheck our house for our foster care license. There wasn't much business to conduct as far as that went; we still have smoke detectors and indoor plumbing, and we know we need to babyproof the house before we travel. I did get to show off the baby's room, which was still a guest room a year ago when she visited our house for the home study.

Bernie liked the room, and she was glad to hear of some of the preparations we are making, such as taking the CPR class and learning some basic Chinese. She also offered sympathy for our long wait, but not much new information. When I told her we were gearing up for a July referral and September travel, she said that sounded like a "reasonable expectation." I know that probably doesn't sound like much encouragement, but our agency is very conservative in what they tell waiting parents, so I was cheered that she didn't try to tell me she thought I was aiming too high!

The Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs tends to release referrals in a big batch around the end of each month, so it's likely to be another 10 days to 2 weeks before we know anything about the next group. The CCAA has matched babies with families whose paperwork was received as of June 6; our paperwork was logged in July 25. So we'll have a better idea how much longer we'll be waiting once we see how many days worth of dossiers they include in the next bunch (I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but it's all I have right now!)

Since my last report, we've learned that our agency's May group's referrals are of children living in the Jiangxi province and ranging in age from 7 months to one year. I have seen photos of three of them so far, and they are absolutely beautiful (of course). The youngest ones were born in October, and the photos were taken in January, so they are tiny little things (even though they're bundled up so much they look like the Michelin man!). Some parents got updated information in the last few days, so they can see how the babies are growing and try to figure out what size clothing and diapers they'll need. Once the parents sign on the dotted line to accept the child referred to them, they begin a round of preparations for the trip of a lifetime! They'll have another travel meeting and will start buying supplies and trying to cram it all into suitcases that weigh no more than 40 pounds (the limit for in-China flights). Sunny Ridge will get consulate appointments for them, which will determine when they travel. Once they receive permission from the government to travel, they'll make flight arrangments and get their visas and could be on their way very quickly. It looks like they'll be traveling before the end of June, and we wish them a blessed journey.

Meanwhile, we're anxiously awaiting our turn! I'm always pleased when I see someone has signed our guest book (EDITED -- In the new format, "when I see someone has left a comment", so thanks to everyone who has done that. As we get closer to our trip, we'll update more often, so please keep an eye on us!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Happy Spring!

I can hardly believe May is here already! When we mailed our documents out in July, we fully expected to be home with our little one by now, but you all are well aware that we're not . . . I still think we're about three months away from a referral (then another two months to travel), but I could be wrong. There's nothing to do but wait and see!

People keep asking the reason for the wait, and we can really only guess at it. It does appear, though, that two things are happening 1) a larger number of people than usual applied to adopt from China in the months before we did and 2) there are fewer babies eligible and ready to be adopted, possibly because improving economic conditions means fewer babies are abandoned, and more likely because officials are taking more time and care with the paperwork. Either way, we are assured we WILL have our baby -- we just don't know when. You'll all just have to be patient with us!

The Chinese government just last week announced it had matched babies with folks whose dossiers were logged in by June 6 (we were logged in July 25). The best news about this is that the folks in our agency's May dossier group -- whose documents were logged in June 2 -- have now been matched with their babies. We are SO THRILLED for these families, who really were hit hard by the delays. We're hearing that some of the babies are as young as 6-7 months old, which is exciting news for us, too. We are hoping for an infant, too, but are worried that we are growing older along with our paperwork!

Meanwhile, I decided to take a few days off work for a little vacation. I'm visiting my friend Debi in Spokane, and we're having a wonderful time. I should return to Naperville later this week fully recharged and ready to go back to work.