Sunday, August 27, 2006

Official word

Here's what it looks like when the China Center of Adoption Affairs updates its website:

One quirk of the wording is that CCAA always reports it has finished placing children for families registered "before" a certain date. To most of us, this notice would appear to say they have matched through July 21, not including the 22nd. However, people with log-in dates of July 22 were matched in this last batch.

Our log-in date is July 25. That means if we were waiting for service at the post office, we'd have No. 725, and the clerks would have just finished with customer No. 722. And they've just closed the window for a month-long lunch break.

The last few monthly batches of referrals have included anywhere from 7 to 15 log-in dates. July 25 was a Monday last year, so only a small number of dossiers were logged in over the weekend, July 23 and 24. That would seem to indicate that they can get to us that much faster.

But we're NOT making any assumptions about when we will be matched with Rachel. You'll just have to stay tuned (or consult the Magic 8-Ball). (EDITED 9-11-06: The magic 8-ball has disappeared! What am I going to do now?)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

OK, I'm over it

Well, as Scarlett O'Hara always said, "tomorrow is another day." Today is yesterday's tomorrow (got that?), so I have a new attitude. I've climbed out of my pit and am ready to act like a normal human being! Sure, I'm disappointed that we have to wait another month (or more), but when it happens, it happens. We'll get the daughter we were meant to have (see, I told you I'd say that).

I think I deserved 24 hours to feel sorry for myself, and I took it. Now, onward!

Yesterday I posted the link to some other July referral photos, but I wanted to post a special link today so you can see Miss Olivia Jane Wei Schmick. Olivia is the newly matched daughter of Michelle and Eric. Michelle and I have gotten to be good friends through this process, even though we've yet to meet face to face. We found each other through the a Yahoo! group set up for folks whose dossiers were mailed in July. I mentioned that I live in the Chicago area, and Michelle wrote that she had grown up here. Before long we were e-mailing privately, finding that we had many other things in common. In the last few months we've exchanged quilt squares, told each other stories of our families, and solved each other's problems. We've ranted about the delays and delighted in each other's good news. Yesterday, she called me minutes after she received word of her referral, and I was one of the first people to see photos of Olivia. She is absolutely beautiful, of course. Michelle and I both like the outdoor photo best.

Even as she was sharing her good news yesterday, Michelle was asking how I was doing. And even through my own sadness, I was delighting in her happy news and crying over her daughter's photos. (Michelle! You're a MOM!) We had hoped to travel together, and now it looks like we won't, but I'm looking forward to her blazing a trail for me to follow and sharing her advice for those first few days of motherhood. And when we both get back, Michelle will bring Olivia here to meet her grandparents and other relatives, and we'll all meet. And we hope Olivia and Rachel will be friends.

So go look at the baby!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oh, well. What's another month?

The Rumor Queen herself was stunned yesterday when people started posting news of referrals. We didn't even have a hint they were on the way! You can just imagine what a basket case I was at work, thinking that we might be in the group. But as the hours wore on and more and more folks reported in, we began to realize (with a sickening feeling) that CCAA had matched only 9 calendar days' worth of dossiers. The CCAA still has not updated its site, but it's clear today that the referrals only went through July 22 log-in dates. We were logged in July 25. That means we have to wait until the end of September for news.

We missed the cutoff by three stinking days.

I know many of you are genuinely distressed at this news, and you will want to offer us support and comfort. I apreciate that more than you can know; you have been more than kind to us, and I know you'll be as excited as we are when it is finally our turn. So I don't want to be disrespectful or ungrateful when I say this, but please don't tell me one of these things today:

1) At least you know you're next! No, I don't. I can't believe it until it happens.
2) When you get Rachel, you'll know she was "the one" and you'll be glad you had to wait until she was ready. I know this is true. I'll probably post this sentiment myself in just a week or two. But I'm sure you'll understand why, at least today, that is no comfort at all.

I'm grieving right now. In a couple of days I'll be fine, but right now I'm just miserable. I myself offered those bits of comfort to other people in previous months, but now I understand. I'll be OK, but today I just need to feel sorry for myself.

Some of my friends in the July group got referral calls yesterday, and many are eagerly anticipating them today. You can see the referrals on our group's web page. The babies are exceptionally beautiful this month, but I say that every time. We all know that next month's referrals will be the MOST beautiful of all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Yes. Still. Waiting.

Wake us when there's news . . .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The other day a friend at work asked if I had any news. I told her nope, not a thing.

"What does the gossip lady say?" she asked.

"It's not 'the gossip lady,'" I told her sternly. "It's the RUMOR QUEEN!"

Please, a little respect!

The Rumor Queen has many loyal subjects who check her site daily (OK, hourly) for any news about when referrals might come out, what dates they might include or any snippets of information about What The Heck They're Doing in China.

She tends to have solid information before anyone else. The rumors also can drive you crazy. And they are, after all, rumors. But those of us hoping for a referral this month find ourselves checking her site 10 (or 20 . . . OK, 30) times a day. It's addictive.

All hail the Queen!

I must admit, though, that while I'm waiting for word, I've found another source of hope: The Magic 8-Ball. (EDITED 9-11-06: The online Magic 8-Ball is no more). Even the Queen herself has suggested it is as accurate as she is early in the month. Until today, it has kept me cautiously optimistic that we'll receive a referral this month, but it has led me to believe that it will come so late that I won't have a photo of Rachel until September. Just now I asked again, though:

"Will we get our referral in August?" "You may rely on it."

Will we see her photo before Labor Day?" "YES."

I figure right now it's about as accurate as anything. Go ahead, check it for yourself. And let me know what it tells you!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Reunited twins

The Tribune today contained a beautiful story about reunited Chinese twins. Click here to see it. (You might have to register with the Tribune, but it's free).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Goodbye to an old friend

Today Lance and I had to say goodbye to Ethel, my 16-year-old pug/dachshund mix. She was a faithful friend and a good dog, and I already miss her.

Ethel was always looking out for me. I love this photo because it was taken just a couple months after Lance and I began dating -- see how she has her eye on him?

Ethel put up with a lot, especially in the last few years:

Rest in peace, old friend.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wow, this is taking a long time

(EDITED: I removed the annoying running counter because we received our referral at noon Sept. 25 -- that was 427 days, 10 hours and 58 minutes after our dossier was logged in at the China Center of Adoption Affairs).

The wait starts to wear on you after awhile, you know? I'm afraid to get too excited about our referral possibly being in the next batch because I don't want to be disappointed, but I think it's about time, don't you?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hey! You found us!

Thanks for visiting The Rachel Chronicles, news about our adoption from China. Right now we're anxiously waiting to see Rachel's photo for the first time. Soon we'll be reporting on our trip to China and filing daily dispatches -- and photos. Then we'll chronicle life at home with our new daughter.

You can comment on any post by hitting the comment buttom at the end of it. If you don't have a blogger account you can post by hitting "anonymous," but please sign the post so we know who you are.

Below this post you'll also find all the original posts from the Caring Bridge site, with their photos. I have edited a few notes in some of them to account for the different format. I put the original post date on top, even though blogspot of course will identify them as being posted in August.

We hope you'll enjoy following along! It won't be long now, I promise.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A few notes on procedure

The time before we actually see little Rachel's face is growing short, so I thought I'd give you an idea how it will work. I don't want anybody to miss anything!

First of all, we'll hear that the China Center of Adoption Affairs is sending out "referrals" for dossiers logged in for a period of time that includes our log-in date of July 25, 2005. (I usually get word through a blog of a woman calling herself the Rumor Queen).

At some point, the CCAA will update its site with official word, but thanks to the internet adoption community we usually know sooner than that.

Once we hear referrals are on the way, Lance and I will spend several days jumping every time the phone rings. One of those phone calls at last will be our social worker, Bernie, calling to tell us we have been referred a child.

This is the part where our agency operates differently from others: Bernie will tell us our child's name, where she lives, and her date of birth. But that's about all we'll get for a week or 10 days, until the documents are fully translated to English. (Other agencies provide the photo that day or the next, but Sunny Ridge doesn't want us falling in love with the photo before we can get the full packet of information).

Finally, a LONG week or so later, we will drive to Sunny Ridge to get our FIRST PHOTOS of Rachel! Bernie also will give us that very important packet of documents containing medical information and other facts about our baby. A doctor in Chicago will review the information for us and then tell us if there is anything that should concern us. We will then sign some papers letting the Chinese government know we intend to adopt that child.

Once everyone in our travel group has accepted their referrals, Sunny Ridge will mail the documents back to China. After that, we have to wait several week to get permission to travel. Sunny Ridge will then schedule our appointment with the U.S. consulate and book our trip. Travel likely will be 8-10 weeks after we receive our referrals, but we might not know exactly when it's going to be until just a couple weeks before our departure date.

I almost forgot the most important part -- I will be updating every step of the way! Stay tuned for the first glimpse of Rachel’s face and vital statistics, as well as details on our trip.

This web site has been a wonderful way to keep people updated, but I think we’re going to move to a different address soon to get a little more flexibility. I want to move to a blog format so we can post more photos, and so we can post them alongside our text instead of in a different place. I don’t want anyone missing any part of our wonderful adventure! Once the blog is set up, I’ll post that information here, too.

So keep visiting -- you don‘t want to miss that sweet little face (or her fetching referral photo outfit!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Official confirmation

The China Center of Adoption Affairs has made it official by updating its website -- the latest matches included families whose dossiers were logged in through July 13. Our log-in dates is July 25, so our chances for a referral in the next batch look very good. We should get news of our child before the end of August!

Now that we're close, I'm going to plan to update at least twice a week (probably more often as August goes on), so please check back often!