This is the best time of the month -- referrals have started arriving at agencies. Rumor Queen has a listing of blogs that have referral photos, if you'd like to see some beautiful babies.
During our long wait, I explained how this works, but here's a brief recap: Families who have completed home studies and gathered piles of documents (all certified and stamped and sealed) turn in those dossiers to their adoption agency. The agency sends them in batches to the China Center of Adoption Affairs in Beijing; those families will be matched at the same time, most likely with babies from the same social welfare institute, and will form a travel group. The CCAA logs in each batch, and each group is told their Log In Date, or LID. The matches are then made in order according to LID.
I tell you all that to explain why referral time is always bittersweet. Matched families are out of their minds with happiness, while those who just missed out know they have to wait another month for the next batch. And everyone else in line anxiously examines how many LIDs were included in each batch and tries to figure out how much longer they'll have to wait.
When Lance and I turned in our dossier, families were waiting six to seven months for referrals. The CCAA matched about a month's worth of LIDs each month, so that wait was pretty steady and predictable. However, a few months into our wait, the CCAA began matching smaller numbers of LIDs each month. We waited 14 months from our July 25, 2005, LID until our referral on Sept. 25, 2006.
Our referral batch covered families logged in through Aug. 9, 2005. The official cutoff date for this month's batch has not yet been posted, but it appears to go through the end of November, 2005.
That means that in a year's time, a little less than four months' worth of LIDs were matched. And that's why agencies are telling their clients the wait could reach three years.
Many families are opting to adopt from other countries beause of the wait. And the CCAA on May 1 toughtened restrictions on who can adopt, which also will reduce the number of families in line.
Meanwhile, our hearts go out to those still waiting. When families submitted their dossiers in December 2005, the wait was just beginning to lenghten, ever so slightly. Now many of those families who expected to see their children's faces in 7 or 8 months will wait two years or more. It's gut-wrenching.
So enjoy the photos, and rejoice with all the new families who have waited so long. But don't forget all the ones still in line.