Saturday, July 26, 2014

Here we go again!

Adoption.... I revealed last week a shocking surprise to most, that I indeed was adopting again. This time from China. Back in November 2013, I decided to once again expand my family through adoption. Having an "only" child never really registered in my life. I began researching different ways of adopting and just thought at the time I would adopt again through the foster care system. While there were many ups and downs, I knew I could emotionally navigate it once again. So I informed my foster care agency that I wished to foster to adopt only at this time. Let's just say that information wasn't met positively. I knew the agency was in desperate need of foster families and to lose one just didn't make their day. Needless to say I became the last person my agency looked at for placement. I thought for sure there were numerous children living in foster care just "waiting" for a family of their own. I wasn't looking for an infant. I simply asked for a child who was indeed "waiting." I knew this could mean many different things. Most likely a child with special needs, a child with emotional issues, a child from an abusive and neglectful home. I spent years fostering "those" kids. I just knew in my heart, I was ready. I was drawn to that word, "waiting." Getting pretty much nowhere with my foster care agency, I started searching for "waiting child" adoption programs. I was amazed at how many I found. Of course all these were international adoption programs and I began thinking "what if." What if I pursued one of these "waiting" programs. I had always wanted to adopt internationally, but never thought it would be feasible as a single woman. I began researching different countries and the agencies that represented them. I took into consideration the travel time that would be required and how much work I’d have to miss. A big consideration is if they even excepted "single" applicants to begin with. After all my research I felt I knew all there was to know about adopting. I waited some more. I thought surely my foster care agency would come through. All together, my foster care agency sent me profiles of four different children that needed homes. In the end other adoptive families were chosen for them. The first week of December 2013 rolled around and still I had no conclusive answer on how I was going to move forward. One morning I woke up and just said "go for it." Obviously consciously and subconsciously I had been thinking about this. I called an adoption agency that I had researched thoroughly. I knew the moment they told me about their "waiting child" program in China it was the one for me. I was directed to fill out a family profile and a "medical list." The medical list was a list of any and all conditions a child may have that I would consider being matched with. Now, because I am in the medical field I knew quite a bit about the conditions I was considering, but I could see how this list could be overwhelming to others. I sent my paperwork in and they asked me to wait. Waiting was hard. I chose from the beginning to not tell anyone of my decision to adopt internationally. This choice was made based on China's rule that a single applicant must meet certain criteria to adopt and some exceptions or leniency was given to some. I met all, but one. The criteria states that your youngest child in the home must be 6. Well Austin is 2, so I would have to be matched with my child from China and then specifically ask China if they'd give some leniency in that one criteria. China often makes exceptions for their "waiting child" program, so I proceeded with my hopes of adopting from China. I waited and waited. It seemed like an eternity. The wait ended in April 2014 when I was matched with my daughter. I was secretly thrilled. I instantly fell in love and became concerned for her well being like I would be for any of my children. I had to make a decision to accept her within the week and specifically write a letter to China asking for permission to adopt her. I reviewed her file and shared my concerns about her medical care with our local children's hospital. I moved forward, writing my letter of intent to China the following week and again I waited for a response. The agency warned me the wait would be long and it sure was. Weeks went by and nothing. I was beginning to think China didn't like me. That they didn't want me to adopt a Chinese child. Confirmation finally came in the form of a "pre approval" on July 11th, 2014. Child said "yes." I think I literally created a hole in the ground from jumping up and down so much. I told my family two days later. It's no easy task to adopt a child internationally. Even a child that has spent her entire life in an orphanage. It's going to take months of paperwork and a lot of patience, but she's totally worth it. I'm ready. I believe this journey is meant to be. I'm excited and fearful for many reasons. So everyone get ready, because I'll be talking a lot about my journey and my daughter who just happens to live in China right now.