Sunday, March 31, 2013

Not our time yet

Well, we had hopes of eeking into March with a referral, but it wasn't to be.  As a reminder, our LID is 10/27/06 and now everyone with an LID up to 10/25/06 now have referrals.  So we're only two LIDs away.  Basically, that means barring something incredibly unusual that we'll receive our referral at the end of April, Lord willing.   We were disappointed not to make the cut this month, but the up side is that we're now so close we shouldn't have to worry if we're make it next month.  Also, it gives us a little more time to decide on a name.  (I know, we've had 7 years, right?!  Ugh!  Hard decision).

Also, the most important reason that it's OK for us is that we know it's in God's hands.  He knows our child already and the number of hairs on her head.   He's caring for her now while we can't, and we trust in His timing.   This month our prayers will be for the employees in the "match room".   According to Rumor Queen, this is how the matching room works,

"The next question that comes up is generally how the matchers match families and babies. I’ve heard from several people who have had the opportunity to speak with someone who works in the matching room. The various conversations seem to all agree that they first look for something that stands out: a matching birthday, a baby who looks a lot like a parent, or a baby who likes music and a parent who teaches music. Several matching people have stated they match by bone structure of the baby’s face and the parent’s faces (this is why they need our passport photos, so they can compare our mug shot with the baby’s mug shot). Some have stated that they used Chinese astrology, also. Once they’ve matched the obvious matches they then start to look at things like age of child requested. The age requested is not a priority for them, they feel they are matching families and not filling orders". 

Interesting to say the least.  But, we are praying and have confidence in our prayers that the  decision will not be based on how we look nor Chinese astrology.  We know that "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will" (Prov 21:1).    So, we know that God will pick out the ONE little child meant to be raised by us.  She'll have to be a bit tough, starting out with 3 older brothers.  ;)  In the meantime, we still covet your prayers if God brings us to your mind while we're still waiting.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The End of the Month... The End of the "Waiting Road"?

This time of the month starts getting to be the anxious time of the month when your log in date (LID) is close.  Previously Rumor Queen had predicted us to get a referral in March and then last month, she changed her prediction to April instead.  But, there's still a small chance this could be our month.   Our agency (Chinese Children Adoption International) has sent us paperwork to have filled out just in case, and they updated their website saying that the Chinese government had pulled the children's files this month for referrals.  To these paid workers, they are files to be pulled and matched with waiting families.  But, for a waiting family, it's a very odd feeling to wonder if YOUR child's file was pulled.  We'll know probably in about a week or less.  Until then, it kind of feels like right before you have a baby.  I have that restless, distracted feeling, and I keep finding my mind elsewhere.  Could it be soon we see our baby's face for the first time?  If it's not our month, hopefully next month will be.  Seven years is a long wait, but the last little bit really stretches out.  :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Learning Curve

Matt and I are keenly aware that we have a lot of work to do to prepare for this new little person who will soon enter our family.  However, how do we completely prepare for the unexpected?  I'm reading as much as I'm able about attachment, bonding, and the grief of the adopted child over leaving everything she's ever known.   But, I have to remember that every child is different, and I will never completely know her history.  Some parents of adopted Chinese children are fortunate to know where their child was abandoned, and precious few get notes that accompany their children.  So, we'll get this little one, who won't be able to tell us how she was treated or if she was hungry every night (most orphans rarely have ever felt full).  We've been educated about the possibilities of food hoarding and how we can try to use food as a method to build trust with her.  It's so very new to think about.  With our three boys, we have known intimately all of their experiences from the moment of their births, so we're definitely voyaging on unchartered waters.

We recently discovered this video from a Christian family who adopted 2 daughters from the foster care system.  They do such a great job of showing that there's more than just the rosy side of adoption.  The adjustment was even harder for them, because their 2 adopted girls were older than our daughter will be and had experienced very difficult things and came from an unstable home.  The adoptive mother discusses her own grief of having not been there at their births and missing all of the firsts and the beginning of life which is such (in her words)  "a basic level of parenting".  But, even through such disruption and chaos that their family experienced during this transition, they asked, "What's the alternative for these children"?  Adoption isn't always the easiest road, but it is a great question for all of us to consider:  What Are the alternatives for the orphan?  

Sozo: Beauty Through Pain Documentary from BadCab Productions on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No place to start like the beginning.....

I have really resisted starting a blog because I'm afraid I won't have the time to keep up with it.  Also, we're fairly boring, ordinary people and don't have incredibly unusual things to post.  Plus, I know I don't spend all my time catching up on other people's blogs.  (I do read yours regularly, Waverly, although it's probably the one I need to read the least, since I pretty much know most of what you guys do.  ;)  But...... we have a BIG change coming in our lives, and this is the best venue to explain it.  Plus, I know many family members and friends will want to keep up with our upcoming trip and we won't be able to email or call everyone from China, and this will be the easiest, most concise way to update everyone at the same time.  I also pray that through our journey a family may decide to open their hearts up to adoption.  So, here goes....

I think some people just don't get adoption.  I have always loved hearing adoption stories, meeting families who have adopted, hearing songs about adoption, reading about adoption... The list goes on and on.  I also understand that it doesn't come that naturally to some people.    There are just those people that if you mention adoption plans, they kind of quizically stare at you and wonder silently why in the world you would consider it.  Or you have the more brazen folks who come out and ask you.  They especially don't understand adoption of a child of a different race and culture.  We have gotten the occasional, "There are plenty of children here" comments, or "Do you think she'll fit in with your family?" questions.   There ARE plenty of adoptable children in the U.S.  But, there are plenty of adoptable children everywhere in the world!  The numbers are staggering and will depress you if you dwell on them with any length.  Unicef has estimated that worldwide there are between 143 and 210 MILLION orphans world wide.  So, as a Christian, you do what God calls your family to do.  That may be adopting a child from the US, adopting from abroad, or praying for or assisting families that are choosing to adopt.  God leads us all on different paths.  God led us on the path to China.

Matt wasn't always adoption minded.  But God is, so he sent Matt to China. :)   Matt had a wonderful opportunity in 2003 to go for about 2 weeks to China to acquire a pair of beautiful giant pandas for our local zoo. (At that time, he was assistant curator of mammals for the zoo).  He had awesome, once in a lifetime experiences while he was there.  Because he wasn't exactly a tourist, but instead had people in China treating him as their visitors, he had a very real taste of what China was like.  (Especially the food - duck intestines and all!) He was invited to visit a reforestation site (to preserve the natural habitat of pandas), and this site was very rural.  So rural, that most of the people in those places had never seen an American - much less a blonde one.  He kept having people walk up and ask to get their picture made with him.  Part of that experience included seeing China's children.   That was 10 years ago, so people were starting to become more aware of China's "one child policy" and their neglect and abandonment of some of their girls.  The combination of actually SEEING China's children and learning about the fate of these children around the same time was God's way to Matt's heart.  So very shortly after returning home, Matt brought up the topic of adoption from China.  I didn't need any convincing at all.  I was super excited!  We had 1 son, Jacob, at the time and knew that we wanted to have another biological child.  So, we decided if God allowed us, we would have another bio child while we were younger, before pursuing adoption.  (Not to mention the fact that we were too young to adopt from China in 2003 since we were under their age requirement of at least 30).   Aidan took a little longer to come around than we thought he would :),  and he finally arrived in Oct of 2004.   We thought we'd give it a year or so before adopting and officially applied for adoption in April of 2006.  That would be the very beginning of an unbelievably long "paper pregnancy".

At that time, our agency and social worker told us that we would probably wait about a year (maybe a little longer) before getting a "referral" (an assignment of a child to our family).  Little did we know that we would still be waiting in 2013.  I'm glad we didn't know, because I can't be certain we would have still applied.  We enthusiastically told all of our family and most of our friends that we were adopting in the next year and naturally most were happy for us.  Then, it was a bit over a year and we started getting some, "How close is your adoption?" questions, and then months later the "Are you close yet?" questions, and then finally the "You guys still adopting?" questions.  Then years of silence, because understandably most people assumed something fell through or we must have changed our minds.   Also, we honestly began to wonder whether a Chinese child really was in our future.  We thought that maybe we had made a mistake and it was never going to happen.  So, for months at a time, I didn't even check on the status much, because it was only to learn that an online referral calculator ( had our projected referral date as Feb, 2014, so I just thought I wouldn't worry about it much until we got close to that.  We had another sweet boy (Tru) in 2010 and were kept very busy.  Then, my sweet Dad called one day last summer with a tip he'd heard from an adoptive parent, and told me that I should check out Rumor Queen (an anonymous lady who predicts Chinese adoption referrals on her blog).  Anybody adopting from China uses Rumor Queen and I told him that I had checked it over the previous months and that we still weren't close, but that I'd check again.    Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the date I had in my head of Feb 2014 was really off and that the website that I had checked wasn't related to Rumor Queen like I thought and that we may actually get a referral within the next several months according to her predictions.  

Whew!  This took longer to explain than I thought it would.  :)  To sum it up, we're now close.   For non-special needs adoptions, China strictly works on a First Come - First Served policy.   Our LID (Log in Date) by the Chinese government was 10/27/2006 (when they officially accepted our dossier (application)).   They have now referred children with LIDs through 10/19/2006, so we're super close.   Lord willing, we'll probably receive a referral in late April/early May (would love it to be sooner).  After that, it will take about 3-4 months for immigration to approve us and China to OK us to travel.   To boil it down, we'll more than likely go to pick her up this summer.  

In the meantime, we have a daughter (presumably) who is living on the other side of the world.  Our daily prayers are that she's not hungry, that's she's warm at night and that someone will pick her up when she cries.  We pray that God will protect her and keep her, and we would love for any of you to pray the same if God ever puts her on your mind.  We pray that she'll be healthy and happy and not scared.  We're praying for God to pick out the right person for our family - the person He knew wouldn't be born until now.  I am absolutely confident that once she's been a member of our family that we wouldn't imagine having some other child years sooner.  (Also, little did we know that He had Tru planned for our family and that she would have a playmate close to her age).  So cool how God knows better than we do!