Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

I have not blogged for a LONG time!  And I can't promise how often I will be on here now; and I'm really not promising eloquent, clever, or amusing posts, but I really wanted to blog about our newest adventure/life change/wonderful news over the next year or so. So what is it?

We are adopting a little girl from China!

I really enjoy looking back over the posts I wrote on our journey to adopt Blaise and I really want to have something similar to look back on this time as well. I also know that others in the adoption journey who come after you love to read blogs! I know I do, but I've noticed that it seems there are fewer active adoption blogs this time around...maybe facebook has filled that function for many? Anyway, if you have an active adoption blog, feel free to leave a comment with your blog address so others can visit your site.

So, where to start? I guess with the decision to move forward. Wait, no, that wouldn't be fair.  I think I should back up to the decision making process.  I think it is more than fair to say that many, if not most, of my friends in the adoption world came to the decision to adopt at a different pace than their spouses.  It's a big deal with a lot of unknowns, a lot of expenses, and a lot of uncertainty. We are no different.

As in most of our life, Chris and I balance each other out in this area.  I have always felt that I would be the mother to a little girl adopted from China.  However, that feeling did not always take into consideration the realities of our life.  Brooks is home schooled which requires a good amount of work; Blaise still needs special attention due to his background; and, frankly, I am not the supermom, domestic diva of the neighborhood.  Chris held me off and stood his ground, much to my dismay, for quite awhile.  I did my best not to try to convince him or talk him into this because that is the last reason to add a child to the family!  Anyway, obviously since I am writing this, Chris came to the point where he was ready to move forward and on our 15th anniversary he told me that we should start the process to get our little girl from China!  And I am so glad that he waited until he was ready--it is so nice for us both be excited and hopeful.

So, after research and word-of-mouth, we decided to sign with the agency, CCAI. Having an agency is new to us since our Rwandan adoption was independent, but since China is a Hague country it is a requirement. From the very beginning CCAI has been great to work with and has had great training and learning materials. Because they are in Colorado we had to contract and agency here to do our home study and we chose Generations Adoptions out of Waco.  They have been amazing!

We had to delay the start of things a bit because we were in the process of buying a new house and needed to have the home study done there. So, we closed on our house, had stayed in it two nights then we left for a week long vacation, then had the home study on our 3rd day home!  I am so glad they don't look under beds!  I only got the house ready because I have the most caring and helpful friends and family in the world!

So, I gathered the first round of dossier documents and prepared to take them to be authenticated in Austin the day after the notarized home study arrived. (What is authenticated, you ask? Well, having a document notarized is not enough in the adoption world.  You must also take each document to the Secretary of State so that they can stamp their approval that the notary on the documents is valid.  THEN, the same documents must go to the Chinese consulate so that they can issue their approval that the approval saying that the notary is valid is also valid. whew!)

Anyway, it was at this point I had my first crisis of this adoption (I say first because there will be many, it's part of the fun).  I began to realize that wait times for baby girls with minor special needs was getting longer and longer. I began to question whether or not a "baby" was the only option; I began to consider special needs that I hadn't before. Then I committed a horrible adoption sin...I began to look at waiting child files on other agencies' lists. (This is a problem because most of the larger agencies match children primarily from their individual lists; they don't transfer files from agency to agency). Anyone want to guess what happened? Yep, our daughter was sitting there staring out of the computer with her beautiful dark eyes and chubby cheeks.  A baby? Nope, she's 2 1/2 and will be 3 before she comes home (almost the exact age Blaise was). A special need from our original list? Nope, not even on our radar.

But guess what? We only think we control these things. And adoption has a way of giving us a false sense of control...like we are shopping for the "perfect" child.  There is no such thing, but God can place the child who is perfect for our family in our path, and He did. Are there unknowns? Yes. Will I have terrifying moments when I spend sleepless nights imagining all that could go wrong? Yes.  Am I already beside myself because I know she lives in a region with no central heating and it's winter and I can't warm her? Yes. But do I doubt our decision? Nope, not one bit.

So, back to the practical stuff. So we have switch agencies so that we can be matched with her. We will now be with Gladney.  We have been officially matched and have received our PA from China. This is a step that happens when you find your child before your dossier gets to China. It basically holds her for us and allows us 6 months to complete our paperwork.  We will have to wait until USCIS (United States Immigration) approves what is called our I-800a application before we can send our dossier to China and the we get a Log in Date (LID).  My goal is to get the dossier to China by mid-April. From there it will be 4-6 months until we can pick her up.

I cannot share her picture her yet; our agency prefers that we wait until further along in the process, but I'll post it when I can.  Trust me she is beyond adorable!  For now I'll tell you that her name will be Meili Ilene Pawlak.