Sunday, October 31, 2010

Announcing...


...I've emailed my agency and asked that they lock a child's file for me! I feel very confident in my decision and feel at peace that it's the very most right thing for me to do.

Please don't pass this along in any forums or egroups yet since I want to make that announcement myself after safely locking the file.

I will keep everyone posted as news comes in.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Researching a Little Girl


There are almost 2000 children on this month's Shared List and hundreds more on agency-specific lists. On these lists are children with special needs or children who are healthy, but older, usually 10-13 yrs. old. At 14 yrs. the kids "age out" of the orphanages and they are on their own.

I have found many, many children who tug at my heart. Unfortunately, most are agency-specific, meaning only families using that agency can apply to adopt that child. However, after a certain period of time, if no one has applied, the children's files are sent back to CCAA and then they are available to all.

One little girl has stayed on my mind. She is on the Shared List and I've seen her file. She is 6.5 years old and cute as anything. Her special need is significant and private, but doesn't affect the intellect or limbs at all. No one would know what it is just looking at her with clothes on. She had surgery about a week ago at one of the best hospitals in China. She will need further surgery, but it will never completely correct her special need.

The decision of choosing a child is extremely difficult for me. I feel like I'm stepping on ground reserved for God. Some days I want a young child, others an older one. Sometimes I want the most simple special need and other times it doesn't matter as long as I can handle it properly.

I have asked myself what it is about this particular little girl that keeps her on my mind. I wish I could say it's an obvious spiritual connection, but it isn't. She is very cute, has a smile like a cute little elf. She's a little fair, with brown hair instead of black. Dozens of families have apparently inquired about her but none have locked her file and applied to adopt her.

When I've read the blogs of other families who have chosen a child with special needs, they said that when they saw the photo or read the description, they immediately knew that they were looking at their child.

When I see the latest picture of this child, taken about a week ago in the hospital, I can easily imagine stroking her little arm as it lies listlessly on the sheet, and caressing her cheek. I can imagine getting her home and bathing her, learning every inch of her, the way her ear lobes curl and the shape of her fingernails, finding her ticklish spots and making her feel good about her body that didn't form quite right. I can imagine her as a teen when her special need causes her worry socially and then as an adult when the full limitations of her condition are realized and she grieves at what she cannot accomplish on her own because of it.

And then I feel the restriction of my budget and wonder how in the world I will ever afford this and ask myself if further debt is worth it. My plan is to not have my agency search the lists for me until January when I have more children enrolled in my childcare (hopefully) and have refinanced the house, found out what my taxes are going to be like, etc...

Some people put up donation buttons on their blogs and hold fundraisers. I always said to myself, "If you can't afford the adoption, how can you afford to raise a child!" But I know better now. I didn't have the luxury of planning this adoption like I did Apple's. CCAA suddenly created a new program in August 2010 that would allow me to do a concurrent adoption as long as Apple's adoption wasn't final yet. That is the critical thing: Apple's adoption cannot be final. So, I have a small time-frame to work with. If I'd known this was coming, I wouldn't have bought a house.

Others might reason that I shouldn't pursue a concurrent adoption at all.

I'll tell you a secret: Whenever I imagined what it would be like to go and get Apple, I always pictured walking through the street and having another baby thrust at me. I've heard of this happening. And then convincing CCAA to let me keep it.

Another scenario I imagined was that I'd visit Apple's orphanage after adopting her and finding out there was an older girl who is desolate without her because she always took care of her. Orphanages often have older children help out with younger ones and the older ones sometimes become true parents and grieve horrifically when separated.

I never imagined CCAA opening a new program and just letting me adopt a second child.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thank You


I just wanted to thank all who have been following me lately. The decision to adopt concurrently is a huge one and I'm feeling the weight of it every day. Sometimes I'm giddy with joy and other days I'm shaking scared, mostly about money.

I have not found anything cute in the stores lately, which is good since it saves money, but I have some things I bought awhile ago that I'll try to post tomorrow.

I've been sick for 10 days with a very bad sinus cold and mild flu. I rarely get fevers when ill, but I did this time, but my sinuses are almost drained now and I'm feeling much, much better, though I did sleep half the day away today.

I wish you all could see how I am typing right now because it's typical. My cat Poppy is on my lap trying desperately to make me pet her. She writhes in my lap trying to get under my hands and when I don't stop typing and pet her, she reaches up with her paws and taps on my face. If that doesn't get my attention, she stretches up and puts her cold wet nose up my nose and nips my nose with her teeth. This behavior is repeated over and over and over until I'm finished typing. It's very annoying but so cute I can't complain.

Need Another Letter


I had a message from my social worker today. She is asking for another reference letter, preferably one from a family with an older child with a special need. I don't have a friend that fits that category. I had some friends with multiples, but they've both moved away, one to Mexico, and we didn't keep in touch.

It isn't going to hold up my homestudy, which she already sent in, but she said that three are now required instead of the two I originally submitted. It has to be notarized, of course!

I swear, I have Post Paperwork Stress Syndrome. I get the most awful feeling in my guts when I have to get documents or official letters done now. I wonder if it will ever go away.

Friday, October 15, 2010

42 Months and Counting


I've been logged in for 3 1/2 years now in my wait for Apple. It looks like I'll get Jie Jie just after the 4 year mark.



I didn't put up my jar when referrals came out last Sept. 29, 2010, so I'll add it here. Referrals were given to families logged in up to May 18, 2006.


Social Worker Visit


It went great! It will be done next week and sent to CIS so I can amend the I-600A to include two children.

I have a virus, one that brings stuffed sinuses and a fever. I HATE having a fever because I absolutely freeze so I boil myself in the bathtub, but now I'm in the sweating phase.

I plan to start refinishing the nursery furniture over Thanksgiving, I think. I also need to gut the closet and design something nice. I am getting very excited to receive this little child!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Social Worker Coming Tomorrow


I know I just had my homestudy updated in July, but it was to renew my I-600A. For those outside the adoption community, this is the application to US immigration to bring an adopted foreign child into the country.

Tomorrow's update is so I can amend my homestudy to say TWO children, one with special needs!!! Then I amend to I-600A to say the same thing.

My original homestudy has the words, "minor, sugically-correctable special needs," and I want to keep that in there in case my Apple has something that's discovered at the medical exam.

I also found out something that I'm very relieved to know. Because I'm using the I-600A and not going the Hague route, I can get an exemption for all those vaccinations required by the US for children over 2 years old. I've heard of some kids having up to 6 shots in one visit! I cannot tell you how dangerous and inhumane I believe that to be!!! Fortunately, there is legislation on the table right now that Hague families are hoping passes by Thanksgiving that will eliminate this.

I'm fighting some virus given to me by one of my daycare kids. It's sapped all my strength and I'm going to bed now!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giddy and Smiley


I am positively blooming inside. I feel fluttery and happy. I don't know my child yet, but I am very, very, very ready to fall in love!

I did the bottoms of the garage doors today. They were HEAVY! Once I managed to get the off their hinges and wrestle them to the sawing area, I thought I'd done the hard part. Nope. Getting them back ON the hinges was super hard. The doors weighed more than I do and they are wide so every time I'd manage to get one hinge lined up, the second I reached to get one pin in, the door would fall off. The first door was so hard that I almost gave up and didn't do the second one. Light was fading fast and I was determined (will power is a serious force in the universe!) so I did it. Getting the pins out was super hard because of the rust and paint but sawing them and getting them back on was much easier than with the first door. After a year of not being able to close those doors, it was immensely satisfying to do so today.

I do love this nesting, I am beginning to have better focus. I've needed that because my brain has been so much all over the place I'm sometimes paralyzed into inaction.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Excellerated Plan


I have a new home improvement plan. No more waiting to do all those little niggling chores. I'm starting with all the doors that stick or don't shut properly. As has been my path of home improvement, I continue to have trouble with tools. Yesterday's project involved trimming off the top of a door that wouldn't fit into the frame. I've already purchased and returned one planer that just didn't work and today will return the other one I purchsed because the instructions say to hone the blade before use. I don't have anything to hone it on!!! I tried my jig saw and the blade was too light for the job and protested horrifically. I always end up using my circular saw, which is my scariest tool. The affordable ones have the blade on the outer side so it's hard to see exactly where I'm cutting. The good ones (I'm just craving a 5" one with the blade on the inside so I can see it) are expensive but I might just spring for one since I use it so much and want to be safe.

Today I'll do the garage doors that were damaged/swollen at the bottom from so much rain last winter. They won't close because of it. I'll take them off, saw them down and seal the bottom with the stuff I used on my play structure.

The good news is that I finally used my orbital sander and I LOVE it! It will make doing the dresser a breeze.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Child Waits


Many, many thoughts come into my head throughout the days and nights now that I'm committed to this concurrent adoption. Tonight, while driving, I suddenly realized that my first child has already been born! My first child is in China, somewhere, waiting for a forever family and probably not even realizing it.

This adoption is a lot different than my first. There is a sense of urgency to this one that I can't explain. The wait for Apple has not been hard for me. The timing has made it possible for me to do so many things that will add to the quality of our family life later on. Now, the wait made it possible for me to begin another adoption. I wonder what other monumental things might occur before I actually bring Apple home!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Answered Prayer


It suddenly hit me while loading the dishwasher that my prayer to know how many children to adopt was answered! Sometimes our prayers are answered in somewhat mundane ways, such as through a social worker.

I'm starting to come out of the shock phase, which I now recognize as being perfectly normal. When I started Apple's process, the first thing I did was go to the bank to get current bank statements and I had to run out into the parking lot because I was sure I was going to vomit. Luckily, I didn't, but I definitely remember the shock of taking such a huge life-altering step.

I've been very concerned about money, but that is also something that is starting to smooth out. It looks like the fees are not as much as I expected and my agency charged me much less for my homestudy update than I expected (over 50% less)!

I am definitely starting to switch gears here. I am not going to go to gymnastics any more, but will save that money each month. I find myself wanting to eat out, then not being able to decide where to go, then eating at home because I don't want to spend the money. I'm ready to start doing the things around the house, like planing the doors, painting and scraping door frames.

I have not decided on an age yet, but it would be convenient to find a two year old since I have the most clothes in that size and Jie Jie could use Apple's crib as a daybed. Once I find my child, it will all be much easier, I'm sure. It's a pretty big switch in gears in my head after focusing so much on preparing for one child. I think of everything as Apple's, but Jie Jie could be Apple. It's a little hard to explain... What I do know, is that this is something I can work on now, and it's free, so I'm giving it some attention now. I suppose it's all part of nesting and I'm a Super-Nester!

It's Going to Be One At a Time


My phone rang tonight (well, yesterday) at 11:45pm. Being that it was so late, I hovered by the answering machine to screen the call. To my utter astonishment, it was the director of my adoption agency! We spoke for 45 minutes. She was calling to let me know that she had spoken with my social worker and that the social worker was only willing to approve me for two children, adopted one at a time, on my homestudy update, which we will schedule for some time very soon.

My social worker's perspective is as the child's advocate. My agency director's perspective is the parent's advocate. Therefore, I will be approved for only two children for the time being. These children will be my original Apple and Jie Jie, who I will choose off the Waiting Child List, Shared List, or my Agency-specific List.

The director did promise, however, to work with me on the adoption of another child, from another country, if I find that I do want a third child after adopting my two. I think that if it was up to her, I would have my wish of adopting two simultaneously and then Apple. She and her husband have adopted five themselves and I met their youngest on Tuesday and she was amazing at 10 years old.

I have to agree that my social worker's reasons make perfect sense. It IS in the child's best interest to adopt them one at a time and give them all the time and attention. However, in certain circumstances, I think that what is absolutely best has to be weighed against what the reality is, which is that one child will get a mother and a home of her own and another child will not.

On the other hand, the new program at CCAA would probably NOT allow me to adopt two children with special needs simultaneously AND allow me to keep my dossier in line where it is now anyway.

So, I'm going to be very grateful that I will be able to have two children and that the process is about to begin. Once I lock a child, it takes only 6-8 months to get them. I now have to decide what age child I want. It's a lot harder than waiting to be matched. There are just so many children to choose from that it breaks my heart not to choose them all. I will be praying that I will know the little one when I see the pictures. Please remember me in your prayers. Choosing a child and becoming a family is something I could only trust to God.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Giving Up Extracurricular Activities


I wonder why it is that when people find out I'm adopting, especially now that I'm trying to adopt more than one child, one of the first things they say is, "Well, you won't be able to fence and do gymnastics and take Mandarin classes."

Did not one of those people consider that I'm doing those things to fill time and improve myself in preparation of becoming a mother? Did they not consider that I'm EAGER to spend my time with my child?

Why don't these people say things like:

Story time is precious.

Taking the children to the park in the evening after work is the highlight of my day.

Bath time is a riot of fun!

Watching your child sleep is magical.

I'm not even going to get into the people who go on about how bad tantrums can be and how little sleep parents get because, honestly, it seems par for the course and I welcome it because it's all part of parenting and I want to be a parent!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Program Uncertainty


My agency, along with all the others across the U.S., is trying to figure out exactly how the new CCAA adoption program works and where there is wiggle room. It seems like every agency has a different interpretation.

I dropped by my agency yesterday to speak with the agency head about my intentions for my concurrent adoption. She is going to have her coordinator in China find the right person to speak to in order to get the real scoop. I don't know how long this will take.

I've discovered that there are tons and tons of children I could easily fall in love with. There are so many things considered special needs that just are not because they are completely correctable with surgery. I'm utterly astonished!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Current Reading


I've started the next book in my quest for information. It's called Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child by Trish Maskew.

I am about half way through it and it's VERY informative. I like how the author writes about each issue, what it is, how to identify it, and how to deal with it. I think this author goes into more detail with the possible solutions to the issues than many authors do and that the solutions are practical and easy to implement. She uses a LOT of examples from a variety of families. At the same time, she also gives parents tips on taking care of themselves and coping mechanisms.

The Primal Wound gave great descriptions of the issues and some solutions, but Our Own, I feel, expands on the solutions, provides more detail and examples.

This book will definitely be a ready-reference on my bookshelf!

What if...


...Apple isn't a baby? What if I find her on the Waiting Child List?

If I adopt two or three children, I wonder which one she'll be?