Monday, March 31, 2008
Once the rumors settle in we usually hear that matching has started and then within a few days to a week that referrals have been mailed. Once they are mailed some agencies can track packages from China and will notify the waiting parents that they are expecting something in the mail. Usually around the same time that referrals arrive, Travel Approvals from the previous batch arrive as well. Agencies don't usually know what they are receiving, they just know that they have a package coming from China. Sometimes waiting parents get really exited that the mail from China is referrals and it turns out to be travel approvals.
Today we heard that Travel Approvals started arriving. Let's hope that referrals are not too far behind.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
There were some rumors last week that matching had started. That matching process is where they match babies to their parents. So we may actually be matched with our child already. Usually about a week after we hear that matching has started referrals start arriving so that is a good sign that we will probably see them this week. Usually there are rumors that referrals have been mailed the day before they start arriving so we probably get a heads up that they are on the way.
Lots of friends and family have been asking how soon after we get Grace's picture and info will we be updating this site. The way we understand the process to work is referrals usually arrive at our agencies office mid-morning. At that point they call all parents with basic info such as girl or boy, age and province. We plan to update this site with that info as soon as we get it. They then set up an appointment for us to come in that day to get pictures and additional translated information. The appointments are usually in the afternoon so we will probably need to scan and make copies of the pictures and then stop by our families to show them the pics. We will probably be home in the evening and have pictures up on the site then.
In the meantime we will be rereading our Referral and Travel Preparation package and try not to go out of our heads waiting for the call.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Cause I need more time
So say what’s on your mind
The wind had blown down one of the trees in our backyard through our fence and into our neighbor's yard. Luckily it didn't hit anyone. It missed their pool and house as well so the only damage seems to be to our fence. I was a little worried about that tree last year as it appeared to be dying but I really didn't expect it to fall over roots and all. Hopefully we can get the tree guys out sometime this week to clean it up and probably take another couple trees down before they fall as well. Then of course we will have to get our fence replaced. Not really expenses we were expecting right before referral but hopefully our homeowners insurance will pay for some of it. Never a dull moment.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Sometimes there will be someone on the adoption boards that is starting the paperchase but is procrastinating on getting things done in the process, we usually just cringe. I will admit the paperchase is daunting, there are forms upon forms to fill out, autobiographies to write, things to be notarized, it is pretty overwhelming. But, we were pretty good about the process. We tried to knock one item off the list each day and got through the process in record time. But there were probably areas where we could have done things a little faster.
With the small batches we have been seeing the past couple years it is even more important to not procrastinate in any part of the process. If a one day difference in DTC can cause a 2 month difference in when you get your referral, what will a week or a month of procrastination do?
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
For the past few weeks there have been articles in all of the major newspapers about China researching/thinking/talking about ending its One Child Policy. The more recent articles make it seem like the policy will stay intact for at least another ten years. Change happens slow in China so it is possible that we will see an incremental end to the policy over the next few decades. With the spotlight shining on China right now due to the Olympics, they are getting a lot of pressure regarding human rights issues. This may be why they are studying the policy now, to show the world that they are looking again at their controversial policies.
The one child policy was enacted because of China's overpopulation issues. As unthinkable as it may seem to us to have the government tell us how many children we can have, in China the policy has ultimately saved lives. They need to continue to be able to feed their population and with it continuing to grow exponentially it just would not have been possible.
Without the one child policy there would not be as many abandonments in China and there may not be as much of a need for international adoption. I think there still would be a need, just not the level where it is now. There are many countries without population control policies that adopt almost as many children internationally as China does. Even children from the United States are sometimes adopted internationally to Canada and Europe.
Our guilt comes in because the policy that causes families to abandon their babies inadvertently benefits us as adoptive parents. Our joy in adopting a baby will be a result of a huge loss, a family having to abandon their child because the law says they can have only one. Adoption is supposed to be about finding families for children, not finding children to make families. Per the Hague regulations on international adoption, every attempt should be made to place orphans with their extended family. If that is not possible they should be adopted domestically. As a last resort orphans can be adopted internationally. All seem to agree that these are better options than growing up in an orphanage. In order to have a free conscience we as adoptive parents have to assume that the Chinese government is doing all they can to place orphans domestically before internationally and that they are running an ethical, corruption free program. No program is perfect but I do believe the the Chinese government does all it can to keep their program as ethical as possible. If we did not believe this as true we should not be adopting from China.
The dichotomy is we as adoptive parents gain the most, we get a child. The child has lost her birth parents and by adopting her we are taking away her country and her culture. Many adoptive parents will argue that they are giving the baby a better life by taking her out of the orphanage, and giving her more opportunities. I think we do still have to acknowledge that the adoption will affect her someday. Her adoption won't be the root cause of her loss and pain, her abandonment is, but we will have to support her while she deals with any identity issues.
The anti-adoption folks would argue adoption damages a child so rather than adopt we should be providing money to families so that they can raise their children themselves. This argument doesn't really work with China as most babies are abandoned due to the one-child policy. The anti-adoptionist would then say we should put pressure on the Chinese government to end the one child policy. But ending the one child policy would cause the population to explode and many more children would starve and die. There are no easy answers here, if we lived in a perfect world it would all be easy, but we don't.
To be honest we chose to adopt from China primarily for the benefits to us. We wanted a family and the China program seemed like the best option. We didn't adopt domestically because we didn't want to deal with the unknowns and pain of a failed adoption. We chose China because we thought the timeframe was short. Our other reasons for choosing China were the babies are young and relatively healthy. All benefits to us. But ultimately if we do not do what is right for us or something we are not comfortable with that will not ultimately be beneficial for our child. Not all of the reasons were benefits for us though, we also chose China because they run a program that is thought to be less corrupt than other countries. Also because there is a great support network here for children adopted from China.Since we started the adoption process I have tried to read not only the fluffy, happy adoption blogs but also blogs and writings by adoptees who are not so happy. I am currently reading "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew". The book brings up some pretty difficult subject matter but I think it is important to examine. Always good to take a good look at yourself and ask yourself if you are ready to deal with the questions that will ultimately come up. By doing this we challenge ourselves. If we answer our own questions honestly we will be better prepared someday when we get questions from our daughter.
One of the interesting phenomenons I have been noticing more and more lately is how many adoptive parents' perspective changes once they have completed their adoption from China and don't plan to adopt again. Most waiting parents are pretty careful about what they say that is critical of China. The last thing we want is for some story to pop up and cause the program to slow down even more or shut down completely. We just want our babies home. I think once a family is home though they no longer have this romanticized idea of a child. They have a living breathing baby that will someday have to come to grips with how they came to live in America (or wherever) and it scares them. I think they can then more clearly see the issues that their child will be dealing with. Some become very critical of international adoption and may even take an anti-adoption stance. We waiting parents can't help but feel betrayed by this change of heart. We say "They have their kids, they got what they want, now they don't care about the rest of us". Maybe we, as waiting parents, can't see the forest for the trees. Maybe we close our eyes to any potential red flags or corruption because we don't want to see it. I am interested to see how my thoughts on the matter change once we are home.
I think we are going into this adoption with pretty open minds and as much knowledge as we can get. We have a pretty clear conscience that we are doing the right thing for ourselves but more importantly for Grace. We know things won't be perfect but we will do our best.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
So this weekend we were finally free and it was time to start putting it all together. They should really tell you in the directions not to try to cut the small pieces of plastic with a compound mitre saw. How was I to know that would be a bad thing to do? I put the piece of plastic in the saw, push the button, pull down on the handle and there is a big bang and my hand goes numb and the thing I was cutting exploded into 100 pieces. I was in a bit of pain and was afraid to look down at my hand for what I would find. Luckily all of my fingers were there, albeit a little bloody and bruised. They are still a little sore but I was actually able to get quite a bit of work done on the job and will probably be able to get it finished in another half day of work. So all in all a pretty productive day.
After the speaker wire job is done we still have a few more things to take care of. We need to figure out how to gate off our wood burning stove. We need to put child locks on all of our cabinets. We also need to install gates at the top and bottom of all our stairs. I think we may wait at least until referral before we start on these things so we can see whether she will be mobile or not. No need to leap over baby gates until we have to.
So we are trying to keep ourselves busy this month with work, projects and getting together with friends so we don't go too crazy with the waiting. One week down, four to go until we see Grace's face for the first time.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Today is also 26 months since our Log In Date which means when we get our referral we will have waited 27 months. So now we start the longest month of our lives. Well, I guess it will be the longest month until next month when we get our referral and are waiting to travel. Then it will really feel like the longest month(s) of our lives. After that the months will just fly by I am sure.
Monday, March 03, 2008
If we overlay each calendar year in the above chart (see below) the trend for 2008 so far is well below the similar trends for 2006 ands 2007. The scary data point on this chart is April (the next batch). For the last two years the April batch has been significantly smaller than the other months. In April 2006 we saw 5 days referred and in April 2007 we saw 2 days referred. I hate to use this chart to make predictions since we don't know why the April batch had been so small the past two years but if the trend continues we could be in for a smaller batch next month. It could just be a coincidence or maybe there is a valid reason that the April batch has been small. If we do see a significantly smaller batch next month then there has to be something to it, only time will tell. With a LID of 1/5/2006 we are pretty confident that we will be in next month but if our LID were further out I would not be so sure.
Someone asked me last month if I plan to continue updating these charts every month after we get our referral. I do plan on keeping up with them but if we get too busy once we are home with baby I may look to hand them off to another waiting family to update and post. If you are good with numbers and Excel and it is something you might be interested in let me know.