I wish I had more news to share. We are in the middle of finding our way through our first round with immigration. We have been fingerprinted (again) and filled out more and more paperwork in anticipation of sending our dossier to China. We are still on schedule for a referral by February (hopefully) and travel late summer to bring our baby home. I will update once we are DTC- get ready the acronyms will be flying the next few months! DTC, LOI, LOA, TA. I just have to figure out what they mean:-)
This is a great website that was sent to me from another mom who is adopting from China. It explains the process and the current state of adoption from China. Thought some of you might find it interesting. http://www.china-adoption-online.com/index.html
This past Saturday was a busy day. Our social worker came at 5:30 pm to tour our home and meet with Chandler and the boys. Of course I spent the entire day scrubbing the floors and making sure everything was perfect. Not even close! We were already scheduled to attend an all day seminar put-on by the International Adoption Clinic here in Birmingham and I didn't want to miss that. So, at 8:30 that morning I left my 2 busy little boys in the hopefully capable hands of Chandler with clear instructions to play outside, eat outside and to do their very best not to touch anything! I will admit that I was a little nervous about what we might find when we got home with social worker in tow. Sweet Chan Chan! Not only were my little men bathed and smelling sweet and everything in it's place, but she had taken the time to light a candle. Needless to say, everything went great and we are inching closer to bringing our baby home. Oh yeah, did I mention I ran 20 miles before going to the seminar? Started my day at 4:30 and crashed hard that night!
We had our first of four interviews with our social worker, Karla, this past Tuesday. She is super nice, extremely knowledgable about the process and put us immediately at ease. It amazes me how real this all now seems. I guess hearing someone confirm that we will be getting a little girl makes it seems so. Now, it is just a matter of working through the process. The rest of our interviews will occur over the next couple of weeks. Karla also informed us that our Alabama CAN (child abuse and neglect) clearance forms are already back. These can often take up to 3 months, so things are moving a little faster than normal at this point. Based on what we have learned from study, Karla, and other families that have adopted, it is reasonablemto hope for a referral by January or February. If that timeline holds true, we would hopefully travel early next summer. Please pray that things continue to progress and that the little girl that will soon be ours is safe, well fed, and comfortable.
I couldn't resist going to the American Girl store while we were in Chicago. I didn't go crazy. Just bought one bitty baby. I will wait to buy matching outfits as soon as I know how big our little girl will be. I can't wait to pack the doll up when we eventually get to China. All the books say to take a doll with you when you travel to bring your little one home. Gotta do what the books say;-)
Today was a big step forward. We mailed our fingerprints to the FBI along with permission for a complete background check. According to our social worker, the time frame for return on the fingerprints is 8-12 weeks. Apparently, fingerprinting is often a source of delay due to poor quality of prints or failure to fill out the application correctly. I was so nervous today putting it all together. I am praying that every was done correctly! The goal is to have our home study completed by the time our prints are "approved" so that our dossier can be sent to China. It is an amazing amount of work to complete, but we are getting it done. We spent 2 hours last night online working through our seminar modules. Six more hours of that and then we will move on to something else. . . autobiographies, required reading, study of China from the state department, written questions, and so on. Our first interview with our social worker will be September 13th.
I spoke with our health insurance carrier today and found out that no matter the medical need our baby has, it will not be excluded as preexisting. Definitely good news! We also started our medical screening process and I have begun compiling a voluminous amount of personal information. Adoption is going to be labor intensive, too. I even took the dog in to make sure she is current on vaccinations. Gotta show proof of that also.
Karla from Lifeline called this morning to let us know that our application was being processed and we would begin organizing the home study portion next week. She confirmed that we had received documents that were emailed and asked us to sign the formal contract. I have started a binder to try and keep this organized. One of the most amazing things about beginning this process is that I have the excitement and constant preoccupation with baby stuff that I had when I was pregnant (minus the nausea and fatigue). I think about my little girl constantly and can't wait to meet her:-)
8/5/11- Today is my 35th birthday and the best part of my day was a trip to the post office to mail in our application to Lifeline to begin the process of adopting a little girl from China! We are both excited and anxious to get started.The application should be received by the agency on Monday.I am not sure what happens next, but assuming our application is approved, the next several months should be spent completing our home study and gathering documents for our dossier.
We conducted a phone interview with EAC. We have been very impressed with their rapid response and the amount of information they have provided. Should we decide to adopt from Russia, we would definitely use EAC.
I have also talked to a local agency, Lifeline, that has also come highly recommended should we decide to adopt from China. Tonight we are meeting with some friends who have adopted from China through Lifeline. I am excited to hear about their experience.
We are off to the beach next week. I hope to make a decision regarding an agency soon.
We have narrowed our country choices down to China and Russia. Each country has differenct requirements for adoptive parents. The two most important factors for us are age of child at adoption and length of stay required in-country. We feel comfortable with either choice. We are leaning towards China for several reasons. First, we like the idea of a local agency. This will allowing easier networking with other families pre and post adoption. Second, we would be adopting a "waiting child". This is a term used for a child who has some sort of special need. Because we already have two children, it is important to us to make sure that our family is able to meet the needs of our future child. Third, China only requires one visit. It is difficult for Michael to be away from work for any length of time and and we don't want to be away from the boys too long.
Hopefully by tomorrow we will have the information that we need to submit an application to one of the agencies. . . .!
Although the thought of adoption had been on my mind for several months, it was one of those ideas that would float by and become quickly dismissed. I have two precious little boys that bring me immense joy (and complete exhaustion) and a 14 year old stepdaughter that is growing into an amazing young woman. I am just getting back to work and somewhat gaining control over my day to day life!
But wait. . . who is in control of my life? Oops, I almost thought it was me. However, on July 18, 2011, I was reminded that there is someone else who has plans for my family and He is ultimately in charge.
We had spent the weekend with family and I had a little down time on Saturday. I went to a blog of an amazing lady that I had meant a few months earlier that had adopted twin girls from Russia. The idea of adoption was on my mind and I was curious so I went farther and began doing some research. On Sunday, we spent the day at Dollywood. We had a great time, but I left with the feeling that I can't keep up with what I have, another would be silly! Poof. The thought of adoption had evaporated just like before.
On Monday, I went about my normal routines. Around 11:30 am, as I am driving, I am instantly overwhelmed. My heart feels as if it is being twisted, my ears are burning and feel full, and I began crying. I hear what I have never heard before. I hear God speaking. . . to me. I know it as sure as I sit here. He said, "This is what you are called to do. You're little girl is out there. It is your job to find her." It was one of the most intense moments I have ever experienced. I wasn't sure what to do so I simply prayed. I acknowledged God and expressed my belief and faith in what He was telling me. However, I told Him straight up that He had some work to do in Michael Bailey. There was no way he was EVER going to be on board for this. I know he loves me and will do most anything that I ask. But this, no way. I prayed, "God, if this is truly your will then you open his heart. It can't be You if Michael is against it."
I was SCARED to death to bring up this subject. I was so afraid that if Michael was against the idea that what I truly felt was the voice of God would simply be a figment of my imagination. He was on call Monday and came home very late and exhausted. That was not the time to tell my dear, sweet husband that I wanted to adopt a child! Tuesday was a terribly long day anticipating and knowing that I would have to tell him. I couldn't keep my experience to myself any longer and was desperate to see what God would do. I did the old, "sit down, we need to talk about something" routine (that'll raise your heart rate a few dozen points alone). I explained to him what happened and that I felt like God was calling us to do something amazing. I braced myself for the response I had been dreading. I didn't want to have to convince him, beg him, or try to talk him into going down this path. I needed to know that God was directing us and this would mean that Michael would have to agree. . . . "Of course." WHAT? In a nutshell that is what he said. "Of course we will look into adoption if you believe that God spoke to you. Of course we will look into adoption if this is something that you are passionate about." I needed that. Not because it meant that I was going to get my way, but rather it confirmed that we were being directed along a path we would have never taken on our own. It also meant that my husband, the man I love more than life, was also listening to God and had a heart open to His call.
The next few days were spent gathering information, praying, and thinking constantly about the idea of adding to our family. By Saturday, I had managed to set up a telephone conference with an adoption agency. I had also managed to become terribly nervous, afraid, doubtful about what seemed to be taking place. I needed more confirmation that what was happening was really being directed by God.
Since Januray of this year, I have been participating in a read-through-the-Bible in a year program at our church. I had been fairly consistent with my reading, but at times would get a few days behind. The weekend out of town had caused a disruption in my daily routine and in my daily reading. Needless to say, I was several days behind and was reading on Saturday in hopes to catch up. I read July 16th and then 17th. I then wondered and prayed that God would give me something that would confirm what I was feeling and strengthen my faith in Him. I certainly hadn't forgotten what had happened on the 18th and thought, "I wonder if He has something for me on that day." I began to read . . .
The reading began in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 43. When I got to verse 5, God came through and gave me exactly what I needed. "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." Oh my! Once again, I felt like God was leading me, strenghthening me, and blessing me with His voice.
So here we go. Full steam ahead, no hesitation. We are certainly anxious about the unknown. But it is an excited anxiousness, trusting in God to lead us to our daughter. The journey begins. Please keep us in your prayers as we begin walking down a road we never dreamed of. . .