Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The process, the paperwork hunt

Paperwork accumulation is the key to this process. And not just any paperwork will do, a regular birth certificate isn't good enough, it has to be one from the state. I didn't even know there were state birth certificates. Medical forms, financial forms, references there was a whole list of paperwork to be accumulated. I think the paperwork pile ended up an inch thick!
After it was accumulated, it had to be notarized. After it was notarized, it had to be taken to the special Secretary of State office for 'The Great Seal'. After the Secretary of State gave it 'The Great Seal' it had to be sent to the Chinese consulate to be Authenticated. After it was authenticated it was sent to our agency to be sent to China.
So we get the paperwork, the the notary says that, yes indeed we did sign it, the State says the notary's seal was okay, the Consulate says the state's seal was okay and hopefully the people over in China will say that everything written and accumulated is okay and we'll be able to come home with a child.
We've divvied up responsibilities on this, I find the paperwork, make sure it's complete and write a dummy copy, then Bill re-writes it legibly. Bill is also in charge of receiving faxes, copying and mailing stuff out. Partnership at its finest.

Filling out one piece of paperwork again, again, and yet again.

This world of confusing paperwork.
First we fill out financial forms with the instructions that they have to match the information in the dossier and send them in. This actually involved re-type setting the form off the web page as that form wouldn't print properly.
Then the queen of dossier paperwork says we didn't fill it out correctly. So we have to get a copy faxed to us, it comes out crooked and blurry, we fill it out, scan it in, and think we're set.
Nope, the paperwork queen then emails us specific instructions and re-faxes us a hopefully clearer copy. We have to put soomething either a NA or a '0' in each and every line NO blanks allowed.
I know it could be worse, it's just annoying because I had conversations with people about this form before we sent it in the first time.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Boy, if nothing else, this paperwork gathering and all the events around the paperwork really show me that I need to be more exact about every stage of this process.
I thought the lady in charge of the waiting children knew that we were REALLY REALLY interested in Chao. I guess not. Whilst we were in Toronto, Thursday the 14th, for our Anniversary celebration, she called my cell and left a message. I didn't get the message until Tuesday the 19th. She was asking if we were still interested in Chao as the Beijing office wanted to know what to do with the paperwork. On the 18th I emailed her asking if she knew how long it would take to get the bloodwork back. So she emailed back and asked if we were interested.
After sending a resounding YES, we learned that his paperwork had already gone back to Beijing before we had expressed an interest in him. So she's getting the paperwork back from the Beijing office, and we've actually gotten color pictures and an updated personality profile.
His foster family calls him Guang Guang (Bright Bright) and he can see somewhat, but isn't the greatest at walking because of his vision. There was also a statement that an adult usually accompanies him while he walks because he likes to throw things!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dern, we missed some stuff

Yesterday our adoption agent called me at work. We'd forgotten a few items in our dossier. We didn't send some extra pictures, Bill needs some dates for our medical stuff, and I need to outline my operations and their results. Bummer, yet another delay. At least this delay is still before the results have come back on our bloodwork request, so I don't actually think it'll slow us down in the long run. I had just been pretty happy thinking our paperwork was done. Oh well

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Still waiting

Yesterday was Mum's 70th Birthday, she didn't want to go out to dinner, she wanted us to go to a dinner at her church with her instead. There was a gentleman there speaking on his experiences as a Messianic Jew. A very interesting message in a warm and welcoming church.
While we were there we discovered there were two people whose family members were leaving this week to go get their daughters in China. One proud grandmother pulled out her copy of the baby pictures, while a sister was disappointed she'd left her copies at home on the fridge and couldn't show us anything.
And so we wait, not as long as some of these families have waited and will wait in the future, taking a special needs child helps speed up the process so I really shouldn't complain ...but I'm not sure how long it will take to get the results back from China. I am definitely not tremendously patient. I want those results NOW. however, I don't have much choice in the matter, and so I continue to wait.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Finally the dossier gets sent

Yesterday Bill sent in the dossier. It only took us 7 months to assemble all the pieces. Unfortunately Bill didn't realize that when I wrote copy I really meant copy and so we're going to have to have the agency copy it for us, for a fee of course, but at least it's do able.
I'd also emailed our rep at the agency earlier about taking glass I'd made myself as presents to the various people we're supposed to give presents to. There's quite some protocol involved, and they suggest items to take. Honestly though, how many cross pens sets does one person need? So the rep saw the link and said she thought it was a good idea, which is nice, as it gives me an excuse to blow glass. Not that I really need one.
Still waiting impatiently for our new bloodwork

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Realistic or Rose colored glasses?

I talked with my friend Mindy yesterday. She'd had her boss, who is Chinese, and married to a Dr. take a look at Chao's medical records. She said everything looked okay, that they said he was intelligent, but that he had eye problems (which we knew). I guess she has a special needs son, and so she was nicely trying to discourage us from Chao with his special needs.
I guess we're pretty hopeful about Chao's needs, like they won't be as bad as they could be. We do have to prepare for the worst, like blindness in the future possibly, but hope for the best, like exercises will cure it. I think we will have to be realistic about it, I think we are realistic about it, but who knows.


Throughout this whole process, people I know, family, friends and even customers have been extremely, incredibly, supportive. Some have wondered why we didn't go domestic, or why China in particular, but all have been supportive.
My mum and brother are there for me, whatever I do, and always have been, but Bill's family is newer to me. I wasn't quite sure how they would all react, I don't have all their dynamics pinpointed yet. They've been wonderful too, even the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. My sister in law Kerry and I have had innumerable conversations about the whole process, always positive, even when we switched from the idea of bringing in a Calliandra to bringing in Acer. Kerry likes the idea of having another girl in amongst the children, but is happy with the thought of Acer too. I've promised her that when (if) we go back for Calliandra, she can accompany me to China.
I don't know how far along we would have gotten if I didn't have the encouragement of people asking me, 'How's the adoption coming'. Nothing spurs you on like daily inquiries, you feel stupid saying, 'oh nothing yet' after a while.
Just about everybody I know has some connection to adoption, a neighbor, a friend, a sister. It should be more common though, it should be everybody has a relative or friend. There are just so many little ones in need.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The process, the next step

After we received word that CHI had accepted our application, I had to find a local Michigan agency to do our local homestudy. Again I asked my customer and went with her agency Child and Parent Services. We had 4 sessions, one of which was the initial phone call, when our social worker called to set up our first meeting and asked a few questions on the phone.
We then had 2 meetings in her office and one meeting at the house. The meeting at the house was the most stressful. Even though we had been told that they really don't look for dust and stuff, I spazzed the day before and asked my friend Becky to come over and dust while we cleaned. She being a good friend came over and spent the morning dusting for us, I forget what we fed her for lunch, but it was a bargain for the amount of piece of mind it gave me.
So then we got our homestudy, it was okay, but there were odd mistakes,I don't know if she took bad notes or what. We got the big stuff corrected, and hope the little stuff doesn't trip us up.
Okay so they tripped us up with the immigration paperwork already, and had to file an amendment, but I mean trip us up again

The process, back to the beginning

After we had decided to adopt from China, we had to pick out an agency to go through. There are so many out there, I spent hours looking through websites. I was attracted to Children's hope International because it was based in St Louis, where I had spent 4 wonderful years, Christian and Big. They do 10-20% of the Chinese children adoptions for the whole country in a year. They do more Chinese adoptions in a year than many agencies have done total. So then I asked one of my regular customers at work what agency she went through to adopt her lovely daughter Mia. She said she went through CHI and that she felt the most important part was how well the agency took care of you while you were in China. CHI has actual staff, not just agents, who work in China for them. They should be able to take care of us just fine over there. I have had mixed results with communicating with them over here, some people are very good and some seem to ignore my emails. Oh well.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Black & White photos arrive

We received our clearer copies of the black and white photos. It seems that his left eye, the one with the blotch, is his dominant vision eye and that his right eye is pretty cross eyed. I'm actually hoping that that cross eye is really his vision problem, that the abnormal retinal development is just orphanage speak for we don't really know what's wrong. I know 4 people with amblyopia 2 have had surgery and 2 have done exercises, the exercise seem to have taken better than the surgery as far as correcting it and keeping it corrected. So it looks like it'll be physical therapy time in the future.
We're getting pretty attached to the pictures of this little guy, I just hope his blood work comes back okay, actually I'm starting to care less and less whether his blood work is okay or not.
Oddly enough, he doesn't seem to have any hair. I read about a little girl who grew hair pretty rapidly after she was adopted. I can only hope his case will be the same. Bill's considering buying a hair trimmer kit for his own hair. It looks like it'll be a while before we'd need to use it on the little guy.
His legs seem pretty short, our sister in law Kerry says it's probably just normal little kid proportions. I just never noticed little kids have short legs, odd.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Wow, I was pretty shocked today when I went to our agency's waiting child webpage. I usually go there at least once a day anyway, but have been going more frequently since we got our packet on Chao. It seems that we expressed an interest just in time because all the children, there were about 8, who were not either placed or under review are GONE. I'd forgotten that the agency just had these photos for 3 months to try to place the special needs kids before they went somewhere else, maybe another agency. We just asked for his paperwork on Monday, we could have missed him.
I wonder when the blood results are going to get here and when the hard copies of the black and white photos are coming in the mail. I'm feeling pretty solidly happy about this being our little guy, but there's the nagging thought about the blood work. I'm just not sure if I can go into knowing there are two major problems ahead of us, not just one. Oh well, can only keep praying.

How did we get to the decision in the first place

Late summer of 2005, we decided to see why Bill was sterile and what could be done about it. I'm not really sure we ever found out a true 'why' only that for the price of an operation with no guarantee of success, we could adopt an already living one.
We had a lot to consider, not only if we wanted to adopt or to go to a sperm bank, but also even if we wanted a child. I mean our life is relatively comfortable and we could be happy just being Auntie Heather and Uncle Bill, so were we sure we even wanted a child. So we decided we did want a child and that we wanted to adopt.
Then we had to decide, did we want domestic or international adoption. Our thought process was that even tho' there are many many children in the Foster care system, they still have it better than the kids not in this country. Now I know that people disagree with that, and they feel called to adopt kids from our country, but Bill and I didn't feel called that way at all.
Once we'd decided on international adoption we had to decide on what country to adopt from. We did a lot of both internet and soul searching. We decided to adopt from China for several reasons, frankly one reason was price. There can be a more than $25k difference between China's costs versus other countries' costs. That's a lot of money to us. Then we learned more about the political situation over there and the way they dump girls or boys with obvious defects. The National Geographic special 'China's lost girls" still makes us sniffle and we've seen it many times now. So we ended up deciding on China, where so many girls are abandoned because they aren't boys and boys are abandoned because they aren't perfect. I've watched a lot of CCTV (China central television) and we've taken a basic Chinese language and culture class.
While I had leaning a little more towards adopting a boy, because I feel my parenting skills would lead me to be a better mom to a boy than a girl, we started planning on a girl simply because there are more available. (Calliandra may still be in our future, who knows).