I remember as a young girl, probably between the ages of 9 and 12, whenever my mom made me really angry, when she had to pull out the heavy parenting hat, I would ask her if I was adopted. As if this would be the reason she was being so strict. As if this was a sign she didn’t love me as much as my siblings. This was especially humorous to her because cloning wasn’t even close to being possible, and I look just like her. If I only knew at that time, how wrong that perspective was. It is impossible not to love your adopted child with every part of your being. I know, because I am an adoptive parent.
My husband had been sporadically mentioning that we should adopt a child from China since the day after our wedding. “We should have a few biological children and then adopt a few,” he would say. He has always had an interest in China, and Chinese history. I don’t even think they were accepting international adoption requests at the time, but he said that time was coming. He has always been a dreamer, so I would listen over the years, but never thought it would happen, especially because of my Crohn’s.
I remember the day I asked him if he thought we would ever go through with his plan, and that if we were going to we should probably do it soon. I was sitting in the chair on our loft, in the evening, on a overcast day, in October of 2003. The next thing I know, I was at the computer researching adoption agencies, and within days we had submitted our initial application to the agency.
We were told that Chinese adoptions were taking up to 2 years at the time, and that was faster than they had been in the past, so we knew we were in for a long roller coaster ride, much of it in the hands of a foreign government. We began gathering all of the documentation; physicals, criminal background check, financials, fingerprinting, home study, passports, etc. Then we waited, and waited, and waited for the finally document we needed, from the U.S government, before we could submit our dossier to China.
In February 2004, upon arriving home from seeing “Passion of the Christ” on the first day of Lent, it was in the mailbox. I did a little dance in the driveway. After such an emotionally draining movie, we came home to such a bright light of hope. We finished getting all of our documents certified and authenticated, and our dossier was in China by mid-March, along with a number of other families. General the agency would submit one batch of dossiers to China each month. Now the real waiting game began.
Once the paperwork gets to China, it goes through a number of “rooms.” The documents must be translated and reviewed, then a child is matched to your family. This process takes the longest. At the time it was probably predicted to be about 12-18 months. At the end of this process each family in the batch that was submitted with ours would receive a “referral,” in which you get a photo, name, age and general information about your newest family member.
Before the referral is received in the mail by the family, they receive a call from their adoption representative. That is the BEST day. Rumors have been flying on the Yahoo groups that they are coming, but you never know until you receive the call. I received mine while I was on my way to pick up my oldest son from school. It was another overcast day. I was still on the call when I got to his classroom, and sat down at a desk to finish before we walked home. His 3rd grade teacher’s face was beaming. She knew we were getting the call we had been waiting for. It had only been six months since our dossier was submitted. This fast timing had never happened before, and it hasn’t happened since. Oh, and the birthday of our newest child, was the same date as my passport was issued. November 24, 2003.
In the next blog, I will tell you the story of bringing our new daughter home. Stepping out of my comfort zone, out of my little safe box. Taking a leap faith that I never would have thought possible.