Friday, March 26, 2010

Passport to China

The short trip to Palestine was fun. The road we were traveling on was reminiscent of road trips past to the Guadalupe River. We talked about the different experiences we've had on those trips and laughed at some of the memories. Soon we arrived at the post office. We were surprised to find that we were the only ones there to apply for passports. Pleasantly surprised, as it didn't take us long to get the application process completed and over with. We paid the extra $120 to have them expedited so that we can get our part of this paperchase done as quickly as possible. We have an orphan to rescue! We left from the post office and headed toward Beijing China Buffet. Another pleasant surprise? They served sushi! We enjoyed the fun and toasted ourselves to getting one step closer to our child! We stopped by Walgreens on our way back, since Tim used to work there and wanted to say hello to the manager. I managed to grab a handful of toys for the child, and ended up leaving with a chocolate brown bunny.
We are home now and I am gathering and organizing our paperwork to see what is left. We must submit an I-800 which goes to CIS. This will take care of our FBI background check as well as secure the child's VISA. Our caseworker emailed me last night and said the finalized, approved homestudy would be in the mail today. As soon as I have it, we can proceed with our I-800. The very last step will be sending all our paperwork to Houston to be authenticated. I expect to have all of this finished by June, and to be on a plane to China by fall!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Tiny Step Closer

I check my email daily, several times a day, just waiting for any little update about our little precious in China. Finally got an email today! It was written in Chinese but had the translation at the bottom:

Great Wall China Adoption,

The application of Timothy and Jamie for adoption of (little boy) that you submitted was received. It is hereby advised that with a review of the basic family situation and the Rehabilitation and Nurture Plan for the Child made by the family, the China Centre of Adoption Affairs agrees to handle and process the case as an adoption of a special-need child after the application file arrives

We were on our way to get our passports today when we realized the folder with all of our information was not with us, so we turned around. Then we decided we didn't feel like going anyway and would wait for Friday. We have to go about an hour away because the local post office is "by appointment only" and they are booked through the middle of April. We will have ours expedited so we can finish our final paperwork and move on!

Things have suddenly gone from a creepy call to a downhill roller coaster! Much like the Texas Giant at Six Flags. It's a slow click click click to the top then suddenly you're practically free-falling!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Homestudy Closure

Just got the message today that the final home study draft has been APPROVED!!!We can finally move on to our final steps!We are still waiting on our official approval letter from China to adopt Little Boy and it has been just almost 2 weeks, which is about what is to be expected. As soon as I get that I can finally show a picture!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I wish I knew how to change the stupid background

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Seasons Change

The Rescuers! In the end, the little girl gets adopted. I do believe that is where my interest in adoption began.
My last post was about 3 weeks ago. I have been trying to make it back here to update because so much has happened in such a short time. I am thankful for the last post as it will help explain some of the current situation.
First and foremost, I am thankful for the Holy Spirit and His insight. I do not always know exactly what I am feeling or why, but I know when He's telling me something and I can't imagine my life any other way.
Here's a rough outline of what has happened as of late:

If you can believe it, our caseworker actually sent us a copy of the completed home study. I am assuming that GWCA is reviewing it since I have not received an approved copy from them. I am sending our case worker an email inquiring about this since I have no idea when it is final and approved. Once we have the copy, we can apply for some financial assistance. Green Acres Baptist Church had started the Hope for 100 program last year, which is a charity-based fund to assist as well as encourage adoption. I was informed that there should be plenty of money available to assist us!

Tim & I have completed everything we need to for the adoption except get our passports and background check. We went to get our passports done yesterday only to find out they closed 30 mins before AND you have to make an appointment!! We will probably be spending extra money to have our passports expedited.

We can not do the FBI background check until we have our approved, finalized home study. Of course. Once we have all of THAT completed, THEN we have to send most of the documents to the Chinese Consulate in Houston to be certified and authenticated. Finally, once all of that is complete, we send all of this paperwork (dossier) to GWCA. They review it, then finally it is sent to China and we get our LID (log in date).

The plot thickens....

Feb. 22 I received my information on how to log in and view waiting children on the waiting child list. I browsed around and saw so many poor children that needed homes. Some had severe problems while others were not as bad off, although still had pretty strong needs. It was nice to be able to see the children and know that we had the option to actually see and choose the child for us!

March 3 I again look at the waiting child list. It came to my attention that very recently China changed the waiting child list. Now, GWCA does not have its own list, it is shared by many other agencies. This was disheartening because that only provides more families looking for children while the list of available children was relatively small.

I felt an urgency then. Desperate, even, to find my child before anyone else did. I kept scrolling and just didn't feel anything. I clicked on the older links in the archive just to see what children were there before. I knew it was doubtful any of those children would be available, but still I was curious. I did find one child that caught my eye. This little blonde-headed chinese boy! He was albino and had the cutest little smile. I had to call my husband over to look at the pictures. I couldn't believe he had been listed under the "special needs" list since there was nothing wrong with him other than albinism.

Several minutes passed. I kept going back to that blonde headed child. I asked my husband if he wanted me to inquire about the child, just to see if he was available still, and he said, "Sure." I sent an email:

Wed 3/03/10 7:51 PM

I have not spoken with anyone yet as to how this works, but if we are interested in a child on the shared list, how will we know if the child is still available and how do we even request information?

10 minutes later, I decided maybe I should go ahead and inquire.

Wed 3/03/10 8:01 PM FYI the child we were looking at was under the latest "shared" list. Name Tommy, albinism. I understand that the children on this list may not be available any longer.

The next day I checked my email at work several times waiting for her response. I didn't receive her email until I got home:

Every day I am going through the children and looking at applications for possible good matches. If there is a child who may be a good fit for your family, I will give you a call. I also put forth the weekly list of kids from the shared list. If there is a child who you are interested in learning more about, just send me an email and I will get in touch with you about them!

With the .pdfs and with the activity of the shared list, I do not go back in and update the listings currently. If you inquire and the child is no longer available, I will let you know.

So, I assumed he was no longer available and that we should wait for her to contact us. I googled "how long does it take to adopt from China" or some such and I read where it could even be 8 years before we get our child! I was completely crushed. I informed my husband and he said there is no way he was waiting that long and that we would have to do something else.

I had to agree. 8 years is ridiculous when I am getting older every day.

The frustrations of adopting suddenly washed over me like a huge tidal wave. I began to weigh our options. We could wait for years and years on a child from China. Or, we could adopt locally, still spend a ton of money, however we have to hope we are lucky enough to be picked by a birthmother. What if a birthmother never picks us? We would still be childless. OR we could adopt a child with severe special needs.
Those are our options.
I believe I cried for 2 days. The thought of NOT adopting from China was the same loss I feel every time i have a negative pregnancy test. I could hardly bear the disappointment and decided there was no way I could give up on that dream, I could not let that dream die. Not that one.

Time went by, and I quit crying.

I began my new fulltime position at work On March 8, 2010 and felt a little depressed about it. I would miss all the free time I had. I would miss staying up late and I would miss just doing what I wanted to during the day (like sleep in!). I was on the 5th or 6th floor of ETMC working on a chart when I decided I would check my email just in case she finally responded to my question about the little blonde headed kid.

It just so happened that, sitting there in my inbox, was an email from the lady over the waiting child program:

Tue 3/09/10 10:08 AM

Hi Jamie,

Little (boy) is still available! I would love to chat with you about him a little bit, and then can send you the file if you are interested. Is there a good time to chat?

Still available?! After all this time? My hands began to shake. I felt light-headed. I called my husband immediately and told him. He said "lock the file!"

Tue 3/09/10 11:21 AM

we are totally intersted! call me anytime you can asap whatever :D

I also called and left her a message. Just in case...
I also emailed again later informing her we wished to review the file.

Eventually I received a phone call from her and we discussed the little boy. He will be 2 in June, Just about the same age as my niece. He is developmentally on target, just has albinism. They describe him as introverted and a little shy. I asked her to please send me the file. If we wished to pursue adoption, if he was still available, the file would be locked.

As soon as I got home I checked my email. In bold letters, it stated:

Please note that this child is on the shared agency list. We cannot guarantee this child will be available should you choose to move forward. If I see the child’s file is gone before you have made a decision, I will let you know!
My sense of urgency heightened. We looked through his files and pictures and decided that we would like to adopt that sweet little blonde angel. I composed yet another email:

We have reviewed the child's information and medical file. We did discuss the child's medical information with 2 separate physicians and feel confident we could meet his needs in every way. We would be pleased if you could lock (boys) file for us! We intend to proceed with adopting him if he is available and we receive approval from China. Sincerely, Tim & Jamie

The next morning she called me and congratulated me on our decision.
We're going to be PARENTS!

I knew, KNEW in my gut that our wait wasn't long. It was like sensing a change in the climate, my bones knew it. God has been so good to us this year already, and this is the icing on the CAKE! She said hopefully we will have him by the end of the year, it all depends on how quick paperwork goes through.

I am frustrated, again, that we didn't already have all of our paperwork done already because of the home study delay, however we are working hard to get the house and our finances in order so that our new little boy will be safe and secure.

I am not allowed to post pictures or any identifying information at this time. As soon as we get the official approval from China, oh boy you are never gonna hear the end of it!!

Needless to say, Tim and I are ecstatic and have been over the moon all week.

And to think... I started this blog a year and 1 week ago. Look at how much has happened! It wasn't so long after all. I am so excited to continue this blog now that I have some meat for it!