Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28th, 2010

My 35th birthday! A new daughter seems like the best birthday present I could have received!! Hoping our PA comes sooner rather than later!
Here's wishing for smooth sailing throughout this process!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25th, 2010

CCAI acknowledged that they have received the paperwork that I had sent in yesterday. They were translating it and sending it off to China. We should receive our pre-approval (PA) in a
'few days to few weeks'. Until then, we could share our news and pictures of Feng Ye with our family and close friends, but couldn't tell the world our news. Until China acknowledges (with our PA) that we are planning to adopt her we had to kind of keep it on the down low. Any of you who have known me through my last 2 pregnancies know that this would not be easy for me! I am not a good secret keeper when it comes to good news. When I told a co-worker that I was pregnant with Sierra and she asked how far along I was I said "Oh, 4.5 weeks!" She said "Stacy, you've barely rolled over"!! We have to wait until we receive our PA to tell it on Facebook or any yahoo group, etc. Hmmm... this could be a long wait for me!

Despite still feeling a little nervous about the permanency of this, we have told Sierra and Laurel. They had previously seen pictures of a child with a cleft lip, so they weren't too shocked to see Feng Ye's picture. Sierra said "She's so cute!". They are both excited, but a little reserved too. We've been talking about it for so long it barely seems real to me either!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24th, 2010

Today I finished exercising at home and had about 30 minutes to eat and shower before taking Sierra to swim practice, Laurel to baton and starting my jam packed weekend. I sat down to check my email while I ate my cereal. I stared in disbelief at the email subject line sent by our adoption agency at 12:34am that morning. "WAITING CHILD MATCH - WANG, FENG YE"

So many thoughts ran through my head.
"Could it really be?"
"We shouldn't be getting this until late this year"
"Oh my gosh, is this our child?!"

I scanned the email quickly only processing snippets of it: 'CCAI was able to view the children’s files on the Shared List', 'This IS a potential child match', ' Please return to us all the items set in the Primary To Do List, including your Letter of Intent, as if you are adopting this child, no later than 12:00 pm MST on Sunday, April 25', and most breathtaking : 'WANG, FENG YE, FEMALE, born 5/2/09, with CLEFT LIP AND PALATE, from HOHHOT/INNER MOGOLIA'. Attached to the email was 4 pictures of one of the most beautiful little girls I had seen! With tears in my eyes I called Brad over to the computer. "I think this is it", I told him. We only had a few moments to absorb the information and talk about it since I still had to continue the day we had planned.

To start back at the beginning though, this has been a two year process. Actually more if you take into account the 2 years that we spend "talking" about adopting before we actually began the paperwork! Brad and I have been very blessed to have 2 beautiful, healthy girls. Sierra is 7 years old and Laurel is 5 years old. When Laurel was around 2 years old I started bringing up the idea of adopting a child. I had always thought that one day I would adopt. One of the first families that I ever babysat for (The Jarboes') had a biological daughter, a boy from Guatemala, and twin girls from China. The seed was planted then, when I was only 11 years old, and it just felt like it was something I was destined to do.

We thought that we would look in to adopting from the foster care system here in the United States. We decided that we would want to adopt a girl under 4 years old. One big factor was that we would require that parental rights already be terminated. Typically a child goes in to the foster care system and after many months (or more often, years) the parental rights are terminated and the child can then be legally adopted by a family. This factor was very important as we didn't feel like we could foster with the hope to adopt and have that child then taken away to go back and live with their biological family. The ultimate intent of foster care is that the child will eventually be placed back with their family. I think it takes an amazingly special person to foster a child, love a child, and then let them go. We didn't feel that this would be in the best interest of us or especially our girls. After speaking to a local social worker decided that adopting from the US would not be the best option for our family.

So we started to investigate international adoption. People often ask me "Why China?". There are some very good, logical reasons. The Chinese adoption system is very regimented, very little corruption or areas of gray. Typically, you know the path that the process will go. Travel time to China for the adoption is only one trip and it's for approximately 2 weeks. Thinking that we would probably leave Sierra and Laurel here we didn't want to be gone for a month or for many visits. Often the mothers take good care of themselves when they are pregnant. A lot of provinces in China still have a "One Child Rule". If a family has more than one child they have to pay a fee or fine. Chinese families hope for a healthy boy who will take care of his parents throughout his life. Girls will grow up, get married, and end of taking care of her husband's family. Therefore, a boy is what a woman hopes for when she gets pregnant. Often, when a girl is born she is abandoned so the family can try again for another child... this time a boy they hope. Also, due to poor health care as well as social sigmas, children with flaws (such as a cleft lip/palate) are often abandoned too. Lastly, and I'm sure it had to do with my original babysitting inspiration, I had always felt drawn to China. It felt like that was the right place for us to find out child!

So, in August of 2008 we started our paperchase to build our dossier. It was a grueling, daunting task that primarily fell to me since Brad also started grad school around this time. For most of the documents (I think 11 in all) they had to be notarized locally, certified by the secretary of state, authenticated by the US government, then authenticated by the Chinese consulate. We had an 11 page home study produced and were fingerprinted by US immigration. We got to know Terry, owner of our local shipping store as well as our notary, very well! Finally in June of 2009 we sent our dossier over to China. We were on vacation at Corolla, NC when we received our log-in-date (LID) of 6-10-09. China says that we can adopt a child! We were officially pregnant - on paper!

Now in early 2006, if one adopted from China it was typically 12-18 months from the paperchase until they brought their child home. Shortly after that things have slowed down drastically. There are lots of theories, but all that mattered to us was that it was going to take much longer than we originally thought to bring home our daughter. When we started paperchasing the estimated time until referral of a child in the traditional program was 20-24 months. This actually seemed perfect to us since that was about the time that Brad would be done with grad school! However, every month that went by that time frame was extended. The last estimate I saw was 40 months! Children in the traditional program are also referred to as non-special needs (NSN). Although anyone who has adopted a child knows there is no "perfect" one, these kids don't have any obvious health issues. Brad and I started to discuss the possibility of looking into the special needs (SN) program. Basically a child with any issue is considered "special need" (also called Waiting Children). These needs range from a hemangioma birthmark or a missing finger to spina bifida or a severe heart defect. Particularly with both of us being nurses we felt that we would be able to handle a child who fell into this category. We filled out a "Medical conditions checklist" (MCC) that listed specifically what needs we were open to adopting. We sent this to our adoption agency 7-1-09 and so began our "wait"!

Now based on other referrals that I was aware of I had estimated that we would receive our referral around December 2010. It would then be 3-5 months til we traveled to China. That would have Brad graduating in July, starting work in Sept. or Oct., and a few months to reacclimate back to being a "normal" family again before we brought home a child. Seemed like a good timeline! So, this is why I was so shocked to get our referral in April!! But, like most "surprises" when it comes to additions to your family, we are thrilled!!

After Sierra and Laurel finished their activites for the day I had to forget about housework or any other projects that I had planned and focus on one thing - our Letter of Intent (LOI). This basically says that we have looked at Feng Ye Wang's profile, are aware of her special need and what we will have to do to fix it, and that we would like to adopt her. I had less than 24 hours to write this, fill out a few other pages of paperwork, and send them off to our adoption agency (CCAI - Chinese Children Adoption International)! Whew!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Red Thread to Cadence... the start of our blog

Title:  Our Red Thread to Cadence

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break."

--An ancient Chinese belief.

Poem for Cadence:

I am so very special; I have been from the start. Before they held me in their arms, my family held me in their hearts. And like a single drop of rain that on still waters fall, my life and love will make ripples & touch the lives of all. So read this precious story as step by step I grow. I am a blessing & a gift as each page here will show.