Thursday, August 30, 2012

GET OUT OF HERE! Announcing our long-awaited referral!

First, we scrapped our original plans for Friday night, and headed out to our favorite Indian restaurant to celebrate! Then after we received our package of acceptance paperwork, we got busy with our pens.  One of Peter's finer qualities is his willingness to dive head-first into government forms. 

* * * * * * * * * * *

YES!  It finally happened!  I am so, so happy to announce that today we sent out a giant sheaf of paperwork to officially accept the referral of our next daughter!

(After 3 years and 5 months of waiting, I can't believe I just typed that!)

And the title of this post is really, truly what I said when Jynger, our agency's India program director, called us.  I was taken completely by surprise, because earlier in the week we had some communication from her suggesting that some of us who have been waiting a loooonng time may wish to consider other country programs.

So we did.  We researched three different programs last week, even participating in a conference call for an hour with another country's program director.  But one after another, the doors kept closing on the other countries for a variety of reasons.  Finally, Friday morning, one final door slammed in our face.  Peter and I sat on the couch and began searching the U.S. foster system for a child that met our home study parameters.  There was only one match in the entire foster system that fit the age range allowed in our home study.

And then I broke down and sobbed.

I told Peter that I felt like I was grieving the dream of having another daughter from India, and grieving the idea of our girls sharing the same heritage and birth country.  We sat together on the couch like that for some time.

We started to fill out an inquiry about the 3-year-old child in the foster system . . . then Peter said, "We have an e-mail from Jynger.  She wants to know what time would be good to call today."  We didn't think anything of this request -- we had been on the phone with her several times last week.  And I had to leave in 15 minutes for a mammogram (T.M.I.?), because I'd spaced my appointment the previous week.

So when I answered, and Jynger very calmly said, "I have some information about the referral of a little girl from your orphanage," naturally I said, "GET OUT OF HERE!"  Honestly, that thought had not even entered my mind!  Peter heard me, and saw my eyes popping out of my head, and said, "WHAT??  SHUT UP!"  And he knew instantly what Jynger was calling about.

And now, thanks to our first responses to the good news, we shall forever be remembered as the least profound, least noble, least spiritual parents in the history of adoption.  :o)

But we don't care!  Because we have seen the first picture of our daughter . . . and I would love nothing better than to share her sweet, smiling photo, but the new rules say I can't do that until we receive guardianship in the courts!  Argh!!!!  But I can tell you that "K" is 14 months old, and has endured so much in her short little life.  She is a survivor, and a treasure, and a perfect little dear lovingly created by our Abba.

What next?  Why, we wait, of course!  We now wait for K's case to move through the court system in her city, and pray like mad that we pass through each step in the process as quickly as possible.

And for now, we thank God for weaving this little girl into our family, and stare and stare at a tiny photo of our dear K.

Next time, I'll share a few more details, and the kids' reactions -- they were priceless!  But right now I must take the oldest three to school to meet their new teachers.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Third time's the charm . . . right? (Please?)

So.  This week we must drive two hours to our local Citizenship & Immigration office to be fingerprinted.  This is our third time during this particular adoption.

(Maybe you didn't know this, but your fingerprints EXPIRE every 15 months.  Yes, they do.  All of your life, your fingerprints have been expiring right there at the end of your hands, and you didn't even know it.  Or maybe it's only adoptive parents' fingerprints that expire . . .)

There are other adoption-related things we've done this summer -- right before India Heritage Camp, we completed and submitted tons of paperwork, and had a visit from our social worker to update our home study.  It's our second update since the original home study, and luckily we really enjoy Mary, our local social worker. 

She is a wonderful woman whom we know VERY well by now -- she has worked with us all three times for this adoption, and did our home study and update for Anya Rashi's adoption.  She is a funny, lovely person who is one of the unexpected blessings along the way.  Mary actually tells her families not to freak out and uber-clean their houses -- she is there to get to know them, "not to do a 'white glove' test."  What a comfort to nervous parents!  And she is a pro who takes many things in stride (including the unexpected appearance of a child wearing nothing from the waist down during our first home study visit!).

I have had a difficult couple of weeks this summer, wondering when we will hear anything from the orphanage we were matched with in March.  There had just been absolutely no news of anyone receiving a referral through the new process devised by CARA following the 18-month shut-down and restart in January.

Just when I'm at my lowest, however, there have been glimpses of hope:

1.) For families who have found a child on older child lists, or special needs children, there has been progress.  Their cases are moving through the court system, and some of them are achingly close to travel!  It has been so much fun to see them finally be able to share photos and names of their children as they receive guardianship.  Seeing those sweet faces really keeps me going!

2.) God has placed other parents considering adoption in our path, which keeps wind in our sails.  Last Friday, we went to a premiere of an independent short film at a university in our city.  Peter was updating some friends on our adoption, when he noticed a couple in the row ahead of us blatantly eavesdropping.  Turns out they are interested in adopting from India, and are seeking information about it!  They thought they were on the receiving end of that blessing -- but it was just as much of a joy for us to share what we knew, and meet some other like-minded people.  A couple at our church is also interested in adopting from India, and we made plans to have them over next week to talk about it.  They are newlyweds -- we attended their wedding this summer -- who are going to be fantastic parents, and I love that their first thought about starting a family is through adoption.

3.) And last but NOT least, we finally heard of a referral happening through the new process!  I don't know anything else about which city or which orphanage, but an internet mama friend shared the good news with me late last week.  It's so, so good to hear that the new process is slowly creaking to life, and so kind of her to tell me right away.

And life goes on, with the summer days growing shorter.  We've been out and about hiking, swimming, visiting an old-fashioned amusement park, and more.  And now we are adding to that list: praying that the third time being fingerprinted is our last!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

STUCK: A new documentary about international adoption

Has anyone heard about this documentary?  It's called "Stuck," and is about the slow pace of international adoptions in the last several years, and some of the reasons behind the delays.  It won't debut for the public until November, but it premiered at Michael Moore's Traverse City film festival on August 3.

One statistic that floored me was that since 2006, international adoptions in the U.S. have decreased 60%.  That year, there were over 22,000 children welcomed home from other countries -- while in 2011, there were just over 9,000.  It is so frustrating to know so many parents are waiting, and know  that literally millions of children are waiting, and then see a statistic like that.

Here's a link to an article about the film: