Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adoption Story - Part 1

Since I was asked about our adoption story, I thought I'd write it all out and post it. Of course, it will have to be in parts as even the condensed version is long!

So here is part 1.

Way back when we were a young, recently married couple, Mr. at Home and I were driving around one day and heard an adoption commercial on the radio. It prompted a little discussion about how we both had always thought it would be a neat thing to adopt a child from China. One day. Far in the future. Maybe. At the time, we weren’t really in the “family planning” mode so it was just a passing conversation.

Fast forward a few years and we now had a house and a tiny baby sleeping in her quiet nursery. It had taken us awhile to have her, but K was now here and taking over our hearts. As Mr. at Home looked down at his new daughter, he declared that he was happy, satisfied, and had no desire for any more children. This did not go over well with me as I reminded him that before we were ever married, we had agreed to *2* children. He stuck to his decision on no more and I set aside that dream, but then brought up the idea of adoption. Mr. at Home didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no, either, so I kept mentioning it until I think he accepted it as inevitable.

I contacted a local adoption agency, who sent me to Dillon International out of Oklahoma. The very first step was to...wait until we were both closer to 30. We couldn’t start any of our paperwork until we were within four months of our 30th birthdays, so we sat around twiddling our thumbs for a few months. Once September hit, we signed up for a seminar on international adoption where they presented the programs of all the countries they worked with. We dutifully listened, read over all the paperwork, and it simply confirmed our desire to adopt from China. It seemed to be the least expensive, shortest wait, most stable, and I liked that we would get to travel within a month or two of getting our child’s information. Yeah, that last one didn’t work out exactly like we thought.

We submitted the first part of our paperwork. Then more paperwork. Then we had to gather all of personal and financial records from all over the country because we had to have official copies of everything. We went to the doctor and had physicals and TB tests. Even little K, who had just turned 3, had to have the TB test. For every shot, poke, and prod, K took it all in stride knowing that it would all lead to the brother or sister she so desperately wanted.

In early 2004, Mr. at Home made the decision to pursue a job in a new field and another state. He landed the job and we got ready to move halfway across the country. I called our adoption agency who told us to stop right where we were with the paperwork and pick it back up after we moved. We would have to redo part of what we had already submitted and everything else would have to be done according to NC laws.

We took over six months to sell the house, move, and get settled into our new home. We finally restarted the paperwork process and then the hurry-up-and-wait part set in. K and I drove from county to county getting documents notarized and the notary notarized. We cleaned house and bared our souls for the social worker doing the home study. We raced to get a piece of paper signed and returned only to have to wait while it sat on someone’s desk before we could race and complete the next step. In the middle of this, things changed just a little.

We went home to Texas to spend Christmas with my family at the end of 2004. While there, I received an email from the adoption agency looking for a family for a little Chinese girl with an ear deformity and we responded that we were interested. By that time, another family had already been chosen, but we discovered that many of the so called “special needs” children in the Waiting Child program had very minor and/or correctable issues. We asked the agency to notify us whenever they received a new list of waiting children. After all, why should we be afraid of adopting a child who was less than “perfect” in the eyes of the Chinese government? What was to prevent a child that we gave birth to from having these exact needs? Our perspective had changed and our focus shifted.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for sharing!