Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Waiting Game -- A Longer Wait?

The story is making the rounds of the various China Adoption discussion groups that the waiting time for a referral is getting longer. Recently, the wait was as short as 6 to 7 months, now some are saying it could soon be as long as 10 months to get a referral, back to what it was a couple of years ago.

There's a lot of speculation, but little hard information as to the possible reason for this. One idea that comes to mind is that the interest in adopting from China is still growing, and that the increased workload is slowing things down. Or, they may be spending more time on each case, making sure that all the paperwork is correct so that no last minute surprises happen. What ever the reason may be, the results will still be worth the wait.
And, maybe if we have to wait a few months later it might have it's benefits, we'll have some more time to finish Miaya's room the way we'd really like to have it.

We've sent off that last piece of paperwork that needs to be certified and authenticated, and now just a couple of minor details remain. THE PAPER CHASE IS ALMOST OVER!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I-171H means One Step Closer

We passed one more hurdle, last week we got our I171H in the mail from the Citizenship and Immigration Service! This is a "Notification of Favorable Determination" concerning our I600A which is the application for pre-approval to bring a foreign born orphan into the United States. In short, the US government thinks we're fit to be parents. Advance approval speeds up the process when we file the actual orphan petition at the American consulate in China.

This is the last big hurdle in the US, soon our Dossier will be ready to send to China where the officials there will examine it and eventually match us up with our daughter. Shortly we'll be starting the "Big Wait" for the referral to come through. We're hoping to see our dossier go to China in mid-December, the time to referral seems to be running around seven months or so. The referral comes when we are matched up with a baby, it will be a picture and information about the child -- name, age, weight, medical information, location and so forth. After accepting the referral, travel approval usually comes 2 to 6 weeks later, and allow another 4 to 8 weeks to make all the arrangements to travel.

What a trip, not just to China, but the whole process. Making the decision to leave the infertility route, agreeing that we still wanted a family, then deciding on adoption. We considered many options, domestic adoptions often involve long waits and our ages were a negative factor with many agencies. International adoption looked promising, some research revealed unsettling things, many eastern european countries have problems with fetal acohol syndrome and other health and adjustment issues, not to mention rampant corruption. In the end China was a very attractrive option, the process is straightforward and corruption is nonexistent. We have both known of others who have adopted from China and found the experience was as promised. The more we looked, the more we liked what we saw, and the decision to apply to China was an easy one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

So many little things -- so little time

We made another commitment, we've started buying things for the baby's room, (wow!) that sure seems strange to say! After nearly ten years of marriage and almost that long hoping in vain for something to happen, it's getting closer. We've been assured by everyone so far that we will be getting a baby. So we better start planning even though it's many months away.
We've picked up a few things, and some paint and so on, and oh yes, a nice crib we found on sale, one that will convert to larger beds as she grows.

There's nothing we've done that has made us feel so inadequate and lost as looking at baby things. How can someone so small need so many things, and so many of them large and expensive! We started looking around in stores -- what will we need? What is worthwhile and what is just a gimmick? We shared a lot of blank looks and baffled expressions and helpless shrugs on our first outing. We're starting to get some good ideas and asking questions and learning. But still a daunting experience, especially for us "older" first time parents. Probably the actual trip to China will be less scary than starting to shop for baby items.

We'll figure it out eventually.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Finding Miaya - A Chinese Adoption Journey

Hello from Snowy Southwest Iowa! We've just had our first real snowfall of the winter, and hopefully it's not an indicator of things to come. Near blizzard conditions in mid-November are unusual and a radical change from the 70 degree temps we had last week.

Well, so far it's been an interesting experience! We are now at 3 1/2 months in our journey to find and adopt our daughter from China. We've had a couple of snags, but so far they've been fairly easy to overcome.

Even before we applied to an adoption agency, we began collecting documents we knew we would need such as birth and marriage certificates and the like. At that point we discovered that after almost ten years of marriage, we were not officially married! The minister did not file the certificate following the ceremony. We also learned this has happened to several other couples as well, the same person has filed documents late or not at all. We were able to get a new certificate, and have it witnessed and filed; we now have a "delayed" certificate of marriage issued by the state of Iowa.

We've collected nearly all the documents we need and they are off getting all the official stamps and seals from the various state offices and the Chinese consulates. Most recently we were fingerprinted at the Immigration office in Des Moines, and are awaiting their decision on our foreign orphan petition.

Our adoption journey got rolling after struggling with infertility treatments and hoping for a miracle for nearly our entire marriage. We had reached the point where a decision had to be made, and we opted for adoption. It had been on our minds as an alternative for several years, and after some research and soul searching, we decided on China. The adoption experiences of others with China convinced us we had made the right decision and we began to evaluate agencies. We selected Great Wall China Adoption and sent off an application and the first wait began. WE GOT ACCEPTED! What great news, we applied for a girl infant, and now only a stack of paperwork and the dreaded waiting time stood between us and our daughter.

We had read many adoption journals on the web and were not too sure about those who picked a name before even applying. After we finished the home study and the social worker told us it was ok to start accumulating baby things, the name thing kept coming up and after a lot of ideas bounced around, we decided on Miaya. At least we've got the first name, we're still working on the rest.

So, we're well on our way to "Finding Miaya".