Wednesday, January 30, 2008

When good rumors go bad!

There is a website operated by a woman who calls herself the "Rumor Queen" who deals in rumor and occasional fact about International Adoption from China. On occasion she has good information, but too often, it is simple unsubstantiated rumor, and sometimes outright fabrication. The following was posted to another site after much rumination about her site, and the doom and gloom attitude of many of her loyal readers.

(Somewhat embarrassed looking man standing at the front of the room) "My name is Michael and I read the Unsubstantiated Fabricated Information Queen!"
(Group of people seated in a collection of rickety mismatched folding chairs) "Hello Michael"

Sometimes I think we need a kind of meeting process to better understand why we are so willing to make ourselves even more miserable in this waiting situation. Way back when we were at the end of this long line, we did not know how long it really was, it kind of went down the block away and around the corner and out of sight, and we were somewhat ignorant and happy in our ignorance. On the various forums we joined, there was always speculation about the next batch and when it would be issued, and how many LIDs would be covered. Time crept along, we turned that corner and discovered the line ahead of us appeared to stretch far away and maybe take another turn.

There emerged a source, no matter how dubious, who seemed to offer some kind of inside information, and served as sort of tawdry clearinghouse for bits of information about the process. In time this has grown to gain a kind of questionable legitimacy, whether deserved or not.

Yes, I follow that source, a kind of guilty habit, rather like perusing the tabloids in the checkout lane to see the latest "Alien Baby Pilots UFO For Air Force At Area 51" headlines. The most disturbing part of this phenomenon actually appears in the comments area where the readers take the most mundane bit of information and in short order turn it into a full blown panic situation. The recent removal of the status box is an excellent example of this. Within a few hours of the change, the assembled mob had created numerous dire scenarios of nefarious changes soon to happen in the CCAA offices, along with dragging out several old rumors and hoaxes that had long since been discredited.

There was a time when I looked at that source and got depressed by what I saw there. Now it's more amusement and exasperation at how otherwise rational (I assume) people can can go so completely insane over trivial matters. I have begun to suspect that some of the greatest instigators may be scoundrels who are not in this process at all.

"Ignorance is bliss" comes to mind quite often. In part, the problem is a cultural one, we in the western cultures have become accustomed to relatively open exchanges of information, and now we are dealing with a different culture and a bureaucratic structure where information is a commodity to be controlled and rationed. And, we are struggling with it.

Many of us here are awaiting what may be the most profoundly life changing event we will ever have, holding our first child in our arms! In this context, the emotion saturated atmosphere is inevitable and understandable. Time, and the passing of generations has changed the way we view adoption. Never really shameful, but usually unmentioned, adoption has come into the open. I am sure most of us have droned on and on to family, friends and random strangers about our experience and the process just as we would about a long awaited pregnancy. Another thing that was not talked about in the past.

We humans are a strange lot, we create the bogeyman under the bed, tell tales about things that go bump in night, and weave stories about the sounds and the glowing eyes just beyond the light of the campfire. Seldom are we able to relax and wait for events to unfold as they must and in their proper time. We seem to be a species that loves to marinate itself in anguish, fear and frustration.

I once heard a story about a blacksmith who occasionally appeared to intentionally hit his thumb with the hammer, setting off a string of expletives better not included here. When confronted about this, he finally admitted it was true. Why then do you do it? "Because it feel so good when I stop" was the reply.

That's all I have, please excuse me as I must go put some ice on my thumb,


Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Terrible Two

We hit the "Terrible Two's" today, the Second Anniversary of our application dossier being registered in China. After two years we are still waiting and hoping. Over the most of the past year the referrals issued covered about 6 days of paperwork each month. IF this rate holds then we could reasonably hope for a referral in about 4 months. But, that's if everything goes our way.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Welcome Home Chani!

I forgot to mention that Kathy and Matt returned safely from China with their new daughter Chani. Such a beautiful little girl. We hope they will come to Iowa sometime to visit family so we can meet them. Click on the title above to read their journal.

It's Got To Get Better --- Doesn't It?

The latest batch of referrals came out December 31, 2007. The cutoff date was December 19, 2005, leaving 24 more days of paperwork till our LID of Jan 12, 2006 come to the top of the pile. Yeah, it's kind of discouraging as we had been rather hoping for more progress this time. At this rate, it could be 5 months or more till we get our turn. But, we think it will be sooner than that. We are hoping for an April referral, and it could possibly happen.

We are approaching the second anniversary of our application being logged in at the CCAA office in Beijing. And, then there was the 4-5 months of chasing the paper required to document just about everything in our lives to convince the Chinese and US officials that we are not bad people and could maybe just possibly be trusted to raise a child. We have lived this adoption for 2 1/2 years now, and it permeates every aspect of our daily lives. Friends and colleagues often ask us how things are coming along and if there is any progress yet. We appreciate the interest and know that it is sincere and comes from the heart, although it also serves to remind us that Miaya is still in China, depending on someone else to care for her.

We read the online journals of other adoptive parents, both those waiting as we are, and those who have returned with their angels. We feel both joy and sadness as the words and pictures flow over us, joy in their happiness and sadness in ---- well, you know. Seeing those faces helps us keep the faith and hang on a little longer. As we approach this anniversary with still empty arms, we are filled with a strange mixture of emotions, hope and fear and frustration and longing. And the knowledge that it will happen, but still no clear idea of when.