Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adoption's Not Easy!

Anyone who thinks that adoption is the "easy way" to start a family couldn't be more wrong! While I'm not complaining and I would do it all again in a flash, this has been a very stressful, emotional, and difficult journey so far. We have been working very hard on this for a very long time: It was a year and a half ago that Paul and I first made the decision to go forward with our adoption plan at this point in our lives (Fall, 2007); it's been one year since we signed a contract with our first agency (the one that later went out of business) and officially began the process, and it took us 10 months to put our dossier together and get it to China. We still are not logged in, and we have at least a 2 to 3 year wait ahead of us before we will finally meet our child!

While we are waiting for our referral we will have to keep up with our paperwork as some of it will expire. We will have to do a whole new homestudy once we get settled in our new home, and we will have to update that homestudy every 12 months. Our USCIS paperwork will also expire; we will have to be re-fingerprinted again next February, then renew our I-800A. The first time they do this for free, but after that we will have to pay all over again.

No, I don't have to be pregnant for 9 months, but at least with a pregnancy you have an idea when your baby is coming. And you only have to wait 9 months to meet your baby when you're pregnant- we may wait 2-1/2 to 4 times longer than that, or more! Plus, when you are pregnant you have the constant reminder of your little one; you can physically see him/her growing inside you, and feel him/her move. You get ultrasounds to actually see his/her face, and you can hear the heartbeat. With adoption we get none of these special reminders or "connections" to our baby; instead we get to celebrate things like completing paperwork or getting updates from our agency. That is why I sometimes buy little things for Caitlin, even though it will be years before I meet her; by buying her some clothes or books or starting to buy a few things for her nursery, it reminds me that she is on the way, and that is what keeps me going even when things get stressful or seem hopeless.

Yes, we get to take a big trip at the end of our "pregnancy" instead of the pains of labor, but the trip to China is not exactly a vacation! Imagine being handed a baby that you have never met before, who is 8-18 months old (not a newborn, mind you), and you are instantly a parent. Although you are thrilled beyond belief since you have been waiting for this magical day for years, your beautiful new baby has no idea what is going on. She is scared, confused, and grieving the loss of the only life she has known. You know she is going to a much better life, but she doesn't understand that. Now imagine trying to bond with this baby (which may but probably won't come easily) while living in a hotel room and traveling from city to city within a country that you know very little about. She is likely sick (many of the babies come down with some type of cold/respiratory illness, or constipation at best due to all the sudden and abrupt changes; either way they're not feeling "tip-top"), you are probably sick as well (either with the same respiratory illness that everyone seems to come down with during the trip, probably from the pollution, or a stomach bug, probably from eating foods you are not used to), as well as extremely jet lagged since you were only in this time zone (on the other side of the planet) for a day or 2 before your life completely changed and you became parents. Now you are dealing for the first time with a new, sick, scared little child, in a new country, with none of your resources and support that you have back home. She is crying, but she doesn't know or trust you so when you try to comfort her she only cries harder. She doesn't sleep because she is scared and confused, so even though you are exhausted and jet lagged, you don't sleep. She won't eat because the formula or bottles you give her are not what she is used to... I could go on and on, but the point is this is not a pleasure trip!

Please don't get me wrong; I am looking forward to all these challenges! Although it will not be easy- I realize that being a parent is the hardest job I will ever have, but also the most rewarding- I can't wait! I am just a realist. I have researched and researched this process, almost to the point of obsession (typical of me!), and I feel I have a good idea of what to expect. I plan to be as prepared as I can be, but I also know to expect the unexpected. I just felt the need to write this post to try to explain to the people outside of the adoption world that it's not just a matter of signing a few papers and, VOILA!- you're handed a happy, giggling baby and you all live happily ever after...

I met a family at a baseball game last year. They had 3 daughters: two biological and the youngest was adopted from China. I asked the mom which she thought was easier: giving birth or adopting. She said "Honey, I had my first daughter naturally, my second by a C-section, and my third was adopted, so I feel I have every possible route to becoming a parent covered. Without hesitation I can say that adoption was BY FAR the most difficult of the three- but so worth it!"

Nope, still nothing...

I'm giving Philip until tomorrow (tomorrow will officially be 2-1/2 weeks from our DTC) before I start calling! Boy- nothing's easy in this process; it seems every step has had me worried because it took longer than it should have.

Ladybug socks, you'd better do your job soon or YOU'RE FIRED!! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nothing yet

Just wanted to update and say that we still have not gotten "the call" (giving us our official LID), but Philip had said that it would be 2 to 2-1/2 weeks. Today marks the 2-week point, so if we don't hear something today then hopefully early next week.

I'm just getting so anxious and tired of waiting. This entire process just seems to be dragging! Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that the biggest wait is still ahead of us (the possibly 3-year + "paper pregnancy"), but that wait can't even start until we finish this first step (the "paperchase"). I feel I've been as patient as possible, but I wanted to be logged in 6 months ago! I thought that, if I did everything in my power to get things done quickly, we could complete the paperwork in a few months. Then I had to accept the fact that there is a huge majority of this process which I have absolutely no control over, and the people who do have the control simply don't care that this is so important to me. But short of praying hard and wearing my ladybug socks, there is really nothing I can do about it so I try not to obsess (too much)!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More ladybug socks for my collection

No, no news yet; we're still waiting for the big phone call... one day sometime soon (hopefully this week) Philip will call to say we are officially LID, and therefore "paper pregnant!"

I did want to share my new ladybug socks that Paul's mom bought for me today:Aren't they adorable?! I love them, and I just know they are full of good luck!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

We're DTC!

Our dossier is on it's way to China!

A few years ago, before they used "LIDs" to determine your place in line, they went by the date that your dossier was sent to China, or your "DTC" ('Date To China' or 'Dossier To China'). Referrals were based on this date, instead of an LID.

Philip says it should be 2 to 2-1/2 weeks until we get our LID... as always, I'll keep you posted!

Maybe not today after all...

Philip woke me up early this morning (he forgot we are now 2 hours behind him!) with the news that he had sent the copies of our passports to the Embassy in Houston, so now he had no copies to send with our dossier. Since we just moved and do not have internet yet, my mom and I threw clothes on and rushed to Kinkos to scan Paul's and my passports to e-mail them to Philip. I called Philip before leaving the shopping center, luckily, because he then told me that we also needed 2 documents that had to be signed and included in the dossier. I went back into Kinkos, printed the documents, signed them, then faxed them back to Philip. I had thought we were done with the "hoop-jumping" and I could now relax and focus on our move, but not so. Anyway, I have a house full of boxes that need my attention so I will sign off for now...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My lucky ladybug socks worked!

Philip called this afternoon to explain that the reason why he hadn't yet called to say that he had our papers back from the Embassy in Houston was because he didn't have them! In fact, he was beginning to panic and he didn't want to panic me. He said he kept calling Houston and they would ask him crazy questions, then tell him they had no idea what he was talking about! He thought our papers were lost forever. In fact, just this morning he had called Houston again and had the same results, but then the mail came and, thank goodness, there was our paperwork, signed and authenticated and ready to go! Thank you ladybug socks!!

Philip said he will wait now until Friday to send our dossier to China because there is another family that is almost ready to go and he wants to send our dossiers together. That is good; that way we should have the same LID so we would travel together when we get our referrals!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


My mom and I were shopping at the outlet mall yesterday, and Bass had a "three-fer" sale on socks. Since I am in need of socks, I decided to get a few pair, and since Bass had several socks with ladybugs on them, I decided that I needed some more good luck. I thought that maybe by wearing ladybugs I could bring a phone call from Philip tomorrow that our documents are all on their way to China, or a quick LID once our papers are in China. Then I decided that I am going to bring us as much luck as possible: I am going to wear only my ladybug socks until we get our LID! In order to make this possible (without doing laundry every 3 days), we returned to the Bass outlet for another 3 pairs of socks. So check out my fashion statement for the month of March:Here's hoping for a speedy LID... as much as I love these new socks, and I think they're totally adorable, I may get sick of them after a few weeks of wearing nothing but them!