We are taking a break from our normally very busy work lives this week to vacation on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Dave and I haven’t taken a “just us” vacation before other than the odd 2 or 3 day trip to the mountains. Since we will be a family before we know it, we figured if we were going to do this that now would be the time! We are on day 4 of our vacation and we are finally beginning to feel a little bit relaxed. It is truly glorious here and we hope to get lots of rest and rejuvenation in on this trip. We know the next months will not only be busy work wise but also adoption wise and we want to be rested and ready to go!
After the rush of paperwork and home prep leading up to the home study “finale”, we took a little break from adoption related things. And we also took some time to process our first experience with reviewing the file of a waiting child since that ended up being pretty challenging for us emotionally. We weren’t sure we were ready to start looking again so soon but decided a little over a week ago to move forward. Meaning we told our agency we were ready for them to begin sending us files to review again. And we now have a renewed sense of excitement about the process and hope to have news to share at some point soon. Although we don’t know yet just when.
Because we will be adopting a child with some degree of special needs, we have discovered that the process of being matched with a child is different for us than with non-special needs adoptions and doesn’t really go in the “normal” order. “Normal” is that you wait until your dossier is “logged in” to China and then your receive the referral of a child. The matching process for us means that we will likely be matched before our dossier is even complete. This is very exciting for us as we truly cannot wait to have a face to match with our dream! It may make it harder during the wait, but we will be able to have a knowing that will bring us peace. Some families apparently have to wait months after their dossier is logged in before they receive a referral. Knowing that this won’t be the case for us certainly adds to our excitement! I know it is still going to feel like forever, though, as we will want to get that sweet child home with us as soon as possible.
Our I-800A form was sent off this week. This is the form that gets us the all clear from US immigration. Once we receive this clearance, we will pretty much be ready to file our dossier with China. Apparently, the immigration approval takes between 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, once we return from vacation we will be getting all our dossier paperwork we have assembled ready to go – notarized, authenticated by the county and state, and then sent for additional authentication to the Chinese Embassy. Once everything has been approved/authenticated, our adoption agency will then send our dossier to China to be “logged in” with the government there. After that, we will have to wait for immigration approval for our little one as well as some other official type things to be scheduled/approved. And then we will wait for our travel approval. Once we get this it is usually only 2-3 weeks before we go to pick up our son or daughter! It may be 8 months from now before we go. It may be a year. I don’t know exactly but, of course, I am hopeful it will be closer to the 8 month time frame. Not that we don’t have a LOT to do before we bring our child home. But the preparation part is something Dave and I really look forward to doing.
We have some wonderful friends/clients who gave us the loveliest gift about a month ago – not too long after we announced that we were pursuing adoption. It is a silver wishbone. They gave it to us with a lovely card that said they hope “all our wishes come true”. That wishbone is beside our bed every night. And each night Dave and I hold the wishbone, visualize our little one, send love his or her way, and give the wishbone a kiss. We have it with us here in Florida, too! This sweet little wishbone has become a symbol of our faith in many ways.
And we have had to lean heavily on that faith during this process. It’s not always easy to choose faith. Because worry is definitely a part of this process. There have been times we have felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and heartbroken. There have been other times we have felt uncertain and confused about how to proceed. Yet we are learning that, not unlike many things in life, this is just one more leap of faith. I hear our social worker in my head almost daily saying, “Trust the process.” And we do our best every day – sometimes for me it is multiple times a day – to do just that. Faith and hope comfort and strengthen us for now and we feel certain in the knowledge that all that we are experiencing now will be something we will barely remember once our child is in our arms. So, over and over, we find ourselves choosing faith. Because, really, what other choice is there?