The Adoption Option

My spot for thoughts, feelings, rambles, and updates as we journey through the adoption process. Highlights: Dossier arrived in Thailand ~ Sept 26, 2005; Approved ~ October, 2005; Matched ~ August, 2006; Referral received ~ January 2007; Traveled & Home ~ June, 2007; Finalized!! ~ December, 2007

Friday, September 30, 2005

Good news and .......

Well, first I have to start off with the great news - our dossier is currently in Thailand! I arrived last week and is now in the hands of two caring woman in the Thai Red Cross who will decide if they like what they see enough to add us to the list. I've recently been able to learn some inside information about the Thailand program and there is some great things and some really crappy things. It's taken me a few days to collect my thoughts about all the information I received and get back on the happy trails I prefer to stay on.

I was able to talk with a woman who completed the Thai program and has a daughter at home (brought her home about 2 years ago). It was a very insightful conversation and I learned so much. The good parts were really good and as fitting the bad parts seem really bad - equal balance I guess. I found out that these two women, mentioned earlier, are the same women who actually match the families and the children. They painstakingly read and reread the applications learning all they can about the families and studying their pictures before matching them with a child. They are searching for a link, a connection, a sign that screams out that this family will love and care for this child because they were truly meant to be. The lady I spoke two was told her daughter was matched with them because their family is of lighter complexions - and their daughter is a very fair child (assumed to be half Thai). It's a little refreshing knowing these women care so much about the kids and there is some reason for the long wait time. Another really great detail I learned was the kids are well taken care of. The orphanage is small and there seems to be plenty of help around (the building is attached to a larger campus and many of the students volunteer there a few hours a week). The children are on a schedule and get play time and there is always enough food to go around (although probably not the most well balanced meals, at least they are not fighting each other for food like in some Russian orphanages. I was told the children are generally heathly and are learning basic skills because they are being handled and get time out of bed. That is a huge bonus in the world of international adoption. So many children sit in cribs for over 12 months with little contact or chance to move around.

But along with the good comes the bad - or at least the harder to deal with. I was able to get an explination as to why the wait for Thailand can be so long after the match. Once the child is matched, they enter a que for medical tests that need to be done for the referral. It can take a long time for the volunteer doctor to get through all the tests on all the matched children before the tests or completed. The doctor only volunteers there, so it is on his/her schedule and the availability of the tests that need to be performed. So maybe one day they are able to do blood tests, but it takes so long to get through all the kids that that's all that gets done that day. Or the doctor becomes very busy and it not able to make regular visits - I'm not sure, but it seems like these would be the things to hold that up. The official referral can not be sent until all the medical tests are completed. We could actually be matched for over 6 months before knowing about it - before receiving the referral. I'm thinking about looking into the chances of us hiring a Thai doctor to go in and perform the tests. Perhaps if we could hire a doctor to perform all our tests and then spend a full day in the orphanage.....I'm not sure if it's possible, but with the conversion rate with money being sooooo much in our favor, it might be doable financially. Not sure if it's allowed though. Just something to look into. Especially since we have some contacts in Thailand that might be able to hook us up with a doctor. We'll see - anything to keep the hope and spirits up.

Once the referral is received, and we approve the match, we wait to be invited to travel. This is the other reason things take so long. The final board we meet with is a panel of volunteers (I've been told it is like the junior league of Bangkok, weathly well dressed women) who will ask us the final set of questions and allow us to bring out child home. They only meet twice a month for about 3 hours or something - and they see hundreds of families each meeting (because they deal with all the adoptions, not just international, or the ones from our orphanage).

So we are looking ahead and simply waiting to hear about our pre-approval. I thought it was all a formality but after talking with this woman I can't assume anything. Knowing that's not just our papers being stamped "arrived" and putting us in the next pile, but rather two caring individuals make the entire situation emotional. They are emotionally attached to these children and must deam us worthy. Keep your fingers crossed. Thinking back, I wonder, if I'd known all these little details in the beginning would be still have gone with this program? Honestly, I think I wouldn't have. I think I would have taken another look at domestic - especially adopting a toddler from foster care. Or kept looking into other countries or other agencies. But now that we are so vested and have started to fall in love with Thailand, I can't imagine backing out or changing our minds now. I know whatever child we end up with it was what was meant to be. Even if it takes another 2 years, I'll know in my heart that child was not given to us, but instead we were chosen for that child.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Slow going

We are still waiting to hear that our dossier has been returned from Washington DC. It seems like it's been longer than 2 weeks but I guess not really - since it spent some time in Washington State first. Hopefully we'll have news soon. Otherewise there is not much to say. I've definatley taken a different approach to this "pregnancy" than my first one. I feel like we are expecting, but it is so much better than the first time around. There is very little anxiety (although we still have to be approved by Thailand which is a huge step) and mostly a lot of pride and excitment. I bought a small picture frame yesturday that matches one we have for Ian. I wanted to make sure that I had two, so the new baby would have the same one. Weird, but small preperations like that make me feel good. I had all these thoughts swirling around in my head, last night while laying in bed, but now none of them are coming to me. I should have known better and written them down, but alas I was all comfy and snuggled in. I'll know better next time.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A few good things

This has been a rough emotional week for, having very little to do with the adoption, and it seems like things aren't getting better anytime soon. I'm lucky to have great friends I can talk to and who are there for me during all my weirdness.

But anyway - there were a few good things that happened this week. First, last night was Jackie's Tastefully Simple party she hosted has a 2nd fundraiser to us (see my previous postings for further explination). It was a lot of fun and so amazing how people we'd never met before were excited and interested in our journey. And the few people we'd met at other family functions treated us like family and seemed to take personal stock in our adoption efforts. It was a great rush of hope and excitment to answer people's questions and hear all the well wishes the circulated the room. When it was all said and done we received a $90 check from Tastefully Simple rep, Goldie, and a very kind donation of $20. In total between the parties and the kindness of people we were able to raise over $300 to help with our adoption costs. It takes my breath away to see how our families and friends have really opened up and are so excited about the process and are willing to support us (emotionally and financially). Our next step is to look into "scholarships" and foundations for additional support. But I'm still brainstorming for ways I can help bring in some extra funds. Anyone want to help me record a Children's CD? Or write Oprah to make my wildest dream come true? We are certainly not bad off and there are plenty of people out there who are worse - but I know somewhere out there, there is a very rich and generous person just looking for a Thai grandchild or nephew or whatever! :) We're here and willing to help that dream come true.

Another great thing, was we had our support group meeting tonight. It felt like magic announcing our dossier was nearly ready to leave the country. I have visions of while it's in Washington DC, they are decorating it with red, white, and blue, getting is all gussied up for it's journey. More likely, it's getting a gold seal or an embossed stamp and a nice stock cover letter with the word Thailand appropriatley placed for good will. I don't care either way - as long as it's getting what it needs.

One couple in our group is coming off a very bad scam - it hurt them pretty bad and they've been researching and gathering information to try and stop this from happening again. The birth couple was working with 6 different families and collected over $10,000 from just 3 of them. Who knows how much money they made on this poor little baby. Turns out a couple in Mass. was ready to adopt this baby and spent time in the hospital with him and named him - the whole nine yards. But because they couldn't give them more money the birth couple took the child and basically sold him to the highest paying agency. Our friends were out of the scam far before the baby was born, but to know the couple did this until the very last moment made us all ill. Illinois just passed a new law that will hopefully help prevent baby selling. It requires all adoption agencies to be a non for profit organization. Although it won't help with scammers, it'll cut down on crooked agencies taking advantage of people and their wallets during such an emotional and often desperate time. If anyone out there has politically minds or connections please consider a way to help prevent these multiply family scams from happening. I don't know much about law - but this kind of fraud must be stopped.