Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The start of Step 2...

Got home from work tonight and found Packet Two in the mailbox!! Wahoo!! (That was quick!) :-)

We'll post another update once we get through some of the packet to let you know how we are doing.

Thank you all for your encouragement and support on our news. It means a lot to us!!

~Gary & Alli

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The first step

Welcome to our blog! For those who don't know, we are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China.

We figured this would be the easiest way to keep everyone informed of our progress with our adoption. It's going to be a long road, but we are looking forward to the journey. We are already on our way.

First of all, why adoption? Well, as most of you know, we have been trying to start a family for about 7 years now. We both felt in our hearts that it was right to try to conceive without the aid of drugs, procedures, surgeries, etc. If that wasn't to be naturally, we would pursue adoption. So here we are, and after speaking with the adoption agency, we know this is our destiny- without a doubt.

Secondly, why China? This question is sure to pop into all of your minds. We asked ourselves the same thing at first. But the more we thought about it, the more it made sense to us and we started to lean that way. We had a phone seminar with the adoption agency on Feb 15th and we listened to the advantages and disadvantages of both Domestic and China adoption and asked lots of questions. It became clear to us within the first five minutes what the right answer was. It's one of those things that is hard to put into words, but in your gut you just know it's right. The right answer was China.

China adoptions are typically more predictable in the length of time it takes. They have a definite beginning, middle and end. Domestic adoptions share many aspects of the first stage of the process, but after that they can be a lot more unpredictable. With domestic adoption you get put on a list and you wait. It may be 2 weeks; it may be 5 years. You just don't know. Parents are waiting for a child. In China it is the opposite scenario- there are children waiting for parents. The main wait in a China adoption is for the Chinese government to process the paperwork.

We were told that approximately 90% of domestic babies have problems with some form of drug and/or alcohol dependence at birth. Most of the time the babies recover just fine, but there are often complications. Many times the birth mothers aren't fully forthcoming in their medical histories as well. The mother also has the right to change their mind within the first month and can take the child back. This rarely happens, but is possible. We did mention that domestic adoptions were unpredictable, right? In China, the babies are abandoned due to social and cultural reasons and their abandonment of the child is considered final- no chance for the birth parents to change their minds. The average age at time of adoption is 8 to 11 months. The babies are fed, clothed, and all their medical needs are taken care of. They are very healthy, strong, and their needs are taken care of, save one. What they lack is the parent-child bond and are eager to love and be loved. That's where we come in.

Our decision to go the China route was based more on the experiences we would gain from the whole process. We liked the fact that it would be just the three of us in China- on the other side of the world- for the first 2 weeks of our lives together (no offense to our families!). We liked the idea of the three of us bonding in our own corner of the world. We liked the idea of being thrust into parenthood without a safety net. Sounds scary. Sounds like life. Feels like our destiny.

So, what's next? Paperwork. Lots of it. In three phases. All this paperwork and background checks are to build our dossier to be sent to China. We hope to have it completed and submitted to China by the middle of June (around 4 months). Then comes the long wait. At this point we will be waiting for the Chinese government to process the paperwork, hopefully accept us, and refer a child to us. This could take around 14 months or so. The referral will include a picture of our baby, her age, weight, height, birth name (which we'll change), and other vitals. After we accept the referral, we will be off to China to pick up our baby. We would get our baby the day after we get there, and then immediately start finalization of the adoption in China. We would also get the paperwork in order at the US consulate to get the baby's immigration visa to the US. While we are in China we will be traveling with other adoptive parents that are going through the same thing. We will be in China for 10-14 days. Sounds a little scary and exciting all at the same time!

As of Friday, Feb 23rd, we have the first of three packets of documents signed, notarized, and submitted. Phase one of three of the paperwork done. It now feels a little more "real". We are now waiting for the second packet to arrive, which from what we hear is the largest and most involved of the three. We are actually looking forward to it!

We've got a long road ahead- we'll keep you all informed of our progress!

Gary & Allison