Friday, March 5, 2010

Here's what we looked like when we started this whole thing...

We submitted our dossier to the Chinese government on April 5, 2006. The date would be forever known as our LID--Log in date. The contents of this dossier was many pages of birth certificates, photographs, recommendations from friends and family, a home study authored by a licensed social worker, papers from the Department of Homeland Security saying we had permission from them to bring an orphan home from China, seals and stamps from the states in which we were born and the Chinese Consulate. We had to deal with government entities in North Dakota, Virginia, Indiana, and Washington D.C. We drove to Indy several times and Geoff actually took care of some paperwork in DC when he was there on business. We used an agency out of Evansville called FTIA which came highly recommended.

The Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) puts all the dossiers that arrive in strict date order and honors the commitment to the families one by one. At some point while we were in the queue, our dossier was translated into Mandarin. Otherwise, my vision was of a huge file cabinet somewhere deep in some Chinese bureaucrat's office, and we were in a file with a tab way in the back that s-l-o-w-l-y moved up to the front.

The only way you can move to the front of the line in this massive queue would be to agree to adopt a special needs child from a list called "waiting children". Many people jumped ahead of us in line by doing this. Many special needs children in China are often fine children, they simply have small health problems which leave them off regular adoption lists. People who routinely scanned the list and contacted their adoption agencies quickly would adopt special needs children who were relatively healthy. I often though of doing that, but it would have required another level of bureaucracy that I was not willing to face. I simply stayed true to the line and decided to wait patiently (or not so patiently) for whatever waited for us at the end.

In the intervening 4 years, I told absolutely everyone about our pending adoption. I put a lot of travels on hold thinking I did not want to plan too much for fear that we would have to cancel and travel to China at a moment's notice. The agency told us to find something to do to fill our time. Geoff ran for public office and became an elected official in our county. I became PTO president and became very involved in a community writing program. So you see, we are now very busy people.

Geoff and I had to travel to Indy two more times and have two more home studies and two more sets of physicals and two more sets of fingerprints done in order to keep our US government paperwork up to date. We went through 4 adoption coordinators at our agency. Weirdly, everyone around us was having kids and getting adoptive kids. It seemed everyone was destined to grow their family but us. When we started the process, I decided Grayson, then 8 years old, was too young to accompany us. Now, he is a perfect age 12, and I anticipate will be a great help on this trip.

I'll share more stories in the coming days. I am looking forward to hearing from friends and family as we travel and bring Tess home.

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