I've been waiting...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ah, the life of a student...

So, as I mentioned my nephew S. came up last weekend to my parents to enjoy his week off school. While up here, he claims sole custody of the TV and PVR and watches every show you can imagine a 20something man to watch. He sleeps late, walks the dog, doesn't have to agree on TV choices with his brothers, beats my parents at card games, helps out my dad a little around the house or at work, but mostly just relaxes. Oh to have some of that life back!

He and I went out to Swiss Chalet for dinner Friday night. I really like spending time with each of my nieces and nephews. They each have such different and interesting personalities and I feel so lucky to be close with each of them. Everyone is busy these days and I don't see any of them as often as I used to, but it makes the times I do see them that much more special.

Saturday my sister and nephew A. came over to pick up S. and bring him back to reality. My other sister, L. came by also with her fiance and the three kids. There was a full house of swimming and monopoly and hockey games on TV. Lots of fun!

On Sunday, I hosted a get together with my SMC group, which stands for Single Mothers by Choice. We had a busy afternoon, swimming at my parents' pool and feasting on snacks and treats. I've known some of these women for several years now and it's been great watching their children grow up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

8 years

8 years ago today I started this process of adopting from China. On February 22, 2004, I attended an information session for my agency and started the ball rolling.

I became a member of the organization and was put on a call-back list for singles. At that time, China was accepting a limited number of single women into their adoption program. The waiting list at that time was full for the next few years. So I waited about a year on the call-back list in order to get on the waiting list. Then I spent a year on the waiting list before I could apply to adopt. I then spent 6 months completing paperwork and then the 5 1/2 years of waiting I have done officially logged into the program.

The information session was in Burlington and I remember having dinner after the session with a friend who lives in Burlington. She asked me if I was sure that this was what I wanted to do. To look back on that conversation almost makes me laugh. Oh, what I didn't know then! What I didn't know about adoption, inter-racial adoption, attachment, Chinese culture, the process, the waiting, parenting. Maybe 8 years from now, I will look back over this post and almost laugh. Oh, what I don't know yet about adoption, interracial adoption, attachment, Chinese culture, the process and waiting, parenting.

Wow. 8 years. Where does the time go? I guess I should be wishing myself Happy Anniversary???

Family Day Weekend 2012

I had a great Family Day weekend. My parents and I went to Peterborough to visit my sister and her family on Saturday and Sunday. My nephew A. was in the pit band for his school play, Peter Pan. The school did a great job on the play, having the main characters hanging by wires, flying all over the place! We had a relaxing visit with everyone in the afternoon before the performance Saturday night.

After getting home from the play, of course there were several card games to be played. Who needs sleep when you have cards to keep you awake??! Sunday after church, we had a huge feast of waffles and the boys and I played an engaging game of Settlers of Catan. It's a great board game that I hardly ever win but I love that game!

Sunday afternoon, my sister and I went out shopping at HomeSense where I got a great light fixture for the baby's room. Here is a picture of the white version, although I got it in pink :)

Cool eh?!

All in all, a great weekend for family activity! And the best part was that S. my oldest nephew came home with us for the week. He has Reading Week so he's off school. S. and I went to a movie Monday afternoon, Safe House. Great movie, a little intense. S. being here for the week means only one thing.... more cards! Yeah! We played euchre after getting home from Peterborough and then another game or two Monday night. I can't wait to beat him again! I wonder if he's still up?

Pancake Tuesday! Yum!

Pancakes! Can you ever get enough of pancakes??!!! Well apparently you can.

I had pancakes for breakfast at school yesterday, then another pancake for snack at first recess, the junior kindergartens brought me pancakes they had made in the afternoon and then dinner..... you guessed it, pancakes!!! My mom hosted a lovely dinner of pancakes and bacon with fruit and whipping cream.

What a feast! It was great, but please no pancakes today.

And We're Back...

The Wait. It is what it is. Everything will happen in its own time. It's all part of God's plan. I've waited this long, what's a few months/years more? I won't let one bad month get me down. This long wait will be worth it in the end. The pain of the wait will all fade away once the baby comes.

These are just some of the many explanations I force upon myself when the wait gets hard. I know God has a plan for me, I trust it and I know it will happen at exactly the right time according to God's plan, I just wish I knew when that was!! Because I have plans of my own I need to attend to! Like painting a baby's room, and planning a trip to China!

The Wait. It is what it is and I will live with it, I just won't always smile through it. Thanks for understanding that and letting me have my moment. I'm better now and will now post about my wonderful Family Day weekend and PANCAKES!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

cut-off Aug 21

It has been confirmed that the next cut-off date for referrals is Aug 21, 2006. That hurts. A lot. It is barely a handful of families world-wide and I can't contain my disappointment in such a small batch of referrals this month.

I, along with everyone else in the China adoption circle was hoping that the 10 days of no one logged in during August would make a difference, forcing China to refer a large number of days. China however, has a different perspective and will not alter from their contrived slow-down of the process. This exact disappointment, this handful of referrals, has happened on this journey more times than I can count and it stings every time but the closer I get to seeing my baby's face, the harder the disappointing months of waiting become.

I know I sound bitter right now but I feel blindsided and frustrated and angry and it will take a few days to re-group. I will come back to my excitement and happiness about this journey, just not today.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Spanish Rumour Queen, who is someone I presume in Spain, who keeps track of China' s referrals and adoptions and reports them on her blog, has reported that she is expecting "Big News" from an agency today. YIKES! I'm freaking out! The suspense is making me crazy! On an even higher note, someone in my facebook group who has a Sept 1 LID has been told to get ready, they may be seeing a referral in February! Like I said, YIKES!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

?? What does it mean??

At least one agency is reporting that they are optimistic about this next set of referrals. The tension builds. What could that statement mean? A large number of referrals???? I certainly hope so!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Process

I've had some requests to explain the process in a little more detail. I forget sometimes that not everyone knows the whole process like I do and that you don't understand what I mean when I refer to batches, referrals, LIDs, etc. So here it goes.

The Homestudy Process
Before sending paperwork to China, one must complete the homestudy process and receive approval to adopt from the provincial government. I did this for the first time in March of 2006. It involves lots of paperwork, forms, police checks, and interviews with a social worker. I had friends and family members who wrote letters of reference for me and eventually I had a report completed by my adoption practitioner and it was sent off to the Ministry for approval. I got that approval in July 2006. My niece F. was there to hear the phone message and happily relayed the news to my mom as soon as we walked in the door at Grandma's house.

After that, I chose an Adoption Agency and compiled a dossier, which consisted of all the additional paperwork that China requires. I had it translated into Chinese, and sent it to China in August 2006. Several weeks later, I received a Log-in Date, the date which China received and logged my file into their system. This does not mean China has given you approval, but that you are now in line for review by the Centre for Adoption Affairs.

The Review Room
The place in China where adoptions are handled is called the Centre for Child Welfare and Adoption Affairs. Basically, there are two main sections or "rooms" at the centre, the Review Room and the Matching Room.

In the Review Room, my dossier was reviewed by officials who are looking for certain criteria. Apparently I met the criteria because I passed! Each adoption agency has their own review person. They know how to put a dossier together based on how their review person wants to see it, and based on the things their review person will approve or deny. Periodically, China will update and post on their website as to how far they have reviewed. Right now they have reviewed files logged in up to Nov. 30, 2010. The process is a little more complicated than I describe here, but you get the main idea of how you receive approval from China.

Once your file is out of the Review Room, you commence THE BIG WAIT. There is not a whole lot more to do at this point except wait for China to match your file with the file of a baby, and as I now know, that can take a long time. My file left the Review Room sometime in early 2007 and is waiting to make it over to the Matching Room! Come on file, go! go! go!

The Matching Room
About once a month (but not quite), the people in the Matching Room begin the matching process. They look for something that stands out: a matching birthday, a baby who looks a lot like a parent, or a baby who likes music and a parent who teaches music. Several matching people have stated they match by bone structure of the baby’s face and the parent’s faces (this is why they need our passport photos) Some have stated that they used Chinese astrology, also.

Once all of the files have been matched, they send out word to the agencies that matching is complete and referrals are on their way. The referral is the paperwork for a match between baby and parent. This is the most exciting moment of the month because waiting families from all over the world receive referrals and information about their baby at the same time.

At this point, you accept your referral, prepare a whole bunch more paperwork, have it translated into Chinese, and request approval to go to China to meet your child.

This is simplified version of the process, some of it borrowed from Rumour Queen, I hope she doesn't mind the copyright infringement!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Old Friends and New Beginnings

Beginnings and Endings. Each one comes with a story. You must have an Ending in order to have a Beginning, am I right? I am getting ready for a New Beginning, life with a baby. Does that mean I need to have an Ending? My life was pretty good. I had everything I needed, except maybe a new kitchen. I don't know if I want that to end. But I very much want the New Beginning. Do I need to have an Ending to have a New Beginning? I'll keep thinking about this. I'll let you know when I have it figured out.

I got together with some old friends last night. Well, I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate being called "old" but you know what I mean! All friends from university, I had lost touch with them for a long time over the years. They have been much better at keeping in touch with each other than I have been with them, not for any reason other than life just takes over and keeps me busy. It was great to see them again and I hope I can stay better in touch.

We met at the mall and did some shopping and had dinner. Apparently February is THE MONTH TO SHOP for winter clothes. It was fun to watch them try on all sorts of clothes and come away with great bargains. I even picked up a few things for Grace that were on mega-sale. I felt happy and excited to come home with my little stash!

What struck me funny however, was that as we were catching up, they were sharing stories about their kids, all of them in school, some high school, none of them little anymore. Here I am, getting ready for a baby and here they are looking forward to their kids going off to high school and university! I've thought of this scenario quite a bit over the past five years and how my life with a baby will be much different than that of my same-age family and friends. I worry. Will I have enough energy for a baby at my age? Will stories of baby's first step and first words be interesting conversation to people who are talking about paying for their child's university? Will I be able to stay in touch with people who no longer need to plan ahead for a babysitter? I just worry. It's who I am.

Someone quick, please post and tell me that it will be ok and I will survive it all!!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Back to Work and Preparing to Match

Well, it appears everyone is back to work in China after their New Year's holidays and Spring Festival.

The CCCWA (Chinese Centre for Child Welfare and Adoption Affairs, the government organization responsible for facilitating international adoption) has announced that it is preparing to match. This means they are preparing paperwork for the next set of referrals where they will match a family's file with a baby available for adoption.
Woo-hoo!!!! Let the rumour ride begin!


Rumour Queen posted yesterday that matching may have begun. Maybe.

Years ago, there were rumours galore about when the CCCWAA (the Chinese Centre for Child Welfare and Adoption Affairs) may have started working on the next set of paperwork and referrals. For days, I would receive updates about matching and referral date cut-offs. It was exciting and nerve racking at the same time. People would speculate on how many days China would match, who would receive their referrals, etc. When referrals would finally start to arrive each month, it was a long list of people and everyone would be celebrating.

Now, there is nothing. If we get a day or two of "heads up, something may be coming" that's it. Referrals seem to arrive out of the blue, with little or no warning, and the list of families announcing a referral has dwindled to only a handful. Great for those people who will now become a family, a little anti-climatic for the rest of us waiting. It was fun to get caught up in the excitement. Now we just wait. And wait and wait and wait.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Waiting Jar

When I first started this process, in March 2006, China was processing 30 or more days worth of files each month. The woman from the agency said to "get ready, because after I submit my paperwork, I should expect to have the baby home within 7-8 months." 7 months later, my paperwork was complete, fingerprints done (I'm not a criminal by the way), house inspection passed and my file was logged into China on September 13, 2006. At that point China had slowed down a little (unknown to me) and was processing about 20 or more days worth of files a month. So, I thought to myself, it would take a little longer than I thought, maybe even a year and a half. No big deal. At that time they were finishing up July 2005 but still I thought, there were less than 400 days worth of files/LIDs ahead of me. Really not that much considering they completed almost a month (20 or 30 days) at a time. I know all this information now, years later, but at the time when I submitted my file, I was very green about the whole process, like most families were, and had no idea how the whole Log-in date/referral thing went.

Almost immediately after I was logged in however, referrals slowed to a crawl with sometimes only 1 or 2 days worth of files being referred each month. The wait stretched out and increased exponentially and it went on forever with no end in sight. I wanted to give up and I needed something to give me hope.

The only light was that even though the movement was painfully slow, it was moving. Every month files were being referred and people were being matched with babies. Families were created.

So, in October, 2010, when China got down to the last 100 days ahead of my date, Sept 13, I started the waiting jar. It is simply a jar filled with 100 stones. Every month I take out as many stones as there have been referral days. So for example, this month I took out 5 stones, representing from August 10 to 15th.

Here is what my jar looked like 15 months ago, filled to the top with 100 stones:

Here is what my jar looks like now:

It give me encouragement to see how far I've come.
I can't wait till it's empty.