I've been waiting...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Secret Pal Gift

So my friends Tammy and Mike left for China yesterday afternoon, so exciting!!!!!!  I gave Tammy a quick call from work yesterday to wish her a good trip and she seemed unreasonably calm.  I hope I can be that calm when my time comes!   She seems to be taking it all in stride which is good.  I will be at the airport to greet them when they return so let's see how calm she is then!!! LOL

I belong to a group of men and women who communicate online.  We all have a September Log-in date for China and have been active supporting each other, discussing all things adoption/preparation related and being excited as each one of us gets our referral.. They hail from all over the world and even though I've never met any of them I feel like I know them after chatting about everything you can imagine, adoption related and not!  One of the women organized a "Cyber Shower" over the past few weeks and last week I received my gift from my secret pal.  It came from a woman in Ireland and it was a beautiful Christening scrapbook with my LID engraved on the front, a set of book ends (appropriate since I am a librarian and have about a zillion books!) and an Irish rag doll that is SO cute!!!!  Posting this reminds me however that I haven't sent a thank you note to her.  Must get on that!!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What Happens at Referral?

This post is for you Lisa, thanks for taking such an interest in how it all goes down.  Here's what happens when the "BIG MOMENT" finally comes.
A week or so before I receive my referral I will hear rumours that China is organizing paperwork, matching files from these particular Log-in Dates and finally that files (referrals) have been mailed.  Once files have been mailed they usually arrive in Canada a day or so later.  I will receive an email from my agency telling me my referral has arrived.
Once it has been translated and reviewed by my agency, I will receive a phone call and be given some basic information:  Child's name, date of birth, which province and Social Welfare Institute (orphanage or foster home) they live in and some basic medical information.
In the next few hours I will receive a photo of my child.  I then wait for the rest of the medical information to be translated and couriered to me, usually a few days later.  Once I have all the information on my child, I will take it to a doctor for review.
I then meet with my Social Worker to go over paperwork and accept my referral.  Over the next few weeks, I have several documents to complete for China and forms to send to my provincial Ministry of Child and Youth Services for approval.  I have already completed most of the immigration paperwork to be able to bring a child into Canada.
Once I have received confirmation from China and my own Ministry I can then begin making travel arrangements.  Most of this is done through my agency.
Once my travel dates are set, I start getting ready!!!!  All of this preparation takes about 8 weeks, mostly due to waiting on China and my Provincial Ministry to send documentation allowing me to bring a child into Canada.
It sounds easy when I write it all down here but I hear people tell me it's a crazy busy time so I may be a little out of the socializing loop when this is happening, sorry folks!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

OMG!!! OMG!!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!!  Apparently the 8th is not the cut-off!!  Referrals were sent out for up to Sept 11 and 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh my gosh, I 've never been so happy to be wrong!!!!!!!!!!  I told you it was like a roller coaster!  Every time I think I've got a handle on the whole thing it takes me for a spin!!!!  The most thrilling ride of my life!  

I was out gardening all day yesterday and didn't check for any updates about referrals.  I thought I knew the cut-off date, Sept 8th, and it sometimes takes a while to get info and photos translated so there was no hurry to check things out on my facebook group or blogs or Rumour Queen.  When I came inside at 9:30 last night, I thought I would check, just for the fun of it, to see if any pictures of the babies were up yet, I love seeing the first baby pictures.  Well, holy cow!  There was over 3 pages of messages in my inbox all screaming about the BIG surprise!!!!  So it looks like people with a Sept 8-11 LID definitely got their referral yesterday and even a few with a Sept 12 LID got "the call."  This is always surprising because China almost never sends out partial days.  If they don't finish matching a certain day this month, they hold back all the matches for that day until next month.  It could be a mistake somewhere along the line where the people with a Sept 12 LID actually had a Sept 11 LID.  It happens sometimes, things get mixed up in translation, but what a great mix-up for those waiting parents!

What does this all mean you ask??!   It means I AM NEXT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am crying as I type this because I can't believe I am finally saying it.  For more than 5 years I've watched people, most of them complete strangers to me except how I "know" them online through Rumour Queen, get their referrals, meet their babies and deal with the disappointment of missing the cut-off by one day. And now here I am, missing the cut-off by one day.  I don't feel any disappointment, just excitement!  It's finally happening and I couldn't be happier.

P.S.  I haven't forgotten Lisa about posting the referral process, it's coming! :)
As well, still working on the camera thing.  Will try to figure out the problem this week so I can post pictures of my winning game of frisbee golf!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Step Right Up Folks!

"Step right up folks!  A thrill a minute here!  It's time for the ride of your life!  Climb onto the biggest, the longest (that's for sure!!!!) the most spectacular emotional roller coaster of all time!  Fasten your seatbelts and hold on!  It might get a little bumpy but it's bound to thrill you with its dips and turns and unexpected twists!!!!!"

Ok, it's that time of the month yet again!  Time to climb back on the Referral Rollercoaster for another ride!  I got word this morning from "the guy in Spain" as people refer to him, that paperwork is done in China and the next set of referrals are being mailed!!!!!!  I have to admit, as unlikely as it was to happen, I was secretly hoping for the 13th, my LID, to be included.  However, the rumour out there this morning looks like Sept 8th may be the next cut-off.  A little disappointing but c'est la vie!  We had really thought they might complete up to the 10th or 11th realistically but that's sort of been the theme of this whole adoption hasn't it, one step forward, two steps back?  And the thrilling part is, we never know for sure until there is an official announcement.  There's always lots of speculation about cut-off dates and rumours about who will be matched and then sometimes the rumours are right on target and sometimes a big surprise (or sometimes disappointment unfortunately)  hits you in the face!!!  Hence, the roller coaster analogy!  On the upside, it's still 4 days closer to my great moment!!!!!  I've met some great people online these last few months, all people with a September LID like me, so I'm hoping for good referral news today for some of them!

Onto other news, my sister and baby K are doing ok.  They  came home from the hospital last night but will be back there tomorrow to get checked out again by the doctor.  

I was away visiting my nephews Saturday and Sunday with my mom.  We had a good "Day o' Fun" with Aunt Suzanne which included visiting the zoo, playing board games and frisbee golf.  Grandma treated us out to a good lunch at Swiss Chalet after Church.  I have some great pictures but something's up with my camera card or card reader or computer (not sure which yet) and my computer doesn't seem to be able to copy the pictures this morning.  So, I will post pictures later when I figure out what is going wrong.  Who am I kidding, I'll never be able to figure out what is going wrong.  I will just try it again later tonight and hope it works!!!!LOL
Making a great shot!
Who me?  I didn't cheat!

The official Score Keeper!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

He's almost here!

I'm going to be an aunt again today!  So exciting!  My sister has gone into the hospital last night and will be delivering her little baby boy today.  Will update later when I know more details.

Update:  Well, he's here!!!!  It was a bit of an ordeal but in the end all went well.  Mom and baby are both doing ok and I couldn't be prouder as a new aunt!  Everyone is a little tired and not looking their best but here are some pics of the cute little guy!  Welcome to the world baby K!!!!

Getting ready for the OR.  Are you nervous Dad?

Welcome to the world little guy!
 Happy Grandma

Happy Grandpa

Proud parents

Proud Aunt Suzanne

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

I've debated a little for the past few days about composing a Mother's Day post.  Not because I don't have anything to say (I know you're wondering when does that ever happen??) but because my feelings around this Mother's Day are so personal I wasn't sure how much I wanted to share out loud.  The feelings I have around having a child already living somewhere out there, but not knowing him/her yet, the feelings I have for a birth mother who felt the only viable option for her was to relinquish her child to someone else and that someone else is going to be me, are all very complex and emotional and sometimes overwhelming.  This blog however, has been a great place for me to sort out my feelings and fears about motherhood and my upcoming adoption so why stop now.  Plus, I cherish my friends and family that come here to read my blog so here it is, just a few of my thoughts on Mother's Day, 2012.

Dear Grace,
I'm thrilled that this will be my last Mother's Day without you.  I feel a tingling in my stomach every day now, an excitement that I can't contain, knowing I am so close to finally seeing your face. Although you didn't grow in my body, you have grown in my heart.  I have thought about you every day for years now and it both hurts me and excites me to know that you are already a growing little girl somewhere in China.  I worry and hope that someone is taking good care of you while you wait for your forever family, me!  I worry and hope that your birth mother will somehow know that you will be loved, not just by her but by me as well.  Soon you will be coming to a new home and starting a new life with me and even though you won't have a clue what's going on and may be a little unhappy about the whole ordeal, I will be very excited about becoming your mom.  I can't wait to meet you! 
Love, Mommy

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Blessing of Friendship

 Tonight was our annual Mother's Day dinner with a group of women who have all adopted, mostly from China and Vietnam.  With Tammy and Mike getting their referral last month, I am now the last one in the group still waiting for my referral.  Wow.  We've been getting together for 6 years now, it's hard to believe, and I've watched as everyone in the group has gotten their referrals and travelled to bring home their children.  It's been beautiful watching the girls and boys grow so big!  Some members of the group started out single and are now married, some have had biological children since, generally a lot has happened but I am so grateful to God for bringing this group into my life.  I have so many good friends, some I've known for 30+ years now, and I am so thankful for that because I wouldn't be in the place I am in now if not for the ongoing encouragement of my circles of friends.  However, the ladies from this group have really become a source of support throughout the wait and they are the people who really "get it."  I know the rest of you try, and I bless you for that, but only those who have been there /done that, know what it's really like to endure this wait and uncertainty, to parent a child who is culturally, physically and biologically different than you, who has also endured this wait and uncertainty, and to do it on your own.  We get together regularly but not often, however every time I meet them, I leave with a stronger sense of friendship.

When I got home from dinner tonight, I looked up Chinese quotes on friendship and thought I might include one here.  The first one that popped up was...

"Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead."
- Chinese Proverb

It doesn't quite have the lyrical ring to it that I was looking for!!!!!!
So I searched again and found these, not Chinese necessarily, but meaningful just the same...

"With good friends . . . even water drunk together is sweet enough.”  
  (I think this one does have Chinese origin!)

"Strangers are just friends waiting to happen."

"Sometimes you pick your friends, sometimes they pick you."

Most of my friendship circles have happened by chance.  People I have worked with and people I went to school with and were naturally drawn towards have become lifelong friends.  But for the most part, I didn't actively seek out any of them except the people I now know through adoption.  When I first started this journey to motherhood, I searched high and low for adoption groups, single mothers groups, whatever I could find, and injected myself into all of them.  Not all of them turned out to be a good fit and I've let some of them go, but for the ones that stuck, I'm grateful, thanks!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Finally, I'm in the First Column

Ahh, the sweet satisfaction of being in the first column!!!!  These are the projections for this coming month's referrals from China put out by a woman in the States, known as Rumour Queen, who keeps track of everything related to international adoption.  Each month Rumour Queen, whom I've referred to quite a bit here, puts out projections for the next set of referrals.  She examines the data from past months, how many days worth of files were matched, how many families that included, etc. and uses the information to make an estimate of when the next set of referrals will come out and how many days/files China will match.  Some months it makes sense that only a few days will be matched because there are large numbers of families logged in on those days.  Some months there should be several days worth of files matched because there are hardly any files logged into China (funny, this never seems to happen though!).  This information is what I use to gage when I might receive my referral.  If you look on the left side you will see the upcoming months.  Remember China only matches and mails the referrals once a month or so.  The columns to the right are Rumour Queen's (RQ's) best guess.  If things continue according to this past winter 2012's pattern, I will receive my referral in June, if things go a little better/faster like they were last winter 2011, I will receive my referral in May.  However, as I've found out with this process, things can always get worse and if they do, I may be delayed until July.  You can see from the chart that it is projected that I will just make the cut-off with my Sept 13 log-in date.  If China does not finish as many files as they have been lately, they won't include the 13th and I will be waiting yet again.  But at least this time it will only be an extra month.  I know it's a little complicated to follow but thought I would try to explain why I know but don't know when I will receive my referral.  I won't even show you the other statistic charts that look at number of families logged in on each day, how many days were covered each  month.  It just gets a little mind boggling!!!  All I know is, it will happen soon!  If you want to read more about the process and how it has all unfolded from the start, I wrote about it in more detail here. Just click on the link (blue word "here") and it will take you to my earlier post.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good Baby Day!

Good Baby Day today!  I finished registering at Babies R Us today and I have pictures of a great glider for the baby's room I found on sale at a consignment shop (it's pink gingham check and beautiful!) and I finished shopping for my secret September pal for our cyber baby shower (see last week's post for details) and I picked up my hanging baskets at a farmer's market in the Holland Marsh.  I usually make my own but really these were a good deal and I knew I would be kinda busy this spring!!! :)  Ok, so the last one is not really baby related, but I love to garden and can't not mention the good deal!