Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Our Adoption Story- Part 2

If you haven't read part 1 you can find it HERE.

After coming to the conclusion that a local Hong Kong adoption probably wasn't going to happen for us, I madly began researching other options. I e-mailed more than 20 agencies in the states and I was either given confusing or contradicting information or they just couldn't help us because we lived overseas. Just when I would get my hopes up about something, I would do more research and find out it was not an option for us. 

We found ISS {International Social Services} here in Hong Kong was doing adoptions with 5 countries at the time. China, Philippines, Russia, Thailand and India. Russia was too costly, India was only for Indians, Thailand had only boys, and the Philippines does adoptions like Hong Kong {a matching panel, not a list} so we feared we wouldn't be matched. We were most excited about China anyway since we had been envisioning ourselves with a Chinese child the whole time. After meeting with ISS and doing my own research I found out we would need to wait until I was 30 to file an adoption application with China.

We decided to try and get pregnant again while we waited for this time. We were blessed with conceiving in only a few months the second time around and Max was born in Sept. 2010, I was 29 years old. When he was just a few weeks old I took both boys with me to get the adoption application from ISS. We could begin the paper work, but not submit until I was old enough. We began the long and confusing process that is China adoption paperwork... Adoption classes, ordering new birth certificates and marriage license. Getting papers, notarized, authenticated, and approved by the Chinese consulate in the US for this purpose. References, background checks {in all the countries/counties your have lived since 18!!} interviews, and lots of paperwork!! By the next summer we had filed our application with the US government to be approved to adopt and by fall we had sent everything off to China.. and end of Nov. 2011 we were officially waiting! 

ISS had said at the time that it was around 2 years 10 months for a "normal" child and around 18 mths for a special needs child. We happily filled out out special needs profile list and expected that by the time Max was 3 we would have another child. 

You have to renew your US approval paperwork ever 15 months... which we have... several times now..

After the 18 mth mark of waiting with NO WORD I checked in with ISS. At this time, when I pressed for details it became clear that they hadn't even actually done a special needs adoption and told us that actually there aren't really any girls under 2 {our preference} on the list... We were devastated, but also knew that several friends in the US had gotten girls until 2 with special needs we would consider... so we weren't sure what was up.  ISS encouraged us to keep waiting and said that now with a 4 year wait we could get a "normal" child.  This was NOT what we wanted to hear.

Around the same time we had the opportunity to foster a baby girl through Christian Action. We had "chen chen" for three months and loved taking care of her while she was in Hong Kong. I felt such a strong love and connection with her, it only deepened my desire to adopt. We wrestled with the idea of trying to adopt her, but with her special needs and our two wild and active boys we just didn't think it was something we could take on.

A friend of a friend heard we were fostering though, and presented us with another opportunity...

to be continued...

Official Foster parents?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Busy and Fun Weekends...

April has been full of fun weekends... Here's a little catch up! We started with Jack's school book character day on a Saturday morning. I was also guest reader and read books to a couple of classes that morning. Jack and his friend Malcolm went as Calvin and Hobbs ;o)
His whole class dressed up..

Character parade..

Malcolm Jack and Josiah... best buds from birth!

Calvin and Hobbs ;o)

The next weekend Max had his Kindergarten concert Saturday morning... It's a bit hard to see. But he is in the front row, far right with a yellow shirt on... He sang with just the afternoon R1 classes, then his whole school... So cute!

And this weekend... we got away for a bit and went out for a quick camp out. We enjoyed a nice Saturday afternoon and evening at the beach, then packed up late morning Sunday.. The weather was perfect for camping!

Finishing up our weekend now with a lazy Sunday afternoon around home... another busy week ahead!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Our Adoption Story - Part 1

I've been meaning to write down the details of our adoption ordeal {I mean story  ;o)} for sometime now. As it appears there is a light at the end of the tunnel I'm going to attempt several installments, finishing with a pick-up of our new daughter... that's the plan at least! So here goes!

When Bryan and I were first married we were very interested in the idea of adoption. Both of us knew adopted kids and really like the idea. While in HK our first few years of marriage we saw several couples in our social circle adopt locally from HK, and the process was easy and very affordable. We kind of put the idea of doing the same on the table for a few years down the road. You had to have been married at least three years and be more than 25 years old to apply... When the time came closer to think about starting a family we decided to try to conceive for a few months first and if that didn't happen we would just start the adoption process. And while during those months it seemed everyone around us was getting pregnant, we did not. So, not to worry, we went to our first adoption meeting in the fall of 2006. 

It all seemed good, so we began the process, paperwork and interviews... by the end of May 2007, our family was in the Hong Kong adoption "pool". They call it this because there is no order to the matching of families and kids.  It is not based on wait time, but on the best fit for each child as they see fit. We were told that local Chinese families would be given priority over us, but we had seen many of our other "white" friend adopt and were not concerned. I didn't not return to teaching in the fall, thinking any moment we would have a baby...The months went by... with no good news. The matching panel was every other week on either Tuesday or Wednesday { I can't remember} I do remember being on edge all morning of those days though, thinking the phone could ring at any moment... 

Then surprise! In the fall of 2007, after about 6 months of no adoption news, I found myself pregnant. We were shocked... and then greatly disappointed when we had a miscarriage just a few weeks later. We talked about how we were feeling discouraged on the adoption front {no one else we knew had waited this long!} and how maybe the surprise pregnancy was God telling us to try again to conceive... AND.. two weeks after my miscarriage D &C, we did conceive Jack. We saw the positive pregnancy test the day after Christmas 2007. We had stayed in HK that Christmas thinking we would have a newly adopted child and not be allowed to travel. It ended up to be a good thing because that positive pregnancy test started the beginning of a very difficult and unstable pregnancy. Our Jack is a fighter though and by 20 weeks we knew we had to tell our adoption agency. 

You are not allowed to be pregnant and still say in the adoption pool.. So after 9 months of waiting for the call, in the spring of 2008 we took our name out. I was excited to be pregnant but very sad about the loss of the adopted child I had been planning on and praying for. We were told when Jack was 9 mths we could put our name back in.

So that's what we did. When Jack was 9 months old we got back into the local adoption pool. Our new social worker told us that our chances were even more slim now as we had a biological child, which lowers you in the priority standing here. We had also come to realize over the past year, that in the years since our friends had adopted the situation was very changed and it was very rare for a foreign family to be given a child. We knew several other families, who like us, started the process, waited and waited and eventually took themselves out of the situation... we were hopeful that something would work out for us though and so began to wait again... 

After another 9 months of nothing.. even with a more expanded child preference sheet {we were open to older and more special needs this time around} it didn't seem like it was going to work out....

Next time....
looking into overseas adoption..

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break in Thailand

I'm not going to write much.. just share photos... we spent four nights on the small island of Koh Samet, then went back to Bangkok to hang out with our friends the Heins. They are leaving Asia this summer and we will miss seeing them on this side of the world. Our paths have crossed many many times in the last 10 years and it was great to spend time together again. We had a little pool side Easter egg hunt, ate lots of good food and relaxed!

In Bangkok...

We also saw our friends the Wadmans for an afternoon... here's our load of children... hard to get 8 kids 6 and under to look at the same time.. i mean impossible...

Also hard to get their fathers to look and smile at the same time!! These three all taught at ICS 12 years ago when I first came... none had kids... only Bryan was married.. just married...

Dear friends!!


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