Saturday, November 19, 2016

Welcome to Our Adoption Story

We hope that those of you who are in the process of adopting will learn something from our adoption experiences and failures. We have shared what happened with our domestic infant adoption process as well as the important lessons we learned along the way. I can't believe how challenging the whole process was. It was an emotional roller coaster ride.
Worse than dating!!
Last year we decided to jump aboard the adoption roller coaster one more time. Since the chances for a "change of heart" are less with international adoption we decided to go that route. The 2 programs that fit us best are the Chinese (special needs) and Ethiopian programs. Even though "change of hearts" are more rare with international adoption, gov't politics can still interfere and end our hopes of having the family we've always dreamed of. But unfortunately that's how adoption works. There are always risks. With hope in our hearts, and fingers and toes crossed we are willing to take the risk one last time.

Anyway, if you have any questions or would like to post comments, please don't hesitate to ask or post. Our blog is automatically set up to show most recent dates first, so if you would prefer to read the story as it happened just start with the "We've Been Chosen" post from the list on your right.

Take care and have a great day!!!!


Home at Last!!

Just a short note to say we are finally home.  I'll be writing more about our journey later on once we get settled and our little man is sleeping on US time, not China time.  All I can say is a trip like that with both a sick baby and a sick mommy is one of the most difficult things I've had to do.  But we got through it.  Now it's time to heal, and settle. More to come later on...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Things Coming Together??

I know it's been a while.  Things have been a bit hectic, but here's where we currently stand. 

Unfortunately, we had to disobey the agency in regards to contacting our guide in China.  We continued to ask for help, but they just brushed us off over and over again.  They insist on email communication where they are cc'd, but that just wasn't working.  Finally I did what years of experience in dealing with difficult challenges has taught me....I chose to take things into my own hands.  A few other mom's told me about something called WeChat.  So we signed up and were able to contact our guide immediately.  I can't believe how easy it was!!  We quickly learned that she wasn't getting any of our email from either address.  For some reason our email addresses couldn't penetrate the Great Firewall in her area.


Meanwhile, while battling for help contacting our guide, I was also referred to someone in China who could deliver a package for us.  Since I have a lot of experience with trauma, I feel it is very important that we send photo albums and stories to our future son ahead of time so his caregivers can start to prepare him for what's about to happen.  When we couldn't contact our guide the agency response was "it's probably to late anyway, just take them with you".  Really???  Are you kidding me???  UGH!!!!So, instead I put together our package and sent it off to readthread.  She repackaged everything for us and forwarded it on to the orphanage on our behalf.  We were hoping that since everything was relabeled in Chinese, he would be more likely get it.  It appears (through tracking) that the package got there, but we really don't know for sure if his items reached him.

Currently we are getting ready for our trip.  Soon we will be in China and have our little man in our arms.  Unfortunately having to take so much of our own food makes things more difficult, but we'll figure it out.  Hopefully all will go smoothly and we'll be home by Thanksgiving.

Now for the tough stuff.  It's unfortunate, but over the last few months it has become abundantly clear that not everyone's adoption experience is the same.  For example, some folks have it easy with constant contact, lots of pictures, videos, and even the opportunity for a video chat with their kids.  While others like us are left to fend for ourselves much of the time.  The inconsistency can be brutal.  We certainly weren't expecting this level of disorganization.  Don't get me wrong, the people at our agency are really nice, but the reality is they are horribly disorganized.  The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.  We now know how very spoiled we were by Catholic Charities.  Every question was answered and we knew what was happening at all times, except for the Colorado Springs incident when we were on our own.  But that situation was a 1st time coop between offices, so you would expect something like that to be buggy the first time around.

We are generally patient and laid back about the process.  We don't like to pester people and since we've been trying to adopt for a while now we know things can take time.  We trusted we would be notified when necessary.  But I think our attitude just resulted in us being forgotten.  Our initial paperwork was delayed by a few weeks because we were waiting for pre-approval to come through.  If someone had advised us we were already approved, all following paperwork would have been completed right away.  Then we had another 3 week delay regarding the visa that could have been easily remedied had someone communicated with us and given us the contact info we needed to check by phone instead of the traditional email way (which elicited no responses from the gov't).  We've had another 2 month delay connecting with our guide in China which also could have been avoided had they been organized and willing to help more.  They could have sent emails asking why she wasn't receiving ours.  They could have allowed us to use WeChat sooner.  Heck, they could have just called her directly!!  All were options that were never offered.  We've felt abandoned and unsure about what is to come because of the agency's disorganization.  I even went so far as to find other guides in Guangzhou just in case our agency didn't come through and left us stranded in a foreign country without help.  How sad is that?? 

I don't know how things will go from here.  Although I love the folks at our agency, I don't trust their competency very much at this point.  We have contacts in China to fall back on in case of an emergency, but I sure hope it doesn't come to that.  The worst thing...... we've heard that this agency is one of the best.  If things have been this rotten for us at times, can you imagine how things work at other agencies??  They must be terrible.

Anyway, all the above equates to lessons learned.  We can use our experiences to help others so that hopefully they don't have to feel like we have.  I guess that's the silver lining.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Travel Approval!!

The last week or two have been challenging to say the least.  The good news is we received our travel approval which means we are now in the process of requesting our consulate appointment in China.  Once we get that confirmed we can buy airfare and book our hotels.

The bad news is after 2 months of trying I just don't seem to be having any luck getting in touch with our guide in China.  Everyone else I've spoken with is having no issues, but we never get responses.  I've spoken with our agency and they said they would check, but again... we never heard back.  We are trying through a different email address to see if that will work, but if not we may be on our own.  I'm not sure what to do in that case.

Luckily there is a group I've been in contact with (other adoptive parents) who say that an app called Wechat is a great way to communicate with our guide.  So, if we don't hear back soon, then we'll try that.  The group was also able to recommend someone to help us get a care package to our little man.  So I'm now in the process of packaging up some stuff and sending it off to China.  Hopefully he'll get his photo albums and story book within the next 2 weeks or so. :)  Fingers crossed this all works out well.  We are little worried about the guide part, but hopefully it will all come together in the end.

Monday, September 5, 2016

National Visa Center Approval

Wow!!  That was a long wait!   So here's the latest update.   We applied for our little guy's visa right after signing the letter of acceptance.  We got approval on the 4th of August and were told our adoption letter would come in a couple of days.  At that point it was looking like we might be able to squeak in and go get our little man at the end of September.  YAY!!

Then 1 week went by, and 2 weeks went by, and 3 weeks went by...   In the meantime, I kept contacting the National Visa Center to find out where our letter was.  At first they would told me "it's in the mail", but when it never showed, and after the 3rd or 4th formal document request, they just quit responding to me altogether.  Finally after 3 weeks of trying my agency gave me a number to call.  After a a little while on terminal hold I found myself speaking with a less than pleasant gov't employee who acted like I was an imposition to her day.  Then she got extremely quiet and I quickly found out they had dropped the ball and never sent our letter.  Not only that, but they never even wrote it!!

Once the rep realized the NVC error, her personality changed and she became much more friendly as she frantically typed up a letter while we were talking.  She forwarded it to her supervisor for immediate approval and said we should hear back within 24 hours.  Now, after the last month of dealings with the NVC I was very skeptical, but the good news is we had our letter 2 hours later!!  The bad news is that it was 3 weeks late which means, no September travel for us.  Even if we could leave toward the end of September, we wouldn't be able to get everything in order and be home before the October holiday in China shuts everything down.  Such a bummer.

So now it looks like we might have to wait until November.  The holiday and huge trade shows in Guangzhou mean airfare and hotel costs triple during the month of October.

So for now, we are waiting for our travel approval.  Our paperwork should be walked over to the consulate in China this week.  Once that happens travel approval comes within a week or two.  Luckily after 3 change of hearts, and 3 other failed adoption opportunities, we are used to waiting.  It's been 10 years since we originally started our adoption journey, so waiting a couple more months won't be that big a deal.