The Story of Gracie

We are in the process of adopting a daughter from China! Our LID [Log In Date] for our paperwork in China is Sept. 12, 2005.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Missed this month...

Here is the update from the China Center for Adoption Affairs:

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before January 31, 2006.

The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before September 8, 2005.

Needless to say, I feel such a loss right now. So close and yet so far away! It is out of our control, the waiting game continues.
We are only 4 days away from this last cutoff, but when you look at a calendar from last month, September 10th and 11th were the weekend, so technically, we are 2 business days off of the cutoff.
I've certainly learned through this long process that there are no guarantees [like once upon a time being 5 or 6 months to referral?!!], but I'll feel secure enough in saying that this will be our last month waiting. Travel now? Most likely right after the Chinese New Year [February 18th]. This has a positive spin, being that Mardi Gras holidays [Feb. 19 to 23] and Easter holidays [April 6 to 13] will be 2 weeks that I won't have to use up my sick days for maternity leave! That would put me back to work towards the end of April, then May, then my summer off to be at home with Gracie and Jenn. Ok, God's plan does take some twists and turns along the path, but this one gives me precious more time for us to bond and adjust at home.
Well, going to start off the day trying to keep it together and face the troops [junior high classes today]. That should be a distraction from the let-down, to say the least!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Waiting Game, Take 14

Well, last week had optimistic rumours about including September, at least half of September with the batch that is expected to come up any day now. Today, however, had rumours floating out there that some agencies have told some with Sept. 12 LID's that they would not be included in this batch. Talk about a see saw of emotions... I am getting tired of this waiting game, not easy for an impatient person, but a lesson that we are certainly not The One in charge around here! :)
I would like peace of mind either way. At the rate that information is moving [read here: actually NOT moving...]I don't anticipate hearing about the cut off date for referrals until later in the week, but that doesn't mean that I won't still be trying to find glimmers of hope and rumours that are in our favor!
It is a difficult position emotionally to have a referral date on the balance like this. Please pray for our phone call to come through!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Just how do they match referrals so well??

I have read [and this is speculation by others] that a match is made based on Chinese astrology, the child's facial shape as compared to passport photos submitted in the dossiers, and any traits displayed by the child that correlate to hobbies, talents, etc. as indicated in the homestudy. The zodiac is interesting; Mike and I are snakes, and Jennifer is a rooster. In the link for the Chinese zodiac, it shows that we would be compatible with an ox or a rooster, so the rooster is a sign that we all would be compatible with. As for the passport photos, all I can say is "yikes!"--I hope they look a little further into the dossier for other family pictures! And finally, the traits--they actually do seem to get spot on with this! It seems like such perfect matches when we see the personalities and dispositions of our friends who have adopted and their children! It just really all works together--its a beautiful thing!
Check out the Chinese astrology link; its fun to see the traits, friends, and foes [!] of the zodiac!
Here is a good link for the Chinese zodiac:
Happy Turkey Day!

'Twas the Night Before Leaving Poem

Yet another poem from the talented Jack from the September Message Boards!

Twas the night before leaving
when all through the house
not a creature was stirring,
including my spouse.

The luggage was packed
and repacked with care
in hope that our daughter
would soon find us there.

No child was nestled
or snug in our bed,
she slept that night
in her orphanage bed.

And Mama in her kerchief
with luggage in sight
had just settled our brains
for a long sleepless night.

When out on the lawn
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed
to see what was the matter.

Away to the window
I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter,
and threw up the sash.

The sun on the grass
and the newly formed dew
gave promise of morning
time to bid our adieu.

When, what to my wondering
eyes should appear,
but a yellow airport taxi
and our friends we hold dear.

With a little old driver,
so lively and pip,
I new in a moment
we started our trip.

More rapid than eagles,
to our cities we came,
and we whistled and shouted
and called them by name:

Albuquerque! Dallas! Phoenix ! LA!
Hong Kong! Beijing! Guangzhou today!

From the Great wall of China
To the Province of Guandong
Now Dash Away! Dash Away! Dash Away ALL!

Like treasure from heaven
in our arms they did place
our precious new daughter
tears fell from our face.

So up to the hotel room
with our child we flew
our new bundle of joy
"We have presents for you."

And then, in a twinkling,
I heard from the door
"Paperwork to do!"
I heard myself "MORE?"

Like rain from the heavens
when hurricanes fly
Tears just like raindrops
fell from our eyes.

We bathed her and dressed her
from her head to her toe.
With ribbons and dresses
and a giant hair bow.

A bundle of clothes we had
that were to big or to small
We sent to the orphanage
to be shared by them all.

Her eyes- how they twinkled!
Her dimples, how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses,
my nose red as a cherry!

Her beautiful smile
was drawn up like a bow,
and both of her parents
seemed to give off a glow.

A stamp of her foot
and a print from our thumb
made a family of us
the adoption was done!

Passport! and Visa!
then the Consulate Visit.
Our paperwork done?
Afraid that it isn't.

A wink of an eye
and a twist of a head
soon gave me to know
We had nothing to dread.

He spoke a few words,
went straight through our work
double checked our documents
then turned with a jerk.

He wanted to know
"was this the daughter we chose"
and giving a nod,
up from his desk he arose.

They gave the approval
and we gave a loud whistle,
And away we all flew
like the down of a thistle.

They heard us exclaim,
both me and my wife:
"Blessings to all and to all a good life!"

Jack Hilton

'Twas the Night Before Referrals Poem

This poem is written by Jack Hilton, a member of the September Message Boards that I belong to. It is copied with permission given on the message board from the author.

'Twas the night before Referrals, when all through the house
Not a brain cell was left between me and my spouse.
Our family was working and taking such care,
In hopes that our baby would soon be here;

My child in China nestled all snug in her bed,
While visions of mooncakes danced in her head;
The moon on the breast of the new-dawn appear
The child that I love, will soon be here.

The day is upon us, the time is so near,
To calm all my nerves, I'm in need of a beer,
The sound of the phone it rings from a far;
Dang it! I've locked the phone in the car.

No time do I waste looking for keys,
I pray to God as I fall on my knees,
Then on the floor beside me appears,
my trusty ole hammer, I swing without fear.

Wham! Bang! Crash! Ouch! Dang it! Smash
The floor is now covered with nothing but glass.

From the depths of the floorboard
I retrieved it just fine,
I pushed the talk button
and found a dead line.

So back into the house
with my dead phone I flew,
I rushed by my spouse,
She Said "It's for you"

And then, for a moment,
My confusion did clear,
To see my wife holding,
our home phone and a beer.

Like rain from the heavens
when hurricanes fly
Tears just like raindrops
fell from my eyes.

"Hello" they did say,
"We've got you some news,
She's healthy and pretty,
and waiting for you"

"Her eyes- how they twinkle!
Her dimples, how merry!
Her cheeks are like roses,
She's happy and merry!"

"Her beautiful smile
is drawn up like a bow,
and both of her feet
have all five of her toes!"

While waiting for Fed-Ex, I thought I would die,
He stepped off his truck, and I tackled the guy,
My wife hopes they won't sue and that I can cope,
after I rip open, that Fed-Ex Envelope.

Her picture is here and how real she is now,
The emotions intense, our love it out pours,
The only word that I can utter is "WOW!"
as my knees seem to buckle and I head toward the floor.

Passports! and Visa!
A Consulate Visit,
Our paperwork done?
Afraid that it isn't.

My wife says to cope and wait for TA's to come here,
but easier said with your child so near.
My wife she has hope, she's a saint I confide,
she's convinced my doctor I need tranquilizers prescribed!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Name Dilemma...

Ok, for Jennifer, it didn't seem like there was much "interference" with baby name choices. We were seesawing between Gabrielle and Jennifer without much conflict or disagreement. Now, for our second go round, I don't seem to have the final say-so! Now, Mike has more of an opinion [or ast least he voices it loud and clear this time!] and Jennifer, well, being a 13 year old, has an opinion about everything under the sun, especially when it comes to baby sister names! I started off knowing, way before when, that Charlotte Grace would be the name. That was shot down by both, although I still love it. Then, Sophie Grace would be it [according to me only, apparently, although I had more support from that one.Thanks, Noreen!] We also posted a name voting site somewhere out in the WWW, which I forgot where, its been so long since we started this process!]and we noticed that we, family and friends had Grace almost every time a combination of names was made. So, Grace naturally became the first name. Middle name? I love family names [Jenn has Luria, I love that last name as part of a name!]. We want to see the name that Grace has in China as well to incorporate into the name. I love the idea of using Mei as part of the name, because Mei means sister, and MeiMei means little sister. Gracie Mei sounds so cute together! Mei also reminds me of Granny's first name, Edmée, so there's a family name connection. We used to laugh about Jennifer's name when she was little, how it ended up so long that it would curve around the margin of the pages of worksheets, and how it must cut into her standardized testing time to bubble in all those letters! :) Please leave comments as to your suggestions or input for Gracie's name!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Before and After Referral Pictures...

I love this site because it shows the referral pictures of some of the children, and when you point your mouse over the referral pictures, it shows you an updated picture of what they currently look like! I can't wait to see Gracie's referral picture, and then see her blossom into her own, just like these precious children did!

So what do those acronyms stand for?

The most important acronym is your LID, or Log In Date. This is the date that the dossier is officially accepted by the CCAA [China Center for Adoption Affairs] and is the date that is used to determine which batch [goes by dates of LID]of referrals are matched. Last month's cutoff was all referrals with LID's by August 25, 2005.

WC or WCP: Waiting Child or Waiting Child Program
SN: Special Needs
NSN: Non-Special Needs
LOI: Letter of Intent (The letter you send to the CCAA requesting permission to adopt a particular child)
PA: Pre-approval (The CCAA has pre-approved you to adopt the child you requested and you are officially matched to the child)
DOPA: Date of your PA
DTC: Dossier to China
LID: Log In Date (The date your dossier is logged in to the CCAA)
WTA: The amount of time you have waited for TA after you have both TA & PA
TA: Travel Approval (This is final approval in the waiting children program; it is issued by the CCAA)
DOTA: Date of TA DOT: Date of Travel
CCAA: China Center of Adoption Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption From China

Q: Why are there so many children in orphanages in China?
A: Several decades ago, China experienced a huge population growth without nearly as much growth in their food production. As a result millions of people starved to death. The Chinese government developed population control regulations which limited the number of children each family may have. This has come to be known as the 'one child' policy, however in many provinces in China it would be more realistic to call it the 'one boy or two children' policy. There are stiff fines and penalties imposed on families who do not follow this policy. However, the Chinese people have a great love for children. In many cases, they prefer to bring the child into the world even if they must later abandon them. It is important to note that abandonment may not be the right word here - in the US, mothers and families can make adoption plans for their children. In China, this is not possible. Many people prefer to think of the predicament that faces Chinese mothers and families not as abandoning a child, but as making the best plans they possibly can to ensure that their child is found, and has a chance at a better life.

Q: Why are so many girls abandoned?
A: Because of culture and tradition, male children are often perceived as having more value than female children. Traditionally it is the responsibility of the male child to care for his parents when they are no longer able to work, while the female child would marry into another family and care for them.

If a couples first child is a boy, the will usually keep him. If they couples first or second child is a girl, is a child born out of marriage or a child with some disability or abnormality, that child may be abandoned.

Q: Why Adopt from China?
A: There is no one easy answer for this question. It has to do with personal choice, financial reasons and a myriad of emotional choices. The short answer is that China and the US have a long standing relationship as far as adoptions go. The process is well mapped out and has been very successful. The children are some of the healthiest adopted internationally, and they are well cared for and loved. Adoption from China can also cost significantly less than other international adoptions, and in many cases domestic adoption as well.

Q: How long does it take to adopt from China?
A: We wish we knew! There are so many factors that go into the process, which involves many individuals, several government branches, agencies and two world powers. Even averages are hard to give as the process can change and issues such as SARS can dramatically change things. However, not all changes are bad - recently the China Center for Adoption Affairs has committed themselves to increasing the speed with which referrals are made. So to give you a guesstimate at the length of the process we'd say anywhere between 14 months to 18 months from initial application to having your child in your arms.

Q: Do you have to travel to China?
A: Yes! China requires that at least one parent travel to China to complete the adoption. The trip is normally between 12 and 14 days in length, with a week in the child's home province. At this time there is plenty of paperwork to fill out, and lots of bonding to do with your child. Then you travel to Guangzhou, where the US Consulate is located. Here your child is given a quick physical, their papers are looked at and they are given a visa to enter the US. Many, many parents feel that the trip to China has vastly increased their understanding of their children's birth culture.

Q: When is the adoption final?
A: When you adopt from China, the adoption is normally completed in the child's province. In domestic adoptions and some international adoptions there is a period where the child is at risk - a time when the child is placed with you but the adoption has not been finalized. When adopting from China this is not the case.

Q: When does the child become a US Citizen?
A: The minute they touch US soil. Thanks to some new laws and regulations, children (those under the age of 18) who enter this country with their legal guardians immediately become United States Citizens. There are still a few US agencies who have not caught up with the times however, and it may be a good idea to readopt your child through your state court system.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chicago Tribune articles

This is a link to articles written by someone who is right before us with a September LID.,0,4755819.storygallery

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Getting closer!

The CCAA has approved referrals with Log In Dates up to, but not including August 25th, 2005! This means that we are getting very close [finally!] to our referral! We will be right at our near the next batch of referrals, which is very nerve wracking! September is rumoured to be a light month as far as referrals go, so we're going to be optimistic that our referral may be included in the next month!
Time to wrap up the baby's room, get travel and adoption finance ducks all in a row, and start thinking of what and how to pack!

Our Sonogram!


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