I think it hit me this week just how long of a process this is going to be. Every morning, Jayce wakes up and asks me if we are getting the baby today And this morning, he told me that we need to get her soon because children shouldn't have to live without a mommy and a daddy. :(
He is only 5, and he just doesn't understand. And his heart is so big that he just wants her here with us. But, he also doesn't understand what having her here with us could mean. It could mean surgeries, a hurting baby sister, it could mean her requiring more attention, or even a sister that is scared of him. Or even scared of us.
The weight of that responsibility is not taken lightly by Steve and I. We talk about it daily. Some days it is easy talks. Talks of her name, her nursery, even our fundraising.
Other times, it is in fear of traveling to China and bringing home a sweet little girl who thinks of us as strangers. 20 hours on a flight with a potentially terrified little girl. The trauma of this process for our daughter is not lost on us. We understand the magnitude of what this will do to a little girl who is brought home into a country where nothing is familiar and people who want to love and hug her but to her they are strangers. They are the people who took her from the only home that she has ever known.
Each passing day, this begins to feel more real and we are so excited to get beyond this home study so the true wait of being matched with our girl can begin! <3
So, this week, on Monday we sent off our applications.
Picking an adoption agency and home study agency was not something that we took lightly. I poured hours upon hours on websites, on Facebook groups, in personal messages with other adoptive moms with their opinions and experiences. I was up late researching.
We were all set to pick a big agency, but after lots of research and talking, we picked a small agency. A small agency with 13 partnership orphanages. Picking a smaller agency with many partnerships is great because they have less parents in LID status. AKA parents waiting to be matched. Because of that, their waiting times tend to be shorter once you are LID. Madison Adoption Associates literally has never seen a bad review. So, we are very excited to work with them. They told us that from start to finish it should be only about 15 months before our little girl is in our arms.
Then comes the home study agency. This was trickier. The home study is the first SUPER important step and having an efficient agency is important. It involves SO MUCH paperwork and so many official documents, fingerprinting, more notarizing than I could be prepared for. Once our paperwork is done, it is important that our home study agency is efficient because literally NOTHING can move forward until our home study is complete. So, we considered several options but some nickle and dime you until your fees become outrageous and others could take months after we do our part. After pouring into more groups and getting more reviews, we settled on DATZ Foundation.
I sent in all of our applications that included a $500 application fee for MAA and $1900 contract fee for our home study to DATZ. I was so excited and sure we were finally getting everything rolling.
Before I jump in, I want to explain that China is a part of the Hague Convention. That means that there are certain guidelines that countries in the Hague Convention have to follow to streamline their adoptions. This streamlining allows our girl to be a US citizen the minutes the airplane wheels touch US soil. Therefore, your home study agency has to be Hague accredited. So, when looking for a home study agency, it is important that you tell them that you are adopting in China.
I did just that. I emailed the head of the foundation and asked specifically if they were able to do home studies for a China adoption and was assured they could be and that I just needed to send in the contract and the full payment of $1900.
Which I did.
Here is where the unfortunate part comes in. DATZ Foundation's Hague accreditation expired in December 2015. EXPIRED!!!!!! Why wouldn't they have told me that?!?!?!?!
I called my adoption agency in a panic. Then, I called DATZ seeing as how they had already cashed my $1900 check. The guy who answers the phone says "we have been working on it for 3 months now. We have a hearing on February 18 and hope to have our accreditation back then."
Uh. What? That is NOT good enough. He told me he understands my concerns and they will be refunding my money on Monday.
So, we went back to the drawing board and picked a new home study agency. Catholic Charities in Baltimore. Looks like we are FINALLY ready to get this home study moving along!
Here is our first stack of papers!
We are in fact PAPER PREGNANT!!!
And do you know what?!?! It is just as exciting, scary and as uncertain as that moment when you pee on a stick and see that second line, that plus sign or just the word "pregnant."
Holy crap, folks! We are expecting a baby in the next 15-18 months!!!!!
Keep those prayers coming! <3