Can I just take a second and soak that in. Maybe even cry just a little. Don't judge! ;)
For 77 days, we chased papers and completed forms and background checks and fundraising and fingerprinting.
For 77 days we chased a baby that had no face. We did everything as quickly and as efficiently as we could, that way we could hurry and get our documents to China so that we could be matched quickly! When we started this process in February, we anticipated a wait of 15-18 months to bring our daughter home.
You see, there are 2 ways to go about this process. You can go the LID route, which means you do your home study and you send your documents to China and then are "logged in" aka LID. Then, China matches you based on your MCC (the form that you complete to state what medical conditions you are open to. Those who go LID plan to adopt a minor or correctable special need. I have mentioned this before but ALL children adopted from China have special needs. There is no longer a "healthy child" program. In fact, there are still people waiting from when there was...I saw a woman on one of our groups that has been waiting for 9 1/2 years for a "healthy baby." I can't even fathom what a "healthy baby" even means. Any child could be born healthy and something could happen. Parenthood is a crap shoot, folks!
Anyway, I think most people start out going or planning to go LID. In our heads, those minor and correctable needs are far less intimidating. These are things like missing or extra limbs or digits, heart conditions that are repairable, cleft lip and palate, and other like conditions. In our minds, this made the most sense for our family. We wanted minor or correctable. We also discussed that we did not want to take on neurological conditions because it is our hope that our daughter will be able to live independently.
The other option, is to adopt by way of the special focus program. These are children with moderate to severe needs, in which case you don't sign with an agency, you find your child first and then sign with the agency they are with. And while, special focus was not our plan and it wasn't something we were comfortable with, I was still added to an advocacy page for children under 2.
I watched those pages but had decided that it was unlikely that we would find our daughter there because their needs far exceeded what we were willing to manage. But, I couldn't look away. In fact, I had found a sweet baby that I loved (read Day 63: Heartbreak and Moving Forward) and after a doctor review, we had to release her file. After that heartbreak, I swore off the advocacy pages. I prayed and I asked God to just get me through the process in the way He saw fit.
Unfortunately (fortunately) I am friends with advocates and one of them on Facebook, and 72 days ago, while scrolling aimlessly, I saw a waiting child listing of the sweetest baby girl in China is a bow so big that Minnie Mouse would have been envious. This sweet baby wasn't with my agency and she had an endocrine disorder that if I am being honest (and I promised I would be) is terrifying on paper. But, I had to learn more. I saw this baby and my soul kind of went, "oh, sweet girl. There you are. I have been waiting for you." So, we requested her file and while a doctor reviewed it, I joined groups for moms considering her disorder. I learned everything I could.
I was scared, but Steve and I talked and knew that we could manage her need. Her need involves medication 3-4 times a day, and visits with a pediatric endocrinologist at Hopkins every 3-4 months, more in the beginning. Her genetic disorder involves severe adrenal insufficiency and an inability to keep her sodium balanced. The short of it is simple, she doesn't produce coritsol. Because of that, if she gets even a minor and normal childhood illness, she could go into adrenal crisis. Adrenal crisis can shut down many of her body systems and lead to death if not treated quickly and properly. Luckily, here in the states we have the medications she needs as well as an emergency injection on hand, which her orphanage does not keep on hand. To say, I live in a constant state of worry about her health would be a bit of an understatement.
All of that said, for 18 days, our daughter has had a face. The sweetest face in China, I mean, I may be biased but I don't think I am ;) So, now, we go harder and I push more than I have!
So, today, we had our final home study visit. We cleaned for DAYS to prepare and my social worker didn't go past the first floor area! She said, "well, I didn't leave myself any time to get a tour, but from here I can see your home is beautiful." How frustrating! BUT, it is DONE! Now, we wait for her to get the draft to our placing agency. She said it will be to them this weekend. Then they have to make edits so she can finalize it.
So, right now, I will complete the 16 page application for immigration (know as the i800a) and will wait for the final home study so that we can get that mailed in and begin that wait which is averaging about 45 days. Then 2 weeks beyond that to get our authentication and get it sent to China!
Current goal is to have the i800a mailed off by June 1!
Day 100!!!! So crazy that we went from 15-18 months to aiming to have her home by year end, which puts us around 10 months!!! WOW!!!
Keep praying <3