We hear this often from friends and family. I so wish I knew what our little girl was doing right this minute...but I don't. I just pray for her little self and her heart and that she is well and safe and being loved on by her foster family. We had our homestudy approved by our placement agency (WACAP) a week or two before we left on vacation and at that time our case worker told us we could now ask for an update on T. She had warned us that many times it takes a while to get an update, that you might not get all the info you want, or you might not even get a reply. Every province and area is different in how they handle these requests. Quite frankly, I figured we wouldn't get much info - and I figured it would take a while.
As we were enroute home from our vacation, we got an email from WACAP saying that an update had come in - along with 8 new pictures of T!!! OH HOW I WISH I COULD SHARE THEM!!! SHE IS ADORABLE!!
These pictures are the first we have seen of her smiling (in all of them!). She is so cute and looks very happy. Her update sounds as tho' she is making good progress, isn't shy, loves to dance and help with family chores, is talking up a storm, and is small for her age. She has been in two foster homes since she was found as a newborn - the current one for several years and she is very attached to her foster mother. This news in wonderful and heartbreaking all at once. To know that she is attached is such good news for the future bonding in our family but will mean there will be lots of grieving (understandably) as her little heart leaves the home and family that she now loves. We have to remind ourselves that her new home with us will be forever. Her current situation as a foster child is not permanent - it doesn't lead to adoption. It doesn't lead to medical help and education always. It doesn't lead to a life free from the stigma of being an "orphan."
T's adoption is considered a special needs adoption. T, like so many of the children who are available for adoption, has a minor special need (in our opinion). When we found T on a waiting child list, she was listed as having mild cerebral palsy which only affected her speech. After having several doctors assess her files, it looks more likely that she had hydrocephalus at some point. Although her CT scans are clear now, she has clearly had hydrocephalus in the past (likely from an infection like meningitis, or an injury) resulting in an increased head circumference. She is speaking in long sentences now and seems to be developing just fine - tho' her speech is unclear at times. Many children wait as "special needs" kids with even milder issues (birthmarks, missing fingers, hernias, repaired cleft palates, etc). These minor things can be considered bad luck for families. Because of the one-child-rule, these children are often given up in hopes of having a child who is more perfect. So sad...(by the way, is there such thing as a "perfect" child?? Don't they all have special needs of some kind? lol).
So where are we now??
Our dossier documents are currently being stamped and sealed by officials in DC and being held at our placing agency while we await some immigration paperwork and approvals. We are one step closer to that as we have just gotten our fingerprinting done in DC for the immigration process (so they can check that we aren't in the national registry of criminals!). Now it will be a matter of weeks to get our immigration approval. After that, our dossier (the packet of many important pieces of paper that represent our family) will travel to China. Several other steps come after that. Our case worker estimates that we will travel between March-May. It all depends on how fast each of the steps take. Several of the steps can take 2-4 months to complete. At the moment, the trend is that each step is taking closer to 2 months than 4, but in adoption, things can change so quickly....no certainties in this process.
Now that we have passed the homestudy phase, we can apply for a number of grants (my next big project) and can move on to some more serious fundraising. Look for announcements of some of these coming up. Adoption and travel are so expensive. Although we are approved to be able to AFFORD to raise another child - GETTING her here is another story. The adoption process is SOOO expensive. Like, REALLY expensive. We are trying to meet most of these expenses ourselves - selling lots of our things, using retirement money and savings, saving every penny we can. But we do need help to meet the fees and the travel that lies ahead.
We SO appreciate all who have helped us so far with their generous donations to our puzzle. We are asking again that if you are interested in helping, that you consider purchasing a piece, or pieces of her puzzle. We are only about 1/5 of the way toward finishing the puzzle. Please consider making a $10 donation for a puzzle piece. Our chip-in on the right is only available when viewing our blog on your computer (it doesn't show up on a phone browser).
How else can we help?
Pray...pray...pray. Pray for T - she has some huge changes ahead. She will need to leave the only life she has known and she will grieve. She will need to adapt to a culture, language, environment, and family that are strange to her. Some children handle these changes like champs. Others, not so easily.
Pray for us. That we can save more, sacrifice more, and do more to help raise the funds for this adoption/travel. Pray that we can share our hearts to those who ask - that we can share that it isn't us but the Lord who is so great - that it is He who is "rescuing" a child from a life as an orphan without the love of a forever family - not us being nice people. We said "yes" and "send us" - the rest is His work, folks. This is what He is all about - rescue, redemption, making beauty from ashes -like His rescue and "adoption" of us into His family.