I think I’ve procrastinated enough to start a blog. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE TO TALK all about what we’re going through in our journey to bring Yu Fen home, but it’s time I document our story for our family, for her, for all who have helped us and are helping us on this journey, and also to share and be a support to everyone else going through the same journey.
So, let’s start:
In January 2011 we began to talk about adopting, ok, I must back up. I’ve been talking about this for a long time, but George started to think about it just a little bit. We don’t believe there is such a thing as “coincidence”, so when we get placed at the table at a wedding reception with a family who had adopted 2 little girls and keep running into other families who adopted it was easier for us to imagine this being our family.
We started attending “In His Hands Orphan Outreach” meetings locally and saw not only the need to support orphans, but also how lives are impacted by adoption – by both families and for the children. There are around 143 million orphans around the world – just under 1/2 the population of the USA, just to give you some perspective. We also believe that we’re supposed to care for the orphans around the world and we can really impact the life of one child through adoption. (I already talk about adopting again, but George says “no” right now). We have gone through infertility and our daughter Lucy is our little 4 year old miracle. To add to our family this time we were looking at IVF, which we don’t feel comfortable with. After less invasive treatments didn’t work, my heart said ADOPT. Why put my body and values in an awkward place when there are children all over the world who need parents?
I saw first hand the life of orphans 10 years ago in college when I got the opportunity to volunteer with another nurse for 6 weeks in the Philippines. I wanted to take one of the kids home with me. I also saw the heartache and hoped one day to bring one of these precious children home.
Fall 2011 is when we made the big move and started the adoption process – THE HOME STUDY. We have a wonderful case worker, Katie, but it’s not a fun process. You know all those things you don’t talk about??? Well, you get to talk about them, discuss them, write about them in a home study. You get all your wonderful friends and family to write letters of recommendation (ok, not all of them) and can you imagine what it’s like getting a doctor to write you a recommendation? Speaking of the home study, the state is reviewing it right now so we can move on to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and THEN the dossier to China. Which by the way, I had no idea what a dossier was 6 months ago. According to Wikipedia it’s a “collection of papers and/or other sources, containing detailed information about a particular person or subject, together with a synopsis of their content.” Other words, the story of your life, but they should add in “all your money”.
We originally were going to adopt through Bulgaria. I was so touched by the story of Chance and Ginger Newingham at one of the In His Hands meetings and thought this was the way to go. Please read Ginger’s blog. I’ve loved their story: http://momentsdefined.wordpress.com
We really wanted to adopt a younger child and our agency recommended we try China instead. So, we began looking at profiles of special needs children. There was one particular boy that we were interested in, but couldn’t get any further information on him to make an informed decision and then one day out of the blue we were contacted by Michelle from our agency that she thinks they have a child for us and asked if we were interested. It was Yu Fen’s file. But, she was called “Samantha” on the file. I replied something like YES YES YES YES WE’RE INTERESTED! We asked if we could find out more recent information and get updated pictures of her to make an informed decision and it took just a day or 2 to hear back (when it was a month or more on the boy and we hadn’t heard back from China). We also had her file reviewed by the Chicago Adoption Clinic…..and then we filled out the paperwork and waited to hear back. In 2 business days China said YES! I was in a training class for my new job and got the e-mail and started jumping up and down and shrieking. I think everyone thought I was crazy……until they found out the reason.
We found out February 6th, that China had given us provisional approval us to adopt “Yu Fen”. She just turned 2 on February 2nd and has lived in an orphanage in a province north of Hong Kong since the age of 3 months when she was found abandoned. She was found very sick and has since made many improvements. She is considered special needs due to a ventral septal cardiac defect (which may need surgery) and being developmentally behind (which is more the norm than not in orphanages). She is just learning to walk. According to the specialists at the Chicago Adoption Clinic she is completely off the chart (below) in terms of growth, which could be nutritionally or cardiac related. We don’t know anything about her birth or her family, so it’s all a big guess. What we do know is that orphans thrive in a loving family where they get adequate attention, love, nutrition and have access to the best medical and developmental care available.
So, welcome to our adoption adventure!!!