Thursday, May 14, 2009

Almost time to freak out somewhat

While reviewing Pearl S. Buck International's update newsletter today (not my agency, but I'm on many agency's email lists), I saw that the last date that they had for dossiers that were reviewed in China is April 20, 2007. Our LID is in June 2007.

I knew in the back of my mind that it was possibly time to be a little worried, but now it's sunk in. They've reviewed up to April, so they'll be up to reviewing our dossier within two months...probably around our 2 year LID anniversary. My secret fear is that they'll find something that they don't like and reject us, G-d forbid. I know, I know, it's pretty rare, but we're not perfect on paper. What if they have some sort of issue with us? Trying not to bite my fingernails now...

Deep breath.

Anyways, many of you are probably wondering why we seem to just be sitting around, waiting for a 3-4 year referral wait. We're most definitely not getting any younger! The truth is, we have been looking into other programs. A lot of the international programs are closed right now, or closed right after we were considering them (so glad I didn't do all the paperwork and then get closed out of Vietnam), or we've actually aged out of them already (so much for Colombia), or I don't trust the program. Some are also quite expensive. I absolutely refuse to work with any program that has had allegations about baby thefts, or seems to require bribery or dealing with corruption. Of course, the China program is not completely clean in that regard - there have been reports of baby trafficking - but we are still most comfortable with that program. We are still monitoring various international programs to see whether we would want to adopt from a different country, but haven't found a particular preference at this time.

Meanwhile, we've had a few domestic adoption possibilities crop up, all of them roller coasters. For example, my husband and I went away for the weekend last July 4th. There was a kosher program at a hotel. We couldn't go away for a significant amount of time (my husband doesn't get a lot of vacation days, as he needs to use them for Jewish holidays), so we try to take advantage of legal holidays and go away for long weekends.

We made a mistake. Don't get me wrong - the hotel was lovely, and the food was fantastic. (We had to skip meals so we wouldn't gain ten pounds.) But in the past, we had usually gone to Sabbath programs when they were holding a program for singles, and some couples would come along as well on the side, taking advantage of having a weekend off at a nice hotel with good food.

This was the first time that we went to a program that was not tied in with a singles program. In other words, it was for families. Families. With children. Lots and lots of adorable children and happy parents.

It was torture. We were one of maybe 8 couples there, but there had to be 25-30 families, with anywhere from 2 to 10 children. It was so hard to watch the kids running around, and parents (and grandparents - there were extended families there) spending time with their children. There were strollers around our table with cute babies in them, and toddlers coming over to gaze into my face (I'm a friggin' baby magnet). By the end of the Sabbath, the smile was just pasted on my face. Every time a little girl walked by, I would gaze at her longingly. My husband understood, but what could he do? Not much.

We left early on Sunday; I was pretty desperate to get out of there. We were stopping by at a special furniture clearance sale on the way home, then we were going to go visit my sister and new niece (did I mention that all my sisters had babies last year? Oh yes they did!), and then go to a wedding in a city about 2 hours away from our house. Sunday was going to be a very busy day.

We wandered through the furniture store. I was eyeing a wall unit that we desperately needed. There happened to be a baby clothes vendor there as well, so I bought my newest niece a beautiful (pink!) stretchie and hat. We had reached the end of the store and were looking at the children's furniture. I figured if I could find a really good deal on something that looked like little girl's furniture but could pass as guest room furniture, that I would buy it. My husband wandered off to check our voice mail messages on our home phone. He came rushing back and handed me the phone: "listen to this message, and see if you can figure out who it is." I listened to it carefully (it was a little garbled). The voice and name sounded familiar, but I couldn't quite place it, even though we managed to get the phone number.

A couple of minutes later, it hit me. It was a woman who we had been in contact with several months earlier about a sibling pair that had been available for adoption. It hadn't worked out; another couple had been given first "dibs" and we had been told that they had taken the children. I called the woman back, and she told me that, actually, only one of the children had been adopted. The other sibling, a girl, was still with a foster family, but they could no longer care for her. This would be a guaranteed adoption, no changing of the mind. DCFS would not allow the foster mother to keep her, and the biological parents' rights had been terminated.

I couldn't breathe. The whole weekend had been all about wanting a little girl, and here we were being handed a daughter on a silver platter! I was literally standing next to a little girl's bedroom set and was tempted to buy it on the spot. We drove back home, planning to meet with the woman in a couple of hours. My head was whirling with plans and questions. How to handle work, what we would need to get for her. I need toys! Craft supplies! I might need to buy her clothes (yummy little dresses!) and sparkly shoes! Where would we send her to school next year? Wait, is she in day camp? OMG, how are we going to handle this? I'm a planner and project manager...believe me, I was going crazy with the possibilities.

We met with the woman involved...and then the details started coming out. There was a medical issue (ah hah - that's why she hadn't been adopted!). Then the way she wanted to handle the placement started ringing alarm bells in my head. I've read about attachment, and I've been a foster parents whose foster children's placements were completely mishandled. She wanted an quick decision; we asked for more time. The situation had been handled by a temporary placement with another family, but we still visited so we could meet her. And then we went home.

Even with all of the potential negatives and the possibility of a debilitating disease, I (and my husband, who was completely on-board) was ready to do it. It seemed to be the answer to our prayers. We had literally been in pain all weekend, desperately wanting our little girl, and, 24 hours later, here was a daughter, all gift wrapped! The gift wrapping was a little wrinkled and torn, but the gift was definitely still very shiny.

I couldn't go to the wedding. I had to talk to somebody about the situation and our decision. We did go visit my sister, and we sat and talked about it. She had freaked out when she heard what I needed to discuss, so her older kids knew that something was going on, and were tremendously excited. Her kids want us to have children so badly and were going out of their minds with joy. It felt like such an answer to our prayers. I started making final plans.

And, then, it all fizzled. When I called the next day, I got more details about the situation, but was told that we could still continue. I was still ok with the situation. But then every time we called her again, the story changed a little more each time. A little over a week later, we were basically told that another couple had been chosen instead.

I wasn't quite devastated, but was quite disappointed. And, quite frankly, I think that the reason that we were not chosen is because we are not from this particular woman's community. We're both Orthodox Jews, but have varying customs and habits that make us very different, and we would not be their first choice for raising a child from their community. So if she gives us the opportunity to adopt, it will be because a preferred member of her community doesn't want the child. We will not be accepting any more proposals from her, and frankly, feel that we were taken advantage of.

There have been other opportunities as well, but none of them have worked out either. So we continue to wait, while being open to possibilities. And hope that the dossier passes through review with flying colors.