We finally got a referral.
Actually, we got six of them.
No, we aren't adopting sextuplets.
I should probably give you a little backstory, eh?
You see, in June or July 2010 we made our final decision to switch from the NSN (No Special Needs) program to the SN (Special Needs) program in China. We knew that there was probably 2 or 3 years (or even longer) before we were going to get an NSN referral. We'd been contemplating the switch for a while, but my husband was unemployed at the time (thank you, great Recession of 2008) and decided to wait until we had, you know, money. Once he had a pretty permanent-looking job, we emailed our agency to start the process. We even took a road trip on Labor Day Weekend 2010 to meet with the social worker who did the matching from the Shared List, so that we were all very clear on what Special Needs we were comfortable with. Sadly, we had to re-do some of the paperwork process, as our i600a renewal had gotten messed up (and it took a year for USCIS to decide that we couldn't renew), so we had to update our homestudy for the Hague requirements, and apply for the i800a. What's another few hundred dollars anyways?
Once we had updated everything and had a pretty good idea that we were going to be approved for the i800a, our agency added us to the matching list in February 2011, which meant that every time that a Shared List came out (typically once a month), they would try to find a match for us. Officially, we would have 72 hours to decide whether to accept the referral based upon the medical information provided, and then would embark on the rest of the paperwork needed. Little did we know that we would have to say No to no less than 5 referrals. I never dreamed of saying no to any referrals, but we kept on running into situations that were far more complex than they originally presented.
We got our first referral literally right after the Royal Wedding in April, and the last one in August. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions over 4 months! But as soon as I laid eyes on the 6th file, I knew this would work. All the files we had seen were for boys that were about 18 months old. His special need is probably actually pretty minor from what we can tell (we may need to do some physical therapy and some plastic surgery), and his development was very much on track, a hundred times better than all the other files we had seen. Our adoption clinic pretty much confirmed my feelings, and we finally submitted the LOI (Letter of Intent) on August 11th.
Now that I've given you all this info, perhaps a picture would be appropriate? Maybe even 2?
Referral picture, about 6 months old
Picture that another adoptive mother took about two weeks ago,
when she visited the orphanage! I'm so grateful to her.
So our little P.D. (interestingly, both the initials of two of his Chinese names and the initials of the two first names we had been planning to give a boy, and my initials on this blog) was born in December 2009, so he's almost 22 months now. He's in the Luoyang City SWI in Henan province. This SWI has a Half The Sky program, which explains why he's so very much developmentally on target. Luoyang has a good reputation as far as orphanages go, and I've been able to make contact with a few other moms waiting to adopt from the the same orphanage, which is really nice.
So, yes, lots of excitement since the middle of August, and lots more to come. As far as paperwork, we're just waiting for our Article 5 to be picked up from the American consulate in Guangzhou (probably by the end of this week), and dropped off at the CCWA, and then we're just waiting for Travel Approval! Squee! I really, really hope we can still travel in November, but may have to wait until December. The sooner the better, this boy needs his Mommy! And Daddy. Can't forget the Daddy :).
I'm sure I left out details that ya'll want to hear, so ask away!