Friday, August 27, 2010

Let the waiting begin

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and encouragement on our exciting step in the adoption process. It does seem confusing to say "YEAH! We have up to 2 years left! Woohoo!" But that official wait couldn't begin until we were on the list.
I think I was misleading in my previous post, which I went back to edit for clarification, but I thought I'd take a minute to tell you about my understanding of the waiting list, the matching process and travel approval. The bubble burst is this: while we are only #15 on the list, we have been given an estimated wait time of 10-12 months for the referral of a specific child, and (recently lengthened) a further wait time of 9-11 months before we are approved to travel to Bangkok.
I want to be clear: this is BRAZENLILLY's paraphrasing of this process, pieced together from official paperwork, stories from other adoptive parents and casual conversations with our agency workers. I will probably get some of the details wrong, and I welcome any Holt Thailand parents to gently correct me when I do!
The Holt program in Thailand has been in place for over 30 years, and is a relatively small program. One thing I like about this program is that, when an infant is relinquished, Holt Sahathai (sister org) works hard to find a family member or Thai family willing to adopt the child before turning to an American or European adoptive family. It seems to take the better part of a baby's first year to thoroughly investigate these options, and for the Thai government to confirm that, indeed, this child has orphan status, an adoptive family is the best option, and the Thai government approves this plan of action. Most children are between 9-12 months when the Thai government releases their information to Holt to be "matched" with an adoptive family.
The government releases to Holt the names of children in need of homes in groups of 4-5 each quarter. These can be children of any age or need. Holt and Holt Sahathai then refer children to prospective adoptive families, also averaging 4-5 each quarter. THAT is how we move up (or is it down?) the waiting list--each quarter as more families on the list receive referrals, we will get closer to receiving OUR referral for a child. But here's the thing--that average is only that: an average. For instance, one quarter, the group of children released for referral included a sibling group of 3, an older child with special needs, and 2 healthy infants. If the #3 person on that list had not expressed an openness to sibling groups or special needs, they would not have received a referral that quarter. This quarterly process is why the #15 can still mean a wait time of up to 12 months for a referral.
Also there is the issue of gender. Evidently, more adoptive families request girls. So our openness to either gender could actually work in our favor! If we are #4 on the waiting list, and the 3 families in front of us requested girls, we could jump to #1 if a baby boy was being matched. If we are number #1 or #2 at referral time, we could be matched with a boy OR girl.
When I was learning about this process, my mind was instantly whirling and stressing, wondering who EXACTLY would be looking at pictures of precious children and comparing them to family files. How do they decide if gender is not an issue? How do they KNOW?! I believe we do have the option to decline if a child referred to us has an issue outside of the parameters we declared "an openness to." How do I know that the child referred to us will be THE ONE?! Then I had an amazing conversation with an adoptive mom who has become a dear friend. Her daughter was adopted domestically. She said, with the fiercest conviction in her eyes: "There is only ONE. God knows exactly who that child will be, and just as he created your biological children in your womb for you and your husband, he is creating this child in the birth mother's womb knowing that he or she will be a part of your family forever. It will do no good to fret about it, because He already knows." That revelation has given me such peace. It doesn't mean I don't still pray about it every day, pray for our child, his mother, and for the perfect match, but I don't WORRY about it anymore.
As you can imagine, seeing our child's face, and knowing WHO he or she is will be an emotional, thrilling and humbling experience. However, I can only imagine that after we have accepted a referral, the following wait until we hold him in our arms will be even more agonizing than the first half of the wait! I won't go into detail, but the wait from match to travel has been lengthened recently due to Hague convention laws and immigration red tape. :( But God's timing is perfect, and until it is my turn to blog from Bangkok, I will follow and pray for other families who are so much closer, like Kyle and Robin, who hope to travel in October to meet their second son from Thailand, and the Pabens, who are in Thailand right now.
Oh, also? When we get our referral, our main payment of $11,290 is due! So guess what will help me pass the time? Financial aid and fundraising! It's like God is providing all these 16 page applications to keep my mind off the wait. Isn't that so kind of Him?!


Amy Loewen said...

From one "waiting" mom to another - Thank You!!!

Becky said...

Love this post and your honesty. Praying for peace and patience, Jen!

Lisa P said...

Love this--so helpful for all of us! And, yes, God's kindnesses come in all forms (get it? all FORMS? I'm so very clever!).