I've re-written this post twice. This is take #3. I needed a few hours distance to clear my head before publishing and I'm glad I did. My first two drafts were super long and angsty, and kind of full of long descriptions of why you should feel sorry for me. I laid out all the bad luck timing of being in the Thailand program at this time and the trifecta of unusual circumstances that have led to delays and frustrations. So, instead of those drafts, I'll try to summarize the facts and my feelings. I think we all know that summarizing long stories into short stories is not my strength, so be patient with me!
Here's the good news:
*We got a correspondence from our agency today about Asher.
*It had a picture of him that we had not seen before.
*It was a really cute picture. (You can see it here.) The password is my maiden name, all lower case. If you need the password, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. But I'll only check that email regularly for about a week after posting this, so commenting is the best way to get my attention.)
*We found out a few specific details about how his foster family managed during the flooding. The report said that they were severely affected, but that they live in a "stilt" house, and were able to move important items and all family members to the second floor, and have continued to live there with some normalcy. All family members are safe and doing well in their "psycho-emotional condition." :) There is flooding surrounding their home. The report did not clarify if/when the flooding has receded, but said that HSF is in near-daily phone contact with them, and delivers supplies by boat once a week.
Here's the frustrating news:
*We were expecting a full report (including 3-5 pictures) about Asher's development and well being, and we received no information, other than a check box saying that he is "falling behind" in all developmental expectations. The lack of information is due to the social workers not being able to conduct their routine visits because of the severe flooding.
*The one picture we received was very low resolution (too small to print even a 4x6) and it was taken in June, with the last batch of pictures we received this fall. This is kind of frustrating for 2 reasons. First, it's not any more recent than what we had seen, and also makes me feel a little frustrated knowing that they have not included all available pictures in previous reports. Trying not to dwell on that.
* Basically, we have no specific information or pictures of Asher from the last 6 months, and it is hard to know that he has surely changed so very much in that time. He is now 15 months old. We were planning to see pictures from September, perhaps with him wearing or holding something we sent him after the referral in June.
Here's the most important news that I need to focus on:
*Our son and his foster family are safe. Hundreds of people lost their lives, thousands more lost jobs and homes in this catastrophe, so this is no small praise.
Our agency has acknowledged that many of the reports were "vague" because of the lack of ability to get the children to their doctor's appointments and have the regular lengthy visits with the children. The offices in the US have requested to the Thai offices that they obtain and send any new information or pictures when available, and not wait until March if possible. (That is when we are scheduled to receive another update.)
For those who are wondering, I hesitate to even make a guess as to when we will travel to Thailand to bring Asher home. There are 2 families who received referrals in March 2011 (we received in June) who are still waiting to get their first approval. They have been told they "should" receive that approval on January 4th. (Actually, they were originally told it could happen in October or November.) If they do, they will most likely travel in mid-March. I have no idea if that means our paperwork will be precisely 3 months behind them and we'll travel in June, but of course we are hoping and praying that is not the case. We are hoping the Thai adoption board is working hard to catch up on all the delays from the Nativeland tours this summer and the flooding this fall, and that we will receive our approval...soon. That's all I have the heart to hope for right now, because unmet expectations are going to be the death of me.
Thanks for all your support, questions, prayers, positive comments and thoughts! It absolutely does help.