Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Moving Right Along

We are scheduled to have our social worker visit later this week. Our home study agency has been very solicitous, especially after they found out about our deadline. They told our SW to get on it by a certain date or they would do it themselves. I still had to email several days later that I had not heard anything yet from our SW, but if that's what it takes, okay. I know SWs are overworked anyway, so I was nice about it. And now we have our appointment and then our update should be right along.

Now all we have to do is track down all the little details in the home study that will have to be changed, e.g. any new addresses and all ages of various people. My work status has changed--I have started working part time--but they say that they can address that in our update with a couple of sentences. But it's all picky little details to update, nothing major.

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We are noticing the stress of the uncertain state of IA on all related agencies. Our home study agency is fairly small and personal. I know they have been feeling the slowdown--the adoptions programs of two of their main countries have been closed down or slowed to a crawl. They've been sending out fund-raising letters and informational documents to keep their clients informed. They have even laid off several people in the last month, which is really too bad. And they were so small to begin with that it sounds like they are down to the bare bones of the staff now.

Despite fundraising letters, I am not inclined to send them *more* money. Still, I can appreciate their uncertain position, so when we accidentally overpaid on our latest update, we had them hold that as credit for future updates rather than send the $400 back. As M says, we can afford it even if it's not ideal.

It's also a possibility that if they don't weather this slowdown that they may go under within the next few years... neccessitating our REDOing our home study with another agency (ack!). So yeah, we thought it was a "good faith" thing to to do to have them hold our overpayment while they are cash-poor.

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Hey, I told a few more people about this adoption thing recently.

One was a college friend with whom I have started writing to more frequently. We live in different countries, so we see each other only rarely (it's been years now), but we are good about writing. I am also friends with her husband and like hearing about their kids and their lives. It's been really fun to renew a regular correspondence.

Since we've been sharing more of our lives recently, I was telling her some of our IF and IA stuff, and a couple of months ago, I finally sent her a big long saga of the adoption proceedings and the slowdown and all those frustrations. She sent me a very encouraging, sensitive and supportive response, which really touched my heart. I was also relieved that she was as gentle as I had hoped when I took the gamble of sharing more. I guess sometimes it's not just the sharing but the response that makes it worthwhile. I know she has had some hard times along the way, so she's not innocent of how things that can go wrong. It's just the stuff of life, isn't it?

I also recently ran into people we know who had just recently brought their daughter home from China! They had been in that massive LID that took 6 months to place, waiting about 2.5 years or so. We live on opposite sides of the state and of course, we had had no idea that they had been in the same process that we were in until we saw them with their daughter and guessed the situation. I didn't leap at them immediately... haha! But later when I remarked that her LID must have been in Dec of 05, she knew we were in the same boat, on the road to China!

It was really wonderful to see them with their daughter. It was also a pleasant surprise to know someone in real life who had undergone so many of the same challenges and understood what we are going through! It was very moving to me to see them as a family. It also, silly as it sounds, gave me concrete hope that we would be parents someday. I know how people like to say that you forget the wait after you have your children, but it's not much comfort when we still have *years* of waiting ahead of us, so this was a concrete example: someday that will be us.

It was great to talk and share/commiserate a little with each other. It sounds like we have a new connection--yea! :) And their daughter was such an engaging cutie. I really loved watching them interact, like when she and her Dad would wave at each other from a distance, or taking her Mom by the finger and taking her to explore something or somebody. She would sometimes giggle or hand her shoes to other people... the kind of baby dearheart that people just gravitate to. I wasn't the only one who thought she was a dear!

I did try to say a few things in Mandarin depending on the context (hi there! oh,are you thirsty?), but it wasn't clear if she understood me! Sometimes the non-verbal works better at that age. I was tickled to recognize some signing going on. She reminded me of my youngest niece when she was just learning to interact and communicate. Anyway--it all felt happy to me. :)

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These days I am more optimistic about learning Chinese again. I'm not optimistic about the *wait* at all, but as my friend said, I have all this time to practice my Chinese! Okay, okay, I'll give it another go.

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