Saturday, January 31, 2015

Celebrating Little Man

January 22, 2015 marked our one year anniversary of officially becoming parents to our not so little man. In the adoption community, it is termed “Gotcha Day” or “Family Day”. For us, it wasn’t the start of our adoption journey, as I have well documented here before, but it is still an important part of our journey non the less. When we started this whole process, we set out to adopt a healthy African infant. Within six months, we held a squirming blonde haired, blue-eyed toddler instead. We really scratched our heads at the turn of events, but looking back, it was a great gift from God, who is changing us everyday (for the better) through this little boy. Our lives, and the lives of everyone who has been around him for any amount of time has been immensely enriched. Our friends and family no longer come over to hang out with us, they come to be around him! He is such a joy and we are honored to be his parents.

So, how can I describe what little man (and hence us)  is up to these days....

For starters, his personality is really starting to emerge. He loves being silly and I think he will end up being the class clown down the road. He loves to dress up, and when he is at home (and occasionally at the grocery store) he is almost always in costume. From ninja turtles, to batman, Columbus Blue jackets, or Ohio State Football player, he is always dressing up to play the part. And as you can guess, we are often asked to join in as well. 

He is athletic, loves every sport and is good at nearly every sport he tries. We have played soccer, T-ball, swimming, tumbling, and basketball (so far). He has a very competitive spirit, and is only a slightly poor loser. He is SO active! He practically runs everywhere he goes.                            

He is smart; learning to write, sound out letters, he can count to a 100 (with a little help from time to time), and he loves to read books. 

So, we decided to celebrate our anniversary of becoming (officially) a family by letting little man lead the way. First, he wanted us to come have lunch with him at school. On different days leading up to his special day we both visited and had lunch with not only Jayden, but his entire class as well.... I learned a lot about the other parents through their very open and very talkative children. I am however a little nervous about what he tells others about us....


He also wanted to eat a restaurant and go to Cosi (our local science center), and that’s exactly what we did.



We had a wonderful day(s) celebrating our little man and our family. On the (other) adoption forefront, Chinese New year is approaching in February, so I am not expecting any referral until at least March. After that, who knows...maybe an April referral with a late summer travel? Fingers crossed. Little man is beyond excited to be a big brother, and he predicts a little pink in this blue dominated house....we shall see...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Closing in...

It’s close…we are close. Everyday I wake up thinking “This could be the day of our referral!” and I’m not just hopeful anymore, we ARE getting close. It has been 3 months since our log in date, and it was estimated that we would wait 6-12 months for our referral. Out of curiosity I sent an email to our case manager in December asking where exactly we were in line. She happily informed us that we were in the top 10-15 families and she was expecting the next group of referrals (likely another 40 children) within  the next few months. She recently posted a page full of their little faces with which we could browse, so the likelihood that we have already laid eyes on our child is very high. We are waiting on the orphanage to make them paperwork ready for adoption, and for China to process them into their system. This has typically taken around 6 months to complete (which they started about 3 months ago). Once again…waiting on paperwork.

With Encouragement comes severe sadness too. We heard one of the children recently passed away, one was recently diagnosed with cancer, and another older boy gave up hope of ever getting adopted and he declined being put a wait list any further. He will likely be on his own within the next year at age 14. I cannot even imagine attempting life on my own starting at age 14 and having no one to return to …ever.

I also read an article recently from China (It can be read HERE). The author had sat outside the abandonment baby safety island with a camera and captured parent’s reactions as they abandoned their children. I think he did so because he wanted to see what kind of people were willing to abandon their kids. I don’t know what I expected, but what I saw was heartbreaking.  He captured people in great mourning and unspeakable grief as they left their children at the foot of an orphanage. What he realized was, ALL of these children were handicapped or ill in some way, and the parents were poor and simply unable to give their children a chance at life. They cannot pay even simple medical expenses, let alone any therapies their children may need. These families cannot pay for even cleft lip and palate repair. The pictures depict not families shamed by their children’s disabilities, but mentally tortured by the fact that THEY can’t meet their child’s needs. They appeared to love their children so much, they were willing to abandon them in hopes they would get medical attention and simply survive, even if it meant being loved and cared for by someone else. How many of us can look at our children and willingly give them to someone else so they could get what they needed, knowing we would never see them again. I believe it is an act of true and unselfish love. Unfortunately, it is becoming commonplace. What started out as only a small amount of baby hatches, is set to expand nationwide in China by the end of 2015.
While international and domestic adoptions decrease, while willing families wait on paperwork, while orphanages are busting at the seams, the number of children to be abandoned is set to skyrocket. What a devastating thought.