Friday, January 28, 2005

How We Got Here

Julie and I have been married for over 20 years now
(July, 1984). In late 2002 we decided it was time to
start a family. After a few months it was clear that
nothing was happening. We both got the usual checkups
and we quickly learned that it was not gonna happen
(and quite possibly, would never have happened). It
didn't take us much longer to agree that trying to do
something extreme like IVF just didn't make a lot of
sense so we decided to adopt.

This was the spring of 2003.

We knew people who had adopted from China, including
my foster sister Jeanne and her husband, who had been
some of the first American's to adopt from China.
Their daughters Kelly and Brianna are wonderful kids.
I had been to China in 1999 and really enjoyed it. We
felt like, of the various cultures we could adopt
from, China was one that we felt confident helping our
child get to know and understand.

In my research it became clear that of the top
countries one could adopt from, China's program was
least dicey, being centrally controlled and well
supported by adoption agencies in the states. I read
some journals of people's adoption experiences and
generally got a good feeling about it.

That spring we went to a workshop given by Great Wall
China Adoption (GWCA), which happens to be based here
in Austin. We got a good vibe from the people there.

We decided that we would go forward with it, but we
didn't pursue it right away because Julie was in the
midst of trying to finish her dissertation.

Finally, around Christmas of 2003 we decided it was
time to get serious and actually signed up with GWCA.

In January of 2004 we started doing the paperwork,
getting our physicals, and what not. We pursued it
diligently but not overly so. We were (and are) lucky
that we could approach this process with relative
calm. In reading posts on news groups and whatnot it
was clear that there are a lot of people who enter the
adoption process already seriously stressed, having
tried for years to get pregnant, gone through all
sorts of fertility nightmares, and so on. We didn't
have any of that.

However the process did have it's stresses. There was
the simple annoyance of dealing with all the different
bureaucracies, knowing that everything had to be just
right. There was the home study, which, even when you
know you have a minimum of skeletons, is incredibly
stressful, simply because some stranger is judging
your fitness to raise a child.

But no single part of it was particularly daunting.
The Internet certainly made it much easier. For
example, getting copies of birth certificates was
almost as simple as ordering from Amazon.

I would say that if you can come to this process
relatively unstressed it's not too bad. But I can
easily imagine that if you're already wound pretty
tight that the smallest sort of hitch in getting a
document could be very trying indeed. I'm just
thankful that things worked out for us the way they

Finally in June of 2004 we had everything together and
ready to send to China. We hand delivered our dossier
to the folks at GWCA and waited for a tense few
minutes while the person checked our paperwork to make
sure everything was in order. Which it was.

So it went off to China at the end of June, just
getting us into the June DTC (dossier to China) group.
Then we waited.

When I started my research the typical time from DTC
to referral was eight months or more. And the SARS
thing in 2003 screwed everything up. But by the time
our dossier had gone they were providing referrals
right at six months after DTC, regular as clockwork.

So sure enough, in early December we got our referral.
And things got very exciting.

So far, knock wood, I would say things have gone
amazingly smoothly, save for a few hiccups in the
initial drafting of our home study report.

Now we have our travel arrangements made, flights
booked, cameras bought, guide books in hand. We have
our little pack of 50 crisp, uncirculated hundred
dollar bills.

So the main process, from the time we signed the
contract with the GWCA to when we will arrive at the
Mao Nan Social Welfare Institute to get Yu-Da, will
have taken just about 15 months, which is faster than
I ever expected. If you count from the point at which
we decided to adopt, it has taken just a little less
than two years.

Next up: how we came to be building a house...


Post a Comment

<< Home