I have waited for weeks to write this post because I keep thinking I will find time to get all the people clean and dressed and together in the yard with some hand-made, Pinterest-inspired prop set against perfect autumn foliage at the photogenically perfect time of day to create something like….
Check HERE for more cute ideas I won’t do.
There are a million beyond adorable announcements, but clearly, I am delusional to think that we’ll get there in this season of life. Letting it go, folks. But I absolutely cannot wait a single moment longer to share some BIG news. We’ve informed most of our family, friends, and support groups, so now it’s time to share with you, dear world!
We are adopting! Again. (Okay, if you know us at all, you’re not really surprised. It’s kind of our thing, but we are still EXCITED!!!)
This time, we’re bringing home Shuo, a five-year-old boy from China. Prepare yourself to meet Mr. Adorable.
He likes singing, painting, and connector blocks. And did you see the way he smiled at the camera at the end? Oh. My. Heart.
This will be our first international adoption and our first experience adopting a child with medical special needs. Shuo has mild cerebral palsy and clubfoot, so we’ll be incorporating frequent therapy and some surgeries into the next few years.
Here’s the timeline so far…
The Journey to Shuo
July 1, 2015 – I succumb to peer pressure from other adoptive mamas sharing photos and impassioned pleas on Facebook for waiting children in China, many from the CCAI program.
Anyway, I send a general inquiry e-mail to CCAI….just to see what the first steps would include. I’m clearly not serious. We’re not ready. Charlie and I have decided that we won’t pursue any further adoptions until at least December.
July 2 – There’s nothing on television, so I start clicking around on CCAI’s waiting child list. And I keep clicking. And clicking. I become completely entranced and find myself wanting to know more about several children. So I go ahead and fill out a CCAI Family Information Sheet so I can make specific inquiries. But again, I’m just doing some initial exploring. Getting a head start, if you will. We’re not ready, ready? Are we? What defines ready, again?
July 3 – I go ahead and fill out the Medical Conditions Checklist, because if there was some tiny infinitesimal chance that we wanted to be matched immediately, CCAI would need that completed. And besides, there’s nothing on TV. Googling random medical disorders is educational.
July 7 – Accepted into CCAI’s Waiting Child Program
July 28 – CCAI shares the file of a little boy they want us to consider….at which point I fully confess to Charlie the extent to which I’ve jump-started a process we had planned for December. He’s….well, there are some feelings. I start sharing reasons why maybe we shouldn’t wait. He grumbles.
August 2 – After careful prayer, consideration, and consultation with medical professionals, I realize that Charlie is right, and this child’s medical needs are too much for our family at this time. Also, he just doesn’t feel like ours. We decline the referral. However, Charlie and I have been talking about moving up our timeline non-stop. I live on the waiting child list, and I keep returning to the video of this one little boy, Shuo. His face radiates joy, and I find myself wanting to climb into the screen and hold him. Charlie hesitantly agrees to at least view his file.
August 4 – We receive Shuo’s file, and I fall in love. He is supposed to be in our family, and I just know this in my gut. Charlie, the brains and balance of our duo, freaks out at the rapid progression of the process, and retreats into a grumpy silence on the matter.
August 11 – After a dozen late-night conversations, prayers, and lists, we must give CCAI an answer. I’m reading back through the file while Charlie has gone upstairs to watch Transformers. (He processes best during action movies, y’all. It’s a thing.) I’m texting him random information from the file. And then, I get this.
He comes downstairs, and tells me he’s in. 100 percent. He’s crunched numbers and considered the 10-year and 20-year plans, and he’s reached a peace. He wraps me in a hug, and we start joyfully imagining life with our son. Apparently, one can make decisions while watching Transformers. (And yes, we are so lazy we regularly text one another from different rooms in the house. Don’t pretend you’ve never done it.)
August 12 – We receive our primary to-do list from CCAI.
August 14 – I send our Letter of Intent (LOI).
August 19 – We decide to use New Beginnings to complete our home study and contact them for initial paperwork.
August 24 – I upload our adoptive family application to CCAI and pay the first program fee.
August 25 – CCAI e-mails to tell us they’ve formally locked our file for Shuo on the CCCWA (China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption).
September 2 – Application approved with CCAI. Parent Training and Dossier Instructions sent. The paper chase begins!
September 8 – Submit our application to New Beginnings for the home study.
September 9 – The CCWA grants Pre-Approval!
September 17 – Mail Care Package #1 to Shuo
September 21 – Fingerprinting for background checks
September 28 – Camille’s physical, drug test, TB test, HIV test
September 30 – Home Study Visit
October 6 – Finish on-line parent education requirements
October 8 – Charlie’s physical, drug test, TB test, HIV test
There have been over 100 e-mails thus far involved in the above steps, as well as a million or so words typed on dozens of forms. And we haven’t even really dug our heels fully into the dossier process yet, but we’re working steadily, and we’re incredibly grateful for the support of friends who have traveled this path.
We hope to travel by late next summer if all goes as planned, and we’ll plan on spending approximately two weeks in China.
And if you skimmed the above timeline, I hope you understand why we’ve been a little preoccupied the past few months and will likely continue to be so for awhile. We’re going to need a little grace. We’re going to miss events. We’re going to forget birthday parties and be ridiculously late with baby gifts. We’re really going to need the freedom to say no to some things. We may be rather absent friends.
Please forgive us and know how much we love and need you.
We’re overcome with so many emotions at this point. We’re slightly overwhelmed by the volume of paperwork and anxious about missing a step or making a mistake that will delay the process. We’re trying to plan financially and emotionally for the demands Shuo will bring to our family and the certain challenges of transitioning from two littles to three. But most of all, we’ve started imagining each moment of our lives with this precious little boy—moments pushing another swing, hearing an extra voice scream-singing “Shake It Off” for the ninth time in one car trip, snuggling another warm body, asking for just one more story.
We’re not completely naive to this process. We know the work of forming attachment will be long and hard. We know there may be medical or developmental issues yet to be revealed. We know that the redemption of adoption is balanced by the brokenness of a world in which so many children end up orphans.
But we also know that God is in charge of building our family, and we do our best each day to trust and follow Him. So mostly, we are overcome with the aching desire to hold our son in our arms.
Please join us in praying for a smooth adoption process, Shuo’s continued health and well-being, and patience for a certain four-year-old who wants her brother home NOW.