I have a few minutes to sit down and type. So here it goes.
You may have noticed the change in theme for the blogs background. Maybe you're confused about it if you read this blog from time to time. I mean, we're a Colombian adoptive family - what's up with the Great Wall on the header and the rice paper background?
I've written this post in my head at least ten times. It always sounds good when I'm thinking it, but I usually don't have time to jot down notes - so I lost it all now that I finally do have time to sit down and write. I'll do my best to remember.
I spend some time looking at waiting children lists. Rainbow Kids is one. I look at profiles for children all over the world - there are literally over a thousand children listed just on that site alone. I also follow KidSave International and their hosting programs. It always saddens me to see all those children waiting and not nearly enough families stepping forward to take them home.
Recently, I have been drawn to some sites that list only Chinese children who are waiting. I don't know why. Maybe because a few of our friends have, or are getting ready to adopt from China. Just so you know, adopting a toddler or a baby has no appeal for me (I know, I'm weird that way), so China never really had any draw for me. I always leaned more toward Latin America because I know some Spanish and I have traveled quite a bit in Mexico. It seemed so much less FOREIGN to me than Asia. Much more in my comfort zone - especially to bring a child home (or in our case 4 siblings) from there who already had language and culture ingrained in them. Also, we were only going to do this ONCE so we decided we would adopt siblings and Colombia was a good place to do that.
When I first saw our kids in our agency's newsletter (at the end of it there used to always be a list of waiting children featured), it was a frying-pan-to-the-head moment. A light went on. A still small voice whispered to me they were meant to be ours. I just knew it was right. Even after all we've been through with them, I know we were meant to be their parents.
At the end of January I was up at Oscar and Diana's school paying their tuition bill. The director/principal was there talking to us (I had Mayerly and Claudia there with me too) for awhile as I wrote out the check and waited for my receipt. He looked around as if something was missing and asked, "Where's the other one?" Puzzled, I asked him, "What other one? We only have four." He says, "I thought you had five!" We all laughed and Oscar took that opportunity to (once again) express the fact that he wanted a brother - and then we would have five. I just rolled my eyes and said something to the effect of, "Good luck with that one kid." Thinking to myself that the check I just wrote for tuition has just about emptied our checking account, where does he think we're going to get the money to adopt again any time soon?
February 1st I was casually checking all the blogs I read regularly (at least the ones that have been updated recently). I went to the Sanders' (we have attended some of their fundraisers and live in the same metropolitan area) blog and was surprised to see that they were not only going to adopt the little 4 year-old boy from China - they have been working on for about a year, but they had decided to adopt a 13 year-old boy ('Dusty') at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I love to see any child find their home, but it always catches my attention when someone chooses to adopt an older child or a large sibling group or a large sibling group of older children. I had recently joined (on a whim) Wonderful Waiting Kids a Chinese Waiting Child advocacy blog site - so I decided to go on there and see if their 13 year-old was one of the kids on the site. He was. I also found out that he was going to be leaving behind his two best friends if someone didn't step up and adopt them. To make matters worse, China will not adopt out children aged 14 or older - and these boys were all 13 and swiftly approaching their 14th birthdays. So I looked up his friends on the site. Both sounded like nice, intelligent boys that anyone could be proud to call their son. However, something about one of the boys gave me another frying-pan-to-the-head moment. His name was 'Ned'.
After we put the kids to bed, I handed the laptop over to Tim and said, "What do you think about adopting one of them?" He looked over the short write-up and picture of each of the boys. Long story short, I got him to agree to let me try to find more information about them.
After many emails with the blog author, a waiting child advocate whom had met the boys, the adoption agency we used for our first adoption and finally to the adoption agency that had both of their files - we were told that a family already had 'Lucky's' file and there was another paper ready family interested in 'Ned's' file. So no, we could not have either file. Okay I thought, good. Both kiddos had families interested in adopting them. Case closed. Move on. So I went to lunch. When I came back, I had another email from a different person at the agency holding the boys files. She wanted me to call her about 'Ned' if I was still interested. That weekend we had 'Ned's' file.
I spent the weekend reading it over and over again. I told Tim I thought we should adopt him. Tim was worried about the finances - and so was I. We were able to cash flow our first adoption. This time would be different. Our first adoption took a year to complete - from agency application to bringing the kids home. This time we would have to have everything complete within five months. Last time we just missed the cutoff for having to do Hague paperwork. This time, we would be under the Hague which requires more paperwork. We decided that ultimately, we could pull this off. First, we wanted to get the kids approval.
Monday night we called a family meeting. The kids knew that something was up, but we didn't want to let them in on it until we were certain that we were in agreement about saying "yes" to 'Ned'. We began by asking them what they thought about adopting again, they all got very excited and said "Yes, let's do it"! Oscar asked, "Is it a boy???" So I pulled out a picture of 'Ned' for them all to look at. Oscar was thrilled to know we were adopting another boy! The next day, Valentine's Day, we called and locked in 'Ned's' file. Since then, we have applied to and been accepted by the agency that had the files. We have hired the agency we used for our first adoption as our home study agency, and we have gotten a jump on the mountain of paperwork we will need to do in order to finish this in time. If you don't hear from me for awhile here on the blog, you now know why. I'll post pictures as soon as we are further in the process and we are authorized to do so.
We're very excited that we have been chosen. It's wonderful to be able to do something to help keep these boys together. I believe it will be good for them.
On a sad note, 'Lucky's' file was returned to the agency. The family reviewing his file decided not to proceed with his adoption. I believe he is now on the shared list (all agencies now have access to his file, not just ours). We are praying that his family finds him soon. He ages out in August. If you are interested in 'Lucky' go to Wonderful Waiting Kids to inquire about him.