Monthly Archives: October 2015

What I’m Reading #7

I’ve been writing these toward the end of the month so I suppose we can begin to call this a monthly feature. October has been a month with a particularly large amount of great links to share:

8 Essential Things to do Within 30 Minutes of Meeting Your Child – Advice shared by Dr. Karin Purvis from a new podcast from Creating A Family.

A change in policy in Guangdong province makes it easier for parents who had a child without official permission to get hukou for their child.

My friend Allison writes Our Son, However He Comes To Us for the Holt blog.  This is a good story of the uncertainly of the information in files from China and how a flexible attitude is essential.  In Allison’s case, her son’s need were much less than she was expecting.

From CNN, the Chinese dishes Chinese people miss the most.  Great photos!  Look for some things to try while you travel or a regional specialty from your child’s province.

The model minority is losing patience at The Economist.  The discrimination Asians face in getting admitted to colleges despite academic success and the “bamboo ceiling” in the job force.

The story of little A-long on Chinasmack will break your heart.  A six year old AIDS orphan, this story touches on the left behind children and the stigma against HIV/AIDS which is still strong in China.

While we’re on that topic, you can pause for a moment and remember David who died at the ELIM home for HIV+ children in China.  As difficult as it is for us to imagine, David died of pneumonia because the hospital refused him care and made him leave the hospital when they learned that he was HIV+. Children in China who are HIV+ are also usually refused an education. China prepares very few adoption files for children who are HIV+ because China feels that they are “unadoptable.” AIDS spread throughout the poorest provinces in China after the government encouraged families to sell plasma as a way to make more money but didn’t take measures to prevent blood mixing from the machines. So most of the HIV+ orphans (who are actual orphans, not abandoned) in China are orphans because their parents wanted to give them a better life.

Amy Eldridge has two posts on the LWB blog about her trip to rural China.  The photos on the one of her trip to Guizhou are absolutely beautiful.  The second tells of her encounter with a left behind boy who was caring for his elderly great-grandmother by himself.

In honor of Down syndrome month you can read the most frequently asked questions about adopting a child with Down syndrome on the NHBO blog.

Why Don’t More Foster Families Adopt? – Informative post on the LWB blog.

Elizabeth at Ordinary Time writes about how you need to be willing to cast aside traditional parenting practices when you are parenting a child who has endured trauma.

Another great LWB post which focuses on the post adoption adjustment for older children.  Adding it to my older child adoption resources post!

Finally, this post in an advocacy group on Facebook has been a huge conversation generator for the past two days.  I’ve received over 200 clicks on my post Talking About the Adoptive Parent Preference for Girls which someone shared in a comment on the post.

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Of course, many people felt judged by the original poster and felt they were being called stupid and prejudiced for wanting a girl.  While I would have worded things differently, I do think this disparity should be discussed within the adoptive community.  It is not about asking people to justify their choice or choose a boy out a guilt. It’s about asking people to take a moment to consider their reasons for marking only the girl box. Maybe after consideration more people will be open to either gender. I often suggest that people not limit themselves. Check both boxes and see what referral you receive. Consider the CHILD not the gender. You can always decline a referral so you’ve really got nothing to lose.

Here are a few interesting things shared within the comments:

  • From the original post, one large agency has 40 families waiting for a girl while only one family is open to either gender.
  • One agency shared that they will have 25 inquiries for every girl posted on their photolisting while they receive 0-1 inquiries for boys.
  • SO MANY women shared that they were motivated to adopt a girl because they “know” girls are unwanted and discarded in China. I have written a lot on my blog about how the situation was always much more complicated than that and that thing are changing rapidly in China.  An agency representative shared that one of their partnership orphanages has a waiting list of 200 Chinese families who are waiting to adopt a healthy baby girl.  Not a healthy baby boy or any healthy baby.

Remember that boys wait for families while families wait for girls. Give it some thought, maybe you’ll decide to check both boxes, too!

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Matched!

The matching part of the adoption process is never easy.  Not that any of it is easy, but since this is the point of the entire ordeal things are especially high stakes involving identifying the child who will be yours.  Some people can’t handle waiting and want to see that face as soon as possible.  They scour photolistings, both their agency’s and others, and advocacy sites until they they find their child.  Other people are completely uncomfortable “choosing” a child.  They all need homes and it feels wrong somehow to single out one from so many to give a place in your family.  People who feel this way prefer to have their agency select the child who seems to be the best fit.

We’ve done things both ways at this point.  In our first adoption, I kept a close eye on our agency’s photolisting.  When we were close to being done with our homestudy (or so we thought) I saw a picture of an adorable little guy who had needs which seemed so minor.  My husband wasn’t sure about choosing a child, but said it was okay to inquire with our agency.  Although he had been on the photolisting for over a month, we were told only one other couple had asked about him.  We didn’t have that “I just knew he was ours” moment which seems so common among adoptive parents.  But he was ours anyway, and he’s been home with us for two years now.

When we began the process this time, the one thing my husband asked is that we let our agency match us.  He was very uncomfortable with the idea of choosing a child, although he loves the result very much, but he wanted to try having our agency match us to see if it felt better to him.  I dropped out of the China waiting child advocacy group and stopped cruising by our agency’s photolisting.  Our medical conditions checklist was very open so I didn’t expect to wait too long after our homestudy was finalized.  But a week went by and then two and three.  I might have accidentally run across the photolisting and I knew there were at least three children with our agency that met our criteria.  Why didn’t they call us about one of them?  Were their needs greater than it appeared or some other reason they didn’t think these children would be a good match for us?

I finally realized that we wouldn’t be matched until our dossier was in China.  I focused on that goal and stopped waiting for the phone to ring.  In fact, when the phone did ring and the caller ID showed it was my agency, I assumed they were calling about a problem with one of our documents.  Instead it was a referral call!  I commented to the China program director that I hadn’t had a referral call before, which made her laugh.  She began to tell me about the child they thought would be a good fit for our family.  A little boy, younger than Leo.  As she told me more about his special need I realized this child sounded familiar.  Back in January, there was a little boy on the photolisting who was really extremely cute.  Gorgeous, really.  He was only just turning two at that time and I remember thinking that he would be matched quickly.  And he was.  I asked the director, was this the same boy?  She said yes, it was.  She was surprised that I remembered him.  She said that he had been matched with a family but that they had to stop the adoption process for personal reasons unrelated to the child.  (If you’re wondering–this could be a lost job, divorce, pregnancy, not being able to come up with the needed funds, something like that).  Now they needed to find him a family again, only now he is further away from the easier to match age of “under 2” and much closer to 3, the age when adorable little boys with minor needs seem to linger on photolistings.  They were referred him to us and we said yes.

So if you’ve been keeping track on the sidebar you can see that our letter of intent to adopt has been sent and our dossier has been logged in to China’s system.  We are now waiting for approval to adopt this little boy that I first saw on our agency’s photolisting nine months ago.  How ironic that we were matched with one of the photolistings boys that caught my eye in the end!  As I mentioned earlier, I will not be sharing pictures on the blog until after the adoption is finalized.