Friday, December 09, 2005

China Dolls

Yesterday and today people received their referrals if they were logged in for April 2005. The amazing thing about these babies is that many were only 6 months old, which is unheard of. They say for every orphanage they do adoptions with, there are 50 they don't. I think they are trying to bring adoption to these other facilities one at a time. The result is VERY YOUNG babies; all of whom were precious. I enjoy following the journey people are taking and hopefully it will prepare me better when my time comes. I've been thinking about the strong female role models I have been lucky enough to have over the years. I consider my own mother among them but also my friend Dawn who is an amazing mommy , a former colleague who has a non-traditional family (but a great one) and my former boss Jeanne who is a single parent (and powerhouse). If I really think about it, there are so many who have given me a little knowledge that has helped me make this ultimate decision. I have also thought of the two friends I lost these past few years. Eileen was a good mother but never really had the chance to parent her son in the manner which she wanted. She died knowing he was happy and safe but he may very well never know how much she loved him and sacrificed for him. My dear friend Shannon died three years ago today in his sleep. I still miss him and think of him often. He was my Will and I was his Grace and he loved children so much. He had dreams of becoming a foster parent but he never got to fulfill that dream and left many shattered lived behind at the age of 41. I am always aware of his presence around me and hopefully he will be with me in spirit during this journey. I am nearing the last part of my paper chase and hope to have all my documents notarized in the next week or so. Once that's done I just wait for my various clearances. Til next time.....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Paper, Paper and More Paper

Last week I went to One Police Plaza to apply for a certificate of good conduct. It takes 2 weeks but is only good for 60 days. I am hoping I am DTC before it expires since it's a annoying trip to have to make. (2 trips each time). My end of the paperwork is done for now. Next week I will file my I-600A which is an application to CIS for advanced petition of an orphan. I get to pay CIS $700 for them to fingerprint me and mail me a piece of paper. Lucky Me! These fingerprints (third set so far) will be my FBI prints. Once they are cleared the social worker can complete my home study and then I need to have all my documents certified by the Secretary of State and then authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in NYC. I hope to be DTC by late January. Ideally I'd love to be making the trip before the end of 2006 but there have been some recent extentions to the time people are waiting. Since the Chinese year runs from 12/1 - 11/30 it may just be end of year delays and will speed back up. This past Saturday I had my annual holiday gathering and it was nice that my friends started telling each other how they met me. It was pretty cool remembering some of these stories that stem from 5-17 years ago. I am a lucky girl to have such amazing friends who support me in this endeavor. We all had a good laugh at my Big Bird in China DVD and Chinese New Year Barbie. What can I say? I have been pondering how and when you tell people about plans to adopt? Being single has some drawbacks because I am not becoming a spinster; at least not yet. At what stage of meeting or dating do you tell the person, "by the way I am adopting a baby and her eyes are going to slant". In some ways I feel guilty for keeping it a secret and then of course the other part of me feels it's personal enough that it's on a need to know basis. It's not just an issue of someone being open-minded but also okay with the racial differences. Of course, anyone who wouldn't be 1000% supportive of me, isn't worth my time. I spent Sunday with some fellow single adoptive parents and their 3 daughters who were amazing. We were so busy eating and noshing we never got to discuss these issues. I guess we can put in on the next gathering's agenda. I think it's one of those issues where I will play it by ear. I had decided not to tell my boss since it's not happening tomorrow. I figure as if I were pregnant, I will give him 3-4 months notice. I plan to take FMLA leave for as long as possible. However since I really can't afford to not get paid for long I will most likely try and save the bulk of my vacation time for this purpose. I guess this is the update for now. Not too much to report these days but keeping abreast of my reading and continued research. Til next time....

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Why China?

This is one question that keeps coming up so I will do my best to answer it. First and foremost, I have been asked why I was not interested in domestic adoption (thanks David). The answer is quite simple. The US does not have laws which truly support the creation of families. In most states the biological mother has 6 months in which she can change her mind. The way I see this, all parties are at risk; the adoptive parent in fear their child will be taken away, the biological mother who may or may not be able to truly relinquish her rights and an innocent child who can end up stuck between the adults. Domestic adoption is a non-issue to me. So why China? I considered several counties that have international adoption programs including China, Russia, Kazahstan, Guatemala and Vietnam. To start, Vietnam does not allow singles to adopt. Guatemala was initially a thought but I had more concerns about it than I realized. Like it or not, I was worried how a darker skinned child would fit into my life, my community and had issues for the child as well. I am not prejudice, but I also knew I had concerns and in the end that eliminated Guatemala as a choice. Russia too was a thought, after all I come from Russian ancestry. However there are a few factors which too made this an undesirable choice. Included among them is the cost (double China) and the fact that two trips are required to bring the child home. I do not think I could go to Russia, spend three weeks bonding with my child only to leave him/her for 3-4 months until an invitation to travel was received. Kazahstan is on the Russia/Asia border and has the most beautiful children but one must go there for 6 weeks while waiting to adopt. The other issues are similar to those in Russian children. In addition the prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome is extraordinarily high, as is other forms of positive toxicology, developmental delays and overall health. This is not to say that there aren't healthy children adopted from Russia every day but the risk for the aforementioned issues is high. All this brings me back to China. The Chinese government strictly regulates the adoption process for all of China. While some find this bothersome, I find it to be reassuring. Yes, anytime money is exchanged you run into possible "shady" problems but China seems to have less than most counties. They do allow singles to adopt but only 8% of all applicants can be single. In addition, all papers need to state that the applicant is heterosexual. What I'd like to know is who has been under my bed that can truly attest to this fact? (chuckle). There is a ton of paperwork that goes into the dossier; the packet that is submitted to China. Anyone interested in some of the specifics can go to So, back to China....the children are probably the healthiest of all countries. Remember, China still has a one child policy and offers incentives for such enactment. Therefore they want to be able to place these children and all pregnant women are given prenatal care equivalent to the US. China's babies are extremely healthy and receive medical care and immunization similar to the US schedule. However, Chinese medicine is practiced which does differ somewhat. To date, there has not been a child placed that ended up with HIV and the access to alcohol and drugs is much lower than in other countries. In China, the majority of children reside in orphanages (aka Social Welfare Institutions or SWI). Less reside in foster care but the children are very loved and cared for despite the extreme financial limitations. It is said that they have less than 10 cents a day to feed and clothe each child. Diapers are not used, but rather the children wear split pants in which there is a large hole in the seat and front. This is the reason for many skin problems including diaper rashes, fungal infections and related problems. Bear in mind, that culturally, the children are bundled up with little to no skin showing. This can result in minor gross motor delays from the sheer weight of the clothing they wear. Most children catch up within weeks of being with their new family. The SWI's do not have AC or heat. Now add one bundled up baby with no diaper. Get the picture? Other minor issues are rickets, cradle cap, and at times some level of malnutrition. I think I have written way too much today but will continue to offer some information that I think may be of interest to my readers. Until next time......

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Beginning

I have known for a long time that I wanted to be a mother someday. Someday has arrived and I am adopting a baby girl from China. I wanted to wait until I felt I had the resources; physically, emotionally and financially . I think I have prepared myself well other than the financial area. Is there ever really enough? So after much research, and soul searching I decided on two possible agencies to help me facilitate this adoption. On Yom Kippur of this year, I was accepted into the singles program at a well-known and highly respected organization. One thing you should know is that this is a honor. Only 8% of all applicants can be from single parents and my agency thought enough of me to approve my application. Now the paper chase begins. My dossier (a whole slew of required paperwork) is just about complete. I am waiting on some state clearances so I can complete my packet, which then needs to be certified by the state as well as authenticated by the Chinese Embassey in NY. Once that happens, I will be considered DTC (dossier to China) and my official wait will begin. I hope that this time next year I will be going to China to bring my angel home. My friends and family have been incredibly supportive and my father will be accompanying me to China. I will post entries here to keep everyone abreast of where I am in the process. Welcome aboard and feel free to leave comments in my guestbook. Someday I am sure SHE will enjoy reading what people had to say