Sunday, December 28, 2014

Back To An Adoption Blog

Well, here we go again.  We are adopting a daughter from China.  Whoa!  I know!  Crazy, right?  We actually had a feeling there might be one more (a girl) while we were in the process of adopting Jordan but didn't think it would happen quite so soon.  Here's how it all went down....  If you send a Letter of Intent for another child (commit to adopting) within 1 year of adopting your first child, you can do what's called re-using your dossier.  Basically that means much less paperwork and slightly reduced/fewer fees.  We thought, if we were going to adopt again, that might be the way to go, but wait until summer to think about it to give us more time.  That, or wait 3-4 years and adopt a slightly older girl so there wouldn't be a large age gap.  But I belong to a few advocacy groups now (have I mentioned that once your eyes are opened to all the children who need homes, your heart will never be the same?) and was frequently seeing the faces of these children popping up in my facebook news feed. In fact, I saw Hallie's picture (that's what we're naming her) pretty soon after we were home with Jordan and I went right on past it.  Then, in September, an adoptive mom was looking at Hallie's file and asked if any other adoptive moms have experience with orthopedic issues... shorter limbs on one side, and hip dysplasia.  "Hmmmm...", I thought, "It sounds like Russell-Silver Syndrome".  So I talked to this woman about Hallie and I recommended she contact the MAGIC Foundation to have her file evaluated for the likelihood of her having RSS.  Well, she didn't get that far before knowing that Hallie was not her daughter and moved on.  And I moved on too.  Kind of.  Except Hallie kept coming back to my mind.  Finally I requested to see her file, out of curiosity, but we found out that because her file was designated "LID-only" we couldn't get her file.  When re-using a dossier, you can only request a "Special Focus" file.  That settled that, so again, I brushed her aside. 

After thinking of her on and off for nearly three months, I started asking around to see if she had a family yet.  If not, I thought I really should try to get someone to get her file looked at by the MAGIC Foundation, just to see if my hunch might be right.  It would, after all, be very helpful for her future family to have a lead on a diagnosis.  I found out that she still didn't have a family and that her file status had been changed to Special Focus.  Dun, dun duuun... I was torn between requesting her file so I could advocate to find Hallie a family and requesting the file for Ryan and I to consider.  Ryan and I had A LOT of conversations over the next few days about whether or not we really wanted to adopt again, especially so soon.  The decision would have been easier if adoption weren't so gosh dang expensive.  We were truly blessed with a lot of support for Jordan's adoption, but this time we would have adoption fees, plus have to upgrade to a vehicle with more seats.  A double-whammy.  And we started thinking of all the things we could do with the money those two things would take.... we could finally build our deck... convert our loft into an extra bedroom... remodel and expand the kids tiny bathroom... convert our front room into an office... travel!  The thing is, that kind of thinking just left us feeling selfish and we both agreed that the joy that adopting Jordan has brought to our family had been so much more meaningful than any of those plans could ever be.  Sooooo... we requested Hallie's file, still not sure if it was for us or to help another family find her.

I started digging for any additional information I could find on Hallie.  It's amazing what you can find out about a child on the other side of the earth by simply asking a few questions on a Facebook adoption group.  With everything we learned, we were more convinced she likely has RSS and an evaluation done by the MAGIC Foundation supports that likelihood, but ultimately, what all that digging really did was break my heart for Hallie.  She has been through so much in her short lifetime.  She has had hip dislocation surgery and casting, plus an unnecessary and very painful surgery to disrupt the growth plate in her longer leg, she is not in a fantastic foster care organization like Jordan was, she is in an orphanage known for being a little rough around the edges, of all the pictures we've seen of her, she is not smiling in a single one of them and I found other adoptive parents who met her while they were in China and said she was always quiet and serious.  All of this made me ache for this somber faced little girl who has experienced all of this without a family.  But we also had to question, what if she didn't actually have RSS?  Though I'd like to think I'm right, I'm no doctor and I'm making an assumption on limited information.  Could we handle another medical mystery if it's not RSS?  Could we handle a child with the potential for more severe emotional wounds?  What if she has a different genetic condition that is associated severe cogitative issues?  Could we take that on?  Everything in me wants to care for this child, to hold her, hug her and tell her everything will be okay but as much as I wanted to do that for Hallie, I was also terrified.  I worried and worried about what to do for several days then one day I finally felt at peace about it.  Ryan did too, well actually I think he skipped the worrying and felt okay about it much sooner than I did.  It was so unlike the experience with Jordan, where we just knew... but like with Jordan, once we knew, I was able to relax and know that everything would be okay.  So, we decided to have her file transferred to our agency that following Monday.  But we had taken too long to make a decision and another family, one already signed with that particular agency therefore taking precedence, requested her file that Monday, so the only thing we could do was wait for them to study her file and decide if they wanted to make her their daughter.  Instead of worrying and lamenting like I can imagine myself doing, I was calm and knew it would work out.  Either way Hallie would get a family, and that was what we really wanted, but if it wasn't going to be us, I was ready to beg that other family to send me the first picture they took of her with a smile on her face.  I need to see her smiling.

You can guess the rest of this story from here.  Yes, that family decided not to pursue Hallie, so we had her file transferred to our agency and submitted our Letter Of Intent on December 23 and had Pre-Approval by December 26th.  Now that we are committed, we are going to do everything we can to get Hallie home as quickly as possible.  And with that... here's Hallie: