Thursday, July 21, 2016

more paperwork

The process is moving along a bit quicker now that we've accepted our referral.

Here's what we've been up to:
  • Submitted our I-800A Supplement 3:  As I referenced earlier, our fingerprints are only good for a certain period of time and ours technically expired earlier in July.  I had to petition the U.S. government to renew our fingerprints (here's hoping we don't have to drive downtown again for a 60 second fingerprinting appointment again!) and we also had to petition our government to change Madeleine's special needs.  "Poor throat development" isn't a typical special need listed on the checklist and everything has to match perfectly in order to get her back home.
  • Submitted the I-800:  This is Madeleine's citizenship and immigration paperwork, requesting that the U.S. government officially recognize her as our immediate relative.  Essentially we wrap up the paperwork (sort of) in country and when we return, she will be a U.S. citizen.  We will still "re-adopt" her in the U.S. at some point soon thereafter to ensure that her paperwork is in order and won't cause her any trouble when she's older and needing a driver's license, passport, etc.
  • Submitted our list of questions:  Early in the referral process, we received Madeleine's medical paperwork which had some basic questions about her personality included, but we are also allowed to send a list of up to 20 questions to the orphanage to be answered.  There's no guarantee we'll get answers, that they will be accurate, or that they'll include a detailed response, but it's worth a shot as this might be our only opportunity to get a snippet of our daughter's history.  A sample of our questions:
    • Why was her name chosen and what does it mean?
    • What are her most challenging behaviors and how are they handled?
    • What upsets her and what comforts her?
    • Does she have any allergies?
    • Does she drink out of a bottle or sippy cup?
    • How, exactly, step by step, is her bottle made, and at what temperature is it served?
    • Is she a morning or a night person?
    • Does she have any scars or injuries, and if so, how were those obtained?
    • What words can she say now?

Travel plans are still up in the air right now.  We're hoping for late August or early September, but it could be later than that.  My work leave plan is in place so I can jump on a plane any time I need to, so that's reassuring.  We're getting there!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

all the questions answered

As you all know by now, we have officially been matched with our daughter!  I know there are a lot of questions, and we're happy to answer all that we can.

We have named our daughter Madeleine Mingxi.  Ming Xi is her Chinese name, so we wanted to keep that as a way to honor her heritage.  And we will call her Madeleine.

17 months old.

Special needs
Madeleine's special needs are listed as "poor throat development."  We know that when she first arrived at the orphanage, she had an upper respiratory infection, so that may be what led to this "need."  In reviewing her file and in having professionals review it, we believe her needs are more related to growing up in an orphanage.  While we will tackle any problem that comes our way, her greatest need is love.  She needs parents.  She needs someone to interact with her and to feed her a proper diet and to provide her with an education and opportunity.

Her history
We do not know.  If we ever do find out a back story, know this is the one question we will not answer.  Understandably, this is sensitive information and if we do find out the story, it will be Madeleine's to choose to share.

Some might ask us about "her parents."  We are not her biological parents, but we won't be known as her adoptive parents either.  We're her parents.  And she's not our "adopted daughter," but our daughter.

Travel & Prep
We don't know yet when we will travel, but we are hoping for this fall.  There's still plenty of paperwork to take care of between now and then.

Earlier in the process, I sent the I-800A, which starts the approval process here in the US to bring a child home.  It essentially "holds" a spot for us with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration.  A few weeks ago, I had to file the I-800A Supplement 3 document to 1) renew our fingerprints (yes, they expire...) and 2) to update Madeleine's special needs. Then we followed up with I-800, pictured below, which is our request to classify Madeleine as our immediate relative.  I'm really glossing over the requirements and facts here, but all said and done, when we return home to the U.S., this paperwork - and the other paperwork we receive in country - will allow her to become a U.S. citizen the moment we step foot on U.S. soil.

When we do travel, we will be there for typically two weeks.  We will spend a few days sightseeing and then will travel to Madeleine's province to officially meet her.  We'll finalize our adoption in her province the day after meeting her and then travel to another province to get all of the final approvals at the U.S. Consulate.

In the meantime, we were allowed to send Madeleine a care package.  There are no guarantees she will receive it and it cost us $67 to ship (!!!), so I've been saying some prayers it reaches her.

We sent a little outfit, a photo album of us and the pets, this stuffed elephant, and a disposable camera.  I had no idea stores even sold disposable cameras anymore and if we get it back (hopefully with pictures on it), I have no idea where to drop it off.  (Fingers crossed Target still does that, because you all know how I feel about Walmart.)

I've pretty much been buying clothes for Madeleine since we started the adoption process.  For some reason, I had it in my head - because that was what I was fervently praying for - that we would adopt 4 year old twin girls.  So as I organized her room last week, I have giant tubs filled with plenty of 4T+ clothes and like two outfits for 18-24/2T (which is what we are guessing she actually wears).  But the outfit above...that's the first CJ has picked out for her (under my supervision, of course).

At this point, we ask that you shift your prayers specifically to Madeleine and for a quick travel approval.  She is 17 months old and has no concept of what is about to happen.  We don't look like her, we will have a different smell, we speak a different language than she is used to...  Although we know that living in a family is far superior to living in an orphanage, she does not.  Please pray that she will receive the care package we sent and that her nannies will show her our pictures so we're not complete strangers.  Please pray that she will be as prepared as possible for the changes ahead.

You all have overwhelmed us throughout this journey, but especially lately.  Thank you for the support and encouragement.

Although the road has been long, we believe it will be worth it.  There are millions of children domestically and internationally who need a loving home, so we would encourage you to consider adoption -- and know that we will happily talk with anyone about it.