Thursday, May 31, 2007

We received our First Ruling!

Just a quick update to share the big news -- we received our First Ruling today! (It was issued exactly 2 weeks after our hearing.) The wait has been getting really difficult, especially since the hearing occurred, so we're very thankful that the judge ruled so quickly. We should have our Final Ruling by the end of June, and a few weeks after that we'll be going to Taiwan to bring Ryan home!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No News, Just Bloggin'

Nothing new to report in our adoption process -- still waiting for our first ruling, which could come tomorrow, or a month from now. Getting Ryan’s room ready has been keeping us busy in our free time. We still haven't gotten around to window treatments, buying a crib mattress, removing the guest bed, or fixing the closet door that falls on us whenever we slide it shut... but the room is starting to come together.

Now we just need the baby to to put in the crib!

We had a fun visit from my sister’s family over Memorial Day weekend. Her sons (Ryan's future cousins and playmates) are 19 months and 3 years old. They had a great time playing with their Uncle Rob, who can't wait to be a dad.

Our older nephew is fascinated with ceiling fans, and the younger one with clocks, so we often wonder what particular fascinations Ryan will have as he explores the world.

Our poor pets (an 8-year-old labrador retriever and an 11-year-old cat, who are used to sleeping about 20 hours a day) were so worn out from the boys chasing them around and wanting to play with them all the time. They have no idea that soon there will be another energetic little boy living in their house! We hope Ryan isn’t afraid of our furry friends -– although they would probably prefer that he is, if it means he will leave them alone during their sleep-a-thons :-)

Once we become parents, Rob and I will probably be this exhausted every night too!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Waiting for our First Ruling....

It's been a week since our hearing, and no news of a ruling. This would normally be too soon to expect a ruling, but since a few other families who waited as long as we did for their hearing received immediate or very quick rulings, we were hoping we might too. (Our hearing was 3 months after submission of our paperwork, whereas many other families received their hearings within 4-6 weeks.) The time since the hearing has really seemed to drag -- this has definitely been the most difficult part of the wait so far. But we know we have no control over the speed of the process, so we're trying to be patient and not to obsess. As long as we are bringing Ryan home at the end of it, all the waiting will be worth it.

We expect that the wait between the first and final rulings will also be hard, but we're hoping the time will seem to pass more quickly after we receive our final ruling since we'll have SO much to do at that point to get ready to travel -- we reviewed our agency's travel packet the other day and were surprised at how much paperwork we need to gather to take with us (3 years of tax returns, affidavits from our employers, notarized pay stubs, bank statements, etc.) We thought after we finished our homestudy, got our I-171H, and submitted our dossier to Taiwan we were done with all the red tape and scrutiny, but not so!

We should be receiving new photos of Ryan the first week of June, and our two little nephews are coming to visit us this weekend, so that gives us something to look forward as we continue the wait.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Well, we knew we had to be prepared for the fact that there are some people who will make inappropriate comments (with or without intending to offend) on the fact that we are (a) adopting, (b) adopting a child from another country, and/or (c) adopting a child of another race. The other day we experienced the first such comment, which falls under category (a). Since we are almost a year into the process, I’m kind of surprised that this is the first time someone has said something like this to us. On Friday morning, when Rob took the dog out, he ran into one of our neighbors, a woman who we would guess to be about 45. She has always been very friendly and pleasant toward us, so I’m sure her comment was made out of ignorance and that she didn’t mean any offense. She and Rob chatted for a while, as usual, and he mentioned that we were going to have a new family member soon. Before she could ask the typical follow-up question of when I am "due," Rob went on to inform her that we are adopting. Instead of something along the lines of "congratulations" or "how exciting," she just said "oh," and her voice took on a sympathetic tone. Her reaction was similar when Rob told her that our baby is from Taiwan. Rob told her we are ecstatic about it and can't wait to bring him home. She then said, "I know this isn’t exactly the same, but look how much you love your dog -– and you didn’t 'have' her yourselves either." (!!!!!) I burst out laughing when Rob told me about it because it was such a ridiculous thing to say. I'm really not that offended by it in this situation (as I will be in the future if a comment with potential to hurt our child is made in his presence), but it made me think about all the assumptions that are made about adoption.

Since we will be a multi-racial family, we know to expect that there will be occasions when we are out in public with our child when people might stare at us, ask ignorant questions, or make ignorant comments, and we have been educating ourselves on ways to deal with those kinds of reactions appropriately, the main concern, of course, being our child’s feelings. We know some people will also question why we are adopting from another country "when there are so many kids in the U.S. who are in need of families." But until Rob told me about our neighbor’s reaction to the news of our adoption, I had not thought as much about the fact that some people will actually feel sorry for us based on an assumption that we "had to" adopt, and that adoption (whether domestic, international, same-race, or different-race) is the "second best" or "last resort" way to have children -- as opposed to a choice we have (happily) made. I think people are probably even more likely to assume this about us since we are 33 and don’t have any biological children "yet." While we did initially come to consider adoption as the result of a few miscarriages, after learning more about adoption, we chose it as the way we wanted to start our family -- just as we might also choose to have a biological child in the future (although I’m enjoying the adoption process so much more than the few months of pregnancy I’ve experienced!) Even when a couple is unable to have children, there is still a decision that is made between whether to adopt or to remain childless (and I have heard many couples say that they would prefer to remain childless if they could not have "their own" -- just check out any of the infertility forums on the internet), so, in any case, adoption is always an affirmative choice. I know that it is our family, friends, and other adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents who are reading this blog, and that all of you know that an adoption is something to celebrate and not a cause for pity -- I just needed to vent!

Our neighbor’s comment has also made me rethink another statement that many other people have made to me that, "I know a couple who adopted after years of 'trying,' and then got pregnant had a baby." I know everyone who has said this to me was well-intentioned and meant no offense, and maybe they were just commenting on how it's "funny" how that sometimes happens, but I'm starting to wonder if comments like that are also meant to "console" or "reassure" us that there is still "hope" for us to have a biological child, again based on an assumption that that must be what we really want.

We would love to hear how other adoptive parents respond to comments like this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Less than 2 days until our hearing! We have waited 3 months since our paperwork entered the court system to receive the hearing, so we hope the judge will issue the first ruling quickly. The Taichung foster care program is new for our agency (only one family has completed their adoption since the program opened last December), so the only information we have for reference are the timelines of other adoptive families (from various agencies), posted on their blogs or on Yahoo! Groups. The trend seems to be that some families receive their hearings very quickly, but the judge then takes 1-2 months to issue the first ruling, and that other families wait longer for their hearings (as we have), but receive their first rulings shortly afterward, sometimes even on the same day. Then we have to wait for our final ruling, which generally occurs about a month after the first. Our agency is still estimating that we'll be traveling in July. Two months has never felt like such a long time, but Ryan is worth waiting for!

Meanwhile, we have received Ryan's latest "monthly measurements." At 7 months old, he weighs more than 17 lbs. and is 26 1/2" long. We've also finally started getting his room in order. He will come home to freshly painted sage green walls, an organized closet that we can't wait to fill with little boy clothes, and a big basket full of books that we can't wait to read to him. Every time our cat goes in the room, he goes straight over to the book basket, rubs his head against it and rolls around on the floor for a while, then lays down next to it and takes a nap :-)

We hope it won't be long until we're posting news that we have received our first ruling. Thank you to everyone who has wished us a speedy process!

Friday, May 04, 2007

New Pictures!

We received new pictures of Ryan today. He looks healthy and happy -- and has even gotten a haircut :-) We feel so lucky that this beautiful little boy is going to be our son!

The wait has been getting harder every month, knowing that we're getting closer to being able to bring him home, but not knowing exactly when that will be.

We also received a "6 through 8 months" developmental checklist, which indicates that Ryan is now "reacting differently to strangers," "verbalizes for attention," makes both consonant and vowel sounds, "prefers to be with people," holds objects with 5 fingers, puts objects in his mouth, pushes away unwanted objects, follows fallen objects with his eyes, raises himself on his arms when positioned on his stomach, puts his full weight on his legs when held up, is able to feed himself biscuits, rolls front to back and back to front, and sits "tripod fashion" (leaning forward on his arms).

We are happy that Ryan is doing so well, and we hope the remainder of our process goes smoothly (and quickly) so that we won't miss out on too much more of his first year.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"All children come from God; for some, the journey home just takes a little longer." -- Unknown

I had never seen this quote before, then suddenly saw it on 3 different adoption blogs last night. Ryan is certainly a gift from God, and we hope his journey home won't take too much longer. He is 7 months old today, and although we've missed experiencing those first 7 months of his life, we're looking forward to all the months and years ahead that we will be together as a family.