Archive for April, 2007

China Adoption… Where the Wait Gets Longer the Longer You Wait

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 by janice

April 25th, the one year anniversary of our LID. This time last year we thought we would be seeing a referral, or at least be close to one, by this time. Another big assumption bites the dust.

As I mentioned before, I no longer believe that the wait time for China will speed up, or even stabilize, any time soon. “Any time soon” being measured in years not months. In retrospect I feel a bit naïve that I ever believed that this wait would stop plummeting and begin to stabilize or speed up. But it took me quite some time to get to any real information and also to stop the denial train that went with it.

In summary, the reason I believed in the speed up is a lot of people who had been China watchers (or CCAA watchers actually) had a lot of good reason why it should speed up. They explained the slow down in terms of mostly transient factors, a big move, the new responsibilities of the CCAA, the Hague-inspired push for domestic adoption and the Hunan scandal. These folks were very much convinced that once those transitions shook out a bit, things would get back on track. Unlikely, they said, that it was going back to a 6 month wait, but maintaining at the current wait was at least possible.

And I think they sincerely believed this to be true. But I think they were also missing a few factors. The biggest one being the explosive increase in would-be-parents applying to adopt from China. For all the reasons I mentioned in my Why China entry, China is a popular program and has become even more so in the last couple of years. In Oct 2005 alone more than 2000 parent-dossiers were submitted to China. That is nearly twice the number they had gotten in the same month the previous year. It is being said by some sources that even more dossiers were submitted in 2006 than in 2005.

In contrast, the CCAA has had fewer non-special needs children eligible for international adoption. Notice I don’t say they have fewer babies, just fewer that are “paper ready” as they say. There’s a lot of debate about this but I really do believe there are still thousands of children in the SWIs around China, but for one reason or another they are not in the IA program. Participation in the IA program is money and paper-work intensive and some SWI directors choose not to put in the effort. I think it’s unconscionable but it’s not my call. Also, while we tend to think of the Chinese Government as if it was one big monolithic thing, the various branches are rather more autonomous than one might guess. Kinda like our own Government, really. There is a great deal of political in-fighting and even though the CCAA has nominal control over the SWIs, in practice they really cannot force the directors to do anything. There also is some evidence of an increase in domestic adoption. In addition, we know that the provinces that have historically sent the most children for IA have seen large drop-offs in abandonment rates. This is a Good Thing in the larger picture, of course. It means that China’s “pro-girl” campaigns plus economic growth are combining to reduce this terrible practice. But the upshot is: there are fewer paper-ready babies than potential parents.

As if that weren’t enough, there is also speculation about CCAA motives and un-spoken policies, which may also be affecting the wait. Most of these are impossible to prove, but we are pretty sure that the CCAA is also deliberately limiting the number of babies they refer in each batch to a specific range. (Roughly 800-1000 babies per batch is the number I have seen quoted most often.) We are not sure about the reason since the CCAA doesn’t even acknowledge this limit directly. But most people agree there is some attempt to “save face” as China becomes more of major player on the international stage.

So, it’s simple math. Major increase in PAPs + drop in paper-ready babies + maybe CCAA keeping a lid on numbers to “save face” in the international community = major increase in wait times.

I think a lot of folks will drop out. But I think even more folks will go with an concurrent (something called interim) adoption – i.e. go to another country or go back to domestic while waiting for their China referral – rather than step out of line. So all the factors really point to an ever-increasing wait. Hence the title (shamelessly stolen from one of my fellow Rumor Queen bloggers) of this entry.

We’re being assured that the China IA program will remain open. Even the CCAA states they are committed to this. But then again, our agencies and CCAA all assured us the wait wouldn’t continue to increase so… Well, I am trying to be realistic not bitter here so no more on that.

I am no longer willing to estimate when our daughter will come home. But we have to face the fact that it probably won’t be this year either.

It’s really depressing. We started this process in 2005! We’ve been working at this for over two years now and we may still have a year or more to wait?! Ridiculous! Unthinkable!

But fact.

Damnit!

Someone get me a stiff drink, huh?

Blessings all,

Janice

PS: I would be happy to be wrong about this in case anyone is wondering!

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To Disney and Beyond!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 by janice

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post about the Disney trip. This trip came about because the fabulous Donna decided us waiting mommas needed to treat ourselves. She posted the idea for the trip to her blog and from there it spread into the China-adoption blog-o-sphere, forums and Yahoo! groups. Donna nurtured the idea into a Yahoo! group of its own and from there into reality.

Friday night several of us met for dinner at Mimi’s near Disneyland. Not everyone who came for dinner was coming to the park but it was nice that they were able to meet with us anyway. Thanks, too, to the wonderful Shelley, who shared stories of her adoption, completed in 2005. It was nice to get some perspective from a BTDT momma. We were also joined by some friends-of-waiting-mommas, so it was a nice big group.

Most of us were from out of town so many of us (Donna, Lisa, Jennifer, Christine, Haley and Hannah) stayed at the Candy Cane Inn, which is a pleasant hotel and has the two advantages of being just over a city block from Disneyland and having it’s own shuttle so the poor tired feet don’t have to walk that much more.

Saturday morning started out early with us dragging our poor butts onto the 7:30 shuttle (after a nice continental breakfast in the hotel pool room) to meet the rest of the group. Those driving were a bit confused and delayed by the terrible traffic around Disney and the joy that is parking there. Finally, the wonderful Kim (sans blog for the moment) hooked up with us and bought tix for the non-SoCal-ers. After a minor miscommunication (Michelle will never let her husband borrow that cell phone again!) we were finally 9! We made our way around the park surprisingly intact for most of the day. As mentioned before, it helps to have everyone on the same pee schedule. ;-)

Hannah (who turned 10 on April 10th – Happy Belated b-day, Hannah!) was a major trooper, putting up with all of us adults stopping for coffee, stopping for shopping, stopping to decide what the heck we were doing next etc. You can imagine it. Actually it worked out pretty well really. I think everyone got to ride something they really wanted to, plus got to shop, to see the parade, to try on silly hats etc. The group finally started dropping off around 8 as feet were hurting and people needed to go home. Several of us stuck it out till nearly the bitter end though. The fireworks show was a disappointment as it didn’t happen due to wind. What a circus the waiting was though. Everyone packed in like sardines around Main Street… yeesh! We lost a couple more of our party after that. Donna, Jennifer, Haley, Hannah and I tried to go on Indiana Jones one more time but as the wait was 55 minutes, we opted for a night-time Jungle Cruise instead. Then it was just me, Haley and Hannah for the last ride on It’s a Small World (yes, I do like it, thanks! I know, sounds odd but… well, it’s an old family tradition, so get over it, OK?)

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BTW: as mentioned before, Fast Passes rock! You can only Fast Pass one ride within a certain amount of time but if you wait the allotted time you can build up a bunch of them and then ride the cool rides all in succession if you want. This is a highly recommended way of doing it. Just watch carefully when your next chance is and don’t loose the things!

Oh, and the issue with kids and leashes: by Sunday I had seen not 1 but 3 kids get separated from their parents, with the inevitable ensuing panic thereafter. The first one was the little 4 year old who decided to go back to Disneyland from the hotel all by himself and was halfway there by the time they found him. The second was in Disney – kid separated from mom in a store. Fortunately I had seen the clerk take him over to Lost and Found a few minutes before so they were re-united quickly but she had been frantic (He was more calm than his mother, actually, and did the right thing telling the clerk he was lost as soon as he realized it. Heh.) Third was in a little girl who got separated during the aftermath of one the shows. Wailing in the middle of the street with the poor security person trying to calm her down until finally Mom and Dad found her. Yeesh! Yes, leashes are a good thing. No, they are not dogs, but they do dart off like puppies sooo… sorry if that sounds terrible but, yes, I will be leashing my kids. ;-)

Sunday started off nicely with the character breakfast at the California Grand. This is a beautiful hotel and has its own entrance to California Adventure FYI.

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Hannah got sung to for her birthday and dragged into the character parade. Doesn’t she look happy?

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Hehe. Hannah’s a very serious little girl and obviously is always thinking. It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for though. She just turned 10 and she was all gung-ho for the fastest most adrenalin-inducing rides. We rode Space Mountain and Tower or Terror twice!

California Adventure is so-so as amusement parks go. I did like California Soarin’, one of the few simulator rides that doesn’t make me sick. But all things considered, I’d rather go to the Magic Kingdom. Oh and the California Screamin’ is way cool. A ride worthy of Six Flags’ Magic Mountain. Worth the price of entrance right there.

I took off early to try to beat the traffic but left it just a bit too long (it was worth it to go on California Screamin’ though – thanks Jennifer!) Got home exhausted but happy.

It was really nice to spend time with all these wonderful ladies. Some minor communications issues (and again, sorry to Michele and Lisa!) but we got along pretty darn well. Being able to chat about our frustrations with the wait and also our excitement at the prospect of being mothers, just having a friendly ear of people in the same long exasperating line I am in, this was way worth the lack of sleep from staying up too late and getting up too early.

I’m so pleased and honored to have met you all and hope we stay in touch, at least through each others’ blogs and meet someday with our babies in tow!

Here’s a few more pics:

DSC_0149.JPG From the rear left Hayley, Donna, Christine, Jennifer, Kim, Lisa, Hannah and Michelle.

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One for my sis Tina

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And for “Auntie Boo”

I’ll put more pictures in the gallery as soon as possible.

Many blessings to all and sundry.

Janice

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Too Late for Stories

Saturday, April 14th, 2007 by janice

But a couple of things to remember:

  • When going to Disneyland with 8 other women it helps to be on the same pee schedule
  • Fastpasses rock! But get them early
  • ALL children under 8 should be harnessed or leashed or they will disappear the second you turn your back

A couple of pics:
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That’s me with Hannah, a waiting big-sister.
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The Waiting Mamas (from top left) Lisa, Donna, Michelle, me, Kim and Haley, and waiting big sis Hannah. Note the pins. (Mickey ears with the Chinese flag on them if you cannot see them – mine got cut off from this picture. Whine!)
Blessings and love,

Janice

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I’m Going to Disneyland

Friday, April 13th, 2007 by janice

Thanks to the wonderful Donna, several fellow waiting moms are here in Anaheim for a Waiting Mommas trip to Disneyland. The China adoption community is a wonderful thing. Instant friendship, just add blog. LOL. It’s been interesting to actually meet folks who’s journeys I have been reading about. These are some wonderful women and I am looking forward to a great day of fun with them.

Here’s a pic from dinner:

Waiting Mama's and Friends

Stories tomorrow (If I am not too exhausted!)

Blessings,
Janice

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