Saturday, August 16, 2008

Questions Answered: Part 6

Still not done with your questions. So I'll tackle a few more today. Anything to put off cleaning the bathroom for awhile longer. LOL!

Kayce asked "What is the first adventure you're going to do with Mia when you guys get home?"

The one thing I absolutely Can Not Wait To Do is introduce her to my sister's kids. And since there are 5 T's now that's going to be quite an adventure! Watching them get to know their new baby sister and seeing the excitement in their eyes this past week has been so amazing. I can't wait to see that same happiness and excitement when it's time to bring Mia into this family. The excitement in all of mother, my brother and his family, my BFF.... not just the kids. I really look forward to the day I can introduce Mia into our village.

Tonggu Momma asked "What is your most significant worry when you think ahead to parenting Mia?"

I have the normal nagging worries that I think every mother has. Will I do this right? Will I raise her to be a happy, confident, successful woman? Will I have enough money to give her everything I want to be able to give her? Enough energy? Will I ever get to sleep late again? LOL! But I know with those things, I'll do just fine.

My biggest fear is that something would happen to me..... a serious illness or an accident... so that I wouldn't be able to care for her. Or worse, I wouldn't be here at all. Being a single mother, there isn't a partner to pick up the slack. But I just try to keep the faith and believe that I wouldn't be being led to her just to be snatched away. That we have a destiny to fulfill of a long and happy life together. I hope so anyway.

Michelle asked "What made you decide to use the agency you chose (for China). I'm just curious, because I know we are using the same agency (I'm not saying which one because I'm not sharing that info with the internet.) From my experience, most of the people with this agency live in CA. What led you to them?"

I touch on the answer somewhat in this post and this post. But since you asked I'll elaborate. Which is good because your question will give me the chance to get all of it down on the blog so that Mia will know her story someday. So bear with me. This is long....

On January 28, 2006 I went to an adoption fair at a local church. There were many, many agencies represented all in one place. Very convenient and lots of information. My intention was to inquire about the waiting lists for singles. That's back when single people were still allowed to adopt from China but they had quotas. Only 8% of all applications could come from singles. I knew each agency had different policies for how they handled this.

Some had monstrous waiting lists that stretched out for years. Some worked on a lottery system where they'd open the process twice a year. With this approach, some did a first come-first served type thing where you had to scramble to get your application in fast so you'd get a spot. Others just threw them in a pile and picked at random. Others actually read the applications and picked the ones they thought were the best.

So I go to this fair thinking I needed to get on some waiting lists in case I chose to adopt. Read that first post I highlighted above to get the whole story. Because at this point in my life, I thought I'd try to get pregnant first and move on to adoption if I wasn't successful. And I always knew if adoption was the path I was to take... it would be a child from China.

While at the fair, I got some interesting responses from several of the agencies. As soon as I mentioned the word "single" it was like they totally lost interest in me. Very discouraging. I was being steered in the direction of other countries by some just because their waiting lists were so long. Some said I'd need to pay a non-refundable fee just to get on their list and hope they'd get to me. WTF? That can get expensive when you choose to sit on several different lists. Which is what a lot of singles did to increase their odds. Because it wasn't so much the luxury of being able to choose what agency you wanted to work with. It was more in choosing whichever one offered a singles spot the fastest.

But there were 2 agencies who I really clicked with. Well, not so much the agency but the people there who represented them. Both of these women sat and talked to me for 45 minutes. In totally separate conversations. We talked about their agency, about adoption, about the process, about their own adopted children. But also about my plans to try to get pregnant and then move on to adoption if it didn't work. And they listened. Really listened. With no judgement at all. They didn't try to promote adoption as the way to build my family. Or pressure me to go that route. They didn't suggest I should "get married" first. They just listened to me. It was very much appreciated. (As a side note, I got to go back to the adoption fair a year later and find both these women to tell them how they helped to change my destiny. Interesting story.)

Unfortunately, neither of them had any idea how the singles waiting list was run because they were clients of the agency. Not the China coordinator. But they both offered up contact info to help me get an answer.

Agency A invited me to a seminar they were holding at this same church the following weekend. Again what happened at that seminar is in the first highlighted post above. Long story short, my heart was changing. I was beginning to let go of the idea of pregnancy and a biological child. I was becoming more and more certain that I wanted to adopt a daughter from China.

I was pretty sure I'd sign with this agency because I felt good about them and how they worked. I'd found out their singles waiting list moved pretty quickly. They figured I'd start my paperchase in August.

But before I mailed off my application to Adoption Agency A, I decided to e-mail the other agency's China coordinator to find out about the status of their singles process. Just out of curiosity really. I got a response later that afternoon saying they had an open singles spot that I could have right then and there!

But I freaked out and turned it down. I know... can you believe I did that?! I just didn't think I was ready to start my paperchase. Because things were happening in my life very quickly. I'd made the decision to adopt only 11 days after the adoption fair. At that fair, I'd thought my destiny was to try to get pregnant first, remember? My mind was still spinning. I was still having some doubts about the decision. I was still getting the signs I'd asked for.

It was a process for me to get to the place where I was 100% committed to the idea of adoption. I was still at about 95% when I mailed off my application to Adoption Agency A on February 8th. I figured by August I'd know for sure what I was supposed to do. I was okay with losing the $250 non-refundable application fee if I changed my mind. I thought it was a small price to pay to secure my spot but buy me the time I needed to wrap my brain around all of these decisions I was making.

Fast forward to Feb 15th. Just one week later I was there. 100% committed to this decision. And I was having major regrets about turning down that singles spot with Agency B. I was starting to realize that if I didn't start the paperchase until August, my dossier wouldn't be logged in China until probably the end of 2006. At the time, the wait until referral was 12-18 mths. So I was thinking I wouldn't have my daughter (whom I'd already fallen in love with the idea of and wanted home ASAP) for about 2 to 2 1/2 years with that kind of timeline. And the thought of that was killing me.

Yes... I see the irony in that now. I think we all do. Let's not even get into the current wait time as I sit here 2 1/2 yrs after having those thoughts still waiting for that daughter who might be 2 more years away. Let's continue with the story...

I was really really mad at myself for turning down the open spot with Agency B. Knowing I could start my paperchase right now and probably cut 6 mths or more off my wait. (Ha Ha Ha Ha.... but remember this was Feb '06). I'm a huge believer in fate, destiny, everything happens for a reason. So I tried convincing myself that this was the timeline I was supposed to be on. It didn't work. I was still mad. But just to prove my theory, I decided to call Agency B to inquire about that spot. I assumed that after a week had passed surely someone else had snatched up that very much coveted open spot. Then I could put it to rest and move on with the destiny that had been handed to me.

I was shocked to find out it was still available and mine for the taking!!! So my destiny was changed. I was supposed to go with Agency B and have a log in date of June 14, 2006 instead.

To finally answer your question, Michelle.... I'm only with this agency because they were the fastest to offer me an open singles spot. And because I really liked the woman representing this agency who spoke to me at the adoption fair which led me to them in the first place. Well, and because of fate. Obviously. LOL!

But I'm with the partner agency in Florida. You know which one I mean? (E-mail me if you don't.) I wasn't even aware when I signed the contract with them that I'd actually be represented by your agency (the facilitator) also. But I'm so glad I am. I've heard so many great things about them from the Ya-hoo group and past clients I've spoken to.

I've gotten used to the lack of communication and no hand holding throughout this wait. I'd rather have that than a bad referral and travel experience. Plus I get all the info I need on my own through the internet or by calling Martha in Florida. I've been convinced to put my trust in Norman and I have. It's comforting to know that he'll take care of everything. So I'm just waiting for the day I get that first call and my destiny is revealed. Until then I try to be patient. I try really hard. LOL!

Phew! That was long. If you've read all the way through, you have my sympathy. LOL! Now go enjoy the rest of the weekend. I have to go clean the bathroom. Blech! I've put it off long enough.


Kayce said...

I too can't wait for you to introduce Mia to your village. Hugs!

Michelle said...

Thank you for the answer! You're so right about the lack of information and they certainly don't hold hands, but I can tell this: They are absolutely AMAZING when you are in China.
A. MAZE. ING. I traveled with my sister and family in 2004, and from the moment I stepped off of the plane in Hong Kong until the minute I was dropped back off a week later, I didn't worry about a thing. And the director of the agency is wonderful, even if you only get to meet him the day you get your referral and a few times when you are in China. The agency is based in Los Angeles, and I can't tell you how many people I have met that the first thing out of their mouth is "So are you using (director's name)"? To which I just smile and say "Of course! He's the best, right?"

kris said...

I feel like I WROTE your answers to 1 and 2! Holy cow. SAME exact thoughts!

amy said...

great post..Thanks for taking the time to do this!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Thanks, Special K, for answering my question. And I truly believe (too) that you wouldn't be called to do this if you weren't meant to do it! You'll be an amazing momma!!!!!

Kristen said...

Just catching up...

Great questions.... and answers!

And... Congrats Auntie K... that Tess is one beautiful baby!

Donna said...

You won't be sorry that you picked this agency. They're really awesome when it really counts -- when you're in China. We used them for two adoptions and would use them again in a heartbeat.

I don't understand why it's so important to keep your agency's name a big secret. We've proudly advertised this agency since 2004 and have referred more than 25 familes to them. I've never felt better about any recommendation I've ever made. I don't see the harm in revealing their name but I have to respect your choice so I won't name them on your blog.

I guess that means I have to unlink to Michelle because my public blog list her with this agency (you're a private subscription so you're not listed this way on my blog).

When you return from China, I bet you'll want to scream Norman's name from the highest rooftop because they're amazing. Seriously, they picked Gwen for us! CCAA asked them to pick a family for her and they picked US! I don't know of any other agency that has this rapport with CCAA. They don't have a website or advertise on the internet but everyone knows them. Anyone who ever read the book "The Lost Daughters Of China" can immediately see that the author's "Max" is really our Norman.

Your child will be yours because of all the choices you made before her referral. And the choice of agency be the most important of all. You're luckier than you could ever imagine. Later, you'll know exactly what I mean.

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Special K said...

Donna: I didn't name them only because in Michelle's question she said she didn't want the whole internet knowing. So out of respect for that, I just left it alone.

I'm not overly concerned with keeping it a big secret.

But I also know there are people on the internet who don't play nice. People who have maliciously contacted agencies to try to kill other's adoptions. This isn't a worry for you cuz you're not at risk for that happening. But we're still in line waiting. And maybe just a little more paranoid.

I'd hope something like that wouldn't happen. But you never know these days. Anyway, my agency isn't a secret as far as I'm concerned so don't feel like you have to censor yourself about me.

I'm excited I'm with Norman and really looking forward to the travel experience. And not just because I'll have my daughter then either. LOL!