A funny thing happened while I was writing my last post for NHBO.
I found my daughter.
It wasn’t at all how I expected it to happen. I paused in the middle of writing and clicked over to our agency’s waiting child page… my eyes drifted over the photos; most had been there several weeks with needs far more severe than we felt we could manage at this stage of our life. But one bright-eyed little girl was new. I clicked on the photo and read the description… all things we thought we could manage. I emailed our case worker and asked about her, certain that she was probably already in the process of being matched with another family.
A few hours later, the reply came. And just like that her file was in my inbox.
I hadn’t meant to request a file, to be honest. I simply meant to inquire about her status and if she were still available, I planned to talk to my husband before doing anything else. But suddenly there she was… all the known data and a request to let them know our decision within a week. Jacob and I were both a little stunned, but we began going through the motions of trying to make the biggest decision we’d ever faced.
A preliminary talk with our pediatrician put a lot of our initial fears to rest, and further discussions with experts in the field where she will need the most treatment made us realize her needs* really did seem manageable to our family. Two adoptive mama friends have children with the same special needs, and they were gracious to answer my brutally honest and frank questions with much grace, compassion, and wisdom. As the days turned into a week, we reached our decision.
We said yes. But to be honest, it wasn’t easy. The whole referral process was so much more overwhelming than I expected. The process is a bit unnatural. With our bio kids, we don’t have the option of choosing if we can handle their needs; and I don’t know about you, but I rarely feel equipped to handle the unknown. Thank God for encouraging and wise doctors and families who have already walked the path!
We’ve named her Alea Hope. Alea means “to ascend/rise,” and I’ve wondered since the process began how the name we planned to choose would fit with our daughter’s Chinese name. You can imagine how my heart skipped a beat when I read in her paperwork that the first character of her Chinese name means “to ascend/rise.” In the weeks since we were matched, I’ve made her a quilt, framed her picture for my entryway, and celebrated her first birthday with my beautiful tribe of women. And as I do those things, she’s getting tucked deeper and deeper into my heart, and I’m eagerly anticipating the day we will travel.
Things suddenly seem to be happening in fast-forward. PA could take a couple of weeks, they said. We got it in three days. Our dossier was finished right as we got PA, so we submitted it to China a few days later. Our LID came the same day that our dossier was delivered to the CCCWA, and since we had PA before LID, our agency says the timeline for processing is a bit expedited. We’ve been told that our LOA could likely come in 2 months — maybe by Christmas! — and that we might travel 10-14 weeks later. (All those acronyms! EEK!) If that timeline holds, we’ll be traveling in the spring, possibly before she even turns 1.5.
*I know some families are very forthcoming about their children’s needs from day one. For now, we are unsure how much we plan to share in a public forum, so I hope you understand as we seek to figure out, for our family, how we want to handle the private details of our daughter’s life.