August 13, 2012

The China side (part 2?) - the hard stuff

I hadn't really planned on a "part 2" post about what happens in China.

But some of the things we learned in the last week about what happens there are worth sharing.

One positive thing we learned was that we have a log-in date of July 20th! We're officially eligible to be matched! In fact, we were eligible for the July matching, but our agency hadn't been informed of our log-in date so it didn't really matter since they weren't prepared to lock referrals for us.

Now for the other side...

Our agency requires the completion of a conference call between us, our local branch worker, and the China team. For us, this was about a three hour call, discussing the process as a whole and then the individual medical needs that we checked "YES" (or willing to accept). It was very eye-opening and extremely emotionally exhausting.

I was shocked to learn that only 20% of China's orphanages even have an adoption program. The rest can't even afford to facilitate adoptions. That's 80% of China's orphans that will never be adopted.

We learned that there are 70 agencies worldwide that have Waiting Child programs in China. Many of these agencies started their WC programs after the slow down of the traditional healthy child program. Our agency has always had a WC program. Each agency is allowed ONE computer (one IP address) that has access to the Shared List. When the new list comes out, each agency representative is ready. They scan the new referrals and when they see one that matches one of their families, they attempt to lock it. This process must be completed in 3-4 seconds because any other agency can lock that referral. Whoever enters the information first gets the referral. During that 4 seconds, the life of a child may bounce from the US to Spain to Brazil to Norway....anywhere. Therefore, the agencies must have their families files and log-in dates memorized.

The only information they have to make this decision with looks like this:
Male - 06-15-2009 - cleft lip/palate (Gender - Birthdate - special need).

We realized that the child who comes to us will in some ways, be chosen by who can type the fastest.

Almost every adoptive parent we've talked to mentions an "emotional rollercoaster" when discussing their adoption process. We're beginning to see where this could be the case!

As if that wasn't enough, discussing the individual medical needs with someone who actually sees the reality of adoption in China on a daily basis was discouraging. Everything we'd checked "yes" to - the things I'd stayed up late night after night researching, the things we had decided we could handle as a family, that we'd discussed with local and regional medical professionals - our China coordinator had a "but you need to consider this" scenario for every one of those things.

For the sake of an example, I'll share one. We were open to club feet. It's often easily correctable and we live (relatively) close to one of the top hospitals for treating this condition. There are other factors, but I thought I'd thoroughly researched them. Then our coordinator reminded us that because we're hoping to adopt a toddler/preschool aged child, if they still have club feet at that point in life, it's likely they may not know how to walk, and have been left lying on their back in an orphanage for 3-4 years. This would result in malformations of the skull, possibly little to no muscle tone in the legs, developmental delays and the need for significant physical therapy.

Wow. And down the roller coaster....

These types of things were the possible outcomes of needs we'd considered minor. And even in considering these needs (before the conference call) we felt like we were still taking a pretty big risk. Now it feels even bigger, and yet, still not nearly enough. Thinking about the reality of the lives these children lead just makes my heart feel like lead.

After three hours of conversation, we were totally drained. The whole thing made me question if we'll really be able to get a child with a need we can handle, or if the unknowns are just so great and so many that no matter what, we'll end up with more than we bargained for.

And.....this is where faith comes in. I'm beginning to wonder how you could really go through this process without Jesus. As scary as all the statistics and all the medical reports and all the worst-case-scenarios are, we have peace about the decisions we've made because we've seen God's hand in each one. We're praying over the forms and filling them out to the best of our ability, and have faith that we'll be matched with the child He wants us to have and that we'll be equipped to handle the needs of that child. We're so blessed to be working with a Christian agency who prays over their family files and prays and fasts throughout the matching process. But most of all, blessed to serve a great and sovereign God.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future...Jeremiah 29:11
....and back up the rollercoaster.


  1. Hang in there ! It is all worth it , the roller coaster eventually comes to a hault and the end result .... FUN and smiles on everyone's faces !!!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! It's always great to hear from parents who've "been there!"