It has been soooo long since I have written a post on here, I'm not sure I remember how to do this! But, we have HUGE NEWS so I need to get my mad blogging skills back! What? What, you ask, is the huge news?! Well...we're ADOPTING AGAIN!!! I know, we're crazy, and I never dreamed that we'd be adopting again. Well, on our good days, maybe the possibility popped into my head but I usually quickly abandoned that thought as things were really tough for a really, really long time. While you can't exactly have an oops adoption like you can have a surprise pregnancy, I think this one is as close as we could come. So how did this all come about? Well, we saw her face and just...that was it. I have an account on Rainbow Kids, which is a website to advocate for children who need families. I still receive emails from Rainbow Kids with photos of children and I usually delete the emails before I even look but occasionally I look at them, out of curiosity. So I looked at this one email and there she was, this adorable little girl in China. I had to log in to my account to learn more about her and when I did, I saw that this almost 15 month old little cutie was listed with Holt, who was our adoption agency for Liana. Well, of course, we love Holt so this had me even more interested but adoption wasn't on our radar, at all, so I casually showed Erik her picture and then tried to forget. Buuut, the next day, I, again casually, emailed Holt for more information. I confessed to Erik and then anxiously tried to gauge his reaction to this. He was amazingly calm about the whole thing. Typical. We're seriously opposites in a lot of ways. No wonder I love him so much! So we waited to hear back from Holt. It was a Sunday so we had to wait until Monday. They emailed me back telling me to call them if I wanted more information. So I did and had a great talk with one of the China staff. We had to apply but didn't have to pay the application fee (yet) to get access to this little one's file if we were really only wanting to find out about this specific child. We were ONLY interested in this child and if it didn't work out with her, I didn't know that we would be moving forward with adopting at all. So they let us apply and we received her file. There were more pictures and a lot of information (way more than we had ever received for Liana) and even one video. I quickly contacted a doctor at an international adoption clinic to review the file for us. It was too late for me. I was a goner. Erik, being the more sensible one, did the best he could to keep my feet on the ground and make me wait for the call from the doctor before telling Holt that we wanted to move forward with adopting her. Ugh. So we waited. Luckily, he was able to call us the next evening and he was reassuring about what he learned from her file. She has a number of special needs, including a repaired cleft lip, unrepaired cleft palate, a PFO (minor hole in her heart which was one of Liana's special needs), and an extra finger on one hand. We didn't learn anything unexpected from his review so we knew that we were ready to give Holt the go ahead. When I had first spoken with the staff on the phone about her file, I was told that if there were more families interested in adopting her, a decision would be made by the matching team. On the one hand, we have access to world renowned medical specialists for all of this little one's special needs, we are an experienced adoptive family, and we have experience dealing with special needs. But on the other hand, they also take into account how far along families are in the adoption process and we were at step zero. I heard back from Holt that they were pleased that we wanted to move forward with adopting her and they sent us a questionnaire to fill out about our family and, basically what we know about adoption, and how children are affected by having been institutionalized, etc. They said that they would use it to make a decision in their matching meeting on Monday. In the middle of this crazy week, by the way, we went on vacation. We, luckily, took our computer, realizing that now we were in the middle of (maybe) beginning another adoption. So, while everyone else slept, I filled out the questionnaire in great (probably too great) detail. We were staying at a water park and on Monday, I was nervous that we would miss the phone call so I bought a waterproof case/necklace thing so that I could carry my phone while we played at the water park. I got the call while I was riding on an inner tube on the lazy river so I baled off and trudged up "river" to a set of stairs leading out of the water. Of course, I missed the call. So I called back but got their voicemail. ARGH!!! I told Erik to keep having fun with the kids while I waited for them to call back. After waiting a while, we gave up and headed back to the hotel and THEN the phone rang while we were walking back so I sat off in a quiet corner and finally was told that by unanimous decision, they chose US to be her family!!! Okay, we were the only family in the running, but still! So, after this ridiculously long and probably boring to anyone but me (and my mom...ha!) story, here it is, the exciting part...introducing our newest (soon to be) daughter, Charlotte Jing Yi!
She is 16 months old and isn't she precious?! I have heard some adoptive parents say that they saw their child on a photo listing and they just knew. I never really believed that that could happen to me because, I mean, if you look at those photo listings, the kiddos are so adorable, how can you just fall in love with one?? But, it did happen to us. There was just something about Charlotte that just, I don't know how to explain it, she just got into my heart and I couldn't get her out of my head. And Erik was on board almost as instantly as me. I think he was struck by her just like I was! That face! That smile! Those eyes!!! I still can't explain that feeling exactly, I'm still so shocked myself!
So we jumped into the adoption process head first and we are doing really well! We have all of the paperwork for our home study done and had our first home visit on Monday. We have our next one next Tuesday and Erik doesn't even have to be here for it. Our social worker is so great! Sadly, we have a different social worker than last time but we love her already. She said that she will be able to get our home study written up early in September!! We are well on our way in our paper chase for the dossier too. It's going faster this time around because, well, we've done this before. It's overwhelming again, but not nearly as much as the first time around! I'm super anxious, just like last time. I don't think that goes away. It's so exciting starting the process being matched with a child but it also makes you more anxious to get there ASAP!!! She's waiting for us! Well, I think that is more than anyone felt like reading for the first post. Sorry for all of the details of the process. It's probably boring but someday Charlotte will read this and I won't remember every exciting detail of that first crazy week of learning about her. I want her to know the whole story! :-) So, the blog is waking up after a long hibernation and I will write more soon about the kids' reactions and share more pictures! But for now, I'll leave you with just one more. Aww... :-)