Hopes & Desires – What are we asking for?

Many people have been asking how we’ve been doing in our wait to “meet” our child.  Unfortunately, the truth is that we probably have another 24 months before we actually get to know who God has chosen to be a part of our family.  We don’t want to leave you all in limbo for 2 years, so we want to do our best to be sharing with you how our hearts are doing in the process.

In our paperwork that we sent in, we were able to put in our specific requests for what age and gender we are hoping for.  We have always believed that God has always known who would be a part of our family even before we became a family.  But we did include our requests.

WHAT ARE WE ASKING FOR?


BOY OR GIRL? So even though we know there are many little girls in the orphanages in   China, we put that we have no preference for either a boy or a girl.  In addition, we said that we would REALLY desire to have twins.  It would be so wonderful if the twins are one boy and one girl, but most likely, if we do get twins it’ll be two girls.  Are we crazy?  Many people may think that, but we would love our children to at least know one biological relative.  Regardless of whether we adopt one or two children from China, he or she will most likely not know who his or her birth parents are.  There usually is no record of this information since most children are abandoned.

Even when we were going through infertility treatments, our hope was that the Lord would bless us with twins.  Dennis and I have always thought it would be wonderful to have a set of twins as we know several sets of twins who have incredible relationships with their twins. That type of a relationship is so special, and if the Lord allows us to raise twins, we would welcome that challenge!

Of course, being matched with twins doesn’t happen very often, but it’s also not impossible.  In fact, since we started our adoption process, our agency has matched two families with a set of twins.  Of course, if we are matched with a single child adoption, we would be 100% delighted and grateful as well.

WHAT AGE? If we have a single-child adoption, we have asked to adopt a child that is 12 months or younger.  If we do get matched with twins, we are asking that they be 24 months or younger.

Knowing this and how long the wait is right now, makes us realize that our child(ren) isn’t even born yet.  It’s a strange thing to think about since we are so eagerly awaiting the news of getting matched with a child, but in the meantime, a woman and her family will have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy and go through the pain of giving up her child.  It’s hard to think about that, but thinking about that always reminds me of how God had to go through the pain of giving up His only child so that we could have life in Christ.

HOW MUCH LONGER? We had mentioned before that couples of Chinese decent are on an expedited track.  However, this expedited track is still about a 2 year wait.  In fact, this month’s newsletter from our agency stated that expedited couples that had their log-in date from April 17-23, 2007 were just matched this month.  So the actual wait right now for expedited couples is closer to 30 months, 2 1/2 years!  As a reminder, our log-in date is August 21, 2009.  So at this current rate, we won’t get our match until February 2012.  *sigh*

It is a bit disheartening to think about how much longer we have to wait, so we would love to have you join us in praying for hearts that will persevere in trusting in God’s perfect timing.  As we wait, we want to be people who are content in the wait and in what God still wants from us before we become parents.  We know there’s a lot to learn and prepare for, and we want to be good stewards of these years before us.  We are not so naive as to believe our lives won’t change after having kids.

I wold like to hope that the time line will speed up, but there is nothing guaranteeing that right now.  We’ll be sure to let you know if it does though.

So for now, we continue to wait for Chen X.

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What’s Happening to the Orphans?

There’s an interesting Time magazine article (April 2009) entitled Why Americans Are Adopting Fewer Kids from China.

We mentioned earlier that, currently, the average wait time for a match in China adoptions is pushing 4 years.  The short article touches upon some of the factors that impact the waiting period.  Here are a few highlights:

  • China opened its international adoption program in 1992.
  • In 2005, China approved 7,906 adoptions to U.S. citizens.  That’s nearly 8k orphans just to Americans alone, not to mention those adopted out to families in Europe, Australia, etc.
  • By 2008, that number is down to 3,909.  In 3 years, the number of orphans adopted to U.S. families dropped by 50%.

So, my first reaction is to wonder what’s happening to the orphans?  Is China running low on orphans or something?  The answer is no. The fact is that many who might have adopted from China are now looking elsewhere.  According to the article, the dropping number of international adoptions in China is an intentional effect.  In the last 3 years, the CCAA has instituted new regulations aimed at more narrowly defining who is/isn’t eligible  to adopt.  Among these new regulations are:

  • Educational requirements
  • Financial requirements
  • Must be married (presumably ruling out homosexual couples)
  • Maximum age requirements (must be under 50)
  • Not clinically obese
  • No use of antidepressants in last 2 years
  • No facial deformities

Before we proceed, I’d like to acknowledge what a difficult position China finds itself in.  The system is overburdened and can’t keep up with demand.  There is also the value of ensuring that orphans are adopted into “good” situations.  Plus, there does seem to be an increase in Chinese families adopting domestically.  I also personally speculate about whether or not China really wants to be known as the “Adoption Capital of the World”.  With a culture that values “saving face”, can China stomach the perception that it’s unable to take care of its orphans?  Does it want to be perceived as anti-female, given that 95% of orphans in China are girls?  I speculate that the answers are “no”.

Speculation aside, though, were there really 50% fewer orphans to adopt from China last year than 3 years ago?  We promised ourselves that we wouldn’t write “angry blog posts” and in this case, it’s true.  China is in a tough spot.  This isn’t like buying a car. It’s not about making foreigners happy with quick adoptions.  To simply say, “China needs to properly resource its system to keep with demand” is perhaps overly simplistic.  But as China moves to solve the problems, the main question is, again, what’s happening to the orphans?