What they don’t cover in the “Adoption Issues” class

Lauri and I were standing in the aisle at Toys ‘R’ Us, pondering the intimidating display of infant toys.  A woman, mid-thirties, pushed her cart past us and said, “Lots of choices, huh?”

We agreed that, yes, there were lots of choices.

She looked at the selection of toys in our hands, looked more closely at us, and asked, “Grandchild?”

Lauri, ever the diplomat, explained that, no, we’re adopting.  Me, I said nothing–out loud, anyway.

For those of you keeping track

What was underneath the wallpaper? MORE wallpaper. It took us quite a while to discover that, however, because we made the mistake of reading the directions on the wallpaper stripper. We scored the wallpaper with the wallpaper scorers, just like it said. We painted the blue goo on, just like it said. We let it sit for 20 minutes just like it said.

The wallpaper didn’t come down like it said. It didn’t come down at all. So we went through the whole series of steps again.

After half an hour of attacking it with the scrapers, we decided to regroup, rethink, and toss out the recommended course of action. We peeled the facing off the top layer, and applied the goo to the remaining adhesive layer. Lauri discovered that, when it’s wet, everything comes off the wall like magic. But as soon as things dry out, wallpaper removal is done. The trick was to keep it wet.

We succeeded in getting one wall 90% stripped.

Weekly update

First, most exciting, and probably most nerve wracking, is we are expecting our referral within a month, if not sooner! The rumors are that people who sent their dossiers to China in January have already been matched with a child, and now it’s a matter of waiting for the CCAA (Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs) to decide to release the referrals. No one is quite sure when that will be, as China is in the process of restructuring the adoption program and they are moving faster than ever before. In the past three weeks, they have released two batches of referrals. Ordinarily there is at least a month between referrals. Every time we check the statistics, the wait is getting shorter and shorter. We are anticipating a six month wait, as opposed to the 12-14 months that they told us to expect when we signed up for the program. Don’t get me wrong, we are thrilled, and if they told us that we could have her tomorrow, we would be on the next plane. One of the issues that came up as a result of the shorter wait involves the nursery furniture. We ordered her bedroom furniture from Babies R Us at the beginning of June, but since it is a custom order it could take as long as four months to arrive. At the time, we thought we had plenty of time-My, how things have changed in 2 1/2 weeks! We do not know if we will be home when her furniture does arrive, since we could be traveling as early as this summer. Yes, I said this summer. Originally, we had been hoping to have her home before tax season started in 2/05. Now, we could travel as early as August.

Jay and I are interviewing a pediatrician on 6/22. When I called to make the appointment, I explained that we were adopting from China and did not know the age of the baby. The receptionist assured me that was not a problem and proceeded to ask “what is your daughter’s name, Mrs. Kendall?” It took me a minute to process that, as no one had referred to her as my daughter before (it’s been Alex or the baby) and they were going to be opening a file with her name on it- it seemed SO REAL!

And now for the second surprise. Alexandra could potentially become Alexander. China has referred 8 healthy baby boys in the last two batches of referrals. This is the first anyone is hearing of healthy boys being available for adoption. The chances are still good (approx. 95%) that we will have a girl, but it certainly puts an interesting spin on things. Up until now, everyone had been told that they would have a girl, so, like most of the other waiting families, we have been passing the time shopping. We have lots of beautiful little dresses and girls’ clothes. Like I told Jay, if we have a boy, I have no problem boxing up the girls’ clothes and shipping them to the orphanage that took care of Alex.

It seems like all kinds of unusual things are happening in China recently. We just read about two sets of twins being referred this time- and that is virtually unheard of. We had read some statistics that said that less than 50 sets of twins had  been placed for adoption since the program started.

This weekend consists of adoption and baby related activities. We are going to the annual picnic at our agency. We went last year and it was amazing. There were kids of all ages from all over the world (Russia, China, Korea, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine) . Some were old enough to tell us about life in their country and their trip to the U.S. We learned a lot about the different cultures and had a great time. Jay and I had lunch with a little girl (maybe 8) and a little boy (6) from Russia. They had such a great sense of humor that Jay and I laughed so much our sides hurt.

Sunday, we start stripping wallpaper in the baby’s room. We have the paint ready to go, but I don’t think we will get that far, as neither of us has stripped wall paper before, and we have no idea what is underneath.

Things change so quickly around here in terms of anticipated referral, travel, etc. that Jay has created a website for Alex.  Our plan is to make daily entries on the website while we are in China. We may not be able to watch TV, so it will give us something to do while the baby is sleeping (you like the way I assume that we will get a good sleeper?)

Ofcourse, if we hear anything, you will hear about it. We hope to post updates at least weekly until the referral comes. After that, we are going to play it by ear.