Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All for one, and one for all!


It is official. We've stepped back into the international adoption arena!

I know, I know, the confetti from Devi's homecoming has just started to settle, but we all know that Rome was not built in a day just as International adoptions don't happen overnight. Our window of opportunity is closing almost quicker than we can act, and therefore if a sibling for Devi is in our future at all, we must start the administrative paper pushing part of the process now and let our hearts and emotions catch up later.

CARA, the Indian adoption governing body, has set rules regarding the eligibility of adoptive parents. While Pat and I still feel like we are barely pushing 20...okay 30, mentally and physically, our combined age is dangerously close to the cut off point for adopting an infant from India. It is possible for us to adopt an older child, over the age of 5 or 6 years old, but we both strongly feel that the best blending of our family would come with Devi remaining the oldest. And even though we brought Devi home at only 10 months old, I must be honest and admit that the mommy in me still craves some baby cooing and snuggling too.

If we were not feeling self conscious enough check marking the "ancient" age box all ready, we are also too old to employ the services of Dillon International, the agency we used before. Like surrendering the last tattered scrap of our security blanket and braving our first day of school alone, we have had to research and find a good fit in new adoption advocates. Much to our dismay, our initial search left us empty handed. Due to the instigation of the Hague treaty and other CARA regulatory changes that are still looming, there was no agency that could assist us in our adoption. We examined the possibility of adopting from other countries, but our longing for India has captivated our attention like a faint and distant song that we can't help but strain to hear.

Having exhausted all of our options, I stumbled across a posting on a yahoo site sent by a woman whose name sounded vaguely familiar. What really caught my eye was the title underneath her name – India Program Outreach Specialist. Boy! we could ever use one, if nothing else she was surely qualified to convince me to stop doing chest compressions on this project and just let it go peacefully. Ironically, the name sounded familiar because she was a source recommended to me by Karen (Jenya's mommy) months and months earlier. In Karen's initial adoption researchlong before the arrival of Jenya, she had found great comfort in the advice of this woman, but I was never successful in locating her until now. Coincidence, maybe, but for me she was the facilitator of clarity I had been hoping to find.

To our surprise she was hopefully optimistic about what we proposed and gave several insightful options to explore regarding the growth of our family. Through one of her contacts and a little more research we have found Journey's of the Heart, an adoption agency located in Oregon, who is willing to help us in our search for Devi's sister. We are hoping to add a girl from India, between the ages of 14 and 20 months to our family in the next two years. She will have special needs, to what degree we are uncertain. The last condition is that we are in somewhat of a race for time, so if for some reason the process is delayed and we become too old to adopt an infant or a child is not found that meets our profile we will reevaluate but, most likely will remain a family of three. We are typically not gamblers so this decision was incredibly difficult and is probably the biggest leap of our faith we have ever had to take. The life and family that we are suppose to lead will, in time, reveal themselves to us. Until then, isn't this what one calls an adventure? It looks like the crazy train just left the depot and Pat, Devi and I are on it!

Our motivation in adopting Devi was to become parents. This time the motivation comes from a very different place. This is an all for one and one for all family decision. We have asked Devi if she would like a sister and she always says, "uh-huh!" We take this response lightly as she is an agreeable kid and gives this response to just about everything we ask her including if she would like to eat mud ;0), but we are trying to keep her as actively participating as possible. Patrick and I both grew up with siblings and would love to share the benefits of childhood playmates with our children, as well as future confidants and advisers our siblings became as they aged.

Now, another notebook of information collection is underway. Our first application was sent to JOH on July 29th and we were approved August 9th. Our contract was signed and sent in on August 20th and the dossier instructions should arrive in a couple of days. Meanwhile, our home study interviews are scheduled (just enough time had passed that we had to start all over!) Our background information was completed and sent in on September 2nd and we just completed our fingerprints for the FBI.
Our physicals are penned in for the 15th of this month and then we can take a breather from the paperwork for a little while. All of this completed, just a little more than a week shy of our first forever family day with Devi.

On a side note, I must add here that during the fingerprinting the woman asked for my social security number and for the first time in my life my mind went totally blank. I mean nothing, nada, zilch came to mind. First I rattled off my phone number, then started in on my work phone number and finally got so flustered that I had to leave the building to be able to use my cell phone and call Patrick at work to verify my number. I felt like such a dope. The woman was so nice about the whole thing and didn't even make me get back in line to wait my turn. She was really very sweet so later had to thank her with a Starbucks gift card. Talk about a senior moment....geez.

Going public with the news of another adoption is like announcing that you have just signed up for your second marathon, although you've not yet removed your running shoes and race number from the first one. And to those who are not runners, some will never understand the drive to commit to another long and grueling experience. To them, I can only say Sunno sabki, karo apne manki which is Hindi for "Listen to everybody, but do what your heart wants."

12 comments:

Amanda said...

I'm so excited to hear the news. I'll be hoping for a speedy process and another beautiful daughter. The second adoption can be easier and harder all at once.
I love the running analogy.

Amy said...

Congrats Julie! This is great news - I can't wait to follow your new journey and see another child united with their family!

Peter and Nancy said...

What fantastic news -- Journeys of the Heart was in our top three with Dillon, if that helps confirm your choice in any way1 :o) We are thrilled for you three, and will pray for a shorter marathon (if there can be such a thing!).
With love,
Nancy

Nadra said...

Great news. I'm so happy for you guys. Looking forward to watching things unfold. Congratulations!!

Pam said...

Congratulations on your new journey, Julie! I'm happy that you have found peace with this path! I can't wait to see your new daughter!

The Labontes said...

Adventures are usually very rewarding :)
Congrats,
Kristy

ColleenC said...

Oh yay!! How exciting! Here's hoping that the process will be as quick and smooth as possible and that you have "baby sister" home with you before too long!

Sara said...

Wonderful news combined with the blessing of HOPE! Yeah!

-Sara (#16 waiting with Dillon)

Eric and Cheryl said...

Congratulations! I will continue following your journey to baby #2, I can't wait! We are in the process with Journeys and are waiting for our guardianship papers to be issued. We have been happy with their agency and love Lisa Adams-Reese. I would love to talk with you about our process if you have questions.

Blessings,
Cheryl

Cindy said...

Wonderful news. Congratulations....

Kristi said...

So happy for you guys!!!!!! I will definitely be following along! It was so great to meet you guys the other day! :)

Michele said...

What a wonderful and powerful decision on your part! I couldn't be happier for you guys and I love your amazing commitment to this family that you have so longed to complete! Love you guys and will be praying for this and its timing! I am glad you moved in this direction...