Our Thailand Adoption Journey
Let’s just get it out of the way up-front. We are going through the process of adopting!
Now on to the explanation of what’s been going on with us in the last few months since you last heard from us and some more details on the afore mentioned adoption.
I believe in priorities…while I love this little upstart blog, I also believe that family must come first. A lot of great bloggers can also be great family members through all sorts of changes and crises. My sister and my friend Tricia come to mind as people who have run blogs through moves, vacations, and everyday moments. They have great systems in place and a lot of experience; I’m not there yet. So for the last few months a bit of Wanderlust and a lot of Mayhem have consumed me and have supplanted the blog as priorities. We have had our parents, my brother, and his friend visiting. We have taken one intercontinental trip and a couple in-country trips. Most of all, that adoption I mentioned up front has taken a lot of my free time in front of this screen. So I apologize for the break, but I most certainly did not quit.
Details on what you’re probably most curious about: Steve and I have been talking about adopting for years. We always joked that the only way we would bring a little girl into this family was through adoption. In addition, as we Wander we are confronted by so many children in need of great homes. After many years of talk and waiting for the right time we decided last September that we were ready to add to our family through adoption. It has certainly not been a smooth or clear process.
Steve compares the process of international adoption to driving in the fog. You can’t really see the destination or even very far in front of you, but as you move forward (slowly) the next few feet of road are revealed. That scenario has been a perfect metaphor for what our adoption journey has been like to this point…and we are still deep in the fog. When we first looked into international adoption we focused on Haiti for various reasons, but the cost and the unstable country was a bit of a deterrent. We talked to an agency in the States for a bit, but at the same time we started to look into adopting from Thailand. In December we decided we would stay local here in Thailand and adopt through the government here. We feel a deep connection to Thailand and it’s people, plus it’s obvious that there is a need here for adoptive parents. (probably not more than most places, but it’s often more in-your-face)
Of course December is a tough month to get a lot of questions answered through the government here. There are a lot of Thai holidays in December and then New Years. So we finally had an appointment set to meet with a social worker on January 7th. That meeting did not go as we would have liked for it to go. We were deterred from adopting and told that we already had “too”many children. Apparently, to our social worker, there is a limit on the love that you can give out. We were also told that it would be “impossible” to adopt from Thailand. Well…challenge accepted. If you know me or Steve you know that we do not accept “no” very easily. We realized that she didn’t make the decisions and we had nothing to lose. We would submit our application to go before the board. So we walked out of this meeting with our application in hand and told them we will see you in a couple of weeks. Over the next couple of weeks we busted our humps to gather fingerprints, letters, and all other supporting documents required by the government. On Feburary 2nd we surprised the pants off of our social worker when we showed back up in her office with our application and documents in hand. She couldn’t believe that we came back after she basically told us no. She agreed to send our package forward, but still didn’t seem to convinced of our chances.
We left there that day feeling great about taking the next step, but a little nervous because the next step was for our file to go before the adoption board. We were going to have to wait until the April board because the agenda was already full for the next couple of boards. April is a big month around here because it is the Thai New Year so we knew that DSDW was going to be shut down for a couple of weeks. We waited patiently. (waiting patiently is a theme for international adoption)
On April 21 we found out we had been approved!!! I always had faith that Thailand would approve us, but Steve was very surprised. I think he took the attitude of “expect less get hurt less.”
A little back story about that day….Steve’s email has been the email that the social worker has used to correspond with us. Apparently that day Steve got an email to let us know that the board had met and that there “was information”. Our social worker, in her very Thai way, said she would follow up with us in the coming days. Being the good husband that he is, and knowing that I will read way too much into this kind of statement if he came home and just quoted the social worker, he went down to DSDW (the government agency responsible for adoption) to talk to her in person. After he waited for almost 3 hours, she came out and confirmed that the board met and that we had been approved! He came home as I was getting ready to walk out the door to meet some girlfriends. He told me what had happened during the day and he was so excited that he was going to be able to be the first person to tell me we are a step closer to meeting our daughter. This scenario is quite a role reversal from me finding out we were pregnant with our first 4!
So where are we now? It’s been almost 6 months and we are still on the waiting list. We are extememely excited but also very anxious as we have a move coming up next summer. We are also working with a provider agency in the States so that we can make sure that we are meeting all the US requirements. This has been an entirely different but equally frustrating process. There is frustration with the unknowns in each process as well as the unknown of how they will merge when it is time to bring our little girl home. We will certainly write more on this, as well as our trips as soon as possible We welcome any thoughts and prayers as we try to be patient and know that God’s timing is perfect.
We have updated our journey with part 2 HERE.