Tuesday, January 02, 2007

In with the new....


I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season!!!

As usual, the weeks between Turkey Day and New Years flewbybeforeIcouldblink! Every year I SWEAR that I'm going to take time off around Christmas to give myself time to do some of the things I love: baking, eating what I bake and sharing what I bake with others :). Every year, I end up not being able to take time off because it's been used before Christmas. This year was no exception.

However, we did manage to do some pretty wonderful things during the past few weeks. In early December, we went to Silver Dollar City with my sis and her family, and a family from our Sunday School class. A great time was had by all, despite that fact that about 25% of the population of North America happened to be at SDC the same day we went.

I turned 33 on Dec. 11. Moving right along.....

Oh, and I did manage to get some cookies made. And eaten. And shared.

AM received a new 4-Wheeler (ATV) for Christmas. Yes, the very same mother (me) that won't pull out of a parking lot without Purell'ing him from head-to-toe, allowed MotH to buy a 4-Wheeler. Yes, one that has an actual engine, that uses actual gas, that requires actual brakes and a helmet that makes AM look like a bobble-head. Did I mention the part about how I lean towards "overprotective"? Okay, okay........I don't "lean" towards being overprotective, I've pretty much toppled into the abyss. But MotH has rigged every safety feature known to man onto this 4-Wheeler (it even has "remote kill", meaning we can stop the engine from 600 feet away.......if he's doing something dangerous like heading towards a tree, or driving more then 1 mph). He's in more danger in his PowerWheels Jeep then he will be on his 4-Wheeler.

I got one out of the deal too, but mine is a bit like a TinkerToy set...........lots of pieces that, with a little imagination, might resemble a 4-Wheeler. MotH calls it a "Winter project". Knock yourself out, dear.

Let's see.............I've been asked for a grouting update. I began the process of re-grouting two months ago. I say "began" because it still isn't finished. Did you know that grout, if applied with bare hands, will actually eat holes in your skin? How 'bout this one: did you know that grout will fill the aforementioned holes and leave small, cement-like deposits in the extremely painful holes covering all of the fingers on your right hand (assuming you're right handed........I assume the same would be true for the lefties in the audience)?

I can hear all of you chuckling to yourself asking "why would she grout with bare hands, especially when it clearly says on the package that you should wear gloves"? Excellent question. I began with gloves on. But after a while (about three minutes), my hands got so sweaty and slimy that I spent as much time pulling them back into place as I did grouting. So before you laugh too loud, bare in mind that I sacrificed my hands in the name of productivity.

I'll be looking for better-fitting gloves before I finish. Fortunately, I only have one wall remaining. On a happier note, the other two walls look smashing.

I've also decided to paint the paneling in the family room, but we'll leave those adventures for another day.

On the adoption front, there isn't much to say. Referrals are expected in US offices sometime this week. The latest batch should go through the last part of September '05, though they may not make it all the way through the end of the month. Those families with a Sept. '05 LID will have waited 15 months for their referral (keep in mind that ALL of these families believed the wait would be in the neighborhood of 6-8 months!).

It is taking the CCAA a little over two months to complete one month of LID's. Nobody knows how Oct. & Nov. '05 will go (both record months for LID numbers). It may take more then two months to get through each of them. Common "wisdom" (meaning the most frequent rumor) is that they refer numbers, not days........meaning they refer "x" number of babies per referral batch, regardless of how many days that does or does not include. Additionally, they seem to send out referrals every 28-35'ish days, so some months may have two referrals, while other months appear to have none.

IF the current referral "schedule" stays as it is now, the wait grows by a month for every two months of referrals. Based on my completely unscientific results, this would mean the following (I'm using random early/mid-month dates and random late-month dates: I have no "insider knowledge" of actual cut-off dates): (this became difficult to read when I posted it, but I think you'll be able to figure it out)

LIDates Referral Length of Wait
9/15-9/29 Jan. 3, '06 15 mos
9/30-10/10 Jan. 30, '06 15 mos
10/11-10/28 Feb. 28, '06 16 mos
10/28-11/10 Mar. 28, '06 16 mos
11/11-11/28 Apr. 28, '06 17 mos
11/29-12/10 May 28, '06 17 mos
12/11-12/28 Jun. 28, '06 18 mos
12/29-1/10 Jul. 28, '06 18 mos
1/11-1/28 Aug. 28, '06 19 mos
1/29-2/10 Sept. 28, '06 19 mos
2/11-2/29 Oct. 28, '06 20 mos
3/1-3/10 Nov. 28, '06 20 mos
3/11-3/28 Dec. 28, '06 21 mos
3/29-4/10 Jan. 28, '07 21 mos
4/11-4/28 Feb. 28, '07 22 mos
4/29-5/10 Mar. 28, '07 22 mos
5/10-5/28 Apr. 28, '07 23 mos
5/29-6/10 May. 28, '07 23 mos
6/11-6/28 Jun. 28, '07 24 mos

Yes, what you just read above is possible..........it may very well be two years before we travel to China. We are almost seven months into the wait (already LONGER then the people waited that were getting their babies when we first started the process), which means another 17 months. We can pray that's not the case, but that's about all we can do.

Now, to make this really maddening, consider this: China "claims" that 60,000+ children were abandoned into orphanages in 2005 alone (many believe it's much higher then that). They say that there are currently 20,000 families logged in. That is 40,000 MORE children in orphanages then there are families logged in waiting to adopt one. Let that sink in.........40,000+ children. Without homes. That will probably never have homes. 20,000 people that are dying to get their children, but must wait......and not because they are "running out of kids". Some of these children will never be adopted, because they will get "too old" before their number comes up. Very, very sad and very upsetting. Sadly, China isn't alone in this problem. There are millions of children around the world that will never grow up with a family.

Back to China.......I also want to address the new "rules" that have received a lot of publicity lately. In early December, the CCAA met with a number of agencies and told them about some new guidelines that would be put in place in 2007. They hope that these "rules" will reduce the number of dossiers coming in to China.

First and foremost, let me say that these aren't new "laws", but new "guidelines". It is a much more complicated, political process to make a new law (a process they didn't go through), so these are basically enforced preferences. Essentially, they are saying that they will consider families that have these special considerations, but only after more "perfect" parents have been matched. So if there is a day when there are more babies (paper ready) then "perfect" parents seeking to adopt, these "less perfect" parents will be considered. One poll I read suggested that over 40% of current, adoptive families would have been eliminated if the new "rules" had been in place when they applied, so clearly these rules intend to lower the number of dossiers coming in to China (bad news for the 60,000+ children that will undoubtedly be abandoned THIS year!).

It's also important to note that these new "rules" ONLY APPLY TO FAMILIES LOGGED IN AFTER MAY 1, 2007. That means we ARE NOT EFFECTED. It also means that our wait probably will not be shortened, unless the reduced number of incoming dossiers means more people can work on matching babies to already logged-in families.

Some of the new restrictions are: no single women (single men were booted several years ago), BMI index of less then 40 (I have no idea what this means, but I know that the Chinese consider obesity a problem and are trying to prevent obese people from adopting), no "serious mental conditions" (they consider depression or anxiety to be "major) that have required medications within two years prior to application, as well as marriage/divorce restrictions, children in the home restrictions, net worth requirements and other items.

There is no doubt that this is will decrease the number of dossiers going in to China. There is speculation that some of the issues will be considered on a "case-by-case" basis (things like minor depression treated with meds, or perhaps situational anxiety), but the reality is that most families can't afford to invest in Chinese adoption just to find out in the 11th hour that they can't complete the adoption. I imagine that these restrictions, along with the ever-increasing wait times, will convince many families to seek easier means of adding to their families.

Okay, I'm starting to lose feeling in my fingers. Mercy, these become long posts. I suppose I should work on updating more frequently! If you stuck with me through this entire post, thank you and feel free to lay down for a while to "rest your eyes" (as my mother always called her naps).

Until next time...........

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