Five Years......Long time? Short time? It's hard to say. Some days it feels like yesterday & at others it seems like an eternity ago.
I can tell you that in the last 5 years, the face of Special Needs adoption from China has changed...ALOT!
In the fall, 5 years ago, I was just to the point where I felt that I was ready to start looking for my second child from China. I belonged to several agency Yahoo groups. I would wait, with countless others, for their " SN children lists" to come in & be made public. I would search through the children, hoping to find the child meant to be mine.
And so, one day in Sept, I was on the IAAP website. Oh..there was a DARLING little girl, coincidentally from the same SWI as Lindsi, with a need I felt very comfortable in accepting. My only hesitation was her age. She was almost 3...which put her much closer to Lindsi in age than I wanted. At that point, I knew Lindsi would be OK, in whatever shape that took, but I did not want to adopt another child who would surpass Lindsi's abilities within a matter of months. Lindsi was (& still does) work so hard, it just seemed unnecessarily unfair to create a rivalry where she would be at a disadvantage within months. But, this little girl had reached right out & grabbed my heart. Maybe it would be OK...maybe instead of a rivalry, the new child could encourage Lindsi in her skills.....maybe...maybe...maybe.
I wrestled with this age factor for several days. I finally convinced myself that this situation could work out. I would love to have her. That day, as I clicked to the site to get her file, the Words I HAVE A FAMILY greeted me next to her name. Deflation.....Oh.....had I taken too long? Was there still a chance her new family would decide not to pursue her adoption?
I called IAAP & expressed an interest in the little girl. That afternoon, or the next day, Cheryl called me back & told me that she did not think the family would falter in their adoption of her. We had a very nice, heart to heart talk about the child I thought I was looking for.
Weeks passed. A new list, at a different agency came out. I found a little girl, with a SN that I was heavily considering. She was BEAUTIFUL, & I was instantly smitten. Her file was already out, but I was next in line, in case the family passed. Within days, I learned that the family had passed & her file came to me. EXCITED! However, my review committee(my mom & SIL who are both nurses) noted large discrepancies within her file & urged me to return it. Knowing they had the medical degrees, & were only looking out for my best interest. I also passed on this beautiful child. Happily, the family behind me accepted her referral. That eased my mind considerably.
December rolled around & 5 years today, Cheryl from IAAP called. Are you still looking?, was her first question. When I said Yes...she said GREAT! We just got a new list & I think I have the perfect child for you right in front of me. It was a Thu & she was giving me until Mon to decide. If I returned her file, they would post her info on their site on Monday.
So, she sent me Rao Hong Yu's file. She was EVERYTHING I told Cheryl I wanted. A daughter, the age was right, the SN was right,...everything. My heart did not leap forward & recognize her (in all fairness it didn't with Lindsi either). It was more of a contemplative....so there you are....type of feeling. I was a little panicked...was I REALLY READY? In the end, since I had done ZERO paperwork at that point, I knew it would be 8-10 months before she was home. I knew by then that I would be MORE THAN READY. I also knew that it was only by God's grace that she was being offered to me. I was a single parent, who barely met the income requirements for a second child. It was God's hand that delivered her file to IAAP, & Cheryl's wonderful recall that put me in her mind when she saw the file. Was there really any way I could turn down this "perfect for us" child? I really did have to think about it, but when I called Cheryl on Mon AM..she said...You better be saying YES! And indeed, I was saying YES!!
Jami came home 10 months later & life has never been the same since. She is the child that is teaching me to be a parent. She is the FIRE in Firecracker. It is never dull with her around. She keeps me on my toes. She is a snuggling delight. She is not shy with her feelings...good or bad. Although, she can turn on the bashful switch in an instant. She is funny, creative, & smart.
5 years.....sometimes it feels like yesterday & at other times, it feels like forever ago........
1 Yr old...waiting for Mom in China