Just hours after I hit publish on our last post, explaining and outlining our desire to adopt from China, the CCCWA (the Chinese governing entity that oversees adoption) released new rules for adoptive parents.
I have to giggle when I re-read this line from my last post: “We’re also hoping for a relatively stable process. (God’s laughing.)”
If parenthood has taught me anything, it is that I am not in control. The new rules from the CCCWA are really driving that point home. If we’re not in charge with biological parenthood, why should adoption be any different? Countries can choose to change the rules (as China did) or completely close their borders (as many have) overnight. As with biological parenthood, we are guaranteed nothing.
Initially, the CCCWA’s new rules left us wondering what this meant for us. What was God saying? Should we stay in China? Reconsider Haiti? Explore other programs? Revisit the idea of domestic adoption? Does this mean we shouldn’t adopt right now?
When we woke up to the news that the CCCWA had changed its rules for adoptive parents, Philip and I spent the day praying, exchanging messages, and trying to get clarification on what this meant for us. Fortunately, we already had a date night on the books for that evening. We were able to sneak away for 9 holes of golf and a leisurely dinner to talk things over. As we had yet to hear back from our adoption agency to clarify the rules, we worked through the rules as we understood them and played out all of the possible scenarios. We talked about other countries and their requirements, domestic adoption, and what the rules would mean for an adoption from China.
After talking it over for two hours on a restaurant patio, we felt the distinct peace from: 1. Knowing that God has always been and will always be with us, and that 2. We think we know what He’s telling us to do moving forward. Ultimately, we agreed that the best course of action for our family was to stay put with the China program and to proceed with our adoption plans under the new rules. In essence, He was telling us, “Guys. Pump. The. Brakes.” While this wasn’t in our initial plan, we know that we cannot “miss” the child God intends for our family. He’s giving us the gift of time–to work on our hearts, to strengthen our family as it is, and expand our capacity to love one another more perfectly. How can that be a bad thing? And how can that be a bad thing for our adopted child to join?
After a lot of back and forth with our adoption agency, we have clarification on how the new rules affect our family’s adoption. The new rule most affecting our adoption is this one: “The youngest child in the house should reach 3 years old.” This means that potential adoptive parents cannot even be entered into the system and receive their LID (“log-in date”) until their youngest child’s 3rd birthday. Since Dorothy is 15 months old, this will significantly extend our timeline. We were just a few months away from sending our nearly completed dossier off to China.
You see this mammoth?
This is our adoption binder. It’s full of all of the adoption paperwork that was *nearly* complete and ready to be sent off to China. While the kids were in school, I was spending nearly 20 hours each week during their naps and after bed preparing this paperwork. Since they’ve been home for summer, I’ve been carving out whatever time I can to work on things. Looking at this binder fills me with emotion. It involved a whole lotta time, a whole lotta money, and a whole lotta hoping and praying.
When a dossier is sent to China, none of the documents can be more than six months old. Effectively, this means that everything we have done thus far toward our dossier will need to be redone.
And yet, I’m not freaking out. *THIS* is how I know that this is what is best for our family. I’m willing to let it all go without shedding a single tear. The child God intends for our family is worth every second of sacrifice. All is not lost.
The great news? A lot of the paperwork required for a dossier fulfills requirements for an adoption home study. A completed and satisfactory home study is valid for one year. This means that we don’t have to go back to square one with our home study. Instead, we will only have to do an update each year between now and homecoming. This will require a few visits and some updating of the paperwork. Phew!
Also, because we have already gone through nearly all of the paperwork for our dossier, we know what to expect moving forward. Half of the stress of the paper chase is figuring out how to do it correctly. If we’ve already done it before, doing it the second time won’t be nearly so hard.
So what now? We’ll complete our adoption training and put the finishing touches on everything to officially complete our home study. Then, we’re pumping the brakes. Our adoption agency recommends that we start rebuilding our dossier again a few months after Dorothy’s 2nd birthday. Basically, we still start the paper chase again around the same time next year.
That gives us a year. And you know what that makes this year? The Year of Surrender. I didn’t know why God gave me that word after I ended the Year of Me, but He did. He knew. He always does. We’re going to slow down and focus on the precious children God has already entrusted to our family. We’re going to keep strengthening our marriage. We’re going to make sure we’re keeping our primary relationships in order–God, marriage, children, family, friends, and so on. And we’re going to stop pretending like we’re in control of any of it. It’s time to slow down, to get more intentional, and to see the ways God is preparing us for what (and who!) is to come.