Monday, June 14, 2010

What do I think about China?

I called the adoption agency today. My agent was busy, but I talked to one of the other staff members for a while.

"I wanted to ask you," she said, "what do you think about China?"

"What part of China? The politics, its general existence, adopting again?"

"Adopting again," she clarified. I'm only sharing this part of the conversation because I thought it was cute, in a charmingly absurd manner. As it turned out, adopting again was exactly what I'd called to talk about. I won't transcribe the rest of the conversation here. It was long and rambling with lots of false starts, tangents, and personal information.

But it was a worthwhile conversation. We didn't have any groundbreaking revelations, but it helped to discuss my pros and cons with someone with her own life story apart from mine, and for her to compare my thoughts with her experiences and her knowledge of the adoption system.

One of my primary concerns came up: timing. It was quite a while before I made it clear that once we sign up, we want to wait awhile before adopting an actual child. She was looking at the waiting children available NOW, saying it's a good time to sign up because the opportunities are good NOW. If we wanted, we could do what we did last time and scramble to get a dossier done in record time for a known child.

That's what the agency expects, and that's what it defaults to. The ladies have one browser window open to the Waiting Children list at all times (metaphorically), because that's how they operate. They don't think, "How do I best meet this family's needs?" They think, "What can I do for this child? Which of my family clients would be the best match?"

And that's how it should be. But that would also mean that our names would come up again and again in the next few years, and we'd have to respond each time with, "We're not ready yet."

But then we'd fall in love with one of the children in spite of ourselves, because they're children after all, and we'd say yes. Once we say yes, we'd have to rush to complete the paperwork, because once you know who your son or daughter will be, you have to rush. You HAVE to.

Then we'd be in China, with a 3-year-old AwesomeCloud instead of a 6-year-old AwesomeCloud, and then AwesomeCloud would have a sibling, and there goes all that waiting you'd been planning on doing.

But now is a good time to sign up. The agency is accepting new families, because the list of waiting children is long. In five years, three years, even one year this may change, and we may learn that right now we have a wonderful window of opportunity.

I think a lot of things about China. I love China. I admit I'm a sinophile, in perhaps a limited context. I want to go back and spend some serious time there, someday. I have romantic dreams and fantasies about our future with China and with another child born there. But I'm not in a hurry. I have a toddler. I love having him, just him... our happy family of three.

This whole "sign up and wait" idea... it sounds good for us, but I don't know if it's even possible.

It's still less of a risk than "wait and then try to sign up."


The woman at the agency then asked me if we wanted a boy or a girl. I struggled with the answer, giving her a long, complex, and extremely indecisive response. I always struggle with that question. It's not a fair question. When I'm not thinking about it, I know the answer, but then when you put me on the spot I totally lose focus.

It should be a simple question. Humans only come in two genders.

But that may end up being another problem. As we learned the last time, if you're not giving an outright and vehement "No" to boys, the phone starts ringing.

He's an absolute doll, and he'd be perfect for you. I'm sure of it. C'mon, just say yes. We'll put a rush on your paperwork and you'll have him home by August.

I love having my one little Cloud.



  1. Wow! Totally unbelievable reading... a different side to the whole adoption story from China that I read about on many blogs... is it just because you were adopting a boy?? or a boy with special needs?? Amazing reading...

    I would find your position hard... as a childless woman... I'd want all the kids that they said to me here you can be this child's mother!! But on the other hand, if we do adopt, I think I would want time with one child before looking at any others... but then again....


  2. I find it hard, too. We've said no to a child only once - our first referral, which came way too early - and it was so hard. I cried and cried.

    Yes, the wait time is so short because the children are special needs. And because, by definition, Waiting Children are already available for adoption, so we don't have to wait for other families to be matched with their children before we jump in and get matched with ours.

    The downsides, of course, are: older children, more serious special needs. But that's our niche.

  3. My husband and I adopted a little boy from China nearly 3 years ago and now he's 5 1/2 and getting ready to start Kindergarden. It was the best thing we've ever done and we're thinking about doing it again. (yikes!) I would love to follow your journey...good luck! My blog is if you'd like to follow mine - which is kind of lame right now but I promise will get better! :)

  4. Kathy, consider yourself being followed. Post more! I'd like to read about your thoughts on your own potential #2 child. :)