Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Some Background on China

China is a country whose culture dates back to some of the earliest records known to man. At first glance, some of China's beliefs may seem quite different than those we hold in the western world. One example of this is the cultural preference for a male child. There are several reasons why Chinese families might prefer a boy over a girl. In rural provinces, a family's livelihood depends directly on the output of its family members. Because of this, a family with sons would be at a considerable advantage compared to one with daughters. In addition, inheritance laws pass property on to sons. Historically, it is also the son's honored responsibility to take care of his parents in their old age. A daughter, however, would be expected to care for her husband's parents rather than her own. In this regard, the Chinese believe that having a son is crucial to their livelihood, as well as a form of social security for the parents when they grow older.

This situation was further complicated by an edict given in the 1950's by Mao Tse Tung who urged Chinese people to have lots of children to strengthen the country. The population growth from this edict led the government in the 1970's to be worried that China would be unable to feed her citizens. So, the Chinese government implemented the One-Child Policy in 1979, which prohibited families from having more than one child. The goal of this policy was to keep China's population below 1.3 billion by the year 2000. Today, China is home to those 1.3 billion people. Couples who violate the One Child Policy are subject to fines (equal to three years' salary), community ostracism, and even jail time. Thus there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned baby girls throughout China. The babies are abandoned in public places (such as busy streets or markets, railway stations, and in front of public buildings) so they will be found quickly. The babies are abandoned as infants - usually when they are only a few days old. In addition to little girls, handicapped babies and sick babies (both boys and girls) are also abandoned because most parents in China don't have the money to provide for their special needs. Once found, the abandoned babies are given a medical exam and then taken to orphanages. While the numbers of such adopted orphans has been growing, it still represents only a small percentage of the number of children abandoned annually.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Longest Pregnancy in History: Our Adoption Timeline

Many have asked when we started the adoption process. Well here's a look at our timeline:

December 2004 ~ While still working with a fertility Doctor, a good friend mentions that America World Adoption agency is doing a local seminar. We attend the seminar but aren't yet sure what our next steps should be.

April 2005 ~ We feel that God is leading us to adopt but we don't yet know from what country or what agency. We are immediately drawn to China and Korea. But spend the next few months praying and researching countries and agencies.

Sept 11, 2005 ~ China is where our child is! We submit our application to America World Adoption Agency (AWAA) to bring her home.

Sept 16, 2005 ~ Our application is approved! :)

Sept 29, 2005 ~ We receive our home study and dossier (fancy word for the documents that go to China) packet. We immediately start the paperchase which is the term referring to the next step in the process which is assembling the soul-baring mountain of paperwork.

October 3, 2005 ~ We order new birth certificates, certified marriage certificate and mail the CPS form.

October 5, 2005 ~ I have my physical which includes blood work as well as compose a letter (for the Dr. to sign) detailing my past surgeries. The letter also had to state that I fully recovered and am able to parent a child. I also have new passport photos done. In addition I take our sweet kitty to the Vet for her physical. Yep, even the kitty must be checked out. Oh and the vet had to give me a letter on the office letterhead stating that the kitty wouldn't scratch our child's eyes out. ;-)

October 6, 2005 ~ Doug has his physical and blood work done. We compose his surgery letter for him as well. We begin to gather copies of all our financial records, last years tax return, fill out a financial form and request a notarized employment verification form from Doug's work.

October 10, 2005 ~ We have our state fingerprints and police background check done.

October 13, 2005 ~ We make arrangements for a guardian and have them fill out a form. We also write five page autobiographies about our lives. Yippee!

October 28, 2005 ~We have a traveling notary meet us at our Dr.'s office to notarize our Doctor's signature, letters, my unemployment letter, financial statement and application letter.

October 29, 2005 ~ We have our 1st home study meeting!

October 31, 2005 ~ We have our 2nd home study meeting.

November 1, 2005 ~ Cam has his physical and TB test.

November 17, 2005 ~ I happen to tell our social worker about all the speeding tickets I received when I was in college. :( Most of them were between the years of 1987-1989 (yah, yah, I was a bit of speed demon in my younger days. They didn't call me the Hustling Hyundai for nothing!) Well anyway, she had me draft a letter (that would go to China) detailing my poor behavior along with an apology that explained I learned from my poor choices and would never do it again. Hmm...

November 18, 2005 ~ Had our pool fence fixed so that it once again self closing.

November 21, 2005 ~ We have a pool inspector out to check that everything is up to code.

November 23, 2005 ~ We have our 3rd Home study meeting which is the anxiety causing individual interviews. They go just fine. But it does seem that our social worker doesn't quite get my sense of humor. Go figure! :)

November 30, 2005 ~ We have our 4th and last Home study meeting which is the dreaded home inspection. We scrub the house from top to bottom and do all sorts of crazy things like put more cabinet locks on and rearrange cleaners, knives and other kid friendly items. All of which she spends exactly zero time on. Oh well, they were all good things to do anyway. :)

December 2, 2005 ~ We mail Doug's Employee verification form to the Texas Secretary of State to be certified. (Doug's company is based in Texas)

December 14, 2005 ~ Our home study is sent to the Arizona Superior court.

December 28, 2005 ~ Our home study is approved!

December 29, 2005 ~ We send our I-600a Immigration form along with our home study to INS.

January 11, 2006 ~ We send Doug's employment verification form to the Chinese Consulate in Houston for authentication.

January 12, 2006 ~ We have our FBI fingerprints taken.

January 28, 2006 ~ We receive the much sought after I-171H form from INS. This form will allow us to bring our daughter into the US.

January 30, 2006 ~ I have all our forms certified at the Arizona Secretary of State's office in Tucson and then send them all to the Chinese Consulate in LA for authentication.

February 6, 2006 ~ I finish up the scrapbook type pics for the dossier.

February 13, 2006 ~ We assemble our dossier and send it to our agency. Here is the result of five months of paperchasing:

February 17, 2o06 ~ Our agency has checked and approved everything. We are DTC! This means our dossier has been sent to China. This is a great day!

March 13, 2006 ~ This is our Log In Date (LID)! This means our dossier has been logged in at the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) in China.

May 27, 2006 ~ We receive the coveted brown envelope. We aren't sure what it's for, since not everyone receives one. But we are told we need to bring it to China. ;-)

February 1, 2007 ~ We are "officially" out of the review room. This is a huge milestone! This means that China has approved us and the next step is to be matched with our child.

April 18, 2007 ~ Unfortunately, due to the extended wait, our home study and I-171H form are getting ready to expire so we begin our home study re-certification and I-171H renewal. We have our home study visit today.

May 14, 2007 ~ We have our state fingerprints redone.

May 22, 2007 ~ We refile our I-600a immigration form.

June 6, 2007 ~ The Arizona Superior Court approves our re-certification.

We are currently waiting to have our FBI fingerprints redone and then receive a new I-171H immigration form.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The "Tarico Times" goes online!

After much deliberation, we (I mean I) have taken our yearly Christmas letter, the "Tarico Times", online as a family blog. Why the deliberation you ask? Well, first of all, I probably lack the writing skills to make this an interesting read to most people. Yep, the cat has been let out of the bag...although our Christmas letter is a joint effort, Doug writes a majority of it. I of course add anything that is funny or sappy. Ok not really....Doug is extremely funny, or at least I think he is. In fact, I have told him that he is pretty lucky to be married to me because I laugh heartily at all his jokes. He also accuses me of being “the funniest person I know" because I laugh at all my own jokes as well. Ok, ok, I like to laugh. It's good for the soul! In fact, I think some people should do a whole lot more of it. It would be good for them. But I digress...back to the reasons for deliberating about the blog. As Doug puts it, in his own cynical yet practical way, "Who is going to read it?" Hmm...not sure, I’ll have to get back to him on that. Lastly, attempting to put my thoughts and experiences into words (I have never even had a journal of any kind) and posting them for the world to see gives me a WEE bit of anxiety. That being said...here we are. :) Although I will be the one updating the blog for the most part, you can (hopefully…Doug willing) look forward to a few well written, or at least less sappy, posts from him along the way.

Why create a blog? Firstly, we want to keep our extended family and friends abreast of our journey to adopt our daughter from China, and will help answer the continuing question, "Any news?" Secondly, we hope this will be a sort of journal that we can someday share with our daughter, capturing what we did as we waited, prepared and longed for her to join our family. And perhaps most importantly, we just hope to share with those we love this amazing, wonderful and sometimes difficult road that God has us on. So grab yourself a caffeinated beverage (you might need it), settle in and enjoy a poorly written, but sure to be sappy and occasionally funny, blog of the life and times of the Tarico's. Welcome!