Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Timeline to The Princess

Spring Break 08: Jonathan and I read Lost Daughter’s of China while in St. Thomas. Even though, we’re told that China is the hardest country to adopt from, we know that’s where our daughter is. We’re also told the wait for a healthy child is 3 to 5 years. We begin to pray about special needs that we think our family can handle. Out of a checklist of 50 different needs we choose three: heart condition, cleft lip, and palate.

May 18: I wake up suddenly with an overwhelming sense to submit our special needs check list. Now. I e-mail it an hour later to our first agency.

May 19: We start the paperwork process. It takes 8 months to complete.

December 26: We see a post information about a little girl named Fang Ling Chen who has tetrology of fallot and cleft lip and palate. She’s not with our agency and it’s not possible for children’s files to be transferred. We pray about this little girl and three days later we request to see her file.

December 29: We’re told two other families are ahead of us to see Fang Ling Chen’s file. One is writing a letter requesting to adopt her. I cry when I find out we waited too long.

Jan 16: After waiting three months, we receive approval from immigration to adopt a child under the age of two. Our paperwork is finally finished! That same day, the agency calls to say the other family’s insurance does not cover Fang Ling Chen’s special needs. And a private donor has paid for her open-heart surgery. She is doing well and is turning two in a week. They give her file to us to review. But because our paperwork is written for a child under the age of two, we are not approved to adopt her. But we look at her file anyway.

Jan 20: A doctor at Children’s believes Fang Ling Chen has a promising future. He suggests we speak to the top ranked plastic surgeon in the city—Dr. Cohen. Jonathan happens to know him personally.

Jan 22: We decide Fang Ling Chen could be our daughter. We will have to switch agencies and redo all our paperwork to be approved for an older child. Everyone says it’s impossible. We think she deserves a family as soon as possible, and cannot wait a year for us. However, we also decide if God opens doors we will walk through them. We submit a letter to China and officially ask to be Fang Ling Chen’s parents. China gives us three months to submit all our paperwork.

Jan 26: We being the impossible and frantically redo our home study and resubmit our paperwork to immigration. It takes us six weeks to make all the changes.

Jan 27: Fang Ling Chen’s birthday passes quietly. We’ve only known her a few days, but we pray that we’ll be able to celebrate her next one.

March 23: We receive our updated immigration approval. Our paperwork is almost done. I go to the Chinese consulate with Caleb to get all our documents authenticated. It’s the last step and we don’t have any extra days to spare in order to meet China’s deadline. What I don’t realize is that in order to get same day service, the documents must be presented to the counter by 11:00. After horrible traffic, getting lost, and going to the old consulate, I arrive at 10:30 and am handed number B265. They are calling B245. The security guard tells me there’s no way I’ll get to the counter on by 11, but I can leave my documents and have them mailed back to me if I give them a return envelope, which I don’t have. Plus, time is running out. Everything needs to be translated and if I don’t get these papers authenticated today, we will likely lose our referral.

The place is jammed packed; probably nearly 200 people are there. I find the only open seat and call my friend. I can tell Caleb and I are really bothering the lady I sat next too. She’s grumpy and Caleb kicks her several times on accident.

After talking to my friend, I pray, “I need a miracle. Now.” The grumpy lady sitting next to me leans over and says, “I’m number B248. Take my ticket. You’re next.”

April 10: Our paperwork is officially logged into China. Our wait beings for an official letter of acceptance. We’re told it could be over 100 days.

June 16: Day 67. We receive our letter of acceptance. The agency calls it a miracle. We now officially apply for Feng Ling Chen’s American visa with her American name. 

July 14: We get updated photos of The Princess. Her cleft has been repaired. We realize that God saw it fit to give us a child with every special need we chose, he also saw it fit to have them surgically repaired before we even meet her. Now we don’t have to rush her to major surgery when she gets home, she can just ease into our family.

July 30: We receive our official travel invitation from China. We plan to leave on August 14 and meet her on August 16.

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