For all y'all not familiar with the ins and outs of the CCAA, here's what happens:
- An update to the list of waiting children is published every month or so. These are kids who are newly available for international adoption and, for whatever reason, will have a little more trouble finding their family - maybe they're a little older, maybe there's a special need, etc. They've likely been in the state's care for years, but their paperwork hadn't been processed to make them available for international adoption until now. It's commonly called "the shared list" because it's shared between all of the agencies accredited to work in China.
- In order to lock a file in the updated shared list, a family must have a Logged In Date (LID) from China. This is the date that the CCAA received the family's paperwork. Our LID is September 30th!
- Our agency knows our basic wish list - a girl between 2 and 4 with cleft lip/palate and/or limb differences
- As soon as the shared list is published, our agency (and all others) will work like mad to find a file that hasn't already been locked and meets our general requirements. This is like a crazy Oklahoma land rush for babies. Madness.
- Once (if) our agency locks a file on our behalf, we'll have 72 hours to review the child's records, consult an International Adoption doctor, pray, etc.
- If for some reason we do not believe we are the right parents for the child, we will let the lock expire and another family will be able to review the file. Our agency will then look for another child who seems to be a good fit and lock the file on our behalf and the cycle continues.
- If we believe that this child is our Mei Mei, we then officially petition to become her parents, jump through another 400 paperwork hoops, and travel to meet her in 4-6 months!
And we are terrified. What if our first file isn't a good match? What if her need is more than we feel prepared to parent? What if we say, "thanks but no thanks?" Our agency has assured us that if the first file or two isn't a good match, it's totally ok, with our criteria they won't have any trouble matching us with the right little girl. And I totally believe that. But are we strong enough to say no if that's the right thing for her and for us? What a roller coaster that would be. Our friend Lori wrote a beautiful, heartwrenching post about this experience just one year ago. And now she's home with her daughter Macy who is tailor made for their family... clearly people bigger than I have gone through my "worst case," have said no, and have emerged whole and with one super-fantastic kiddo. But I sure as heck just want to be able to scream an ecstatic, "yes!" for the first photo that pops up on our screen. I don't want to travel through that valley of wondering and wandering.
So... all of that meandering, messy emotion is to say that we are thrilled to have arrived as this important point in our adoption. We simply cannot wait for the list to come out, to get a file, to know our daughter. And we are committed to the "right" choices for our whole family, whatever that may mean. So I just pray that our first file is perfect and all of this worry is for naught :)