Sunday, December 31, 2006

Local Requirements

The CCAA's new guidelines won't change an awful lot around here. In our state, Queensland, the following requirements for adoption were already in place and have been for a while:
- no singles
- married for two years
- not suffering from a physical or mental condition or disability to the extent that you could not provide a high level of stable, long-term care for a child. This includes having a BMI in the healthy range
- not more than four children in the custody of either or both husband and wife
- expression of interest progression is dependent on the results of a criminal history check (possibility for case by case consideration)
- until recently, there was an age limit of 47. Amendments to the Adoption of Children Regulation in 2004 removed this upper age limit.

We also have the following requirements...
- no adopting out of birth order
- adopted child must be at least two years younger than any other child in the family
- full time home care of the child by either husband or wife for twelve months following adoption (ie. no daycare / childcare)
- adoption is only possible from countries that have ratified the Hague Convention (or are signatories to a bilateral agreement that they will act according to the principles of the Hague) and that have official agreements in place with Queensland. At present, this is less than 15 countries, many of which have miniscule quotas for the number of children they will allocate to Queensland each year. There are quite a few countries where there is a backlog of files from Queensland, and consequently we have couples waiting for years and years for a placement. I'm thankful that China has no quota system.

Further, couples can't just apply when they want to. We have to wait until an Expression of Interest process opens. It was open for a short time in 2004 (I think it was about 6-8 weeks). If you missed out getting your expression of interest in then, too bad - you had to wait until the next opening, which they couldn't say when it would be. It ended up being in July 2006. This meant that some couples who just missed the deadline had to wait over 18months just to even lodge interest.

It is made clear in documentation that the Dept works on behalf of the best interest of children; that adoption is a service for children, not parents.

I'm not sharing any of this to complain - I'm just shedding light on the procedures and rules we have to follow, as I know that it is very different to adopting through an agency, like is possible in the States. I believe the Queensland process is thorough.

It's probably pretty clear why this blog is titled Checking Boxes :-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

A more recent pic

Last week I posted a photo of Aaron and I on our wedding day in 1996. I thought it would be nice to also share an update photo. Here we are, ten years on!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Plodding away!

So, there are two things we need to complete to progress a bit more; a workbook each and a family profile each.

We're still plodding away through our workbooks... drawing up family trees, ecomaps, time charts, loss timelines etc. One of the workbook exercises is to answer 50 given questions about China, and it's driving me bonkers! I'll search for an answer online for one, only to get carried away on a tangent reading something about Chinese culture and customs, and then not end up finding an answer to what I was looking for.

I haven't worked on my profile since the first Education Day, so I need to get back to that. All the self-reflection and deep thinking gives me a headache.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Chinese Nursery Rhyme

A few months back, Chinese Pod had a great lesson from which we learned a Chinese nursery rhyme. Actually, all of Chinese Pod's lessons are excellent, but this one was especially relevant. It didn't take Aaron and I long to learn the song. We probably only listened to it four or five times, then sang it around the house for a while. Now we know it by heart and look forward to singing it with our daughter some day. I thought I'd share it here for those interested. (Click the play button)

菜鸟115 Baby Talk - Friends Song

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dum Dum De Dum

Ten years ago today...

(Not great photo clarity because it's a photo of a photo... don't recall knowing what a digital camera was back then! I could have scanned it in, but ah well!)

Hurrah for ten wonderful years of marriage to my beautiful, selfless, caring, endlessly giving, abounding with integrity, loving and deeply loved Aaron! Mwa!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

IAFQ Christmas Party

The IAFQ (International Adoptive Families of Queensland) Christmas party was held today. We went along and are really glad we did. We enjoyed seeing all the beautiful children receive gifts from Santa and meeting more couples and families that are on this journey.

A big shout out to our IAFQ family - what a great support network to have!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Education Day 2

Aaron here with my first entry for Checking Boxes.

We finished our two day education yesterday. That means another step in the process is complete and we can move on to the next one. We now have a lot of writing and self evaluation in our Family History and I know it will be pretty full on. I think this will be an excellent learning and growing experience for us.

I am so grateful to the Department and the people who presented their stories to our group. What an emotional time. It is obvious that the ladies from the department care deeply for what they do and that they really do walk with you through the process. It is encouraging to see that they feel joy of the parents and they are totally available to if we ever need to talk about anything.

It was nice to meet so many others who are at the same stage in the process to start to develop the network that will be so helpful in the months and years ahead.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Education Day 1

Yesterday was day one of our Education session with the Department. There were twenty couples all at the same stage in the adoption process as us.

I have done a lot of reading and listening to podcasts about adoption and related issues and I still found the day mentally and emotionally exhausting. I wonder what it would have been like for people who have not been able to commit the time yet to learn about this stuff. I'm sure everyone would have slept well last night. Adoption and parenting are fields that you can never really know everything there is to know... looks like we're commited to a lifetime of learning, and that's hunky dory with me!

At the session we received our Workbook and instructions for completing our Family Profiles. When we came home, I got stuck straight into my profile and just tapped away for about three hours. It is not something easy or enjoyable to do, but I knew I needed to start straight away if I wanted to get it done anytime soon. They said that a profile should be about 15-20 pages per person, though they have received some that are up to 70 pages in the past! I only got through about three sections, then I couldn't concentrate any longer and went to bed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pu tong hua!

We started Chinese language lessons on Saturday. There is a small group of us; Dean (whom we met at the IAFQ info day... he and his wife submitted their EOI the same week as us), Robin (in Batch 13, DTC and now waiting for LID!*), a man named Bob (I think) - he isn't adopting, but has spent some time in China, and Aaron & me!

Our lessons are held at a magnificent Taoist temple. Our teacher's name is Ellie. There are ten lessons to start with, and we'll see what happens from there. Even though Aaron and I know basic survival Mandarin, it was still valuable for us to revisit the basics. I'm not so crash hot at my tones, so the instant feedback and correction is going to be handy. Most of our current skills were learnt from books or podcasts, so we can really appreciate the value of having Ellie on hand!

*for our family and friends not familiar with the lingo or local process of adopting from China, files of prospective adoptive parents are sent to China in batches of around 5 files. Recently, Queensland sent over batch number 13, so there are some really excited couples and families celebrating this milestone. DTC stands for Dossier to China (for when the file is sent) and LID stands for Log in Date, which is an all important date provided by the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs) when they have officially 'put you in the queue'. Currently the wait from LID to referral (where the adoptive parents receive a photo and some information about the child they have been matched with) is about 14 months. There is
interesting speculation around about how this time may increase. We're not interested in speculating this early on, as we know that anything can happen over the next couple of years - and probably will!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Daughter from Afar

This week I read Daughter from Afar. The great part of this book is that the author doesn't paint their adoption journey as a great rosy adventure - she is honest and shares the struggles, especially during the first few months after returning home with their baby. Three hours of sleep a night... night terrors... adjustment issues.

There is an FAQ section at the end of the book, with excellent anwers to questions like, 'Do you think you'll have children of "your own"?' and 'Dont you ever wonder about her "real" parents?' It reinforced to me the importance of modelling to others (and correcting when required) the most appropriate language to use, especially in front of the child.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Eligibility Established!

Just got home from work and opened our mail. How sweet it was to read the following words on a letter from DoCS; 'All necessary documentation has been received and you have met the eligibility criteria to remain on the Expression of Interest register'.

This is good news! We have now been invited to the next step in the process - Education. Our Education dates are 1st and 2nd December.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Lost Daughters of China

I've just finished reading The Lost Daughters of China. It was an insightful read. My perceptions on some things has been altered.

It seems that some of the issues relating to the status of women in China can be traced back to Confucius. He laid down a family system strongly built on male lineage, where women weren't even included in family trees. I always thought Confucius said some really wise things... now I realise that when it comes to women he also said some pretty dumb things too.

What surprised me more was that the person who made attempts to turn this around was Chairman Mao (although now that I think about it, it probably makes sense in terms of Communist beliefs). The Communists encouraged women to 'join the ranks of human beings'. Mao is quoted as saying, "Women hold up half the sky". Things like prostitution, child marriage, the taking of concubines and the selling of brides were outlawed. Peasant girls were allowed to go to school and wives had newfound rights. Mao promoted that men and women were equal.

Unfortunately, those reforms were somewhat shortlived.

I know that this is a book that much of the Chinese adoption community has read and promotes, and I can understand why. It explores the portrayal of Chinese women throughout history and how this has been represented, for example, in poetry (some of which I can't even bring myself to repeat because it revolts and disturbs me so).

I'm glad with all my heart that things are on the up and that the perception of girls and women in China is becoming more positive.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

First fabric!

We received our first square of fabric for our One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt! It's from my friend Desley, and as you can see is covered in ladybugs. Ladybugs have special significance within the China adoption community - it is believed that when you see one, it is a sign that something good will happen soon. Thank you Desley for your thoughtfulness - this is really special!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Surprise from China

Look what landed in my inbox last night - an email from one of my students in China:

I was one of your student when you taught us writing course in Yunnan Normal University, I graduated from that university 2 years ago.I think maybe you could not remember that ,but I still want to have a try to contact with you,This is the first time I contact with you!

How trippy, it's been over three years since we were in China..!

Monday, October 23, 2006

China's Lost Girls

Part of my latest amazon order arrived today, so this evening we watched China's Lost Girls, a 2004 documentary on dvd. Aaron said he was surprised to find out there are so many orphans that don't get placed for adoption - they continue to grow up in the social welfare institute. Of course, I cried all the way through because I'm a big sooky softy.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Moon Festival

A couple of weeks ago, Aaron and I headed into Brisbane's Chinatown mall in celebration of the mid Autumn festival. This is a traditional Chinese celebration where Moon Cakes are eaten. We watched some traditional Peking Opera (followed by the same girl singing My Heart Will Go On in English), and a range of artists playing traditional asian instruments or doing dances. It would be an understatement to say we were devastated that we didn't get to see a dragon dance (which was in the advertised program but never happened).

Here are some pics - Aaron tried a couple of different mooncakes. He reckons he could eat them at festivals and that's about it, but HECK YEAH he loved a little sweet cake that looked like a hot dog that we bought from the same bakery. Didn't get pics of that unfortunately...

Thursday, October 19, 2006


We had our medicals today. There is an official form that the doctor needs to complete. It's a little invasive (chest x-rays, urine samples, breast examination etc)- sorry to gross you out, but we got lots more boxes checked and everything is good, good, good!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ptooey... referee issues

I received a phone call on Friday from the Intercountry Adoption Unit (DoCS). We provided them with two referees, but they are not suitable. The referees need to be people who are not related to us or each other, have known us longer than two years and visit us regularly.

We lived in Mt Isa for seven years, until Dec 2005. We have been in Brisbane for nine months. Everyone who knows us well but isn't related is from Mt Isa, so we provided contact details for people who know us very well and are in a good position to speak of our relationship - but because they don't visit us regularly NOW (even though they did for the seven years we were in Mt Isa), they can't be used.

I said we've only been living here for 9 months. Most of the people who visit us are related in some way. I was told that it was okay, the referees don't really need to have known us for longer than two years (... so why is that written on the form?)

I can find people in Brisbane who have known us for five minutes and certainly can't speak about us with the same authority as our original referees... doesn't make sense, but if we want to get this box checked we must comply.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

WaiZuMu Rocks!

WaiZuMu is the mandarin word for Grandmother (mother’s mother). [The shorter word ZuMu also means Grandmother, but refers to the father’s mother.]

My mum, who is yet to be a grandmother, posted this at her blog this week.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Establishing Eligibility

Aaron and I were lamenting earlier in the week that we probably wouldn’t be asked to progress our application for another ten or so months. This is because I read posts to a discussion list of other Queenslanders who said it took a year from submitting their application to being invited to establish eligibility. At the IAFQ information day in August, this ‘timing’ question was asked a few times.. with the responses ranging from “that’s the million dollar question” to “how long is a piece of string”.

Well, looks like we’ve hit the jackpot and that our piece of string is 7 weeks long!

We received a letter in the mail today dated October 4 inviting us establish our eligibility.

What does this mean? It means we need to have a rigorous health assessment, provide references about our suitability (these people will be contacted in writing to provide information about us) and have criminal history checks.

What wonderful news - now we need to get busy booking appointments!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

ListServ Membership

I’m now a member of the following email discussion lists at Yahoo:

- a-parents-china
- australians-adoptchina
- christianadoptchina
- cnsforqueenslanders
- essential-china
- pre30parentschina

I’ve been discovering the lists over the past month or so. Most are fairly active and I spend around half an hour or more a day reading the messages. Some great sources of information, as well as a useful support network.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I am consumed by this journey we are on! I am constantly thinking about our future child / China / the adoption process. When I’m not listening to related podcasts, I’m practicing my Chinese... or reading adoptive community discussion lists... or reading books... or watching adoption videos on YouTube...or scouring blogs... or learning more about Chinese culture or adoptive parenting. And this is just the beginning!

Aaron has been reading a book called Adopting the Hurt Child, by Heck and Kupecki. Each day he reads a bit more, takes some notes and shares his insight with me. He’s reading it right now and he just said to me, “heck this book is good” and then read a quote from it. This is the quote:

‘The forever aspect of the adopted child alters not only the nuclear family, but changes kinship ties for every generation to come.’

In all his wisdom he then rattled off what this means for him and what it could mean for the child. Powerful stuff.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

CCAA Update

The DoCS website was updated with this info last week regarding inter-country adoption from China.
Woohoo! -
The China Centre of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has advised the Australian states and territories that, while the upper age limit is still 55 years, CCAA has a preference for younger parents for the children requiring adoptive families and specifically want to find young parents for children under two years.

Boohoo... -
CCAA has also advised that waiting times for the China program have increased. Once a group of files is sent to China, couples can anticipate waiting approximately 13 months until they are considered for a placement. This waiting time may change, depending on the number of files received from overseas countries.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Good news for Queenslanders

I was excited to read the following excerpt from a speech by Mike Reynolds, Minister for Child Safety.

“Over the last few weeks, I was very pleased to have had the 
opportunity to visit China and Korea. 

The purpose of my visits to these countries was to gain a first hand 
understanding of how the adoption programs are administered and to 
demonstrate our commitment to working together in partnership to 
ensure the best outcomes for children who have already been placed 
with Queensland families, and those who may be placed with our 
prospective adoptive families in the future.

I am pleased to say that both countries adoption authorities hold 
the Queensland administering body – the Department of Child Safety – 
Intercountry Adoption Unit – and our adoptive families in high 

While in China I met with management and staff of the China Centre 
for Adoption Affairs, the central authority for adoption. The centre 
is recognised by the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children 
and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. 

I also met with representatives of the China Women's Travel Service 
which assists Australian families with the adoption process in China.

The centre is committed to ensuring that their children's best 
interests are the paramount consideration in the delivery of 
adoption services. This is a requirement under the Hague 
Convention, to which China became a party in early 2006.

While visiting the China Centre for Adoption Affairs, I was able to 
see first hand their very efficient adoption processes. I was very 
impressed by the professionalism of their staff and the way in which 
the matching of children to their adoptive family is undertaken.

While I am aware that there has been an increase in applications to 
China generally from overseas prospective adoptive families, I am 
pleased to inform you that the China Centre for Adoption Affairs 
advised that they were interested in receiving more files of 
approved prospective adoptive families from Queensland.

This is welcome news, as there is no limit to the number of files 
that any one Australian state or territory can send to China. 

The department will be taking up this request further in relation to 
the number of files sent from Queensland.

While in China, I was also privileged to be invited to visit one of 
the orphanages in which children are cared for prior to their 
placement with their adoptive families. The facilities were very 
well maintained and the children well provided for, including having 
access to a resident paediatrician.”

Monday, August 28, 2006

IAFQ Information Day

We spent Saturday at an Info Day run by IAFQ. It was really informative and well worth it. One of the great advantages was meeting other couples - those who have been through the process of adoption, as well as those who are just beginning, such as ourselves. One couple, Paula and Dean, submitted their EOI last week, like us. They have also only put China as their country of choice, so it’ll be neat to track our journeys.

We met Pauline, who is president of the China subgroup of IAFQ. Pauline pointed us in the direction of the Qld support network for adoptive parents of children from China, which is in the form of a Yahoo group. I signed up when we got home. I also signed up to AAC, which is Australians Adopting Children from China.

Aaron bought a book and placed another one on order. The one he purchased is called Adopting the Hurt Child. He’s going to read it first and then pass it on to me.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Expression of Interest Received

Received a letter from the Department of Child Safety (DoCS) today. No news, just a receipt for payment from lodging our application and a letter advising that eligible couples will be invited to progress their application at some stage in the future.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Expression of Interest is IN!!

Just after midday today I submitted our expression of interest in being assessed as adoptive parents. A happy day :-)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bai Jia Bei

Our expression of interest in being assessed as prospective adoptive parents goes in this week. Now we just need something to keep us busy for the next 2-3 years until 'gotcha day'. I've found just the thing (and it's not just about keeping us occupied, it's really very significant and special).

There's a Chinese tradition to welcome new life that involves the creation of a 100 Good Wishes quilt. Family and friends are invited to contribute a piece of fabric that are all sewn together in a quilt. I'm going to start collecting the pieces of cloth now and intend to have a beautiful collection to be able to put a quilt together to welcome our baby to her new family.

The purpose of the 100 Good wishes quilt is to create a quilt with each of the quilting squares associated with a specific person/wish. This type of quilt is fairly common in China and has become popular in the Chinese adoption community. The person sending the piece of fabric also sends a wish on a piece of paper for a scrapbook for the person who will eventually receive the quilt. The wish can be for good health or some other positive life outcome. The piece of fabric should be 100% cotton prewashed and ironed. The square should be 25cm x 25cm (10 x 10 inches), that gives us a little bit of room work with. It is ideal if you place a small piece of the fabric also on a piece of paper containing your wish so that we can associate the wish with the fabric and the person who sent the fabric.

So here's your official invitation! If you can find it in your heart and the busyness of daily life to send us a square of cloth and another smaller piece with a wish, we would just love it! (even if I/we only know you from connections on the internet.) If you need to know our snail mail address to send it, drop me an e-mail - emmaheff AT gmail dot com and I'll let you know.

There are plenty of websites about 100 Good Wishes quilts if you want to google it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Birth and Marriage Certificates

This week involved a visit to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to get copies of our birth and marriage certificates, which are required with our expression of interest to adopt. Our birth certificates are packed away in a storage shed at the Sunshine Coast, so we figured it would be easier to just get new copies. They were $25 each. We also had to get a copy of our marriage certificate, which was also $25.

When you get married, you sign two certificates. One is a nice, fancy one that you get to keep. The other is the 'official' one that you don't get to keep. If you ever need a copy of your marriage certificate, you're not able to use the nice one - you have to pay to get the official one. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I work in the city in the government precinct, so the Registry is almost across the road from my building, so that made it easy.

We've filled in a draft copy of our expression of interest and have let it rest a few days to see if when we reread it there is anything to change because it’s unclear. My mum had a read this week and crossed a few things out (I can waffle, have you noticed?) and added a few things in as suggestions. We'll complete the copy to submit this weekend so everything will be good to go. Just need to get a JP to sign everything. Again, hurrah for connections! Renai who I work with is a JP, so that's handy.

If everything goes according to plan we'll be putting our expression of interest in this Thursday, 17th August 2006. I'm planning on submitting it in person because of the convenience of the Dept of Child Safety also being in the govt precinct, and therefore just a stone's throw from work.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Official IAFQ Members / Process of Application

Last month I wrote that we sent off our application and cheque to join IAFQ. I received a welcome email a couple of weeks ago, and then yesterday we received an official letter and a copy of their March magazine. It was exciting reading through the magazine, as a large portion of it is devoted to couples and families sharing their adoption stories and journeys. I cried a few times as they spoke of receiving 'the phone call' and then again when they described meeting their child for the first time.

I must admit it was a little disheartening to read the waiting times for many of the couples - 5 years, 7 years.... None of the stories were about children from China, so I can only hope and trust that the reply I got at the Dept session was correct - I asked if it was reasonable to allow 2-3 years from application to hand over and was told that was correct. Unlike other countries, China doesn't have a quota for how many babies will be available for adoption in Australia. However, because it is Qld's largest unit (ie. most number of applicants are for China and this is also increasing), everywhere I read seems to say that the waiting time is only set to increase.

We really need to get a wiggle-on and get our expression of interest officially in. Applications are processed chronologically - unlike last time the Expressions of Interest window opened and they waited until the end and then sorted through them all. Once the application is in and our eligibility has been determined, we are sorted into different categories of priority. Firstly, couples who are of the same heritage as the child they wish to adopt are given first preference to progress their application. Secondly, parents who have already adopted a child inter-country are processed. After that, couples who have experience working with children are processed, followed by everyone else. Apparently the great majority of applicants fall into the third category, which is where we fit.

Friday, July 28, 2006


A couple of days a week I work in the city at Education House. I only recently started doing this, so don't know too many other people who work on the same floor. Last Wednesday when I was explaining to Glenda (my boss's PA) that I was leaving early to attend the adoption information session, she said, 'Have you spoken to Peter? You have to talk to Peter! He has two adopted children!'. She dragged Peter over and we had a great chat.

Peter and his wife are real pioneers with this adoption stuff! They adopted their first child about 32 years ago. He was born in Brisbane, but they thought he was Indonesian because of his surname and skin colouring... they found out years later that he's Aboriginal/Islander. They then had a biological child, followed by an adopted daughter from the Philippines. There were no inter-country arrangements at that stage, so Peter and his wife worked hard for seven years to try to organise it. They had six-monthly meetings with the Minister etc. but it was all worth it. That was about 22 years ago.

When I explained to Peter that we didn't know whether we could have natural children or not, as it had been our intention to adopt first, he said that this was the same as him and his wife. People would ask Peter why they wanted to adopt, and he would say, 'for selfish reasons! We want a multicultural family!'. As he said that I suddenly felt like it was OK that we think the same way. I've always struggled when people ask "why" . When couples choose to have a biological child, no one asks why... but we seem to have to justify ourselves for wanting to adopt. It seems somewhat unusual that adoption is our first choice, as many couples turn to adopting due to infertifility.

Peter shared a photograph of his family with me. He also talked with me for a long time about the life-long issues his daughter has and will continue to experience due to malnourishment in her first two years of life before being adopted. Most of these issues are health related and developmental, ie. she received learning support all through school and continues to receive support of varying degrees from different organisations and professionals.

I am very grateful for making the connection with Peter and I look forward to plenty more chats and support with him. Apparently his daughter comes into work regularly, so I hope to meet her. One funny thing that Peter mentioned is that his adopted son is 6'2" and his adopted daughter is 4'6"!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Information Session

This afternoon Aaron and I attended a public information session about adoption, held by the Dept. of Child Safety. They are running a series of these sessions around the state over the next twelve months while the register is open.

The girl who ran it (Michelle is her name) ran through a series of PowerPoint slides that gave the same information from the application pack and website. But it was still good to go to. There weren't many other couples there, perhaps six. We were clearly the youngest.

We spoke with Michelle afterwards for a little while, which was so reassuring. I was concerned that because I am still 18months off being eligible for adoption from China that the dept might not want to process my application until then. I was so pleased to hear that we could put our application in as soon as we want because we are fully eligible under the Qld conditions to apply, and that by the time they get to sending our file to China that I would be 30 (and if not they would just hold our file until that time). This is exactly what we were hoping to hear!

Aaron said he experienced waves of emotion during the session. He described it as a mixture between scared and excited - because something that we've talked about for so long was suddently 'here' and happening, not just something we were going to do 'one day'. It didn't affect me like that, but Aaron reminded me that the 'realness' had hit me when we had our first correspondence back from the dept, and I was full of joy and bouncing around the house, wondering why Aaron wasn't excited. He said at that stage it still wasn't real yet for him... but it seems it is now!

Michelle told us that she visited China in May this year and went to the agency they deal with for adoptions. She said she walked into a room that was floor to ceiling and wall to wall of files from all over the world - people applying for adopting a baby from China. Queensland doesn't have a yearly quota from China (unlike other countries), and they said they want more Queensland couples! It seems from that statement that the hold up is at this end - maybe more workers or faster processes would help.

I feel like I'm pregnant - the same sort of joy that I believe a couple would experience when they find out they are expecting a child. The only difference will be that we won't have a baby in 9 months... it's going to be a much longer gestation period!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Joined IAFQ

Well, the adoption register officially opened. There is a series of public information sessions that the department is holding, and they sent us an invitation to attend. We will be going on Wednesday. We'll get an application pack at the session. I've already downloaded and read through the pack and can see that I need to do some running around getting copies of things (Aaron's and my birth certificates and so on). I wonder if applications are dealt with chronologically. This makes me think we need to hurry up and get ours in, but there is also a heap we need to do before we submit it. Hrm. Hopefully it will all be answered on Wednesday.

We got sent an invitation to become members of IAFQ (International Adoptive Families of Queensland) a couple of months ago, as well as an invitation to attend one of their information sessions to meet other families and so on. I filled out the form to join and the form to register for a session and have them ready to post tomorrow along with payment.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Adoption Register

I first contacted the Dept of Child Safety early to mid last year to register our expression of interest for adopting. I filled out the forms and sent them off... and didn't hear a word. As time passed, I wondered what was going on, so I e-mailed the dept. Here's the transcript:

Weve been diligently checking the department website for information regarding the next opening for Expressions of Interest for intercountry adoption. According to the website, it's been more than a year since the last information sessions etc. were offered and we'd love to know if there will be anything similar this year. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Kind regards,

I gratefully received a reply the following day:

Amy N Fletcher to me 20/10/05

This to notify you that your request - Re: Query has been completed.

Thank you for your enquiry.

At this stage we have no information as to when the next Expression of
Interest Register will open - it is opened when there is a need to assess
more prospective adoptive parents. Because of the large response to the
last Expression of Interest (up to 600 applications) it is not expected to
open this year.

If you would like to be notified by mail when the next register opens,
please complete the attached document and return to the Intercountry
Adoption Unit.

Kind Regards.

We had already completed and sent off the forms earlier in the year asking us to be added to the notification for when the next expression of interest would open (the document she was referring to). After reading that there were up to 600 applicants, and knowing that there were only 60 inter-country adoptions in the previous twelve months, I did a quick calculation and wondered if it would take ten years to fill the backlog. Hrm...

Time passed and about three weeks ago I was reading the weekend newspaper and I saw this:

The 248 applicants it refers to is for Qld adoptions... (intercountry was the 'up to 600' amount already discussed...)

The information was on the news the next day and I also saw the Minister's media statement about it.
In any case, wahoo! The register is open! This is our opportunity to get the ball rolling! Even though I am still not 30, I figure if we start the process now, then by the time we get through everything we need to I will have turned 30 and the file can be sent over. The thing I find interesting is that the register is open for twelve months. Last time it only opened for a window of eight weeks.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bok Choy

Towards the end of 2005 I made a decision that I would start a blog to document the journey of Aaron and I as we adopt a baby from China. It's been niggling at the back of my mind ever since, and a few things have happened recently as part of that journey, so I created one - and here it is.

I don't remember the exact time or moment or date that we made the decision to adopt. It seems that it's been our dream for so long now, that it's just something we were always going to do. At a best guess I'd say it was around 1999. I remember a man named Floyd Hart talking at church about his latest trip to China. He showed photographs and talked about the implication of China's One Child Policy on the girls of the nation. That was probably the seed that started it all.

We aren't adopting due to infertility, which people seem to assume. We've never chosen to become pregnant to even know if we can have children. A lot of that is because when we first looked into adopting from China, I recall reading that you were not able to adopt a healthy infant if you already had your own children. Not wanting to risk being ineligible, we've held off on the having a biological child thing. A couple of years later I read that China's International Adoption Law outlined that couples could have up to four children, either biologically or adopted. That was interesting, because it seemed that all of a sudden we had the option - but we in the end we decided to stick to the original plan... after much discussion. Maybe we will try for biological between adoptions (ie. adopt, bio, adopt, bio). But you know, I've learned through experience that even the best plans don't always work out the way I think they should. With that in mind, we'll just take this one day at a time.

We know that we're not the norm (from the way people respond when we tell them we want to adopt from China), but we know that there is more than one way to build a family.

We've known for a long time that both husband and wife must be thirty years of age before their file could be sent to China to apply for adopting (actually I think when we first looked into it, the minimum age was 35). Aaron turned 30 last Sept and I will become eligible in January 2008. We married in 1996, so by the time we get our application in, we will have been married for over 11 years.

Our friends and family have known about our plans for years, and affectionately refer to our future child as Bok Choy. It makes it easier when we’re talking... they can say, “look what I bought for Bok Choy today”, or “you won’t be able to do that when you have Bok Choy”... We look forward to the time when we have a real name for our baby, and will have to make sure that ‘Bok Choy’ doesn’t stick - as soon as we know her real name we’ll get everyone in the habit of using it. Until then, Bok Choy it is. Our baby Bok Choy.