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.