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.