Monday, July 28, 2008

International Day 2008

Sunday was IAFQ's International Day for 2008. As I wrote last year, International Day is a celebration of our state's adopted childrens' birth cultures.

It was bizarre, while we were waiting for the parade to start we saw a couple we met last year at a dinner for waiting parents where we chatted about having the same social worker and the differences in our experiences with her. This couple were assessed just before us, - and THEY HAVE THEIR BABY ALREADY! It was a mind trip for us. They adopted from Taiwan and received an allocation five months after approval, then travel four months after that. And their little boy looked so young and precious!

Enjoy some International Day 2008 photos:

The China group on parade (my favourite part of the day!)

The gorgeous kiddies from the Philippines and their families

Our Ethiopian munchkins (just love their outfits! and the dancing!)

Hanging around outside

Aaron finishing off his Korean BBQ lunch!

We seem to be pretty lucky with the International Day raffle. Last year we won a DVD player and a Mrs Potato Head. This year we won a TV Game Virtual Pet (I still don't know what it is, but will hopefully work it out soon when it arrives!)

After International Day we headed over to the Coffee and Chocolate Affair, where there were far too many people to make it enjoyable, so we headed home after a while and enjoyed a lazy late afternoon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Previously, on Checking Boxes

Last week I wrote to the Department after receiving advice that they were now waiting to form a batch of seven dossiers, of which ours would be part of.

Here is an excerpt from my email:

"The inter-country adoption system in China works on a chronological basis, regardless of a dossier's country of origin. The China Centre of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) issues referrals each month. Presently couples receiving referrals from China have had their dossiers logged in for 28+ months. You can see from the referral table at the bottom of this web page that the eighteen month average is 6.3 days allocated/month. The twelve month average is 6.1 days allocated/month. This could potentially mean that for each week longer the current batch of dossiers stays in Australia, an extra month+ is added for the waiting couples."

"According to last week's telephone conversation, the Department wishes to create a batch of seven dossiers. As at July 4, 2008 four couples are ready to be batched and three are compiling their dossiers. We respectfully request that if these final three couples have not finalised their dossiers by end of July 2008 that they form part of a new batch. There are three weeks until the end of July. Three weeks is enough time to complete the dossier requirements. If it is not enough time for the remaining couples then they are really not close enough to be included in the current batch. At present referral rates, three weeks equals three and a half months extra wait after log-in. We are aware that referral rates can change, and are hopeful they do. All we have to go on at present is historical patterns and statistics."

I'm pleased that the response I received today included this information:

"Adoption Services Queensland has spoken with other eligible couples and has requested their documents be provided to ASQ by the end of July to ensure the timely batching of files for preparation and onforwarding to China.

I am confident that a minimum four files will be ready at that time and these shall be dispatched on Friday 15 August 2008 (allowing time for notarising and DFAT action).

Monday, July 07, 2008

"A girl, a photograph, a homecoming"

This 25 minute video tells the remarkable story of a Korean adoption in the late 1970s. It is told by a man who worked as a photographer for Time Magazine. He was given an assignment to photograph Amerasian children (kids fathered by American GIs throughout Asia and then abandoned, of which there were some 40 000 at the time). Through this assignment he came to know a little girl and her grandmother in Korea. The story that follows from there is bizarre, serendipitous, intriguing and heart-warming.

Friday, July 04, 2008

[un]Lucky number seven

I spoke with the China officer at the Dept today to find out the current status of our file and to see whether there were five files ready to be batched and sent to China yet. She advised that they had now decided to put seven files in this batch. Four are ready to go (including us) and another three still have to compile their dossier. While I love the fact that our child would have six other batch-buddies, I would also be happy with three or four.

I politely mentioned that we had been ready and waiting for months, and that every week longer at this end potentially adds months at the other end. She understands why we would be concerned and frustrated - although I'm not sure how much because from every conversation I've had with people in the Dept, I don't believe anyone there monitors the monthly China allocations closely and knows the stats, history, trends or realities. At least they have removed the '17 months wait from China' information from their website.

I asked how long we would wait for these last three files, and was it possible to draw a line in the sand somewhere and if they aren't ready by that date they could wait for the next batch. Apparently this is beyond her control and would need to be decided higher up.

I can feel a letter coming on.