Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hoo-ray we have PA (for two)!

We have been holding out! We have received PA (pre approval) for two girls from China. The picture on the left is Chu Benqin who is also known as Mia and the one on the right is Bao Long Chang who is also known as Anna.  


We only have referral photos of Chu Benqin but once we receive updated photos we will post them. She was born April 12, 2001. We expect for her to receive our package the week of June 11. We sent a camera, hair clips and rubber bands, a photo album with a few pictures of us and our home, a panda bear, candy for her to share, and a letter. Let me ask you, what do you say to your daughter whom you have never met? How do you express how you feel without sounding like a nut case? How do you start? What will she think when she reads it?  
Items sent to Mia


Anna is 8.5 years old. Her birthday is November 26, 2003. We didn't want to post anything on this precious little girl until we were certain that she was ours. And now she is! It isn't common for agencies to approve adopting two children at the same time. China is currently the only country who does allow it unless it is a sibling group. These two girls do not know each other. They come from different orphanages. Our agency sent us two referrals in May. We couldn't choose one over the other. When I asked Phil what his first reaction was he said, "Let's get them both." This was also my first reaction! Our agency just got back from visiting the orphanage that Anna is in. They sent us current photos of their visit with her. When we were viewing the photos we didn't notice that Anna was looking at the photo album we sent with our agency. We were seeing her smiling from ear to ear when she saw us for the first time. They were explaining to her that this was her "Mama" and "Baba" from America. This was really very emotional for us to realize that this precious child was receiving the news that she now has a family. This is something that I never had to worry about when I was a child. After all, don't all children have families?

Anna viewing our photo album
Please see the photo above of Anna sitting with Aleda, from our adoption agency, and the orphanage director. They are telling her about us, her family, and showing her pictures of us and our home. She has to wait about six months before we will be able to bring her home. How must she be feeling?
Anna's reaction to finding out she has a family

It is good to see Anna smiling from ear to ear after viewing our photo album. 

I had mentioned that agencies don't usually recommend adopting two at one time. We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity and look forward to "gotcha day" twice. Why did we want two? We live out in the country where there isn't going to be another child to play with or talk to. These two girls will learn English together and will be able to help each other along the way. We look forward to the challenge and the rewards of watching them grow. A few weeks ago I had asked a young girl who was adopted from China, light heartedly, what is the best thing about coming to America. She told me that the best thing was having loving parents who care about you. Having parents and not being an orphan any more. Parents who will give you everything you need. I still can't tell anyone this without crying. It just brings home how much these children want a family and to feel safe and loved.

Phil and I had hit a snag while waiting for approval from USCIS (United States Citizens and Immigration Services). We sent in our I-800a and we received an RFE which meant we needed to have our homestudy amended because of mistakes left out by our HS agency. It took them seven months to get to the point where we could send off for our I-800a. How frustration to have to amend it now. While we are waiting for the amendment to be made, we felt like our Adoption Agency was not working with our interest at heart. We decided to hire another agency. This was the best time to do this since the HS was being amended, we would just have them amend the Adoption Agency name at this time. This was the best decision we made to date. We hired Madison Adoption Associates (MAA). They have been so good to us. They went to bat for us immediately to make sure that the homestudy had all the corrections made before it was sent back to USCIS. They worked over the weekend, after hours, and kept us up to date. What a breath of fresh air. We have Aleda, Diana, Margaret, and Kerry from MAA to thank for all their hard work. It didn't stop there. The minute the shared list came out, Diana went through the list of children to match us with the most beautiful girls we have ever seen! We put in a Letter of Intent for each of them and then waited for China to pre-approve us for adoption. It was two weeks before we received approval.

Mia at age 5
Anna at age 6

Is it us or do they look like sisters to you?

We have earlier photos of both girls thanks to yahoo groups from the girls orphanages. Once we posted PA for both girls, we received emails from other parents who had brought home their children a few years earlier. Thanks to Benqin best friend, Zoe Grace's mom, we have received pictures of her when she was 5 years old. What a treasure these photos will be for both of them. Most of the children won't have photos of themselves as infants or as toddlers. I just hope we can find some for both girls.