It's officially Monday in China, but not yet the start of the work day. I wonder if this will be our week, is this the week we will get our LOA? Mondays seem to bring a lot of LOAs, although sometimes they come on a Thursday or Friday. It gives me something to look forward to on a Monday!
We ordered and received Xander's finding ad last week. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, let me explain. For every abandoned baby China requires the local paper to post a finding ad to try and locate the parents of the child. In each ad is a picture and a brief description of where the child was found and if anything was left with them. There is one guy who collects these ads and then sells them to adoptive parents. It is a great service, as any early info, and especially of photo of these children is a wonderful piece of their history. We were pleasantly surprised when we were told that we could purchase, not only a copy of the finding ad but the actual paper that the finding ad was in. So, in our possession we have the very first picture ever taken of our little guy, in the newspaper from his "home town." What a treasure!
I will say again, if we receive our LOA this week, or even next, it will be quicker than the average wait for someone in our situation. So, we don't expect it, but we would surely welcome it!!! Our prayer is still that we receive our LOA in the month of March.
I'm always one to say "It's all in God's perfect timing." Most of the time I mean it, sometimes I am trying to convince myself that I just need to be patient, trust in the Lord and it will all happen at the appropriate time. Well, I had no idea just how perfect God's timing was in regards to Xander.
For those of you reading this that are a part of the adoption community, it will be a little easier to understand. For those of you who aren't, bear with me and I will do my best not to bore you, but to help you understand a little about the process. If you know our story you know that 3 years ago we were logged in in China to wait for a non-special needs (NSN) girl, as young as possible. Then on 12/2/09 Xander's picture, and a brief description, was sent out in an email to everyone on a certain agencies list, of course we were one of them. We hadn't considered special needs up until this time and we hadn't considered a boy. We certainly didn't entertain the idea of adopting a child virtually the same age as Macey. A recent change in the special needs process allowed us to switch agencies and complete Xander's adoption, his file belonged to a specific agency and it was their responsibility to find his family. So, that's when it all began, the switch and now the wait.
Very recently, like yesterday, the people in China who decide how international adoptions are handled, made some new rules. Agencies no longer have specific lists, all special needs children are in one large data base and all agencies (who have a SN program) have access to those files. This is a great thing for these kids, that means ANYONE who wants to adopt a special needs child has access to EVERY available child, theoretically giving more chances for children to find their families. Also, agencies are the only ones who have access to this list, where before at least the age, gender and special need could be accessed by anyone. Good changes made to the process, all in the interests of the children.
So, I say all of this because I am 100% certain that had these changes taken place in November we would not be adopting Xander. There would have been no way for us to find him. Since we were not looking for a SN child, we never would have asked our agency to look over any files for us. We were not asking for a boy, so if they would have looked for a file it would have been for a girl. We weren't even considering moving forward right now, we were going to wait until Macey was about 2 and then start something, but even then we didn't know what. But because GOD can see the whole picture, He knew there was a small window of opportunity for us. In December agencies were still allowed to "advocate" for children, send emails, post pictures, whatever they needed to do to find families, that is how we saw Xander. Switching agencies was possible because Xander was on a specific agencies list. We still would have been able to switch agencies, but while switching (which technically took us almost 2 months) someone else could have come along and started the process to adopt him.
It is awesome to see God's hand at work during each step, such an encouragement. I am giving you all permission to remind me that this is all in God's timing. Whether I am frustrated because things seem to be taking too long, or I am overwhelmed when my "twins" aren't getting along like I think they should be. Just send me an email or comment, "It's all in God's perfect timing."
He's 16 months old today. It's nice to have Macey to look at and try to guess what kind of things Xander is doing. I know he may not be doing all the things that Macey did at 16 months, but it is a good reference. It makes me miss him so much, and that makes me wonder how it is possible to miss someone I have never met. Well, I don't really have an answer, just that I do.
Some days are harder than others, and today is one of those days. I force myself to concentrate on all that we have to look forward to because of Xander. Soon we will get our LOA, and then our TA. Then we will be on the trip of our lives to China and finally meet this precious boy. Then all the joy that will come when we finally get him home, oh, I can hardly wait for that day.
It's hard to believe that it was only 3 months ago that we "met" Xander. In a strange way it feels like we have known him for so long, and there has been a place for him in our family for years. At the same time the days are long, and it seems like we have been waiting forever. I suppose this is how God has been preparing us, we have always had a place for Xander, but we just recently found out exactly who was chosen to fill it. It cannot be explained, only experienced.
We are so happy that March is here. We got great news in February, regarding our transfer, but we had some little nuances that kept things a little tense, none of them adoption related. So March is a welcome change for the McNeely house.
In March we hope to receive our LOA! So, that is our prayer, that our LOA comes in the month of March. We have officially been waiting for 20 days, and just today someone (on an adoption forum I frequent) got their LOA after only 24 days! It's anybody's guess when ours will come, but I just keep praying it is soon. Average, for someone in our situation is about 60 days, if it comes by the end of March it will be a little faster than average.
While we wait we are starting to get his room ready, I'll take and post some pictures when it looks a little more like a kids room, not a storage unit!