Um... why am I doing something about which I have no idea? I don't even read other people's blogs let along write my own, but there is something important that I feel I need to document, so I am taking this step out of my comfort zone to get it down.
I am here because of Marie Claire. Marie Claire, the magazine. Marie Claire, the magazine that published, god knows how many years ago, an article about women who had adopted babies from China. The story that really got to me was about a single American woman who had adopted an abandoned two year old girl and brought her home to be her family. After being home a few months, she was explaining to the little girl that they would be moving house. Her daughter queried "Can I come with you?"
The thought that there are a) children who are abandoned on the street and b) who have no comprehension of what it is to have a stable family life simply broke my heart. I told my husband about it and said that one day, after we have had the two children that we had planned to have, I would like to adopt from overseas. He agreed that it was something he would like also.
Back then there was no agreement between Australia & China but we simply filed the idea away in our memory banks and got on with our lives. Things ran smoothly... we had a daughter, Gemma, and then a son, Ben. Towards the end of 2004, when Ben turned 4, I thought it was time to look into international adoption. After a short period of research online, I contacted the government department responsible for adoption only to find that we had just missed an intake, and they had no idea when the next one would be, but probably not for at least a year.
This wasn't such a problem for us. I was 37 at the time, and was hoping to have our 3rd child by the time I was 40. The previous intake would have been too soon for us anyway. I had no idea how long it was between intakes though, so after a year I started to get a little nervous.
I sent an email in early March 2006 querying if there was any idea when the waiting list would be opened again. The response was prompt and polite and it's meaning was clear - no idea.
Imagine my surprise when a week or two later we received an official newsletter from the QLD Government Department of Child Safety which said, in part, "Couples with active Expressions of Interest and have not yet been invited to progress to this stage will be invited to establish their eligibility in 2006." We also received an invitation to an information day run by an international adoption support group.
Here is the update from the newsletter on the China program:
"The China program continues to run smoothly. In 2005, 15 children were placed with Queensland families. A further 18 couples are in China awaiting advice of a placement. Currently, 62 couples are in various stages of the assessment process. The Chinese central authority has confirmed that the files sent in the future will be placed with a child under two years of age or over six years of age. The age requirements for prospective adoptors are being confirmed and will be advised once available."