How did we do a 2nd adoption so fast?
I've had several people ask how we managed to adopt Maddy so soon after Gwen's adoption. You may have noticed that we had our 1st anniversary of Gwen's adoption while we were in China adopting Maddy.
In most cases, you have to wait one year after your last adoption before you can even start your 2nd (be DTC). But this isn't the case with "Special Needs" (SN) adoptions.
I'm reluctant to share this on my children's blog (so I'll probably delete this post soon) but Maddy is SN. She was on our agency's Waiting Child (WC) list. Look at her! Can you guess what makes her imperfect enough that she's doesn't qualify for the Non Special-Need (NSN) program? What is "imperfect"? Are any kids really perfect?)
If you choose a child from a WC/SN list, you can adopt them much faster than the regular program. You can also start your adoption pretty much any time after your last adoption. In some cases, China wants you to have completed your 6 month post-placement home-study on your last adoption before you petition for your new child.
You can also adopt TWO children at the same time and they don't have to be related. They need to be from the same orphanage and have SN's that are similar in severity.
How do you find the child? You can ask your agency if they have a WC list. Some agencies have fierce competition for their WC's. Others (like mine) have a small program and offer the kids to families who call and ask about them (no competition since they only offer one child to one family at a time).
That's what we did. We simply called to find out about a WC and - to our surprise - got a referral right on the spot. We didn't look at any other children since, for us, it would have been to hard to reject them in favor of just one (how can we choose?). We knew Maddy's SN and we had her picture and we knew her age and sketchy medical history. This was exactly how much we knew about Gwen when we got her referral and we'd never consider rejecting her so we felt comfortable taking the same leap of faith and accepted Madeline. And look how blessed we are!
There are many severities of SN's. As a veteran parent, I strongly believe that ALL kids have SN's so there was no over-riding reason to pursue a 2nd adoption through the NSN program. If we'd known that the SN program had so many kids with absurdly minor SN's, we probably would have considered that at the time of Gwen's adoption. But, of course, we have no regrets since our Gwenny is our little darling!
Maddy's SN is very minor and she'll probably not even know that she has this "flaw". Honestly, it's so minor that we might not even need to correct it. Some SN's are less minor and many are visible but still no big deal. Kids are kids. They're all beautiful and deserving of families!
Some common SN's are listed here: http://www.asiadopt.org/pages
Here's our time line for Maddy's adoption:
- Feb 2006: We found her on Our Agency: USAA list.
- Mar 2006: (six weeks later) we got Pre-approval from China
- Apr 2006: We finished our home-study and turned our documents over to USAA
- May: We got our 171 and USAA sent our dossier to China
- June 2006: We waited for Travel Authorization (TA)
- July 2006: We waited and waited for TA!
- Aug 2006: We got TA!! (Day 77 of the wait!) and flew to China and got Maddy on 8/23/06!
- Sep 2006: Home!
You can be just starting out or you can already have your dossier in China. But, if your dossier is in China, you need to pick a child from your agency's list. 99.9% of the time, China won't transfer kids to another agency (so don't fall in love with a child on another agency's list).
Everyone gets Pre-Approval (that I know of) so don't feel like you really need to have that before your start your home-study.
If your dossier is already in China and through the review room, you could pick a Waiting Child and skip Pre-Approval and get your Travel Authorization in just a couple of weeks! I've seen this happen as quickly as 2 weeks!!!!!!! (Yes!!!)
I hope that nobody picks a WC because they can get them sooner. Honestly, the kids are usually a bit older and adjustment is somewhat harder since the child actually mourns the loss of the only family they've ever known. Maddy was in foster care since age 8 months and she cried for her foster mommy for three nights. Yes, she loves us now but she also misses her other mommy and we have to be understanding and respectful of that. I look at Gwen and try to imagine what it would be like for her to leave us and go live with another family forever. It would be HARD. It doesn't mean she's a problem child --- it just means she's normal.
If you're adopting from the WC program, please feel free to share your thoughts on this!
If you have questions, there is a wonderful WC support group on Yahoo: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WaitingChildrenChina/