Thursday, April 21, 2005

I don't think we'd been home from China for a full two weeks before we started talking about doing it again. Which is really bizarre because neither one of us adjusted well to being half-way around the world for two weeks. I think we both knew we would be going back again but this time it was different. I wasn't getting the blatant neon hints from Above. After a lot of prayer and still "nothing" I recalled a teaching I had heard from Joyce Meyer concerning growing in faith. [I don't mean to trample on anyone's beliefs or non-beliefs here. I figure anyone who is reading this knows what I believe anyway! ") ] In this teaching she described what she called "baby Christians"...people who need to have constant reassurance and signs from God in order to keep the faith. *DING* That certainly rung a big old bell of truth. I decided that it was time to mature in my faith and proceed, knowing (hoping...praying) that this was what God wanted us to do.

I guess you've probably figured it out that we will be naming our new daughter Claire. I was having a heck of a time coming up with names that would "grow" with her. The only two I could think of that I liked were Bailey and Hannah. Hannah has been done to death in the last few years and I couldn't imagine anyone named Bailey over the age of sixteen. Garry tossed out three or four suggestions and when I heard Claire, I knew that was the one. I love the way "Hope & Claire" go together. I am still in the process of coming up with a Chinese middle name for her...stay tuned.

We decided that we weren't going to start any paperwork until March of 2005 for several reasons. We didn't want to be totally stressed out over the holidays; we wanted to be able to focus on Hope and only Hope for her second birthday (February 20th); and by March I would be done with the monthly progress reports. Once we returned home from China we had to complete a monthly report for the next twelve months describing Hope's physical, mental, and emotional progress. We sent the reports, along with several current pictures of Hope to our agency who in turn had the reports translated and forwarded to Beijing. As is usually the case, God's timing was somewhat different from ours.

Several days before Christmas 2004 I received a call from someone at the adoption agency. We had planned on using the same agency that had facilitated Hope's adoption for Claire's adoption as well. Jean, the caller from the agency, explained that she was calling to check on Hope and see how she was doing. We chatted for several minutes when she suddenly asked, "So, are you going to do it again?" I told her that we were indeed going to adopt again. She said, "Well, you know that you only have to have an update of your home study done, right?"

Allow me to digress and explain this. The home study portion of the adoption process consists of paperwork (duh!) for the agency, two home visits and interviews by a social worker which she/he puts into written form, and in our case more paperwork for our social worker. As with anything, there is also a fee involved that not only covers the home study portion but also post placement. Post placement consists of two more visits from the social worker, at six and twelve months after returning home with your child. We were told that the completed home study expires in one year. If you wish to adopt again after that year, you will need to have the entire home study re-done; if you begin the process before that year is up, you only need an update.

Ok, back to the story...I told Jean that our home study had expired quite awhile ago and that we would have to start again from scratch. She told me no. I told her yes. This went back and forth for awhile until she put me on hold to check with "the boss". When she returned she said, "HA HA! I was right! You were wrong!" It may very well have been the first time I was elated at being wrong! She told me that as long as we had two "magic" pieces of paperwork and the registration fee in to the agency by December 31, 2004, we qualified for only having the update done. This is not only a savings in time, but in money! We ended up only having to pay for the post placement portion of the home study fee. On top of that, our wonderful social worker, Dena, was coming to do our twelve month post placement visit for Hope on December 30th. While she was here for that, she also took care of everything she needed for the home study update for Claire. The papers were hand delivered to the agency and, as the title says...our journey continues. [...and what was that part about not receiving any signs? ") ]

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