When we first started the process to bring MJ home, we were told that the average wait for a referral of a non-special needs child from China was 6 months from the date your dossier was logged into the system. This was in late 2004 or early 2005 when we were given that bit of information. So, knowing that, and knowing approximately when our dossier would be finished, we thought we would travel somewhere around December of 2005. Because of that timeline, I went on and resigned from my preschool teaching position because I did not want to leave a class full of pre-k students with a new teacher at mid-term if I could avoid it.
So, we were DTC (dossier to China) in late June 2005 and LID (log-in date) in early July of 2005. And then our friends who were several months ahead of us in the process had to wait a couple more months than they originally thought for their referral. We started to realize that the 6 month number that we were originally given was not going to happen. Our actual wait turned out to be 13 months from LID, not 6. And this was early in the slow-down period for non-special needs referrals from China.
The next section on my outline is “Current State of Adoption in China.” Understanding that my presentation has been done for those who are mostly outside of the adoption community, for those of us who are very familiar with China adoption, this may fall into the category of over-simplified or things we often think everyone knows. But here it is in a nutshell...
At this point, the current wait for a non-special needs referral from China is over 5 years. The last LID referred at this point is August 2, 2006. (That is only a little over a year after our LID, and we’ve been home for over 5 years.) There is a lot of speculation on the reasons, but no one knows for sure except for the officials in China. There are more domestic adoptions happening in China now than there have been in the past, and in some areas, families are allowed to have a second child if their first is a girl, which has not always been the case. These are most likely some of the contributing factors to the slow-down, but probably don’t tell the entire story.
That said, the Waiting Child (or special needs) program in China is moving along smoothly. There are many children available for adoption with mild to moderate “special needs”, which could be anything from their age to being cleft-affected to having heart issues to everything in-between. One fact that still isn’t known too widely outside of the China adoption community is that many of these children who are still waiting for families are boys. Because so many enter the China program knowing at least some about the history of girls in China, they come into the program expecting to adopt a girl. If you are considering adopting through the special needs program, a good place to start is No Hands But Ours. Just as adoption-in-general is not for everyone, special needs adoption may not be for everyone, but it could be more of a possibility than you think.
Tomorrow’s Post...Adoption-Friendly Language