Thursday, September 04, 2008

Home Study, day 2

Today felt both simple and exhausting.

Simple because I spent most of the day sitting and talking about myself. We met with our social worker for 4 hours this morning. We took a 2 hour break to celebrate L--'s birthday with cake and a dance party at school. Then I met with her alone for another 2 hours this afternoon. Dave spent the evening with her. She will return tomorrow for 1 more day.

Certainly it was a day of no rest, and I suppose that talking about heavy emotional topics with a stranger must be taxing. Still, I'm surprised by my exhaustion. Maybe the past 2 weeks is beginning to take its toll on me.

Certainly the pile of changes is taking its toll on L--. Separation at school becomes harder every day. I feel confident that she likes school very much. She never tells me that she would prefer not to go. She just wants me to go with her. I think that L-- feels uncomfortable with strangers, especially large groups. It can take quite a while to be welcomed into her inner circle. But she feels she can handle most things with a family member by her side. It is certainly time for her to learn that she doesn't need us next to her, but difficult for her all the same. Compounded by the guests, and made worse by the social worker's visit - Mommy didn't even take her to school this morning. Her allergies seem to have made a comback as well, adding exhaustion into the mix. The poor girl just needs a few days of normalcy and rest, and those don't seem on the tab for quite a while. Still, she shall recover and certainly as a better person.

Tomorrow is the last day of our home study. We fixed most of our paperwork, and now just wait for a few last items to show up. At that point, she will complete our home study and send it to an agency to be certified. This application will soon leave our hands, and follow a complex journey for months - possibly years. The expected wait for expatriates living in China has now risen from 12 months to 18 months. She prepares us that it could raise to 2 years by the time we submit. This seems surprising, but comes with good reason. I understand that bureaucracy works slowly in China, and this is bad reason. But apparently more Chinese people are adopting babies. This is the goal of every nation's adoption program - to place all homeless children in their native country. Chinese natives are given priority on adoption applications, as they should be. Expatriates living in China are next in line, on the theory that we have a stronger knowledge of China, her language and her customs and will be able to impart some of that to her children. Entirely foreign families are last in line - explaining the multiple year waits families in the states currently face. Our hope is that we will still be able to pick up Mei Mei (or possibly Di Di - we did say that we would accept a child of either gender) while we live in China.

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