Over the last few weeks, I've discovered a new online addiction. I've been involved with online communities, blogs, and message boards since Annie was a baby, so when I found out that you were joining our family, it seemed natural to turn to message boards to get information and support and help pass the time. First I found a great group of people whose children have come from the SWI where you're living. They've been great-- they've reassured me that you're in a place where you're well cared for, and they really know the ins and outs of our specific adoption journey. They've given us advice on where to stay in Nanjing, how to schedule a trip to your orphanage, and they've just been a great group of people.
I've also joined a message board for the families of adopted children with cleft lip and palate. While getting you here is more of a concern to me now than getting your lip and palate fixed, I know that in the future, they will also be a great resource.
Both of these message boards are relatively slow, with only a handful of posts on a busy day. The Xuzhou board, in particular, has been really welcoming, with lots of people emailing me off the board to give me advice. It's really taught me a lot about what kind of mentor I want to be after we get you home.
One of the women on the Xuzhou board introduced me to another message board for families adopting special needs kids from China. It's a busy board, and it sucked me in and has me held tight in its grasp. I reload this board at least ten times a day, mostly to check and see who has gotten approvals, so I can get a sense of how long the wait will be until we get you. The good news is that it's helping me accustom myself to the idea that we won't be there until March or April (before your birthday, please!), but the bad news is that I now feel all competitive about something over which I have zero control. For example, there was a family whose dossier was sent to China at the same time as ours, who got a referral the same day we did, who got their preliminary approval at the same time we did, and whose next step, the LOA/LSC, took only 34 days (the average is 72 days). They're now two steps ahead of us, and it's hard not to be jealous that they'll undoubtedly have their baby six weeks before we will. I'm happy for them, but I want you without any delays or hiccups. When someone gets their letter in 34 days, that means that someone else might wait 110 days, and I've watched those people post and try to learn patience through the process, and it's hard to watch and to worry that I might be there in another month.
I pray for you every day, and pray that your papers won't be lost and the process will go as smoothly as possible. One thing that watching these families wait has taught me is that they're praying and hoping as much as I am. All of us have part of our hearts in China, with our babies. It's not necessarily families with more faith and prayers whose papers get processed faster. That doesn't mean I'll stop praying, but I do have to realize that part of the speed of the process will just lie in the luck of the draw.
I'll try not to go too crazy checking the charts twenty times a day, but I won't stop praying that you're happy and safe and your papers will be processed as quickly as possible.