One of the biggest bummers of adoption before bringing home that little one is the privacy agreement. I mean, I get it. We want to protect the identities of children in waiting around the world. It’s necessary. It makes sense. Yada yada yada…
But it’s such a shame you can’t see Cynthia’s (not even her real name) darling face and infectious smile in these new pictures we’ve gotten because SHE IS THE CUTEST THING YOU HAVE EVER SEEN!!!
So, with that being said, we got a much needed update on Cynthia yesterday! It’s been months since we’ve heard about how she’s doing, and as unfortunate as that is, it’s just going to be the norm for a few more months. Let’s catch up on how Cynthia is progressing with her physical and language development, and where we are at in her adoption process:
Cynthia has some minor special needs that we’ve known about since the beginning of this process. We know she has some muscle trauma in her throat that is unresolved and prevents her from having liquids normally. She eats solids just fine, but her water has to be thickened with a special gel mixture. She also is not able to run. She can walk on her own and do most other things on her own (climbing stairs while holding onto a bar support, dress herself, use writing tools correctly etc.) but she cannot squat without assistance regularly. Her language development continues to be on par with he situation, which is encouraging.
There is some other testing that was done in which results will be ready at her next follow up in a couple months, so we’ll be anxious to see what those say and what to expect as far as her care and treatment when we get her home. We are anticipating there being unforeseen issues, simply because that is most likely.
Ruth had no known medical issues except for a couple ear infections and when we got her home she ended up needing physical therapy and adenoids and tonsils out. Basically, we’re approaching Cynthia’s needs with a “better safe than sorry” mindset and over-preparing ourselves for some major needs/expenses.
Cynthia is speaking normally for a child in her situation, so we aren’t too concerned with her language and developmental delays as they appear to be on par with what to expect in these circumstances. We can reevaluate those after we get home and get a plan of action for any other of her more serious needs, if necessary.
Cynthia appears to be an active, joyful little four year old girl. She is engaging in her play, laughs often, and has no problem smiling for a picture. She is in a wonderful facility and receiving some top notch care. It is hard to know we still have several months to go before we can scoop her up into our arms and tell her she is loved and wanted, but for now, we are thankful that she is in such a wonderful children’s home and praising God for his provision for her.
Where We are at in the Adoption Process:
Now to update on where we’re at in Cynthia’s adoption timeline. So far, we have completed our home study, and after all our life changes we have almost completed the home study update (expected maybe next week). We have submitted our i800a application to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) which is basically asking the government’s permission to adopt internationally. With this application, we must be bio-metrically identified, which includes an in depth fingerprinting appointment at the USCIS office in OKC. That is where we are going today! After this appointment, we will wait for USCIS to give approval for an international adoption, and then we will be able to send our dossier over to Hong Kong.
This is where the majority of our paperwork contributions end. I’ve worked up a very rough timeline based on a Hong Kong adoption schedule estimate we were given by our agency in the beginning of Cynthia’s process. I’m using March 1 as a starting point, but that may be a little optimistic. It looks a little something like this:
Screening process, 6-8 weeks
Official matching by Hong Kong Central Authority, 8-12 weeks (currently we are only pre-matched by the adoption agency in Hong Kong)
After being officially matched, we can now send Cynthia pictures of us and her future life and gifts, yay! This will be the first time she has heard of us or seen pictures of us.
Submit i-800 to USCIS, 4-6 weeks (this is permission from our government to adopt a specific child, where we will name Cynthia and the U.S. will know who they are granting citizenship to for our family)
Legal procedure in Hong Kong, 6-8 weeks (granting us custody to take Cynthia out of Hong Kong and to the U.S.for adoption)
Visa/passport, 4-6 weeks (the U.S. Consulate will prepare Cynthia’s passport with visa prior to us arriving)
We fly to Hong Kong to get our little girl! We will stay one week, visiting Cynthia for a few days before bringing her from the children’s home and officially taking custody of her. Then it’s time to fly home and complete the process in Oklahoma.
When we began Cynthia’s adoption, we were told it could be anywhere from 9 to 18 months until completion. We have also been told that Hong Kong can be slow processing on their end, so while we hope for the faster time of flying to Hong Kong around September 13th, we need to be prepared for it to take as long as until December 6th or even longer. We will, of course, be praying for a speedier processing time so we can go meet her sooner, but setting our hearts on patience and trusting that God has our whole story planned, with details so intricate we can’t even possibly imagine. His timing is absolutely best.
As far as funding goes, we have been blessed with a grant early on to help with the beginning fees. Thankfully, we have enjoyed some discounts through our adoption agency as an alumni family. The bulk of our expenses will come towards the end of this process. Paying for visa and passport as well as other program fees, traveling to Hong Kong, staying for a week, and then the adoption finalization once home and post adoption reporting fees, we’re looking at needing approximately $12,000 from this point on. Although, it’s likely traveling expenses will be a bit more than when this expense estimate was created. Also- our traveling expenses to Nigeria were about three times what was expected- so we have a hard time accepting the numbers estimated!
We are anticipating the day where we can meet Cynthia- it will be a beautiful day, even if it isn’t perfect. And it won’t be. And even though we would rather be hopping on a plane tomorrow to go get her, we are resting in the peace that God is in control. Allen, Ruth and Cynthia have been gifted to us and God wrote their stories when he spoke the stars and watery depths into being. So we will wait until we have to wait no more. And we will continue to pray for her little heart to be prepared for the adventure that awaits her.
We are so excited to meet you, little bug! I especially long to hear the laugh that goes with the precious smile and big, bright eyes I’ve gotten to see. Mommy loves you already, and I hope you know that the minute you see me for the first time.