This is the story of how we came about adopting a child from China.
My husband Todd and I started trying to have a family quite by chance. On April 4, 1999, after having severe leg pain for several weeks (and traveled to Florida and back in a car) discovered that I had a blood clot in my left leg. I spent the next 7 days in the hospital flat on my back and was told I could never take birth control again. That was fine, we thought. We'll just start trying for a family.
After a year, we consulted with a doctor who prescribed Clomid for 6 months. Nothing happened. We played games for several years with different doctors and finally went to a fertility clinic. I was tested, prodded, poked, dyed, etc. We tried three artificial inseminations. On the third attempt, the doctors had a hard time locating my right ovary. Upon further investigation, they discovered a tumor that was the size of a grapefruit attached to my ovary. We were given a scope of possibilities of what the tumor could be, including cancer. Fortunately, my tumor turned out to be an Endometrioma. It had attached itself to the walls of my bowels and my right ovary, so what was supposed to be a laparoscopic surgery turned into a full blown surgery. When they entered my abdomen, they discovered a golfball size tumor on my left ovary. It, too, had attached to my bowels. Thankfully, it was benign as well. Another endometrioma. Endometrioma's are formed from endometriosis which is lining of the uterus that doesn't flush out during menstruation. This was October 2003. I had surgery the Friday before Thanksgiving and stayed in the hospital for 5 days.
It took me two months to recover from this surgery. We tried for several more months to have kids, but we finally resigned ourselves to being childless. In the meantime, my brother had his third child and Todd's sister became pregnant with her second. It was devastatingly hard to get through this period.
Miraculously, things started to take a turn. In January 2005, we decided to refinance our house. The mortgage officer was a lady that we had gone to high school with. Of course you do the usual catching up with an old schoolmate and of course you are always asked about children. Todd and I had been discussing adopting internationally, but we had done nothing more than request information from a few organizations. We were very close to sending in an application to Children's Hope International when our mortgage officer, Kari, said she saw that there was going to be an adoption workshop at the library. Todd relayed this information to me and we contacted the library for times. The organization was Great Wall of China Adoption and they were making a presentation on Chinese adoptions.
The rest is pretty much history. We were the first ones to arrive that evening at the workshop. It was January 31, 2005. We met the most awesome people: Karen Clark and Judy Pyles who both have adopted from China. They had pictures of their daughters and of their trip to China. We watched a video about Great Wall and then the real show began. In walked three Chinese girls, all adopted by Karen, Judy and another family (her name is Karen as well). We observed these kids and Todd looked at me and said, "You know we're doing this now, don't you." And that was it. We were hooked. We filled out the application that night and sent it in the next day with our fee.
Our approval came two weeks later and we started the long process of collecting paperwork and completing the home study. Todd was a champ during this time. He was in his element of being a detective, contacting agencies to get copies of official documents. He was a Nazi about the paperwork. We sent in our completed dossier on May 27, 2005. We were logged in at the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs on June 9, 2005. That is when the clock started ticking!
Fast forward to November 14, 2005--Today! We are anxiously awaiting for the first of the year when we will enter the "Matching Room" in China to be matched with our child. We had originally thought that we would have our referral by Christmas of this year, but it looks like we will be waiting a little longer. I'm totally fine with this because it gives us extra time to do everything.