Before we decided to adopt, we didn’t personally know anyone else who already had. We met several families in our Parents in Process class and were able to share in each other’s general pre-adoption experiences. But we were all first-timers, essentially in the same boat but with very different destinations. The process for each country is surprisingly vastly different. The wait times, costs, requirements, living conditions, government structures, and travel stipulations are as diverse as the cultures themselves. Not to be completely picky here, but we still hoped to find a family whose story more closely resembled our own. And if we could be a tad greedy, a family just a few steps ahead of us would be helpful too.
Unbeknownst to us and only a block and a half away, a sweet couple was making final preparations to travel to China in March to meet their daughter for the first time and bring her home. How I wish now that we had met them earlier in their process so we could have provided even half the support they have given us! Between sharing informational resources and travel tips, erasing any concerns we had about cleft lip and palate (one of the possible medical conditions we can expect in our referral), and letting their process be an open book to us, they have helped us more than we could possibly ever thank them for.
We were connected via email with Leslie and Shawn by a mutual friend just one week before their trip to China actually. We didn’t yet know them personally, but already they were on our hearts and minds constantly given how close they were to the culmination of all the waiting!
Leslie and I finally met in person back in May – a few short weeks after their return – but it truly feels like we have been friends for a lifetime. Adoption as our initial common bond was only the start really. Leslie is an absolute gem, and someone I’m sure I would have been friends with had we met under any other circumstance. I mean, we have even braved – correct that, completely dominated! – a couple of baby consignment sales together, which was new and uncomfortable territory for both of us. We found that four elbows is way better than two at those crazy things.