Friday, January 8, 2010

Who is Annalee? and Other Questions Answered

Since we have started distributing our prayer cards for our adoption, we have received many well-meaning questions...number one on the list:
1. Who is Annalee?
Annalee is the name that we have chosen for our daughter. Her first name will be Annalee, her middle name will be her Korean name.
For any of you that have known us through the pregnancies and births of our sons, you know that girl names have always been hard for us. We have about five boy names chosen at a time, but it wasn't until the ultrasounds that we would come up with girl names. Ethan would have been Mikaela Faith, Isaiah we had discussed Emmalee Devonne - after both of our sisters. However, we knew we wanted to use her Korean name, so that was out.
Nate has always liked the name Hannah, which is a very pretty name, but I find it to be a very meek, submissive name, which I can't imagine a child of ours being. When looking for names I came across Annalee, which has the same meaning as Hannah - "Gracious, full of grace" and sounded similar to Emmalee. We both loved the name and there was no discussion, that was just the "right" name after over 10 years of discussions about a little girl!
When giving out our prayer cards a distant relative asked how we picked the name...we explained and she told us her mother, who went by Anne, was actually Annalee. So, now there is a family tie as well!
2. Do you already know who Annalee is? Do you have a picture?
We do not know if our daughter has been born. We know that she is in Korea, and now that we are praying she will be home by Christmas. She will be between 5 months old and 2 years old, with the average homecoming age between 10-14 months. We just know that she will be a beautiful little girl that will definitely add some personality to our already spirited family! Once we are an approved match with our little girl we will receive a photo, which we will share with you!
3. How will you find Annalee? How will you be matched with her?
When we began the process to adopt we completed a medical form which listed out a large array of medical conditions, some minor and some very major. The social workers have our file and as new baby girls become available for adoption they will check our file and the other waiting parents file to determine the best match. We are not matched in chronological order, but rather they try to match the child to the family that would be best for them. This matching process could take 10 weeks or 10 months.
We are part of the waiting child program, which means the child we have will have been at risk for health issues due to premature birth, genetics, or mother's habits during pregnancy or has been diagnosed with a medical condition. When a child needs to be placed they will begin calling with the best family for the match, if the family turns down the match, the referral, and the child is not matched through this method, then they will be listed on a photolisting for waiting children with Holt.
If during our waiting period for a referral, we identify a child on the photolisting we are interested in, then we can request that child's file for review. We would then research the child's background and medical history and have our doctor do the same and provide us with a medical recommendation. Several families can request the same child's file at once when on the photo listing. Once a family has decided to proceed with this child, then the other families reviewing the file, must also decide they will or will not proceed with the adoption.
Once the decision is made to proceed with a photolisted child, then the potential family(s) will be presented to a committee, which will determine if this family is best for this child. The committee meets weekly, so through this process a family could be matched fairly quickly after identification.
This has to be probably the most grueling and vulnerable part of the adoption process. To look at a file, to fall in love with the child listed, but then to try to remove emotion and logically determine if your family can meet the medical needs of this child, how the medical needs will impact the family, finances, are resources available? Much prayer and encouragement is needed for anyone going through this stage of the process.
4. When will Annalee come home?
After our daughter is matched to our family, there will be a flurry of activity! We will complete our paperwork to submit to the US Government for approval to adopt her, then the Korean government will have to approve the adoption and issue a Visa. All this time our daughter will be cared for by a Foster family, as is the case with most of the children, or will be residing in a care center with many wonderful workers. This part of the process takes about 3-5 months for our daughter to come home. I think for us this will be one of the hardest parts of the process...just waiting for our precious girl.
5. How can we support you during these parts of the process?
Please pray, pray, pray. We will not share publicly with everyone about being matched with our daughter until it is an approved match, as we could review several files before being matched. So at anytime we could be reviewing files and working with the medical providers reviewing the files. Please pray for wisdom and strength of heart for us...for clear and decisive information in the medical files for our medical team to review. Please pray for us to guard our hearts, as it can be very painful to choose a photolisted child and then the committee to decide another family may be a better match.
Most of all pray for Annalee as she is entering this world, being cared for and loved by others, that she may have a Christian family or workers caring for her that will sing to her and talk to her about Jesus and her family far away.
6. Why would you go on this journey that seems so difficult and very trying?
We know that our family was called by God to adopt a little girl at this time in our lives. We know Annalee is out there and if we are patient and wait for the right time, she will join our family. Any struggles that we have in waiting do not compare to the wait our child has had to be loved by her forever family...we have so much love in our hearts as do our sweet boys and we can't wait to share it with her! The path may be long, unknown, and trying at times for our sweet Annalee and our family, but we know in the end it will be worth it all to have her in our arms!

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