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Wednesday16 April 2014

A Family of Four, Finally

By Ingrid F

When we started this process, we knew that we wanted to adopt two children, a boy and a girl. The adoption of our son was a relatively short somewhat painless process, though it didn't seem that way at the time. Within three months of submitting our dossier to Ukraine, we got the call to go and we brought our 16-month-old son Tristan home after 4 weeks in country. The whole process from the date we went to the first introduction meeting with Wide Horizons to his homecoming date took just over a year and a half. Oh, were those the days!

SeraTristan

Immediately after bringing our son home we decided to pursue our second adoption for an infant girl, but life seemed to have different plans for us. We finally submitted our dossier to China thinking we would receive a referral for an infant girl in just over a year for what was then considered a predictable program. Boy did things change!

Fast-forward 3 years later, my husband Cory and I are both getting older and feeling it. Our son Tristan is now turning 7 years old and in 1st grade. We really wanted to complete our family and our son really wanted the baby sister we had talked so much about. The wait to adopt from China had now extended to 3 years and was getting longer with each month. We were only two and a half years into our wait and were looking at another 2-4 years of waiting or possibly longer! We knew we needed to do something, but just didn't know exactly what. We weren't in a position to be in our mid-50s with an infant and we didn't want a huge spread in age between our two children. We looked at other countries but our hearts kept pulling us back to China. We pursued several waiting children from China, but we were so far down on the wait list that we didn't have a chance of a match.

Then Wide Horizons introduced its new China Special Children program. I made the call to Andrea Marshall soon after the program was introduced to get more information. We discussed what parameters we felt comfortable with and decided that a slightly older child with some developmental delays would be a good fit for our family since we had dealt with some similar issues with our son from Ukraine. We assumed it would take several weeks or even months to find a child, but to our surprise Andrea called us within days of submitting our paperwork for the program telling us, "I've found a little girl for you!" After years of waiting, we didn't exactly know how to respond to finding a child so soon but there she was with this sweet little face waiting in China almost as long as we had been waiting here! That week, after going over her referral with our pediatrician and an international adoption medical specialist, we sent in our letter of intent to adopt Niyu who was three years old at the time with a diagnosis of a delayed intelligence development. Her language development was behind by one year.

After making the leap of faith, it has been a whirlwind ever since. The CCAA in China moved quickly. We received our necessary approvals before USCIS here could update our paperwork to include an older child with special needs. We traveled within 6 months from the day that Andrea called to bring our daughter Sera Niyu home. She is such a sweet little girl and we all love her immensely. She has a big beautiful smile and loves to sing and dance. She has made a surprisingly smooth transition since coming home thus far. She adores her big brother and is so affectionate with us. She chatters up a storm in a dialect of Mandarin and even started to mimic our English while with us in China! She will receive a thorough evaluation in the coming weeks and months and will most likely receive speech therapy services here to help her language development as she learns English and gets ready for preschool next year.

We now have the daughter we always wanted, our son now has his little sister and Sera is no longer a waiting child in China, she is home. Our family is complete!