Saturday, November 29, 2003

Thanksgiving and the start of The Red Thread.

It is wholly appropriate that on this weekend, during an American holiday that all residents in America with no exclusions, stop and give thanks for what they have.

Over the next months my wife Taney and I will undertake with the greatest thanks an unbelivable journey that makes us so excited that will realize our combined dream of parenthood and a very welcome addition to our family. There are many others who have shared a similar story, this is our ours, our story of how we followed our red thread to China and brought our daughter home.


September 27, 2003

I am thrilled to report that Taney & I have started the process of adopting from China, hence the recent reference to the red thread. We are deeply involved in the information gathering, selecting our agency to facilitate the process and the necessary documentation to move forward.

We are researching how we can make our adoption plan work for us, from having papers notarized in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a trip to the British Consulate in Washington DC to using our Amex Reward points toward the travel costs to China and how others can donate their points to help us, through to fundraising events.

After five long years of avoiding stores like Babies R Us. Last week, we located our local Babies R Us store and head off on a fact-finding mission. Four hours later we left the store, both physically exhausted from looking at everything, with the exception of clothes that this store offered. I am certain we would have looked at clothes, but four hours is the limit.

I had never been in one of these mega-stores before, it was a big store by British standards, but not as big as I am certain they can get. As we walked aisle by aisle, we made notes of the things we thought were important to us, not just the larger items but the smaller ones too. From angled bottles to reduce the effects of gas, a snip at $7.99 to strollers, high chairs and car seats this was a new learning experience for this expecting Dad.

The staff I have to report were very, very helpful, as we would explain our story and ask for their advice. The chap who talked us through strollers was excellent in explaining the different car seats too. The guys in the bedroom department were helpful in explaining the cribs that converted to beds and so on. It is probably company policy, but on explaining our story to the staff, they responded immediately with “Congratulations to you both”, standing in the middle of a baby store it was wonderful to have a stranger congratulate us as expectant parents.

Taney & I devised a stroller test. If we could not work out how to collapse the thing in less than thirty seconds, it probably was not for us. There were more than a couple that lost this test, and one in particular try as we might, neither of us could solve the mystery of the collapsing stroller.

Over the weekend, we also visited the local Zany-Brainy store and the Baby store within our local Burlington Coat Factory. We must have spent close to seven hours in two days just looking at baby stuff! While there is so much available, we were looking with an eye on that which is a necessity not wished.

We have provisionally selected a stroller (British made) that is lightweight and strong, that we can use overseas and in the US, a high chair, a car seat, have a pretty good idea on the nursery furniture the nursery colors, a “daddy bag” a changing bag just for Dad’s and food and drink utensils.

So perhaps LC readers you will understand why the postings have been light of late, I have been up to other more important stuff, including sitting down with Taney each night putting together a plan “B” if the home we have so patiently been waiting for in Bryn Athyn falls through, from an emotional standpoint we need to have a Plan B safety net that will allow us to make this adoption happen – and happen it will, as I tell Taney every day.

But what of the red thread?

Taney & I have visited a number of adoption agencies that have programs to adopt from China, we have watch the presentations and the films of parents that have made the journey to China to bring home their son or daughter to America. We have seen the tears that have built up for months of waiting hidden behind a dam of paperwork processing until the moment within 48 hours of arriving in China, they are presented with their new child. A family of two become three, three become four, families are created families transformed. That we will find the child to complete our family in China, we attribute only to the wonders of God and the mysteries of the matching room, the magic room as many call it of the Chinese bureaucracy.

The Chinese have a wonderful way of explaining how people come together, all people. In their culture, long before we meet the people who will be the most important in our lives, we are linked with lengths of invisible red thread. A red thread they will tell us, joins us to our child, just as a red thread crossed the Atlantic to join Taney to me. For my family the red thread that started in London, England, ran just north of Philadelphia, PA, will run further to the eastern provinces of China. The Chinese will tell us that we were meant to be the Mommy and Daddy.

Our decision to adopt has not been an easy one. We are not childless by choice, and despite a comfort level with our lives, we knew someone was missing. Dealing with infertility is difficult for any couple to work through. From the first day, my tests returned we treated the issue as our problem, not mine alone. Providence had another plan, as we all know that providence / destiny is what is planned since our birth and that who we meet and what we will do has already been written down in the sand.

The Chinese have a very old tale no matter where the person travels in the world, no matter what age they may be, they each are tied to together by an invisible red thread. The red thread may become tangled or knotted but it will never break. This belief means that our baby will be born in China. No matter how much we may have thought about infertility treatments and thoughts on adopting domestically or internationally, our baby will be born in China and more importantly born in our hearts.

Ours will be a blended family, American on one side, British on the other, and one day soon Chinese. The three of us will all have one thing in common, at one time we would all have immigrated to another country. We will add to the holidays we already celebrate, not least a Birthday, “Gotcha” Day, Chinese New Year and other Chinese festivals. We are very lucky to have a Chinatown in Philly, and one “up the road” in New York that we have others in our town who have also adopted from China and collectively will allow us to more easily maintain the Chinese heritage in our new family.
We both think about how our family has mentally increase already, given the timeline for adoption, this is before birth. As experienced by many other parents who adopt internationally, some people have been less than thoughtful and considerate in their questions to both of us. “Why China and not a Caucasian baby, why don't you adopt from America or Britain?” Thankfully we both have great families who are very supportive of our plans and we love them all, these are the people who really matter to us, those who will see our family grow-up over the years.

I am proud of my British roots, as is Taney of her ancestry. But our hearts our prayers, our hopes and dreams and an invisible red thread are leading us to China.