Happy Chanukah & Merry Christmas!

It's hard to think that at this time last year we thought that we would have our daughter home at the end of 2006. Now we're feeling like we would be lucky to have her home for the end of 2007. Even so, we have had a wonderful Chanukah, celebrating with friends and family, and enjoying lighting the menorah each night. And we are excited to travel to San Francisco to celebrate Christmas with Jonathan, Margaret, Caroline, & Colin. Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful holiday season. --Lots of Love, Mara & Chris

New Rules to Adopt from China

Even though the CCAA hasn't made a formal announcement, US papers are starting to print the story that has been circulating through the China adoption community for the past couple of weeks. China is looking to tighten rules regarding who can adopt a child from their country. Apparently, this is in response to a huge increase in adoption applications. Some reports say that there are currently twice as many applications as there are "paper-ready" children. (hence, the ridiculously long increase in wait time)

We're lucky - we aren't affected by the new rules. Most believe that families that are already logged-in will not be subjected to the new rules, and even if we were, it doesn't look like we would be disqualified. But the many articles bring to light some of the reasons for the increasing wait. The A.P. article that was printed in yesterday's Washington Post does a good job of explaining the rules and the current situation, as does the article from today's Wall Street Journal (which I'm a little partial to since my cousin is a WSJ columnist!) The New York Times article from today's paper is also pretty good. Finally, if you search on google news, there are currently 293 articles about it...choose your favorite paper!

Review & Matching...How Does it Work?

Well, if the rumors are right, our dossier should be in review now. So what does that mean? There was a great explanation this week on http://chinaadopttalk.com/ ("The Rumor Queen") explaining both the review and matching process (reposted with permission)...

How the Review Room Works...

  • Each agency has their own review person. They know how to put a dossier together based on how their review person wants to see it, and based on the things their review person will approve or deny.
  • Each review person has their own assigned agencies, or maybe their own assigned country.
  • Sometimes one review person has twice as many files to review as someone else does that month, but the next month they may have half as many.
  • This means that one reviewer could be several months ahead of another reviewer, and may stay that way until their agencies have a big month and they get slowed down again. It is normal for one reviewer to still be working on February while another reviewer has made it to April.
  • The review room notice on the CCAA site won’t show that a month is complete until all reviewers are through with that month.

How the Matching Room Works...

  • First, they review the baby dossiers and make sure there are no issues with them. We are told that they then count up all of the baby dossiers that are eligible for matching that month and then look to see how far this stack will go in the parent dossiers without sending out a partial day, and they pull all of those parent files. That is the likely cut-off date. Sometimes something happens and they don’t get this far. Sometimes something happens and they get farther.
  • Next they match orphanages up with agencies. This orphanage has six babies, this agency has six families. These two orphanages are in the same province and have a total of 12 babies, this agency has 12 families. When they are through with this is when (I believe) some agencies start to get information about the cut-off date. Or at least it is when they used to start getting information.
  • And then they start matching individual babies to individual families. At some point during this part of the process most agencies used to hear from their person in the matching room to let them know how many referrals they will be receiving and from what province(s). Some agencies shared this information with their clients. Some chose not to. Recently I’ve gotten the feeling that many agencies are still getting this information but they are being given orders by the CCAA to not share this information with the families.
  • Just as in the review room, each matcher is assigned certain agencies and is responsible for communicating with their agencies. Some matchers tell their agency the cut-off date, some matchers tell their agency “you have X number of referrals arriving”, some matchers give their agency a list of that agency’s families that will be receiving a referral. And some matchers don’t say anything at all to their agencies.
  • The next question that comes up is generally how the matchers match families and babies. I’ve heard from several people who have had the opportunity to speak with someone who works in the matching room. The various conversations seem to all agree that they first look for something that stands out: a matching birthday, a baby who looks a lot like a parent, or a baby who likes music and a parent who teaches music. Several matching people have stated they match by bone structure of the baby’s face and the parent’s faces (this is why they need our passport photos, so they can compare our mug shot with the baby’s mug shot). Some have stated that they used Chinese astrology, also. Once they’ve matched the obvious matches they then start to look at things like age of child requested. The age requested is not a priority for them, they feel they are matching families and not filling orders.

Thank you again to the Rumor Queen for letting me repost this information!