It is so hard to just wait to travel and not know anything about how Anya is doing. We don’t really even know if she is in an orphanage or foster care. Her paperwork says she is in the social welfare institute (SWI), but that would be really unusual for this SWI as most kids under 3 are in foster care.
Her SWI is notorious for providing no information before or after adoption. They do not generally allow adoptive parents to visit. Many people with referrals from throughout China use various services to send care packages and get updated info and photos of their kids while they wait to travel. Several people in the June group have recently gotten wonderful updated photos. Anya’s SWI does not provide these updates to these types of services. So we have decided to send a more personalized care package on our own with no hope of an update (but we have not gotten it together yet). I’m planning to use my rusty Mandarin and hand-write a note to accompany the package. I hope they are not offended.
Our agency may get an update right before we travel, but that is months from now and all the information we have is already 3 months old. I panic when I read about any trouble in China (currently - floods, riots, lead poisoning, bombings!).
The Fuzhou yahoo group is reassuring at least. They state that the kids – whether in foster care or the SWI - are generally well cared for and healthy. Few to no cases of scabies have been reported. Several kids came home with giardia, though, so we will take precautions until we can get her tested (i.e., not let Nik and Anya take baths together and wash our hands a lot). Not all kids have it, though – especially if they are in foster care. There is a Half the Sky program at the SWI, but we don’t know if Anya is in it – probably not because I get the feeling that most kids in the HTS programs are SN.
I learned about a person who can get updates and photos - primarily from the Fuzhou SWI. People who have used his service have gotten as many as 75 photos of their kids with the foster parents, the town, the SWI, the baby’s bed, etc! BUT, I have also heard that this person pays the SWI director and possibly the foster parents to obtain all the info. While that is an innocent payment, it makes me nervous and is probably technically a violation of Hague and possibly US immigration laws. We cannot give money to our future daughter’s current guardians until the adoption is final. But… 75 photos of our little baby and her life before joining our family! And others have used the service with no issues. Sigh… we will (probably) wait until after the adoption and then use his services to get photos of people and places that were important to her early life.
And, in the meantime, please pray that our little girl is happy, healthy, and loved.