Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Which We Have Another Adoption Announcement

So I figured now is as good a time as any to reveal the next stage of our adoption saga.  They say the third time's the charm, and since adoption referrals one and two didn't work out we're really hoping this one will stick.

So anyway, we're adopting a teenager!

Yes, I know we might possibly be insane.  But whatever kid we adopt would end up a teenager eventually anyway, and this girl seems to be a really great fit for our family, so we're taking the plunge!  Of course adopting an older child-- particularly a teenager-- comes with its own set of issues and concerns, but we've done our homework and feel like she's the girl for us. 

She's twelve years old right now, and she's currently living in an orphanage in Thailand.  She'll probably be thirteen or fourteen by the time we get her home, which should be either late 2011 or early 2012.  She loves school (her favorite subject is English), playing chess, watching Thai soap operas with her friends, and swimming-- though not in water over her head.  She has cerebral palsy which affects her lower limbs, but thanks to years of intensive physical therapy and surgeries is able to walk very well.  She's described by her teachers and caregivers as friendly and a hard worker.  She's a little shy and has a beautiful smile.  She's amenable to the idea of adoption, though she won't know about us for a while yet.

We're going to keep her Thai given name as her first name and give her the American middle name of Ellen.  It's a name that has sentimental value for us as well as a strong meaning, and is also easy to pronounce for someone who is not a native English speaker.  We'll let her choose what she wants to be called when she's here, but for blogging purposes she'll be Ellen; at least until she gets home and decides whether or not I'm allowed to blog about her.  She's old enough to have a right to privacy if she wants it.

We have a lot of information about her, and we can't wait to get her home!  I'm getting excited about all of the fun things I can do with a teenage girl; shopping, crafts, family game nights, cooking, going out to get manicures together, watching ridiculous chick-flick movies.  Jeremy's excited about teaching her how to ride a bike, building Lego creations with her (you are apparently never too old for Legos) and he's started playing chess against the computer so he'll be ready for matches against Ellen once she's here.  We're thinking we might want to home school her the first year so we can work on her language skills and have a few hours of bonding just with her while Connor's in school, so I've started looking at a curriculum for that.  Since I originally intended to be a teacher before having a very cute wrench named Connor thrown into the works, I'm excited about getting the chance to teach!  I'm also trying to learn as much Thai as I can before we go over so that I'll be able to hold a basic conversation with her without the need for a translating device or a go-between.  Hopefully we'll be able to keep her studies in Thai up as well; Jer and I could take classes with her and (if you count sign language) we might eventually be a trilingual family.  That would be pretty awesome, I think.

So we've already redone our homestudy to reflect Ellen's age and special needs, and we're back in the dossier process right now.  We're getting pretty close to having all our paperwork ready, and then we'll have to sit back and wait.  Forever.  I don't want to do too much with her room because she'll be old enough to have some say in that (decorating-- another fun thing we can do together!) but I've started thinking about basic furniture and whatnot, so once we finish up all the paperwork I'll have something to work on rather than just going crazy with waiting.  I might do that anyway, but at least she'll have a bed and desk before I do.

So here's to embarking on another new adventure!  We don't know exactly where we'll end up, but we're hopeful that things will go a little more smoothly this time and in another year or so we'll be a family of four!

~Jess

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time commenter(?). Just wanted to let you know I have a son with autism called Conor and a NT daughter called Ellen. I really think these two names go together really well. Good Luck with everything and I'll keep reading you blog.

Catherine (Melb,Australia)

Justine said...

Wow, how exciting! We're really rooting for you guys and hope that everything works out and you can bring Ellen home.

ellen charge said...

you know my name is ellen could be bit confusing in the way of comments LOL for ur firneds anyway even if it isnt for you so for now im happy to b known to you and ur firends as ellecharger as my blog name suggest or ellen margaret my niddle name u choose LOL good news anyway and i hope she lets u put a pic of u as she coems xxx

Sara said...

I'm the mom in Oklahoma with the kidney baby... I've commented before :) Anyway, I was wondering what is going on with the adoption journey. My cousin's husband has CP and sounds similar to Ellen. I think you guys are amazing for taking on this callenege. I was adopted and am very open to adoption - but having a 10 year old I'm not sure I'm brave enough to go with an older one ;) But I need to remind myself that they don't ALL have big attitudes. LOL. Wishing you all luck and prayers... and I gotta admit, anxious to see what happens with the roller derby tryouts =) We have awesome roller derby here (or in OKC rather)- so fun to watch! Good luck with all the things coming up in your lives!

Sara said...

challenge* I can spell, I promise.

leah said...

IL was waiting for an announcement on the adoption front! I'm sending a prayer that the third time is the charm. I'm slightly jealous that you get to go shopping and decorate a bedroom (no girls in this house, lol).

How long is the adoption timeline for Ellen? The process seems to take a while, but I am sending "speedy paperwork" vibes in your direction!

Julia O'C said...

YAY!! :)
So happy for you guys.

Julia said...

Great great news! She sounds wonderful. I'm sure there will be challenges here and there, but I'm just as sure that you folks are the ones for the job, and I'm so happy to think about how richly she will augment your life and you hers. Good luck with everything, and I'll be anxiously awaiting more news.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

EXCITING!!!

Every kid and every stage has its challenges, and you'll do fine :D

Julie

melissa said...

How exciting!! I'm Melissa Ellen :)

*Tasha* said...

Do you think she'll be upset to leave Thailand since she'll be 14 & seems to have had a really good life there- getting therapies for CP, going to school, having friends, etc? Just curious... Anyway- congratulations & hopefully this one works out for everybody! :] LOL you'll get to teach her slang too. Hope Connor is doing better, by the way!

Jess said...

Tasha, I'm sure it will be a big adjustment for her. But her opportunities here will be far better than in Thailand as things stand. Her public schooling will be finished at 13, she'll have a little less than a year of vocational training, and then at fifteen she'll be on her own, without the support of the orphanage or any additional schooling or services. So either way big changes will be coming up in the near future for her, and she'll be leaving her friends, therapy and school regardless of whether or not she's adopted.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

What wonderful news! I am absolutely thrilled for you!

xraevision said...

Congratulations on getting this far! I hope it works out for you this time. Several years ago, my husband and I considered adopting an eight year old girl and we were confronted with very strong opposition from family and friends. Good for you for choosing an older child who you feel fits with your family. I don't think it's insane at all. (I actually like teenagers!) You will all be very fortunate to have found each other.

Christy said...

Congrats!

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

How exciting! I think an older girl would be a fantastic fit for your family. You sound so excited about shopping and manicures and decorating. That's awesome. Connor will surely be doted on by a big sister!

Anonymous said...

I am wondering about your statement that the name Ellen, with its end-syllable "L" sound, is easy for non-native English speakers to pronounce. As you know, speakers of many Asian languages have trouble distinguishing L and R sounds. Although Thai, like Chinese, does have separate L and R sounds in the language, there are phonotactic restrictions on these sounds. Thai has no syllable-final L sound, so native Thai speakers would tend to pronounce the L sound as an N. Is your potential daughter's English-class name already Ellen? That might make a difference if she's been learning from a native speaker of English or has heard the end-syllable L sound often enough, early enough. Otherwise, the name you've chosen might actually be hard for her to say. My name, with its L and R, was extremely hard for my Beijing friends to pronounce, so I finally just went with a Mandarin name. English and American Ellens were all miscalled "Erin".

 
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