I really didn't mean to leave you in suspense regarding our decision; we were just trying to make sure that we followed the appropriate procedures and informed all of the necessary people before we announced our exciting news.
Most of you know that we've been waiting for a referral for a little girl in Astrakhan for over a year. We felt very strongly that we wanted to return to this region, as that is where our Chipmunk and Monkey are from. Unfortunately, since late summer referrals from this region (for our agency, at least) had slowed down drastically and we were starting to feel very discouraged about this and about our agency's lack of accreditation. We were determined to stay in this region though, despite the constant nagging feeling that we felt that this might not be where we were supposed to find our HotDog. However, as the months continued we started to get the news that the push for domestic adoption within Russia had a major impact on the amount of available girls in our region and that it was most likely going to be several more months before we heard any news. While I was thrilled to hear that many of the girls were finding homes in Russia, my mind was starting to think about other possibilities.
We initially thought about switching to another region, but we would be in the back of the line, behind the other families that had been waiting for referrals, so that didn't help us much.
We talked to several other agencies that were accredited but heard from all that our wait for a little girl would be much longer than we were willing to wait.
We never really discussed switching countries because it seems almost all programs are running so slow right now.
As we were tossing around various options, I received an email from a friend that had previously adopted from Astrakhan last summer. She was just wondering how our adoption was going and if we had brought our HotDog home yet. She said that they were starting another adoption for a little girl and were adopting from Kyrgyzstan, a fairly new country for international adoptions. The more she described the program, the more it sounded like the perfect fit for us.
I took this information and started my research. The more we looked into it, the more it sounded like it was too good to be true. I talked with several of the agencies that operate in the country (there are still very few agencies working here) and was hearing the same information from each: referrals were coming at a fairly constant rate, the waits are considerably shorter than other countries right now, and we had a definite advantage in that we are homestudy ready and can switch almost all of our dossier to the new country with little additional documents needed.
We were still so nervous about pulling our dossier from Russia. We are both creatures of habit and Astrakhan is what we know, what we love. We've been waiting for over a year so we are bound to hear something soon, right?? We love our agency and would hate not to complete our third adoption with them. We would lose a small chunk of money by switching countries/agencies. We had so many reasons to stay where we were. But there were so many advantages to switching too. We went back and forth for several weeks. But we kept coming back to one thing: adopting from Kyrgyzstan just felt "right". For the past 6 months or so, we were struggling with our adoption in Astrakhan and felt like we were trying to force something that just wasn't meant to happen. Every fiber in our beings was telling us that our daughter was in Kyrgyzstan. It was terrifying, but we made the huge decision to leave Astrakhan and CHI and officially switched to Kyrgyzstan. And it was such a relief. All of our instincts are telling us this is the right move for our family. It just feels "right". Does that make sense?
So (very) long story short, we've signed with a new agency and are officially on the list waiting for a referral for an infant girl from Kyrgyzstan. I've almost finished switching all of our documents (the dossier is sooo much easier than in Russia) and our homestudy agency is busy working on the changes to our homestudy. We're moving right along. The process in Kyrgyzstan is a bit different than Russia; there is no central database listing all of the available children. They are referred to agencies as they enter the baby houses. So while there are just a few families ahead of us in line, the wait could be anywhere from 2 to 6 months. Once we receive a referral, we travel to meet her and spend 14 days bonding with her. We'll then return home and go back to pick her up about 6 weeks later. Of course, this program is new to adoptions (just opened last year) so things could change. But this is the way things are working now. Thank goodness for my friend Rachel that told me about the program; since she's several months ahead of me, she's helping me navigate the new twists and turns in our path.
Thank you for all of your support/wishes/prayers during our decision-making. We are so excited about this new chapter in our journey. I can't wait to share it with you all. One thing is for sure, adoption is never boring!