So we are #13 on the waiting list. Matches or "Referrals" as they're called in the adoption world don't happen at any given time for Holt's Thailand program. There are 4 distinct matching periods each year. Usually they fall at the end of December, March, June, and September. This December, the matches actually happened in November. I think it was due to the flooding in Thailand, and everything being off schedule, but I'm not sure why that meant the matches came earlier rather than later. I'm just so happy for the familes who got their referrals! They didn't even have to sit by the phone for a whole month! By the way, does the word "referral" seem weird to you? I think of referral as, "I know a really great hairdresser, here's her card." Or, "I know a great ob/gyn...not at all awkward (harder to find than you'd think)" Not, "I've got this really great baby in mind for you, here's their info." I guess there's not a better word for it, baby-in-waiting? Usually, 4 children are matched each "quarter". One time, they did have an unusually large group of 7 referrals. I don't think they've had a referral group of less than four, but correct me if I'm wrong, experienced adoptive parents! So, being #13 means that Holt estimates we will get a referral this coming September. This is assuming that at least one of the upcoming referral groups will have 5 children instead of 4. Our situation is a little less predictable, because we are open to quite a few medical conditions, some quite serious, others more minor. So, if for some reason, a precious little one with a medical condition that we said yes to, and the other familes were not comfortable saying yes to comes up on the list, then we would all of a sudden move to the "front of the line" so to speak, and receive an early referral. I'm not really sure how often this happens. I do know there are other families open to some medical conditions and are ahead of us in line, so I don't think it's super likely for us to move way ahead. But that's ok, because it means more healthy children are being born, and I'll never complain about that! The childen, at age of referral, are typically between 7-14 months old. To apply for the Thailand program, we had to say yes to a child, of either gender, ages 0-2 years old. This is just fine by us. We LOVE toddlers, and I'm not a huge newborn type of girl. They're adorable, but I've always found toddlers so much more fun and enjoyable. I know we will grieve the loss of those special baby moments with our child, but we're ok with that.
Holt recommends that everyone have their referral information reviewed by a doctor who has experience in international adoption. Even if the child is completely healthy, they always recommend a second look. Or even if you know you're open to just about anything, it's worth it to have someone tell you in more detail what to expect and prepare for in your child. After reviewing your child's file, you have the opportunity to say yes or no to the referral. Holt never holds it against you if you say no. They want to be sure you are completely comfortable and capable to parent any particular child. And, let's face it, every child deserves to be in a home where their parents were confident they were meant to be their child.
After match, we don't rush right over to Thailand and get our little one. Although, every single adoptive parent will tell you they so wish that was the case! The waiting period after referral seems to be excruciating from what I can gather from those who have been there. So, the waiting period to go bring your little one home is a minimum 9 months, and lately, it has been stretching out into 14 months. The longer waiting periods have been caused by some disruption in positions in the Thai government, along with the severe flooding in Thailand. I'm hoping the waiting period slowly goes back down towards the 9 month mark, but there's no way to know for sure.
Ok, that's all for now. To recap: #13 means we probably won't have any news of a child until next September. In the meantime, we'll learn everything we can to prepare for this adventure! And, please, ask whatever questions you'd like. I know this process can be really confusing and daunting. I'm happy to answer anything and everything! I hope giving all the little details might make the process less scary and inspire someone else to consider adoption :)