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The Second Referral
Home Our Adoption from China Family Photo Album Jaclyn's Adoption Story

The Start
A Flurry of Paperwork
The Long Wait
The Referral
The Second Referral
The Incident
On to Beijing
Tour of Beijing
The Day Everything Changed
The Adoption
Shopping Nanjing
Touring Nanjing
Leaving Nanjing
The Long Ride Home


The Second Referral

On November 4th, Ginger called me at work, she had the director of our agency on the line.  Yu Zhu was not to be our daughter. Like the other couple in our group, we were told that Yu Zhu was referred to another couple from another country.  This happened to three families in our group, and we later corresponded with several other people from the APC list using different agencies that also had happened to them in this time period. Our agency director did have a new referral for us. This child, Wang Jiang Li was at the Zhenjiang Social Welfare Institute. She was born on 9/16/96,

We were, of course, stunned. We had firmly bonded with that picture posted on our home page and grieved for her loss as strongly as we grieved for the miscarriage. We heard the information about the new referral, but it didn't really sink in.  This new child was older by a month, but it was also apparent by now that we would not get speedy travel approval. Ginger and I were certain that we would not travel until everyone in the group was over 35, mid December at the earliest. This child was going to be 15 months or more old when we adopted her. Older than the 9 to 12 months that we had expected, older than the 6 months that we wanted.  Frankly, had we known up front that we would have adopting a child this old from China, we would have gone to other programs.

The information that we were given about Jiang Li also raised some very serious concerns.  The weight and height information did not agree well. She was at 90% for weight, but only 4% for height on the Chinese growth charts. If this information is correct, does she have a growth or hormonal problems? If this information is wrong, how trustworthy is the other information?  She reportedly  had 10 teeth and was walking with fingertip help. This was a toddler adoption, not an infant adoption, and we needed some time to sort things out and decide what to do. We asked that the agency not send Jiang Li's picture.

We called our agency back, and explained that at this point we were not comfortable with the referral and explained our concerns. They had already noted the conflict in the height and weight information and were trying to get someone to measure her again.  In the next measurement we were given, she had "grown" six inches. We asked if someone independent from the orphanage could examine the child, we were told that would be difficult. Given the child's weight and number of teeth, I seriously doubted that she was (at that time of the report) 12 months old.

It seemed that every piece of information that we uncovered only made us more uneasy. We posted to the APC list for information about the orphanage and got one response.  The information on the orphanage web page: did not agree with what our agency was telling us about the orphanage. Jiang Li was not abandoned as a newborn, they estimated that she was perhaps two weeks old when she was taken to the police station after being found at the doorstep of a man in Dantu county.  We felt overwhelmed, angry, very skeptical, and very confused.

We called the social worker that had done our home study. We asked to meet with her to discuss the issues of toddler adoption including developmental delay and attachment problems and made an appointment for November 10th. We scrambled to find some books on toddler adoption, attachment problems, and developmental delay. We tried to sort out our feelings. What were our real concerns about this new child? What was the hurt and anger over losing the child in the photo that we had come to love? Although we had invested a lot of time and money into this adoption, if it didn't feel right, we knew we should not do it.  Conversely, the guilt of rejecting a child, sight unseen, because of bad information and our fears of potential problems also ate at us.

Our social worker talked to us at length, and we discussed our fears.  We knew that we would be dealing with developmental delay with Jiang Li.  Based on the other children that we have seen from China, we knew that at any age, this is a problem for nearly every institutionalized child. Attachment disorder was the next fear.  Our social worker explained that this was relatively rare in Chinese children, but it was a valid and real concern. She suggested things to look for, eye contact, back arching (lack of body molding when held), and other clues. We also talked at length about her age. In the end, it came down to whether we were willing to jump off the cliff with the information we had.  We decided that, yes we would accept the referral, that our need to parent was worth taking this risk.  I also got Ginger to agree that if I said no when we were presented Jiang Li due to symptoms of attachment problems, that she would respect that decision.

On Tuesday, November 11th, we faxed our acceptance of Wang Jiang Li back to our agency and asked that they send us her picture. Ginger came home from work the next day to meet the FedEx driver and brought the picture to me at work. The picture was small, about 1.25 inches square and showed Jiang Li dressed in a bright yellow top looking rather seriously at something near the camera. You can see this picture here

 Later, we would see other exposures taken at the same time used for the adoption paper work.



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Copyright 2001 by George Keller. All Rights Reserved.