The Hong Kong Adoption Program
When Ken and I decided to pursue international adoption, we were very confused. But after contacting Diakon Baltimore in February 2005 and meeting with Ramona Hoyle, we knew the Hong Kong Adoption Program was the one for us. Ramona answered many of our questions. She also gave us a clearer understanding of what the process required.
We attended fantastic adoption/parenting classes in Baltimore during spring of 2005. Through those classes, we got to meet other couples who were adopting through the Hong Kong Adoption Program. We also got to meet the staff of Diakon. My husband and I gained valuable information from the classes. As we’ve raised our daughter, that information has proven invaluable.
One of the things we learned about in the class was the whole “paperwork process”. So, Ken and I tried to hit the ground running. At the final training class, we handed in everything we needed to get the ball rolling, and we were assigned Kim Sancandi as our social worker.
Tsz Yan from Hong Kong
Like a true gift from God, our social worker notified us of a referral shortly after we completed our classes: A beautiful little girl name Tsz Yan. She was eight months old. We knew it was truly meant to be when we saw her.
The paperwork process was frustrating at times, but our social workers did a great job of keeping us informed. They sent us pictures as Yan developed and grew through the months, which really made the whole process special and more bearable.
Preparing to Adopt
To make the most of our waiting time, I read books on adoption and parenting, joined an Internet group for people adopting from Hong Kong, and talked to people who had also been through the process.
We got our family and matching approval for baby Yan in November 2005. At that point, we just needed to get our HCO (High Court Order). A judge in Hong Kong would give this to us. We were told it would take around six to eight weeks. Some people even said it could take up to 12 weeks.
Our HCO came through in January 2006, which was about 11 weeks after the approval date. It had felt like an eternity. Somehow, the holidays had made it seem like an even longer wait. Once we got the HCO though, the wait became a distant blur. It was now time to make travel arrangements. Our Hong Kong social worker gave us a travel date. We did not hesitate to make reservations.
Our Time in Hong Kong
We traveled to Hong Kong on February 11, 2006 and returned on February 18, 2006 with our new bundle of joy. The flights were long, but the anticipation kept our adrenalin going both ways.
Our experience in Hong Kong was a rewarding one! Our social workers had everything planned and organized. Nothing was left undone.
On our first day, we met Yan and her foster parents (Mr. and Mrs. Chan) at their flat. They did not speak English, but one of our social workers translated for us. After a visit, lunch, and some bonding time, we went back to our hotel.
On day two, our social worker brought Yan and Mrs. Chan to our hotel so Yan could spend some alone time with us. They came back six hours later to get Yan. They presented us with a beautiful photo album of Yan’s life, from residential crèche’ to her foster parents.
On day three, our social worker and Mrs. Chan brought Yan to us to stay for the remainder of our trip. It was such a great transition plan, not only for us, but also for Mrs. Chan (who suffered a loss as well) and Yan.
Yan handled the transition and trip home beautifully. She has adjusted extremely well to her new life.
We left Hong Kong not only with a lovely daughter, but also with great memories and a lot of respect and admiration for the Hong Kong Adoption Program.