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, and gave us a more clear understanding of what was involved in the process.
We attended the Spring 2005 adoption/parenting classes in the Baltimore location, which were fantastic! We got to meet other couples also adopting through the Hong Kong Adoption Program as well as the staff of Diakon. In the classes, we were given valuable information we will treasure and use in raising our daughter. We were told during the classes about the whole “paperwork process,” and 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.
Like a true gift from God, we received a referral shortly after the completion of our classes. A beautiful little girl name Tsz Yan, who 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 (Kim and Miss Jenny from Hong Kong), did a great job of keeping us informed. Miss Jenny also sent us pictures as Yan developed and grew through the months, which really made the whole process special.
As the time went by, I read books on adoption and parenting, joined an internet group for people adopting from Hong Kong, and talked to friends who had also been through the process.
We received our family and matching approval for Baby Yan in November 2005, and just needed to get our HCO (High Court Order), from a judge in Hong Kong. We were told it takes around 6-8 weeks, some people even said it takes up to 12 weeks. Ours came through in January 2006, which was about 11 weeks from the approval date. It felt like an eternity since the holidays had been upon us, but once you get the HCO, the wait becomes a distant blur. It was now time to make travel arrangements. Our Hong Kong Social Worker gave us a travel date, and we did not hesitate to make reservations.
We traveled to Hong Kong on February 11, 2006 and returned on February 18, 2006, with our new bundle of joy. The flight was long, but the anticipation kept our adrenalin going.
Our experience in Hong Kong was a very rewarding one! Miss Jenny had everything planned and organized and nothing was left undone.
On our first day, we met Yan and her foster parents, (Mr. & Mrs. Chan), at their flat. They did not speak English, but Miss Jenny translated on both sides. After a visit, lunch, and some bonding time, we went back to our hotel.
On day two, Miss Jenny 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, and presented us with a beautiful photo album of Yan’s life, from residential crèche’ to her foster parents. On day three, Miss Jenny 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 and 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.