What a year it has been! 2021 saw glimmers of normalcy come and go last summer and come and go again with new Covid variants more recently this winter. The pandemic has had a unique impact on all of our lives, but particularly for our Sunny in Thailand. Over the latter half of 2021, Thailand had their most significant infection rates and highest risk level since the pandemic started. For Sunny and the rest of the children at his orphanage, interactions have been limited to internal nanny staff and even more limited interaction with other cohorts of children to reduce the risk of introducing Covid at the orphanage.
Due to the pandemic, the already long adoption process has become even more unpredictable than normal. We have been waiting for approval from Thailand since we submitted our dossier in March 2021, 9 months ago. The normal wait time for approval is 6-12 months. Because of Thailand’s shut down this past summer, however, each step of the adoption process has been delayed. The Thai Board typically approves 2-4 Special Needs Project families each month, but they have only approved 4 Special Needs Project families in the last 4 months. This means when we usually would be ratcheting up the list towards approval this past fall, instead we have stalled (along with all of the other waiting families) and have no idea when we will receive this final approval.
Also, in pre-Covid times, waiting families receive a child update every 6 months, to include medical files and developmental progress reports. However, we haven’t had an update on Sunny for 14 months now. Those updates would normally come after the Holt International social workers travel to Thailand and conduct in-person assessments of the children. However, the Holt staff isn’t able to travel to Thailand due to Covid restrictions – they haven’t actually traveled to Thailand since Fall of 2019. The solution last fall during Covid was to conduct virtual Zoom meetings with the children, which is now too difficult to coordinate as the staff in Thailand is focused on in-country adoption processes. We were told child updates just can’t happen at the same time as managing the traveling families. Needless to say, not being able to get updates on Sunny’s well-being and medical condition has been very difficult.
While we didn’t get a full update on Sunny, we were overjoyed to recently receive a few new photos —our first time seeing him since November 2020. Sunny has certainly grown over the last two years, and while we still don’t know answers to questions like what his favorite color is now, how he’s doing in school, or if he’s still on the same medication he was on last year, we were happy to see Sunny gardening and doing puzzles. We’re not even sure yet if Sunny knows he has a family waiting to bring him home, but we’re thankful to see our son seemingly healthy and growing.
We are hopeful that receiving Sunny’s photos is just the beginning of more positivity to come in 2022! We hope and pray to receive Thai approval in the next few months allowing us to start the final required travel paperwork to bring our Sunny home. Please send thoughts, prayers, and good vibes our way as we continue on this long journey of waiting for what’s to come in 2022.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12