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Published December 16, 2013, 12:53 PM

Worth the wait: After completing first phase of adoption, Porter family of Fargo now waits to be matched with their daughter

Fargo -- Though she’s never seen her and doesn’t yet know who she is, Missy Porter thinks about her daughter all the time.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Fargo -- Though she’s never seen her and doesn’t yet know who she is, Missy Porter thinks about her daughter all the time.

She worries about whether she’s happy or hungry.

Porter and her husband, John, are adopting a girl with special needs from China. They have spent the past several months completing mountains of paperwork, filling out biographical information and participating in interviews.

“We think of it that we have four children,” said Porter, whose three biological children await their new sister’s arrival in the family’s Fargo home. “It’s so strange that she’s not here.”

The family, which received attention and support from the Fargo-Moorhead community in August when their rummage sale raised $7,500 toward their adoption fees, has celebrated each milestone along their journey.

They cheered when they became DCT (dossier to China), which meant all of their paperwork had been notarized, sealed, approved and mailed to China, and when they became LID, which stands for log in date and means they can now be matched with a child.

Now they wait.

While they know their daughter has been born, and they already think of her as a member of their family, they still have to find her, which could take anywhere from three to eight months.

So they wait for their adoption agency to find a child that will fit with their family and they wait for information on children waiting to be adopted to be uploaded into the agency’s computer system so they can also try finding their daughter themselves.

“It’s kind of weird to wake up every morning wondering if I could see my daughter,” Porter said.

Once they find a child who seems like a good fit for their family, they have 72 hours for a doctor to look through the child’s file to make sure her special need is not more than they feel they can handle.

But they’re not waiting idly for the new addition to their family.

It’s a $30,000 endeavor and so far, between the rummage sale and other fundraisers and donations, they’ve raised a little more than a third of that cost.

Missy Porter started selling crafts at Unglued, a handmade market in downtown Fargo. She makes tents for kids and dolls, fort kits, Christmas garland, and scarves.

The steady sales are great for their monetary goal, but they also mean the mother of three with one on the way who homeschools her children doesn’t get to bed until the wee hours of the morning.

Still, she counts her blessings and is hopeful that maybe her crafts will help pay for a couple of plane tickets to China and other expenses while they’re there to finally pick up their daughter.

“Raising $30,000 in a year is no easy task, that’s for sure! Especially for a one-income family,” Porter wrote on her blog, http://mommyslittlepeanuts.blogspot.com. “But we are working hard, praying a lot, and trusting that we are doing the right thing.”

John Porter is special education director for South Valley Special Education Unit, which covers 11 school districts in Sargent, Richland and Ransom counties in North Dakota.

The Porters have also been talking with their kids, Mickey, Jeffrey and Mary Beth about ways they can make the transition easier for their sister. They’ve been trying to learn some Mandarin so they can hopefully speak a few words she might know.

“They’re so excited to have another sister,” John Porter said. “They’re just ecstatic about it. It’s very real to them.”

SUPPORT SYSTEM

Since starting the adoption process, they’ve also made friends with several local families who have adopted from China. They’ve become a great support system and will continue to be people the Porters connect with for help and get-togethers like celebrating Chinese holidays throughout their daughter’s life.

Wendy Cater and her husband have adopted a daughter and two sons from China. They went through the adoption process in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Each time it was a little bit different, the Fargo woman said.

“The adoption process is really filled with love and excitement and hope. You’re building your family,” Cater said. “It’s just like being pregnant. Your mind is filled with hopes and dreams of what it will mean for a child to joint your family.”

But she says it’s also filled with a lot of unknowns, stress, waiting and navigating a complex process.

During the wait, it’s an important time to learn and prepare for the children. The kids have a vast array of needs and are being taken away from everything they have ever known. They are usually able to go home with their families at about age 2, so they are also entering the independent toddler years at the time their adoptive families are trying to bond with them. Many of the children also suffer from malnutrition, other health issues and separation anxiety. It can be very overwhelming, Cater said

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Cater said.

But, she said, it’s all worth it.

“It’s not the easiest way to become parents, but it’s amazing and our kids are absolutely amazing and we are so lucky to be a family,” she said.

Chris and Codi Yokom of Fargo adopted their first daughter in 2010 from China. They thought their family was complete.

“But to fall in love with a promise of a child, then to fall in love with three pictures and then to finally meet that promise and those pictures was a miracle and a blessing all in one,” Codi Yokom said.

The Yokoms went on to adopt their second daughter in 2012 from China.

“People say, ‘These girls are so lucky.’ But we feel quite the opposite. We are so lucky and our whole family cannot believe we were chosen to journey to a promise, a picture and kiddos who seem destined to be ours. Perfect fits, big big blessings.”

Adoption, Yokom says, is a journey of trust and a true test of patience.

“But when that child is finally yours at the end of the journey you feel that you have been given an unmatched miracle and you will never forget the awe you feel in that moment as you wonder why you were chosen to journey to this miracle,” she said.

While the Porters are a few steps closer to their miracle, they still face emotional and financial hurdles as they wait for their daughter.

The public can help the Porters with their adoption costs by buying Missy Porter’s crafts at Unglued (102 Broadway) or making a donation on her blog: http://mommyslittlepeanuts.blogspot.com.

Unglued owner Ashley Morken is letting the Porters keep all profits to go toward the adoption.

“The first weekend we had already made $1,000,” Porter said. “We’re so thankful to them for this opportunity. It is beyond what I had imagined.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

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