It must be a year and a half now since I discovered Karen's blog. I've already written about how I discovered Julie and her posse and got into the whole blogging thing, but Karen's has always been one of my particular favourites. I've always been fascinated by adoption and what it involves as a way of building a family, and Karen's experiences and reactions as she travelled that road made unforgettable reading.
When I started reading her blog, she was still working her way through the mindboggling amount of paperwork and bureaucracy that's needed in order to get official approval to adopt a child. I went back through her archives and caught up on the story so far, and then I followed it avidly from that point onwards. I followed her blog as she finished the paperwork and passed the milestones of DTC and LID and planned her daughter's nursery. I read about her doubts and about how she overcame them. I read about her experiences with some of the less tactful/more clueless section of the population, and how she dealt with those. I read about her grief at the knowledge that she would miss out on the first few months of her daughter's life, and her desperate impatience to get her referral as soon as possible, not to miss any more. I read about what it was like to wait and wait and wait and wait and wait, inching closer and closer on a list where the referral rate was so arbitrary that it sometimes felt like taking one step back for every two steps forward. I read posts that must have been typed with fingers on which the nails were bitten to the bone.
And now, the day that Karen and I and hundreds of people across the Internet (and I'm not exaggerating about that - look at the comment threads) have been waiting for. Today is the day Karen gets her referral and finally finds out who her daughter is.
My grandmother is visiting from America and staying with us for the week, so we were out during the day (browsing round a nearby town and looking at the abbey), with me thinking about Karen, working out what time it must be in New York, wondering whether she'd slept at all and what she was doing. I logged on right after we got in and saw straight away that she still hadn't got the call, and scrolled down and read her earlier posts from that day. Then I downloaded my e-mail and went and looked up something for someone who'd e-mailed me about something medically related, and came back about ten or fifteen minutes later and hit 'Refresh', and there was the post I'd been waiting for for so, so long.
Karen's daughter has just turned one year old. Her Chinese name is Chao Xing, which means Morning Star. She is a beautiful, wonderful-sounding baby, and Karen will post her picture as soon as she's collected it from the agency.
I feel as if the Internet just collectively let out a long-held breath. I can't tell you how over the moon I am for Karen. I keep wiping away tears from my eyes every time I read her posts.
(And now - hurry up and get here, Little E! I can't wait to hear more about you, as well!)