Just a note before posting the 3rd (and final!) chapter of the Toy Chest Saga...
My email had piled up for a few days, and when I was going through it just a few minutes ago I found a message dated October 29th that signals the true end of an era for the international adoption community (especially the China families).
For many years, one of the "in" jokes for families adopting from China was, "You don't know who the Rumor Queen is but you know who the Rumor Queen is." RQ did an excellent job of hiding her real-life identity and an equally excellent job of maintaining a massive website and multi-thread discussion forum for any and all folks interested in or going through the process of adopting a child from China (over the years, a few discussion threads for other countries went active). The URL "chinaadopttalk.com" was one of the first things memorized by most adoptive families, and the information available on the website and in the forums (as well as the much-needed chance to air concerns, fears, frustrations, etc.) provided a service absolutely unequalled anywhere else, including a scary-accurate and regularly updated set of charts & tables showing when the writing families could expect to reach the various milestones in the process.
I signed up for an account a few months before AJ was matched with the Pipsqueak, and probably learned more about what to expect in that short time than in the previous 3-4 years. Even after returning home, I returned to the forums regularly to share my own information and just sort of reminisce about The Wait... and enjoy the periodic new links to various blogs and online videos in RQ's much-anticipated "BABIES!" posts. Then, a couple of years ago, over the course of just a few weeks, RQ removed her presence from the forums, and (even though a small group of dedicated administrators continued keeping things going) the updates petered out. The forums remained active (sometimes very!) but the feel of the place was changing. Most of the old-timers began trickling away, and soon I found myself logging in only a a couple of times a year, mostly to see if there were any familiar voices in the forums or to see if there was anything I could contribute (less and less, to be honest). And then I opened the email from October 29th.
For those in the adoption community who may read this blog but did not use the RQ site and forums... ChinaAdoptTalk.com is gone.
There's a new Facebook group starting up, but there's no way it'll be the same -- the international adoption community has lost a wonderful, valuable resource.
RQ, whoever and whereever you might be, THANK YOU! for all your years of effort and support to this adoptive uncle and the entire community. You have more than earned the right to move on with your life, hopefully secure in the knowledge that you performed a much-needed service above and beyond the call of duty with little more reward than knowing you were doing so & the occasional "thanks" from the site's members & visitors. You will be missed -- and you will always have our gratitude.
But somehow I feel like a group of friends have all moved far, far away...