We have been in this adoption process since October of 2009. It’s been really an amazing year of many many personal changes. I thought I would do a round up of what I have learned this year:
- Adoption changes– when we put in our application for Holt last year the Ethiopia program was very different than it is today. You got matched immediately after your home study was complete (now its 6-9 months after you have received government clearance- which is several steps after the home study). You only had to go to Ethiopia once—now it’s twice. Random little rules change- big rules change. People who started the process after you get matched with a kid before you. There is no real rhyme or reason in this process of international adoption. I knew there wasn’t going into this process – but I am still a little surprised by how much its changed. The lesson learned is that you just sometimes need to take a deep breadth and “go with it”. There ain’t nothing you can do about this stuff- so it helps to be flexible.
- Having Faith or Belief in Karmic Retribution is Helpful– we aren’t religious folks and really God doesn’t have a place in our everyday life. It helps to believe in SOMETHING. I actually think my more religious friends have a bit of an upper hand here. Again, things change—I choose to believe that every hiccup in this adoption process brings us closer to the kid that is suppose to be ours. I told myself this when Andy lost his job, when it took months to get our paperwork in order, when I tried to send documents on a holiday weekend- anytime things don’t go smoothly. As our social worker said one “well your kid isn’t ready for you yet”. I think she is right. This process is SO random, its how I choose to make order out of chaos.
- Making New Friends and Seeking Support- I have written about how much I love the waiting moms group but I really want to give a special shout out to my friend Laura. We actually met Laura and Chuck at the Holt Info session. We hooked up with them trough the Ethiopian Adoptive Families group later. They are a awesome couple and have become GREAT friends. Laura is one of the funniest, bravest snarkiest women I have ever met in my life. I think finding someone who you can call up and say “oh my God- what the hell does my USCIS1775 form mean” is helpful. Having someone who you can call and feel blue about the process taking so long (who really understands), someone who you can make countless infertility jokes with and will give you a hug when you really need it is essential. You fucking rock my rock star friend. Fucking. Rock.
- Embracing the Process in Your Own Way- Some people celebrate their adoption early- some people celebrate their adoption later. There are a ton of milestones along the way that all get shout outs: Homestudy completed (hurrah), Dossier sent in (hurray), Dossier arrives in Ethiopia (hip hip hurrah), Your waiting to be match (hurrah), your matched (YIPEE), you have a court date (awesome), you see your kid (yowza), you bring your kid home (head explods) the adoption is finalized and legalized back in the States (wowee), the kid becomes an official American citizen (just awesome). People choose to celebrate these at different times. Andy and I are just starting to get comfortable with BUYING our kid stuff. Like at the end of the process a kid will be here who needs things like a stroller and crib etc. Laura wants to throw me a baby shower. I simultaneously LOVE and HATE attention. I keep telling her it’s to early for us to think about it. She has just had one (which I LOVED going to). She is cool and understanding about my ambivalence. I am not ready yet- she was. Everybody gets to celebrate they way they want too. It’s lovely.
- Weed out the Horseshit (wow am I swearing a lot during this post)—people say the dumbest things to you during this process. You can educate and educate but people still only listen to what they want. Folks have opinions on child rearing, tranracial adoption and adoption in general. Some of them are awesome some of them are sweet; some of them are total horseshite. Pick and choose my friends, pick and choose. Otherwise you will LOOSE YOUR MIND.
- Adoption Takes a LOOOONNNGGG Time and Life Goes On- we have been in this for a year. We have been in Portland for a little longer than a year. A year is a long time. In that time both of us have changed jobs, we have taken trips, we have met people, we have had bouts of illness (nothing major), we have lost people that were close to us we were told we have to move (then told we didn’t). A lot of life happens in a year. The adoption is always most in our minds, but yeah- that’s a lot of life that gets to be lived. Embrace it. Right now its 10:30 on a Sunday I am still in my pajamas, Bella is asleep on my lap. I just finished knitting a hat. We have no real plans today, maybe we will go to Powells; maybe we will go to the movies, I know I would like to have some Pho. We know our lazy Sunday’s are numbered, so yeah- we are taking advantage of it while we can and still loving every fucking minute of this life of ours.