My Not News

The adoption process moves very slowly. The wait seems like forever, especially because the wait to have a child started way before the adoption process ever began.

Here’s my sort-of-not-really news.  We’ve moved up on the list.  In December of 2012 we were #25.  By July 2013, we had moved up to #12.  Now, in March of 2014 we are #6 on the list.  That’s my news.  Being a Special Needs adoption, the list isn’t as straight forward as a regular list.  For example, if there is something on our “would consider” medical need list that comes up before someone ahead of us, we could jump the queue. The woman at the agency (the sweetest woman in the world) told me that there are two people on the list above us who have specified “girl only”.  If by some miracle more boys come up, that means we’re actually #4 on the list.

Hearing the single digit numbers got me excited.  Things are moving. There is hope. The conversation with the agency brought me to tears.  I can do this!  But then reality set in.

Optimistically speaking (I’m trying to be optimistic), the soonest we would be matched would be August or September.  That is two full years after starting the adoption process.  There is also a chance that we could wait another year before being matched. The long wait also means having to renew our home study, re-do our police, medical and financial checks and re-submit our updated application to Vietnam.

I’ve also just learned that the time from match to travel can be from 6-12 months.  This broke my heart.  Even if we get our optimistic September match it could feasibly be the following September by the time we meet our child.  I’ll still need to get through at least another Christmas, school year, couple of birthdays, Mother’s Days, friends having more babies. There goes my optimism.  It’s just so much time.

For all of those positive thinkers out there, I need you.  I need your pep talks, your encouragement, your reminders that I CAN do this and that it will be worth it, your positives vibes to match me with a boy so that I can move up the list, your hope that it won’t take so long.

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A Look Back and a Plan for the New Year

The last few years have been very difficult. Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, Mother’s Day even Halloween always remind me of all that I have lost.  For years now I have suffered through “the worst Christmas ever”, only to have it trumped the following year.  On New Year’s Eves I have put the pain of the previous year behind  looking forward to a “fresh start” only to face another difficult series of events.

Christmas was hard.  It’s impossible not to think about what might have been, what Christmas in my home SHOULD be like, the celebrations that are happening  in the homes of my friends and their new families and where we could have gone on vacation if we hadn’t have spent our money on a failed IVF.  I got through it.  There were tears, arguments with my husband and loneliness but I got through it.

I got through New Year’s Eve too.  I thought a lot about last year’s New Year’s Eve reflection.   I knew last year that 2013 wasn’t going to be a good one.  I wasn’t being pessimistic, I was being realistic.  This year is a little different.  This year there is actually a chance.   Not a guarantee, but at least a chance.

My husband and I were approved for adoption over a year ago.  The original estimated wait time was 18 months.  The numbers have gone up and down since then, but it does mean that REALISTICALLY, we could be matched with our child this year.

As frustrating as the fertility treatment fails were, I’m glad that I did them.  I can say with confidence that I tried “all the ways“.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not mourning the loss of that potential biological child, but it does mean that I need to shift my focus towards the adoption.

Unlike fertility treatments, focusing on adoption alone feels much less productive.  There are no calendars or early morning appointments.  I had to consider what “focusing on adoption” meant to me.    I think it’s going to mean the following:

  • getting into shape to prepare to run after a potentially terrified running toddler (I’ve heard stories about this from other adoptive parents)
  • taking care of myself, continuing acupuncture and mourning my losses so that I’m ready to be a happy parent
  • continuing and possibly increasing my involvement with the adoption agency. ( I currently write for the newsletter)
  • saving money so if I get my referral the trip to Vietnam and time off work won’t put me into enormous debt.

That’s a start. If the adoption doesn’t go through this year, none of those actions will be a waste. They’re all positive things.

My husband wants me to start considering that our life may not include children.  I’m not ready to think about that.  For now I have to assume that I will have a child. I just “can’t choose when“.

 

 

How long???

I participate in an online discussion group that connects waiting parents from the same agency and the same program.  We are all waiting for Special Needs children from Vietnam.

Over the past year, there has been very little movement.  Only one or two adoptions have gone through (that I’m aware of).  There is much discussion about the changing political climate and the eventual demise of international adoption.

Recently one of the waiting moms got a referral.  When I read the subject line, I was so excited.  Things are moving again!  Then, as I read on, my heart sank.

This woman has been waiting for six years.  SIX YEARS!!!!!!!!

She was originally on a list to adopt a baby through the “mainstream” program (not Special Needs).  That list was simply not moving so switched to the Special Needs program.

The child that was referred to her is a five year-old girl.  This breaks my heart.  This woman has been waiting 6 years, for a child that’s been there almost the whole time.  It makes me so sad that the child has had to wait this long for a family.  It makes me sad that the mother has had to wait to long to meet her.  This referral story, which should have been inspiring, is so discouraging.

It hurts to think that my child is already “out there” waiting.  It hurts to think that I could theoretically have five more years to wait.

I need to remind myself that Special Needs lists do tend to move faster.  These lists don’t move in numerical order necessarily, but rather by match to the prospective parent.

I’m so glad that mom finally got her match.  I can’t imagine another five years without my family.   Patience and hope. You can’t choose when.

The Name Game

This might sound a little “Seinfeld” but I’m going there anyway.

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Being a teacher, I always knew the task of naming a child would be a tough one.  So many names are unusable due to name trends and “that kid you wouldn’t want to name a child after”.

Because of this challenge, I have always kept a running list of names in my head, hoping to someday assign them to a little bundle.

The first time I was pregnant (back when I thought pregnancy meant a baby was on the way) my husband and I actually spoke out loud about names.  We had a few girl names and a boy names that we liked.  We hadn’t settled on them but we did recognize the miracle that they were names that we both agreed on.

I still work on this running list of names and it’s getting frustrating and sad.  It’s just another reason to feel like this is taking too long or like I missed my turn.

The names in my head keep getting used up.  My mother-in-law’s cat, a friend’s new baby, someone’s girlfriend… I’m too late.

My heart skips a beat when I hear the names.  Most recently was a friend’s baby (the one who already has twins and was surprised by this one a year later). When I read the name I was almost sick.  She didn’t know.  I wouldn’t have dared shared these names with anyone but it still hurts.

I’m sure everyone faces challenges when trying to name a child, but when you’re not even sure that child will ever come it adds a whole new dimension.

If our adoption ever goes through, maybe I’ll be able to let go of this imaginary running list. Our plan is to keep the child’s birth name (or at least the name that they’ve been called in the orphanage or foster home).  There are always exceptions to the rule – I know someone who had intended to keep her adopted child’s given name but his name sounded really rude in English, it’s now his middle name.   My husband’s parents kept his “birth name” and it plays a major role in who he is.