Tuesday, March 15, 2016

State of the Adoption: Year 4

I started this blog to keep family and friends updated about our adoption progress and news.  It's obviously morphed into something else in the meantime, partially due to my interest and partially because there isn't much going on with the adoption.

It's been more than 4 years since we started the adoption process for the first time.  On March 1, 2012 I had my first foot surgery and spent the rest of the month hobbling around on crutches, planning our trip to Europe, and working on adoption paperwork.  It was a super nice March; I remember wearing shorts almost immediately after surgery and for most of the rest of the month.  Despite being laid up and overwhelmed by paperwork, I have very fond memories of that time

We started the process optimistic and full of hope.  It felt like we were making progress after years of trying to get pregnant and (obviously) not succeeding.  Of course, there were plenty of setbacks with the adoption but at least it felt like we were doing something.  The wait sucked, many times, but within 10 months of being listed, and 14 of starting the process, we had our little Luke.  It was the best either of us have ever felt about the adoption process.  It had worked.  We had our baby.  We weren't sleeping through the night but almost (almost) didn't care.  I have never, in my life, felt more secure in trusting God and His plans.  It was wonderful.

But that was almost three years ago.  We started on kid #2 right after Luke's 1st birthday which makes it almost two years ago.  We weren't officially listed for months, partially due to a waiting list for the waiting list but also because my pending second foot surgery.  But we have been listed for awhile now, ~16 months, but it feels like a lot longer since we started the paperwork so long ago.

We already have our annual physicals scheduled for later this spring.  For the 5th years in a row.
Soon after will be new fingerprints (EVEN THOUGH THEY DON'T CHANGE) for the 5th year in a row.
We'll fill out paperwork allowing our backgrounds to be checked, again, proving, again, that we aren't sex offenders, criminals, or child abusers.

I can see why some people give up and stop waiting.  I really do.  Because it really really sucks.

I have a lot of anger over this process. In the 5 stages of grief I don't think I've been at acceptance since those early months with Luke.  I definitely hover between denial and anger most of the time.  And comparing all our fertility and adoption struggles to grief is not a stretch.  Go through it and try to argue against me on that one (although I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone).

I've been looking at more agencies, trying to find ones that aren't ridiculously expensive.  Oh, another one that will be $15k out of pocket after the tax credit and before medical...awesome.  Ok.  And it's not just about money.  I mean, it is, but it isn't.  It makes me rage inside that adoption can even be part of a for-profit business.  I know our social workers and everyone needs paid, I totally get that.  But nobody should be trying to make an extra dime off finding homes for kids.

Plus, there is the anger.  That THIS is what we have to go through to get another kid.  There is a lot of anger about that.  Still.  It's why I don't have a problem considering spending $1,000 on area rugs but worry about how we'll adopt our next kid (not keeping the next kid, feed, clothe, educate, etc.  I have no worries about that.).  Or afford the next next kid (God willing and I have to hope that He is).  (But I also haven't convinced Matt about the area rugs either.).  I don't like the looks of pity.  I get tired of people tip-toeing around the issue with us.  Trust me, there is never a day, hardly an hour, that goes by that I forget that we are still waiting to adopt. 

We'll likely hit 10 years of marriage in May with as many kids as 4 of our sisters had at their first anniversary (not that we wanted a kid at our first anniversary, I'm perfectly happy that didn't happen for us!).  We've spent about 2/3 of our marriage working on this kid thing.   

The fact that we are getting dangerously close to mid-30s is weighting on me.  I've read enough about adoptions to know that younger parents have a better chance of being picked and we're not exactly "young" parents anymore.  (Not that I consider us old in the grand scheme of things but for becoming parents to an infant we certainly aren't on the young end.)  And even if we get placed tomorrow there is still the issue of finding #3, #4 (our new goal but who knows how much it'll will take out of us, emotionally and financially).

People have asked why we want twins (Luke even asked me today "Where the twins at?"  A change from his normal "We need to find brother/sister.").  Because we've been waiting so long for kids, two at a time sounds great.  Anything that gets us babies. 

People have asked if it freaks us out, knowing we could get a call and have a baby tomorrow.  No, it doesn't, not most of the time.  We had 8 days warning with Luke, 5 after getting home from New York and it all worked out.  And this time we would need even less since we have enough gender neutral clothes to get us through a bit and if we got a boy we'd really be set.  Get the gear out of the attic, buy diapers and formula, and ready.  Happily panicked.  But ready.

I much prefer that to the alternative: finding out months in advance that a pregnant woman has picked us.  You know what we'd be doing the rest of the pregnancy?  Worrying.  A lot.  That she'd change her mind.  We've talked about not even telling anyone in that situation because the odds seem too great that she would change her mind.  (We are not currently in that situation.  I'd be less angry and more worried if we were.)

Every time I've booked a vacation since Europe (we weren't listed until right after we got back from that one) I've wondered what would happen if we got a baby before the trip.  And right now I'm planning trip #5 since being listed.  We can't just stay at home, putting everything in our lives on hold, waiting for that call, e-mail, or text.  I mostly make sure what I'm booking is refundable and away we go.  It does make me nervous, every time, but we still go.

When I get really angry, which happens on an almost daily basis, there are rarely days where I don't spiral at least a little bit, I tell myself one of three things:

1) I don't want to spend my 30s, prime of life, mad about this.  We have a beautiful son who is nearly perfect, some of the time (tonight: "I pee in trash can!" (pointing to the trash can in his bedroom....)).  We wouldn't have him unless we went through a lot of this crap.  And the thought of him being in the world but not being ours makes me more emotional than just about anything else.

2) Everyone has a different struggle.  We have each other, a wonderful son, and all our parents and siblings (and their spouses and their kids, etc.) still on this Earth and healthy.  I know people struggling with what feels like, to me, bigger issues.  There are millions of people the world over struggling with bigger issues.  This most certainly isn't the worst problem two people could ever have.  We are blessed in many, many ways.

3) That God isn't up in heaven wringing His hands, wondering where our next kid is coming from (paraphrased from some book...I believe one by Robin Jones Gunn).  He knows.  I don't.  But He does.  He's not worried.  That's just us.  He has it under control.  I just pray that he can show us where to go to find brother/sister because right now we're at a loss.  And give us a lot of His peace and grace to get through this time.

So if you were to ask me how the adoption stuff was going I'd probably say "fine" or "nothing is happening".  But what I'd really be feeling is all the above.  That some days it feels like I can barely keep my emotions in check, some days it feels like the panic of "where and when are we going to get our next kid???" almost drags me down.  We still have (some, little) faith in the adoption system but mostly a lot of faith in God.  It is not easy.  But the stuff that is worth it never is. And this most definitely is worth it.

The day I became a mother

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