It really is true that the adoption process is a whole lot of "hurry up and wait."
We spent months filling out paperwork, from the ginormous application to all of the home study documents, every day bringing us closer to the day we were home study approved. We had checklists and due dates and a sense of marching towards something tangible. We spent hours and days putting together a profile book that we hoped put our best selves (and our real selves) forward, showed our life in a way that would be appealing to not all expectant mothers, but to the ones who would be able to see their baby happily inserted into those pages.
And then, we were approved and profile-ready.
We had jumped off the cliff into the abyss, a space of time with an unknown bottom, an unknown everything.
I have to say that this is similar to the dreaded Two Week Wait, in that you examine everything that you've done, the choices that you made on your Grid and in designing your profile book, and wonder if you've made the right decisions, instead of doing the same to your regimen while you were taking shots and then examining every twinge in your uterus and every sensitivity in your boobs. It is drastically DISsimilar to the Two Week Wait in that there is no date to expect your call. I don't have a day marked on the calendar, a day to dread and hope for at the same time, a day where I know that I will get my YES or my NO. It could stretch on for months. It could stretch on for years.
We were given an average timeframe, yes, and that average timeframe is 7 months. That would put our placement around February, given that we got our profile books in a little later than our homestudy was completed. I keep reminding myself, though... an average is not an absolute. It is not a counting-down, a ticking timer to a definite space on the calendar. It could be sooner. And, it could be later.
We could receive profile opportunity calls on a regular basis, but not have it be THE call for months -- either situations that are not right for us, or situations that were so right for us but we weren't chosen from the pile of books as THE family. Or, we could not receive a call at all for months and months and months, and then get the call that is the ONE.
So much is not knowing, and being okay with not knowing.
We have not received a single call yet -- not a wrong one, not a right one where we weren't chosen, just a space of radio silence.
It really hasn't been that long, though. I have two months of my wait behind me. I think it would be pretty miraculous to be matched after two swift months. I am realistic. I am not utterly worried.
(Lest you think I am some kind of Zen Queen, I am a tiny bit worried, since I know of people who started receiving calls within weeks of being profile-ready, but those calls weren't the RIGHT calls until nearly a year later... So the tiny 13 year old inside me is feeling a little "Why aren't they CALLING me? Why am I not getting a single call yet?" But the almost-40-year-old in me knows that all is not lost, that a call WILL come and maybe we won't have as many opportunities to say NO before we say YES. It's really just a mystery, but hard not to play the comparison game.)
So how are we dealing with this wait? How am I planning to cope with a neverending misty horizon with no clear destination in view?
We are trying really hard not to think about it.
People are asking. Occasionally I get the, "So you REALLY don't have any idea when this will happen?" and the answer is...YES. I am not lying to disguise the fact that we are matched. We don't know. It's a lot of I don't know. And so, even though I obsessively keep my phone with me and on at all times (which is resulting in a lot of BLOOPing during class, but it's a small price to pay), I try not to think about it ringing in the completely obnoxious ringtone I chose for our agency...and the panic and racing heartbeat and joy that will come with hearing that ring. I try not to think about every minute that goes by that I am NOT called. I try to be at peace with this, and to truly live in the moment. Which is really, really, hard for me. But, in adoption, less hard for me because I have so little to do with it at this point. I have dotted all the i's, and crossed all the t's. My body has zippo to do with this. We were told our profile book is beautiful, and open, and welcoming, and designed in such a way that we would never have to worry that the book could be the reason we were waiting. So I just have to be a bit of a Zen Queen and breathe deeply and accept that I WILL NOT KNOW. And leave it at that.
We are preparing for our Mystery Baby, hard.
We are using this time to get the nursery up and running, to get our house in order for the massive changes that occur from such a tiny little person. We painted the dining room and rearranged furniture to clear the Nook upstairs. We have our crib in our possession (thanks to Bryce's Grammie in spirit), and our carseat (thanks to my mom and stepfather), and we are still trying to figure out this whole glider thing (thank you to Bryce's mom and stepfather). I had my school shower on Monday, which was beautiful and surreal and awesome and slightly awkward (so much opening presents in front of people), but now we have EVEN MORE stuff for the baby -- the high chair (spacesaver version), the changing pad, more adorable clothing and books and little baby toys, my superfancy diaper bag that looks nicer than my current purse, and diapers and wipes. Wipes I am a little afraid will dry out before our Mystery Baby arrives... We have the infant bathtub and the adorable crab hooded towel thanks to a close friend who can't make my shower in October. We have A LOT OF STUFF. And so, this weekend is about prepping the nursery for painting, next weekend is about painting, and the following week is all about installing the wall-to-wall carpeting to make the nursery a) warmer, b) cushier for our old joints, and c) not the hideous tile it was before. THEN, then we can put the crib together, and get the six-cube bookcase in there, and hopefully get that glider delivered to the house. I am completely okay with having an all-done up nursery sit for a while. I am excited to have an actual nursery for an actual (if amorphous) baby to live in some day soon. I will feel like this is all so much more real when it's a place I can visit and visualize that baby sleeping, or pulling board books from the shelf, or changing a stinky poopy diaper on the dresser that we haven't found yet. Yes, I even fantasize and romanticize gross poopy blowout diapers. I'm sure that will get old quick. But for now, it's something to look forward to. And this is the new checklist, this is the new thing to work our way through -- not paperwork anymore, but getting a room together for an ACTUAL baby, one that is currently hypothetical but will materialize, as opposed to our existence before where the baby seemed forever diaphanous, ethereal...difficult to grasp and even harder to pin down. It's a definite step in the right direction.
We are not-so-secretly okay with not getting a call while we get our house in order.
I would love to get a call today. I would throw up in my mouth a bit, but we would figure this all out. I would love to be a mom sooner than later. However.... I would love to be as ready as is possible, knowing that you're never really ready. I would love to have the nursery set up. I would love to feel less like everyday is a giant game of catch-up at school and like I am organized and filed and have my shit together. I would love to reach that point where our little room is ready, where our home feels warm and welcoming to a tiny soul that is ours to care for. I would love to alleviate the stress of feeling like our house is in disarray and if the call came now, we'd be scrambling to get things set up. But we would scramble and we would eventually get things together if not how we imagined it, and we would love that our sweet baby came early. We don't get a due date, we don't get a countdown. Although, given a friend of mine at work who just had her (healthy) baby a full 4 weeks early, sometimes you don't truly get that through pregnancy, either. This is our nesting period. I am okay with nesting for a little while.
We are staying connected with the agency.
I heard that you should really call every few weeks or so, for even the tiniest of reasons, just to keep your name fresh in the minds of the people who are deciding who gets what profile opportunities. You should go to events. You should stay connected. And so, I have called like a bumbling idiot a few times, which I'm not sure is doing us any favors. I feel like my brain goes out the window when I call, and it's like calling a new boyfriend in the first few weeks... how can I not sound like a complete idiot? How can I not open my mouth in ways that will make this person question their decision to be with me? I overthink everything. I worry that I'll say the wrong thing. But, I have gotten follow up emails from questions and no one sounds alarmed when I'm speaking, so I guess I'm doing okay. We are going to a Fall Fun event that is local here in Rochester soon, an event for adoptive families but also for waiting families. We will bring our two gallons of cider and try not to be socially awkward. We will see friends in the process and friends who have gone through the process successfully. We will see other families who are waiting, and those who have their precious bundles in hand. We will imagine ourselves, maybe next year, bringing our own little pumpkin to such an event. We will be visible. We will exude hopefulness. And then in a few weeks I will have to think of another reason to call, to ask a question, to keep "Jess and Bryce" current in the minds of the people who have the ability to connect us with our baby, someday soon.
We are doing all that we can to stay sane, while actually not being too terribly stressed about things right now because it's all so new. We are enjoying just having a waiting period, because we've never been expecting parents before in such a real and reliable way. Two months is pretty spectacular. I never got to 8 weeks waiting the other way, and so this feels like a win.
The wait is not easy, but I think we're coping. It won't get easier as time marches on, that's for sure. All we can do is hope for that phone to ring and bring us our amazing news that we've waited so long to receive. To quote my favorite guided meditation CD, by Ruth Naparstek, everything will happen "in its own time, in its own way." Our Mystery Baby will come to us in whatever circuitous route is right, and it will all come together to bring us the child we've been waiting for, the child who's been ours all along.
How are you coping with the Wait? How DID you cope with the wait? Do you have any advice on how to stay sane as the wait marches on and on?