Waiting through adoption is a funny thing.
It feels like things could speed up and become "real" tomorrow, while at the same time feeling like somehow we've been forgotten and we'll be still waiting years from now.
Most of the time we are super optimistic about the wait.
And some of the time...not.
It's been a little bit of a hard stretch.
First, we were told that the average for homestudy-to-placement was 7 months. Then a couple months later the figure was adjusted back to 9 months, but regardless...we're well past either of those marks. I know an average is kind of a tricky number to play with -- it could mean that MOST people are placed within that timeframe, or it could mean that a lot of people are placed far less and others far more. It's interesting, because I was kind of hoping that we wouldn't be renewing our homestudy, and here we are.
So that is kind of disappointing, although we weren't stupid and didn't expect February to be the Month of the Baby, we were just hoping that it would be sometime in the spring. And we did get a call in January, a call in February, and a call in March...just none of them were The Call.
Which brings me to the second reason this has been a hard stretch. We didn't get a call in April, and May is coming to a close and we've not yet received a call. It could still happen, but it seems that we had a bit of a bubble of calls and now we are in a famine stretch. Who knows when the next call will come?
The third reason is a catch-22. I love, love, love when people ask us about adoption. But when people ask us if there's any news and I keep having to say no, qualifying that we DID actually receive several calls but none of them stuck, it reminds me an awful lot of our other journey. Of hopeful faces that become less so over time, of wanting to provide good news and just not being in a position to do so. I am grateful that my body is out of this equation, but it's still hard. A teacher I work with asked me recently, and we had a whole conversation about the progress/nonprogress of our adoption journey, and she shared, "I just thought 7 months sounded so short compared to everyone I know who's adopted. A year or so seems so much more common." And that's true...and I wish that they would give more of a range for homestudy-to-placement instead of an average, which is a little deceiving. Not intentionally, but it does makes it seem like you will be waiting less.
The homestudy update has been frustrating, as well. We finally got our packet after several weeks of having had the check in, and found that it was EXTENSIVE. Almost all of our original paperwork, minus fingerprinting and the clearances we'd already re-upped in January. Including copies of our drivers licenses' and my insurance card, which they have from last year and HAVEN'T CHANGED. I know this is NY state law, and not our agency making life harder than it has to be, but for Pete's sake -- how much changes in one year? I was very, very glad to have my binder with copies of everything from last year. It made filling out paperwork a lot easier, although things did change on the financial form (like no credit card debt and a nearly-gone student loan amount, yay... but also two newer vehicles and car payment, which we didn't have before).
It makes us a little cranky. We know why it's necessary, we know the purpose, but still. You don't have to do all this stuff to have a baby if you're lucky enough to be fertile or respond to infertility treatment. It is like I had an extra consulting job over the past month, compiling everything.
Then there's the question, do we update our profile book? We had pictures of the room that was going to be a nursery in there...and now we have our pretty little nursery. Should we update that? Should we include some of the lovely pictures from our adoption shoot? Should we update the number of years on things? Or is that unnecessary? When we submitted our book, we were told it was absolutely lovely and that we would never have to wonder if it was our book that was an issue. Which is very nice, but now it's been in two expectant mothers' hands and they didn't pick us. I don't think it's the book, but you can't help but scrutinize every single thing to see...was it this?
It's kind of a hard space to live in right now. I don't really know what to expect from the social worker visit this time, which is just one and not three as it was for our original homestudy. Will she ask about our profile opportunities? How we're dealing with the wait? How we made our decisions on profile opportunities and how we handled not being chosen? It has me a little stressed out.
And then there's summer... we'd love to go on a vacation, but how do we plan for this when we have an unknown homestudy visit date that has to be around the end of June or else we lapse (and NOT by our paperwork handling...we've taken care of everything in a very timely manner). Do we plan for August? Do we do something at the end of July? We were going to go camping in Bryce's mom's fifth-wheel, but then we haven't reserved a spot and I'm thinking it will now be tough to find a campsite with hookup. (Because I don't do camping without plumbing...in fact the closest I've come to camping is the camp up near Bar Harbor and that has walls and a shower and a full kitchen and is basically a little house.)
It feels like stasis. It feels like we should feel free to go and do what we'd like and live our lives as is, which is what we've told everyone we're doing...but it's not exactly true. Do we go out to dinner a lot and enjoy spur of the moment outings? Yes. Do we fly off to Paris (or drive to Maine)? No. It's too hard to plan something ahead of time when the last time we planned to take a vacation we got a profile call and had to abandon the plans because the baby was due right before our week we were to travel. But then we weren't chosen, and it wouldn't have made sense to go anyway. Plus we were hit in the head with the reality stick of how much we'd have to have on hand to pay the fees upon placement, and a fancy Napa vacation just didn't seem like the best priority anymore.
We are being responsible. We are having local, spontaneous fun, but we don't feel free to truly live as if it was just us two. We have this exciting possibility of a child at any moment, but then the more stark reality of how long we've been waiting so far and how it could be a heck of a lot longer. You just don't know when things will come together on all fronts. And so it is a life of uncertainty, of a little bitterness, of neverending paperwork and losing the excitement when my phone rings in the middle of the day because lately, it's just telemarketers. No baby yet. We'll perk up, but right now, we're struggling to keep the faith that this is really going to work out, when so many other things have not worked out in the past. I know adoption is different, but it's definitely a rollercoaster. And we are strapped in, waiting to take off up the hill that will send us on our glorious ride, but something has us waiting, waiting, waiting to get started.