Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

And NOW How Is The Wait?

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.

18 comments:

  1. I am sorry that you are having a rough stretch of time right now. Of course it's hard; there is no way anyone could keep up the smiles and positivity al of the time. You're only human. I hope you and Bryce are able to get to a better place very soon.
    For what it's worth, I think you should include the nursery photos somehow. Can you just add a page or addendum? You have created such a warm, beautiful space from and full of love, and I definitely think expectant mothers should see that. I would want to see that. It has been a big part of your life and you have put so much time and love into making that space perfect. I ask think it stands out. Meaning, I have seen plenty of nursery pictures and they all look sort of Pintrest-Y and the same but yours does not. In the very best of ways. (((Big hugs))) and lots of prayers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much -- your comment made me teary. Unfortunately to update the profile books we have to reprint the whole thing 7 times over, but that's okay. I think a finished nursery, one that says, "we're ready for your baby" might be helpful, like you said. Thank you for your kind words on the nursery! It is one of my favorite rooms in the house, even unoccupied. :) Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I have been feeling super cranky and discouraged, and the hugs and prayers help! Thank you...

      Delete
  2. So you may hate me, but I'm going to propose something radicle: plan a crazy vacation. Yes, I know responsibility. And yes, I know there are others who say that the second you leave will be when you get the call. But I'm sensing from the post that the waiting is getting difficult because you are being responsible. You've prepared and planned, done all the right things and filled out the extremely long paper work. You are doing everything right.

    But sometimes we need to cut lose. Go rogue and be a bit crazy. I'm not suggesting you do this because I think karma will decide that then is the time you'll get the Call, but because sometimes being so good comes with such sacrifice that it drives us a bit batty.

    So, I'm advocating for a crazier trip. Mind you, not a trip around the world, but if Jess could go anywhere in the New England area this summer, where would it be? Road trips get bonus points.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could never hate you! I would love to do a road trip. I am terrified of planes. And, a road trip would be good because it wouldn't take long to get back JustInCase. I would love to go back to Vermont, and to up to Bar Harbor, and maybe go through Boston, and I've never actually been to Portland, ME. Which is odd considering how often we go to Maine... Now to convince Bryce, who is definitely Mr. Responsibility. Although he is starting school in August, so maybe he needs a little July spontaneous crazy road trip before he's really saddled into responsibility while we wait, if we are still waiting in August. :) I am definitely batty. I am definitely feeling stir-crazy and like we have spent seven years on hold, JustInCase, and we have nothing but PIO knots in my ass and an ever-growing binder of copies of adoption paperwork to show for it. So I don't hate your idea, I love it!

      Delete
    2. I'm with Cristy- plan a trip! If you don't like planes, then plan a road trip. Maybe look into travel insurance in case you want to be a little more responsible. :-)

      I also think that you should add in the nursery photos and the adoption photos. I really think that expecting mothers would love to see those!

      Delete
    3. This weekend's to-do list includes planning our trip! Also, I think I will add the nursery photos to the book. And maybe a couple of our adoption shoot photos in there instead of some of the ones we currently have. It's hard to avoid my boobs, but I'm a little self-conscious of how much cleavage is present on our cover, although the agency didn't notice it apparently. :)

      Delete
  3. I can only imagine how hard is must be going through this process. Some kind of release / relif is likely in order.

    I like the idea of of adding the nursery photos. The room, the space is awesome.

    Keeping you and Bryce in my thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I think the nursery photos are definitely going in. And it is hard...I knew it would be, because I am a control freak and so much of this is out of our control and so fuzzy. I appreciate your thoughts!

      Delete
  4. It sounds very hard to have so little control over something you've worked so hard for. I feel the frustration and I think it's good you are at least aware of your feelings. If the idea of a "crazy vacation" sounds like fun, I second the motion to go for it. Even planning it could be a great distraction. The other thought I had when reading this is that you already sound more like parents than you sound like child free people. All those mental calculations about how many resources to spend on yourself vs this other life you are responsible for, the awareness that best laid plans can be overturned at any moment: that sounds a lot like my every day. Now of course it would be a helluva lot easier to accept if there was a real not hypothetical child in your life, but I wonder: could some of the stress be coming from the fact you think you SHOULD be able to live like child free people, but you really can't? Maybe it would help to remind yourselves that your lives are already adjusting to parenthood: it's not something that happens only when you get the call.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So interesting... That could totally be part of the frustration, is feeling like we should live our life as is but having this overhanging "but we could be parents ANY DAY, no exaggeration" feeling keeps us from truly being able to enjoy it. We do our best, but then some of these setbacks are tricky. Having this sort of half-materialized child in our lives is surprisingly difficult...materialize all the way! Do it! Thank you for your wise words. You made me feel so much better. :)

      Delete
  5. We have experienced a lot of this going through the DE process as well. We still go out and have fun and have date nights and things like that, but we haven't commited to any vacations this year. We had planned on going to Egypt to visit my husband's grandmother, my dad and step-mom are taking a motorcycle ride to WV (like our trip with them to NC last year), my mom and step-dad are going to Vegas. We had to turn it all down. Because we can't commit and pay deposits and buy plain tickets if we get a call tomorrow that a donor has been approved and everything takes off from there. Such a weird waiting game.

    I just keep telling myself that the donor that is meant for us will come. I hope the same for you, that regardless of your book, your pictures, etc. The baby that is meant to be yours, will be, and it will make the waiting seem so small in comparison to the lifetime of love you will get with that lucky baby! (HUGS)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is very similar -- when there's a third party involved, all of a sudden timelines aren't up to you anymore. It's so frustrating, and a little exciting, and when that call comes all the plans on hold will be totally worth it. But for the time being, it feels like we're stuck hovering in pause while everyone else speeds on by, and it's tiring. I hope your call comes soon!

      Delete
  6. In statistics, there are frequently (ha, ha) cases where the mode (or most-frequent value) is a lot more meaningful (ha, ha) than the mean (average value). Remember how wonderful you and Bryce are, and how lucky the people around you are to have you! It's important to celebrate yourselves in this time of waiting. I can't imagine how difficult this time is for you, but I do know that you are so, so, so loved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you -- knowing how the averages work is great, but I just wish they would give us a range, give us a little more realistic picture of what most people experience with waiting. Although, had we been chosen in March, it would have been close to the average, so they aren't too far off. If, if, if. It does help to be loved, but this time of uncertainty is just so frustrating.

      Delete
  7. They really should use a median instead of a mean...Go on the vacation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I just want all the statistics. Give me the percentage of people 6 months and less, a year, a year and a half, two years... let me know what it really looks like, knowing that every situation is completely individualized and there's really no way to sum it up neatly. But try, dammit, try! :) We are totally planning that vacation. July vacation, here we come! I can't wait. I am exhausted.

      Delete
  8. I'm sorry to hear it is taking longer than you hoped and expected. I've always heard as long as two years. But then the dangling carrot that it can be less for some, more around a year. It is easy to hope that you could be one of the couples that matches early. And it is okay to feel disappointed. Hugs for you. I vote for planning a trip within driving distance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew it could take years, but it's slightly disillusioning when everyone at the orientations and the home study classes was matched in less than 6 months, and they tell you the average is 7. It would be better (kinder?) to expect a longer wait, I think. Then if it happens sooner, you're blown away, and if it happens later, you're still within the norm. Thank you so much for your thoughts! We are totally going on a vacation. I think a New England-y one, definite destinations to be decided this weekend! :)

      Delete