Adoption timeline


Friday, October 16, 2009

Holy Guacamole - What A Week!

Really? Seriously? Life needs to be this chaotic? Goodness gracious, I am going to be a stark raving lunatic if life continues at this pace - with this total lack of order. I may be the least "Type A" person I know, but sometimes, a little order and structure is needed. Right now, it is really needed. It is amazing how chaos has a ripple effect. I could tell no one my sob story, but if any one took two steps into my house, she would immediately know something was up. (or assume that I was now housing pygmy monkeys who had free reign over the place.) There is a full week's worth of "stuff" strewn about in every room. I walked into my bathroom this morning and realized the floor is covered in clothing - workout clothes for workouts that didn't happen, dirty clothes tossed aside before a shower, the boys clothes from their showers or baths. Normally by Friday it is a little messy - this is total disarray. I don't say this blaming the kids or Dennis or me, even. There just haven't been enough hours in the day to care about cleaning up. So... here is a little of what has been happening. Bear in mind, before the adoption chaos took over, I knew this was going to be a very busy week at work. Boy, did I underestimate just how busy...

Tuesday morning we get an email letting us know that they have evaluated Samantha and agree she is 18 months old, not the 8 month old we were told at referral. This wasn't the least bit shocking, given that it took approximately 3 seconds of looking at her picture to know she was not 8 months. BUT... the kicker... two weeks after we accepted the referral, we are told that we need to update our homestudy and our paperwork with USCIS becuase we are not approved for a child that old. PANIC SETS IN. I naturally jump to the worst of conclusions - this will set us back, how long before we hold our daughter, etc. We ask some questions and get a mixed bag of responses. The paper work "shouldn't" hold us back much (assuming our government processes it quickly and it gets where it is supposed to go in Ethiopia. That alone is a terrifying thought). BUT, our chances of getting a court date as early as we thought upon referral are not likely at all because the courts did not open when they were supposed to. Now, at best we might get Sam home for Christmas. So, it has been 4 days of dealing with that paperwork issue. THEN, yesterday, we get an email explaining that as of yesterday, the Ethiopian government has yet again changed the requirements and additional paperwork is needed immediately. Without, we assuredly will be delayed months. With it... well, no guarantees we still won't be delayed. I read the email on my blackberry, as I am 15 minutes from starting a field hockey game. It is senior night, so I have to do a big presentation for my 9 seniors and the crowd is quite large. My cell phone rings and I recognize the number as our Agency. It is our family coordinator explaining I must sign the paper from the email and overnight it to her NOW. WHAT???? Thank goodness, Dennis works with me and was 10 feet away when the call came. He looked at me and knew something wasn't right (I am sure I looked like I was going to throw up). I give a 30 second synopsis of the situation and we jump in a golf cart and speed up to my office, print the form, fill it out, and he is literally RUNNING to his truck to get the thing to UPS to mail. I start our game 5 minutes late, and we win. Thankfully.

So, that, on top of being in charge of the school's Homecoming festivities, and all my regular work has really made for a long week. I did have a great conversation with a friend this week, though as for the first time I really had an opportunity to voice a lot of my inner dialogues about adopting Samantha. She asked me, "Are you really, truely ok with adopting an older child? I know you wanted a baby." There is no easy response to this - it is certainly a loaded question. But here is what I have to say on the subject.

This referral in some ways was a series of errors. The orphanage should have noticed she was much older than 8 months. The transition house staff should have noticed. The folks at the AWAA US office should have noticed. My doctor picked it up in maybe 2 minutes. How could so many mistakes happen, if she wasn't meant to be a Ring? Then, I saw her picture. In one of the photos, she is incredibly sad. My heart ripped in half. She owned me at that moment. It isn't sad like I fell and bumped my knee. It isn't sad like you took my toy. It is an aching, brutal searching loneliness of a scared little girl who has lost her family. It is a sadness I will never know and my baby - MY baby - is in pain. It is brutal. So, to refuse the referall to wait for an infant would have made this whole adoption about me. And that one picture taught me more than anything in this 18 month process - and maybe my entire life - has ever taught me. This is SO NOT ABOUT ME. This is about a lost little girl with a head full of curls who needs to learn to trust that it is all going to be OK and that she has a family who will love her forever. So, yeah, I missed way more of her life than I had hoped to. I will mourn that loss. I missed the first tooth, the first steps, the first words. They are important, and I missed them. But I won't miss the moment that she finally learns that she can trust that someone loves her and will be there for her.

So, now I live in fear that delays will slow down the process even more and I will continue to miss important moments. That is hard. I fear she will get sick and not have the proper treatment. I fear she is sad and scared. I fear she is still being deprived of proper nutrition and vitamins. This part of the journey is downright terrifying. But soon, hopefully, we can begin to show her she is a Ring...forever.

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