When we boarded the roller coaster ride that is the open adoption process in January of last year, we were super-diligent about organizing the stacks of paperwork we knew we’d be completing in the weeks to come. There was indeed a lot of paperwork, as well as a lot of decision-making. We wanted to get all of it (the paperwork) out of the way as soon as we possibly could (early May of last year, thanks to the difficulty of working in my physical and my work schedule) because it needed to be submitted in order to schedule our Home Study, maybe the most important part of the whole process. Our final Home Study visit was in mid-June last year, and the actual report took a bit longer to receive. We finally (FINALLY!) went “in the books” with our agency on September 24th, 2013.
If you followed that stream of dates, you’ll see that we began the paperwork process well before we were “in the books.” That means that all those bits of paperwork that we began early last year, in February, March and April – well, they were good for a year. So in the past few weeks, we’ve been updating paperwork: the FBI clearances, the DMV reports, the Child Abuse Clearance forms, the County clearances, the doctor’s physical exam. We’ve gotten them all done except for updating my physical, which is in May. We’ll also do another Home Study visit to talk about any changes in the past year – that will probably come some time in the early summer (I’m guessing on this one – we haven’t heard for sure).
I’ve got to admit that I was hoping we wouldn’t have to go through the paperwork updating process (as in, we’d be parents already). Even now that we’re a little more than six months into The Great Wait, defying all self-descriptions of my “glass half empty” self, I fervently hope that this is the last time we update this stuff (for adoption #1, at least).
Here lately, I’ve replayed the last year over in my mind and have made mental notes about how far we’ve come. We got all the paperwork done, we successfully completed the Home Study, we added the finishing touches to The Littlest’s room, and I focused on turning this blog into – I hope – a good journal of this process and our thoughts and feelings about it. It’s really important to remember the good things that have happened in the past year. I won’t speak for *A* here, but I think I’ve done a fair amount of growing, on an emotional level. It’s been sort of a personal challenge, so that I don’t drive myself (and especially *A*) nuts. I’m not there (whatever “there” is) yet, but I do think I”m better than I was.
Looking backwards at how far we’ve come feels better than considering the unanswered question of how far we have still to go to reach that somehow elusive silver-lined cloud that is parenthood. The in-between space of then and the future is a weird, alternative universe. Some days we feel….well, deflated is not necessarily the word for it, though I will say that we, like most people I’ve encountered that have been or are in the same place we are, started out our wait with SO MUCH anticipation and eagerness and assured-ness that the adoption would happen quickly and there would be little (or no) indeterminable waiting time and little (or no) time to brood over the what-if’s and should-we’s.
Maybe the weirdness comes from trying to evolve into a person that is okay with the wait (whoa, have I got a long way to go there!) while juggling the positive thought that the wait is giving me the time I need to turn myself into a better person and wondering if that’s just something I’m telling myself to keep it bearable. It’s quite possible, either way, that I’m realizing that I’m close to being the most impatient person I know.
Well, while I mull this over, I will say that compared to the actual wait, adoption paperwork is a piece of cake. The actual “work,” as it turns out, is the wait. I know, however few(!) months from now, that we will find this to ring true:
When that good stuff happens, I want each of you, IN ALL CAPS, ITALICIZED, and BOLD FONT, to tell me how you told me so. You can even wag your finger at me as I grin in sheepish embarrassment and stare in adoration at our very first Littlest Brooks-Livingston.
In the meantime, keep your fingers, toes, and eyes crossed (not while driving, please)for us. Share our blog, like our Facebook page, our iheartadoption.org profile. Our Littlest is out there. We just have to find each other.