18 Months

18Today marks 18 months into our being officially available as adoptive parents, in terminology our adoption agency uses.  It’s not significant marker, but then, yeah, I guess it is.  When we joined up with the IAC in March 2013, the average time hopeful adoptive parents would wait to actually become parents was 18 months.  Now, I think that time has actually reduced a bit to 15 months.  That “average” little statistic, arrived at by numbers they don’t share with the hopeful adoptive folks, is meant to give those getting started a kind of waymarker – some folks adopt earlier, some take a bit longer, but the average (as of when we signed on) was 18 months.

Hmm, I remember thinking, but not with any real concern, as I knew we’d be among those who’d get snatched up before we’d been waiting more than a few months.

Well, now we’re at that “average” moment.

Last week, as my mind ticked down another day closer to the 24th of the month, as it almost always does, keeping track of where we are (we went official on September 24th, 2013), we got a letter from our agency that included these phrases in the first sentence: “We know how difficult the wait can be…”  and “because your adoption profile has been in circulation a somewhat longer time than usual…”  

Really, IAC?  I didn’t even want to keep reading this letter,  with its poorly worded statement of the obvious.  Even if the ultimate point of it was to “offer extra services” in the form of more marketing and redesigning our letter to an expectant parent.  To me, “a somewhat longer time than usual” felt like a thinly veiled “hey, you guys are dragging our percentages down” kind of thing to say.

I may be reading too much into it – wouldn’t be the first time I’ve accused myself of such a thing – but there’s no way this was a feel-good kind of letter.  No, “Hey, you know, waiting sucks, but good job, you two, for sticking it out this far!  Just keep on keeping on! We’re behind you all the way. To prove it, here’s how we can help…”  That would’ve been better.  Right? Right.  Of course it would be.

Prompted by this letter and the 18-month milestone we didn’t want, I took a trot down memory lane a couple days ago, looking especially at things I had written for my column “The Art of Waiting” on Open Adoption Bloggers (a group that now seems to be defunct).  The last columns I wrote were four and five months into our wait – one was titled, “When the Days Feel Darkest: Waiting, and Wrestling with Fear.”   Oh, younger self, you think you were wrestling with it then…

What I wrote about there – the whole fear, self-doubt, anxiety, wondering if we’re absolutely invisible thing – now that we’re more than a year from when I wrote that – feels so much deeper now. I didn’t know then what the long haul might entail – I still don’t – the uncertainty is one thing that keeps this so stinking emotionally hard.

Adoption has a lot of moving parts.  It’s not lost on either of us that our dream of starting a family, however open we hope the adoption can be, comes at a price for someone else, and possibly that someone’s whole family.  I’m not ignoring that, and gripes about the IAC’s wording on their stupid letter aside, I’m not whining.  I think I can reiterate, without any change in vocal tone whatsoever, in a statement that I imagine anyone on any side of adoption – pre or post or expectant or birth parent – can agree with, that this whole process is yes, just so stinking emotionally hard.

Ever since I began this blog, almost 160 posts ago, one of my goals was to keep the tone positive and upbeat because this is meant to be a record of how we meet our Littlest, a record of how his or her birthmom and her family came to know more about us.  It’s a love story, really, to all of them. And we’re so excited to find out the ending.  Or the beginning, depending on how you look at it.

This bit, though, the 18-month bit, is part of the real story, and it’s absolutely, positively no fun.  But it’s worth recording.  Maybe it’s like the adoption version of “I was in labor with you for 63 hours” or whatever it is you hold over your teenager’s head when they’re being a typical teenager.

In the midst of these swirling thoughts, something directed my attention to this quote the other day.  It’s one I wrote down quite a while ago, and while I don’t remember the context of what made me write it down then, it certainly feels like it fits where we are right now:

around the bend

And maybe, just maybe, if someone out there is on the other side of the adoption story from us, these words will encourage her too.  So, we’ll keep on moving forward, and we hope she does too, because there is still a lot of beauty, even right now, when things are – did I mention? – so stinking emotionally hard.

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14 thoughts on “18 Months

  1. Love is like a butterfly. When you least expect it, it lands gently on your shoulder.
    Something good is bound to happen to great people very soon! Sherry

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement and for the kind words. Deep down, we know we’ll get there and we cling to the hope that someday this will all be a distant memory. It is wonderful to see that adoption can happen – such a beautiful way to surround a child and his or her birth family with love. I hope that the early days of your time with your new little one go smoothly – we wish your family happiness, too!

      • Thank you, but you and Angela deserve this kind of happiness too. I’m so frustrated for you that it’s been 18 months and still no little one. I don’t understand this. You’re a wonderful couple!! The art you do with the little kids and the trips you guys go on are amazing! (I totally checked out your adoption page.) you guys are always in my mind and prayers. If you lived closer, I would make you my little’s godparents because he deserves to have people like you in his life!

        • Oh, wow – we’re really honored by this – and thank you so much for such kind words.

          It is frustrating and we don’t understand why the wait has been for us the way that it is. But really, I can look around at a handful of other single folks and couples that we’re in touch with through our agency – some of whom have waited even longer, and who are fantastic people and will make great parents, and they’re waiting, too. I think our Littlest’s birthmom will find us when the time is right. I can’t say why it hasn’t been yet – but I hope it is very soon. You never know why things happen or don’t happen – but we’ll keep our chins up.

          And the art with the little kids – best part of my job, hands down!

          Thank you again for being such a cheerleader for us – we really appreciate it!

  2. I hear you. Our agency’s “average wait time” is 2 years – and we will be hitting that 2 year mark on May 14. I hope you will have your baby soon.

  3. The waiting is terrible. For us, if things had happened even one day sooner we wouldn’t have our son, though. He is so amazing that it made the wait totally worth every excruciating second. I truly hope and wish the same to you!

    • That is the thought that keeps us slogging through the wait – we know that once we’re parents, the difficulty of the wait will not have been for nothing – it will have been for everything. I’m sure you’ve been there – and as lots of other folks who’ve been waiting a long while can attest, the fear comes from the uncertainty that it might not happen at all. I think if I could know that yes, we’ll be parents in x period of time, it might be easier. But then, you could say that about a lot of things in life, eh? Thank you so much for your kind thoughts – hearing stories from people who’ve been where we are and made it to the other side really help us pull through!

  4. I have been reading your blog from the beginning. I was already a year into my family’s adoption wait. I sit here now, with my 12-day old son in my arms and know that this journey to our Oliver has been “stinking ” (I would use another choice word) hard. Even minutes before relinquishment papers were signed in court – after we’d had our son in our care for 4 days – birthmom was having second thoughts and we did not know if we would be going home with our son. But she signed, he is here, sleeping in my arms , and our 2 year, 6 month adoption wait is OVER.

    It is totally insane, this process. It is not fair. It is f-ing HARD. We almost threw in the towel so we could get out of limbo. But I am so glad we kept coming back to hope. I kept visualizing myself sitting on the steps of my front porch in the sunshine with my babe in my arms. So yesterday, with a quiet moment, I took Oliver out there. The spring sun was shining bright, with slats of shade from my porch railing so Oliver wouldn’t get blinded. I sat down and looked at him and said, “we manifested this.” In retrospect, the path is linear.

    Hang in there, friend. Let yourself acknowledge your weariness, and keep visualizing your family. It will happen.

    • We’re so happy that Oliver found his way to you – we know it’s been a terribly long road for you, too. I didn’t realize that it had been 2 1/2 years long. I’m so glad you didn’t give up hope that it would happen someday, and I hope that Oliver’s birthmom can be at peace with her decision and know what a loving family she chose for the son you’ll all share.

      Your words mean so much to us – it helps me to no end to hear from someone who has really been there and can offer encouragement like this. What a beautiful image – the two of you on your porch in the spring sunshine. Oh, how we long for moments like that one.

      Thank you again – so much – for your very real encouragement. I know that your adoption road is over – but we’d love to stay in touch with you guys. Someday, before too much longer, Oliver and our Littlest will have to meet each other!

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