Anyone who's ever been pregnant, and gotten very close to -if not gone over- their due date, knows how painful it is to hear over and over again the phrase "Still no baby yet?!" At that point, it's hard to refrain from pointing out that the oversized basketball under your shirt should be a clear indication that no, there is still no baby yet.
Adoption is about a thousand times worse. The obvious basketball isn't there to tip the inquirer off, and the question doesn't hold a black-or-white type of answer. And of course, it's actually a much more valid question, given that we rely on governmental agencies, and not nature's course, for some resolution- aka, the anticipated arrival of baby.
So, take the 39-weeks-pregnant scenario, and pretend that your doctor suddenly informs you that there was a mistake in the due date estimation... and you're really only 36 weeks pregnant. And here you'd thought all along that you were almost there. That's what happened to us this week.
Long story short, there's a group of ten families a week or so ahead of us, and another group a few weeks behind. We were a lonely group of one, happening to travel at a time no one else did. When the post-court approval stuff started happening, we were in the first group. We got a few updates along the way, but then we stopped hearing things. I told myself to just be patient, for if the agency had things to tell us, they'd tell us. Yet other families seemed to know so much more, posting all kinds of info that we'd never been tipped off to. It started to make me a little crazy, hunting down info through facebook status updates and adoption message boards. Then I realized that all of this hunting wasn't helping... especially when families started getting submitted to the embassy, and we hadn't a clue where our case was at.
Somewhere along the way, we shifted from the first group to the second group. We were told Acacia's visa medical was complete, when in actuality, it hasn't even happened yet. Communication between US staff and Ethiopia staff got crossed, and it never became clear until today that our case had fallen behind in the process just after birth certificates had been obtained. Our consultant apologized profusely for the oversight. Strangely, even though it's a major set back, I feel so much better knowing what happened vs. sitting here each night wondering why we feel like the only family not getting an update. The good news is that we now have a group- a "home" for the moment, anyway. Even if it delays the process, I guess it was meant to be this way for a reason. Fate's grand plan. Which reminds me...
We've been rather alone in another way, too. Adoption and religion are tightly knit. God speaks to many loving families, and helps them realize that His plan for them is adoption. It's a wonderful thing. And while I believe in God, and Jesus, I also believe in Buddah, and Shiva, and Gaia, and every other supreme being that spiritually moves the human race. When I see a "Coexist" bumper sticker (the one that spells out the words in multiple religious and spiritual symbols), well, that sums up my beliefs. And while I am very content and proud of the way I perceive spirituality, I can't help but feel that, by not serving one God, I miss the opportunity for an amazing support group. I see other families surviving this process through their devotion to God. They pray together; they create an amazing energy that I wholeheartedly beleive in. They find solace, and answers, for every frustration this process brings... all through the guidance of the Lord. I know I may as well wear a sign that says "Save me." But, that expereince has already happened, and it isn't my path to follow. All the same, I often wish it were.
So, the take aways from this weeks post:
1) You may ask me how the adoption is going, but in all likelihood, there won't be anything to report until after labor day. And, I may burst into tears if you ask me before then!
2) I am feeling very isolated as I deal with the stress of waiting for Acacia to come home. And, while I can't find the same comfort in God that most families seem to find, I do pray in my own ways, and appreciate your prayers - of any origin - in the biggest way possible.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Now that we are officially the parents of TWO amazing little girls, the big question is: "So when do you get to bring Acacia home?"
Here's the quick rundown -
- We passed court at the end of July, and got the news on 8/2 that our adoption decree was complete.
- This week, we got a copy of the decree translated into English. We also got word that Acacia's passport had been picked up, and that she was scheduled to go a medical appt. that's required prior to obtaining her visa.
- Next week, everything will be submitted to the US Embassy, and we'll await word from them on when we are clear to travel. Sometimes, the embassy requests additional information beyond what's in our dossier (that stack of paperwork that took us a year to complete). If so, the clearance may be delayed a few days to a few weeks. Typically, a family is cleared 2-3 weeks after the submission.
- When we are clear, our agency will choose three potential dates for us to have our visa appointment at the embassy. The embassy will respond back with the actual date of the appointment, and only THEN can we book our flight to bring Acacia home. The booking will happen only 1-2 weeks prior to departure!
In summary, we expect to travel in mid-September, but it could be a little earlier, or a little later, because as always, the adoption process is most unpredictable.
I always remind myself that, though she is coming back with us to the place we consider home, she will be further away from "home" than ever before. Everything she knows and understands is about to change. As we can attest, all sights, sounds and smells in Ethiopia are a 180 from what we know in the US. Add infancy into the mix, and Acacia is in for quite the surprise.
The best way to empathize with her is through an exercise I found in this blog: http://shaungroves.com/2011/01/the-list/
...really thought provoking stuff.