Since we've been keeping this blog, Christy and I have made an attempt to be as transparant as possible in regards to our thoughts and emotions in hopes that those who come after us in their adoption journey may find some comfort and insight into what to expect in the days, weeks and months to come. If you've found this blog and are prospective adoptive parents, this post is written with you in mind.
We chose to do an independant adoption for various reasons; the primary one being that at this time it doesn't appear that the US agencies have the necessary contacts on the ground in Congo to do a relatively quick adoption...relative being the operative word since the timeframes vary wildly. That being said, if that was the #1 reason, #1a was that we wanted more information and control during the process. Indpendant adoption allows you to be intimitely involved in every step of the process, but it doesn't come without it's own drawbacks as well. More information and more "control" aren't always a good thing, as we've found out. Case in point; we are currently waiting on the final Act of Adoption paperwork to come through so that we can apply for her Congolese passport and go and get her. One document....One. How long does it take to get one simple document, especially considering all of the judgements have been made and she's legally ours? A simple stamp? A one-page letter? Being an American, you're used to things being done in a timely manner with order and fairness...not so in other parts of the world. It's not First In, First Out...in fact at many times it seems like First In, Last to know what in the world's going on over there...but the simple fact is that things don't work as quickly or as efficiently in a third world country as they do here. That's a tough pill to swallow.
Expectations are a hard thing to have in the adoption world, simply because they are almost always wrong. We expected our case to go smoothly, we expected to be receiving constant updates on our child, we expected that because the first several steps of our journey went quickly that the rest of it would too, we expected fundraising to be a lot easier, we expected our life here to continue like clockwork during this process...we were wrong on all accounts. As we tend to do, we had things built up in our minds about how our case was going to be the one that didn't have any problems, that our case was going to be completed in record time, that the date we picked six months ago to be travelling would somehow hold true. Turns out, our case is just like everyone else's; we're not the fastest, but we're not the slowest either. We've had some speed bumps, but nothing like other's have had to deal with. Our case is just your plain, simple, run of the mill adoption case...and I think there's a huge lesson in humility in there somewhere. So, our case is still right on track time-wise and we've reset our expectations; now we are planning on traveling somewhere around mid-March.
I mentioned earlier that going independant allowed us the ability to have more control over our case. I now laugh at that notion because once your homestudy is done, once the paperwork and fingerprinting for your I-600 is done, and once you've sent your money in there is absolutely nothing you can do but wait....and that's not control, that's the opposite of control. Again, huge lesson there in waiting and trusting that God is taking care of it.
As I try and take a step back from our situation and look at it from a thousand-mile view, I realize that almost all of our frustrations stem from our lack of faith, where we fall short in believing that ultimately He is in control and that things will happen when He allows them to. We have been tested and stretched in our faith so much during this process that at times we weren't sure how we were going to make it through, but it's apparant to me now that He had a lot of work to do in us in a short time to prepare us for this awesome responsibility we are about to take on. We've been forced to re-examine what's really important and adjust our lives accordingly. We've also been told that once we are home with her, none of this will matter anyway, so we're trying find some comfort in that as well.
Adoption is hard, plain and simple. Once it's been imprinted on your heart to care for the orphans of the world, it becomes tremendously burdensome to have to wait to bring them into your home, where they'll be safe and loved. You quickly develop deep feelings for a child you've never even met, to the point that it hurst just as much as if it were one of your biological children waiting for you in an orphanage overseas. This is one of the things we didn't expect, to love her as much as we do, and it will be for you too. But stay the course, it will be so worth it.
Dreaming of her "Gotcha Day"