Adoption is Closer Than We Think

Nine months is a long time to wait for a baby. But at least you know how long the wait will be. With adoption it’s a bit trickier. In December we were told six to nine months. Of course things are complicated in Ethiopia by the rainy season in late summer that shuts down the government. Adoptions aren’t processed for a month or two.

So if you do the math it means we could be hearing any time now, but it also means if we don’t hear soon then we won’t be getting our kid until after the rainy season, sometime in the fall. To complicate matters, my wife is active on our agency’s online message board. Some enterprising folks put together a user-generated waiting list using volunteered info, and based on this less than reliable info, we can determine where we are on the list (my wife gives more details). We started somewhere in the 80s, I think, though honestly I wasn’t paying much attention—it seemed too early, too vague and I didn’t want to celebrate non-milestones like moving into the 60s.

But last week we moved from #59 to #47. Yesterday we moved up to #39. And while we were moving up, people at #49 and #51 both got their referrals, as well as the people who have been directly ahead of us the entire time we’ve been on the list. So people around us on the list are getting referrals, which means ours could come any day. Suddenly it feels very soon and very real. Of course it’s still early, still vague and still a non-milestone. The list doesn’t mean such, since folks behind us on the list could easily get a referral before we do (probably due to limiting factors we said we wouldn’t take) and folks ahead of us on the list could sit there for years (probably due to specific requests, like siblings).

But it’s still progress. And that’s exciting.

All of which makes me realize how quickly this could come. A month or two ago I’d given up hope that we would be traveling to Ethiopia this summer and resigned myself to fall or later travel. It may still be fall or later, but it could be this summer. In essence, nothing’s changed. But it’s all perspective.

It’s also making me feel a bit panicked. Like I need to do more adoption reading (I was heavy into it for a while, but then got distracted). Like I need to experience more Ethiopian culture and food. Like I need to paint the baby’s room. Like I need to get more work so when the kid comes I can do less work.

It’s also a good reminder that I have no idea what I’m doing. Parenting the tantrum-prone Lexi (especially lately) has given me a false sense of confidence. I can’t tell you how many parents have told me that what they did for their first child didn’t work for their second child, and I just smiled and nodded. But they’re right. Even more so with all the unknowns and complications of adoption. If I sound like I’m panicking, I’m not (too much). I’m just realizing I need to learn more and get myself in a flexible frame of mind.

Remember: Deep breaths.

2 thoughts on “Adoption is Closer Than We Think”

  1. People behind us on the list might be getting referrals because the child being referred doesn’t match our list of preferences. It might be an age thing or a child with a special need we said ‘no’ to.

    They basically take the child they have and go down the list of adoptive parents looking for the first match.

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