If you talk to any adoptive parent, they will tell you that the adoption process comes with a roller-coaster of emotions. There are incredible highs (like getting your referral and seeing your child(ren) for the first time) and there are times of incredible lows (like when an unexpected delay occurs and you realize the process is going to take much longer than you had hoped). There are also times when you feel a little emotionally 'neutral' and you feel like you're just bracing yourself for one of those lows.
Today I feel a bit low. Now, I have to say that I have no real reason to feel low. I know that the staff for our agency here in the U.S. and in Ghana are working hard. I know that they all have made personal investments in this new program and they want things to go smoothly and quickly for the families. And they have all been great! We've gotten great updates on our boys. We've seen them go from shy, hungry, scared little boys in their intake photos to bright, happy, filled-out little boys in a matter of just a few months. We've gotten insights into their personalities, we've got LOTS of pictures of the boys (many adoptive families get only one or very few photos of their child), we've sent them a package and can send letters and photos with traveling volunteers and staff. We've even relatively recently gotten hopeful news of adoption progress on the Ghanaian side of things.
But...I still feel low today. Every conversation I have about the boys with friends and family at some point includes the question "How long until you can go get them?" I don't have an answer to this question. In my head it makes sense to me that I don't know yet. I've been in the midst of the adoption process for months now; I've been obsessed with all things adoption and I know how the process works. But some of our friends and family members don't. They expect by this point that we should know. There should be a date for our travel already set. So every time I answer "we're not sure yet, but we're hoping before Christmas" I am met with looks of confusion. After all, "how can you possibly plan your life if you don't know the date they are coming?"
Its true....unlike a pregnancy we don't have a due date. We could travel in two months or several months. It does make things more difficult. I'm finding that when people ask me what we are doing for Thanksgiving or Christmas (or for anything else this fall and winter) my answer is always "I'm not sure, it depends on how close we are to traveling". This is the time of the year that people start realizing that the holidays really are just around the corner. There's already all kinds of Halloween stuff in stores. Usually by this time of the year I am thinking about what we're doing for Christmas presents for family members and friends. I like to make a lot of things for gifts and I am pretty sure this year homemade gifts will be few. I haven't even thought about that stuff yet - and I doubt I will have time to anytime soon.
We still have lots of things to do to get the boys' room ready (and our whole place ready for two little boys). We have almost all of the basics taken care of, but I haven't yet gotten their room ready for them. And I don't really want to until we have a better idea of when they are coming home. I think it will be too difficult for me to walk past their room everyday knowing that it is ready for them, but not knowing when they will be here to use it. So, their stuff is still in boxes and bags waiting. Of course, a weekend of work is all it will take to have it ready for them.
So, I guess today is just one of those days when the "unknowns" are starting to get to me. Mind you, we totally signed ourselves up for this. We KNEW there would be unknowns, and we're ok with that. Its just that some days are harder than others. We don't know when the adoption will be finalized in Ghana. We don't know when we will be approved to travel. We don't know if the boys will be home for Christmas (that all-important deadline we had set for ourselves at the beginning of this process). We just don't know. We hope the adoption will be finalized soon. We hope it won't be too long before we can travel. And we hope that we will be able to spend Christmas 2007 as our first Christmas together as a family of 4.
A family of 4. Wow, that's weird. We're totally skipping over that whole family of 3 thing.