Waiting is the Hardest Part
Our Adoption Story: Part 2
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 NIV
I was almost 29 when we decided to adopt. Since you have to be 30 to adopt from China, we had one year to do a mound of paperwork. You would think that it would be easy to get any amount of paperwork done in that time, but once you factor in filling out applications and waiting around for paperwork to be returned to you, a year isn’t quite long enough. In fact, it actually took us 2 extra weeks to get everything back that we needed to turn our official dossier in to China.
When we first decided to adopt, we were told the wait was about 6 months. That’s even less than a traditional pregnancy! What we never expected was that in the year we had to wait to officially apply, the wait for a baby would increase to over one year. As we waited after that, the wait would rise to almost 3 three years. Before that point, we would be really tired of waiting!
Every little paper that was returned during this time period was a cause for celebration. A trip to the Chinese restaurant was often in order. We had to look towards the little things to keep our faith alive that it would one day happen.
There were lots of Yahoo groups for people adopting from China. We were even secret pals with another adopting family. We received care packages every month for our baby. It became bitter sweet after a while because we would cuddle and hold the gifts, dream of our baby, then pack everything away.
During this time, my husband and I would balance each other out. Sometimes he was the strong one, knowing that our patience would be rewarded, comforting me as I cried. At other times, I was the one encouraging him. Sometimes we just held each other and cried together.
Meanwhile, it was like a 3 year pregnancy. I can say that because I have also birthed 2 children. All the emotional ups and downs were there. I even gained weight thanks to stress eating. This pregnancy, however, lasted 3 years. The term many use to describe this phase of adoption is “paper pregnant.” The only difference was there was no morning sickness. The watching, waiting, and worrying was all very real though.
After turning everything in, waiting 2 years, and having to redo paperwork that had expired while we were waiting, we were at the end of our rope. The wait kept rising every month. Each time we checked the projected dates of when we would get our baby, we were actually further away from the date than the last time we had checked.
We had heard that if you accepted a child with special needs that you could be on your way to picking up your child (within a few months of course!). At the time, the adoption agency we were using had photos of waiting children with special needs on their website. You could research them and ask to see more of their file. Then you could apply for a specific child. Many parents usually wanted these children, so there was competition. Most parents were rejected for the first child they applied for. If two sets of parents wanted the same child, it was rumored that they would choose the parents that made the most money. So we applied for a child and were rejected.
Thankfully the agency changed the way they did things right after that. It felt strange to stare at a piece of paper and check off which needs we would accept and which we wouldn’t. Of course, we wanted a healthy baby, just as most all parents giving birth do. But if we were giving birth, we would have loved any baby we were blessed with, imperfections and all. We talked, prayed, and researched every need. Then we returned our paperwork. When children were available for adoption, the agency matched you with a child and sent you his or her information. Then you had a few days to look over the file, send it to a doctor and get their opinion, and accept or decline. It was only a matter of days after turning in the special needs paperwork that we got a call.
We had originally applied for twin girls. We asked for girls because most of the children up for adoption were girls. We asked for twins because we wanted more than one child and figured we might as well go ahead and ask for two since we were doing all this paperwork anyway! Of course, when we got the call, it was for a baby boy. It’s funny how God knows just what you need, even when you are doing everything in your power to make things turn out differently.
My husband, who never went out of town for work, was actually out of town for work. I had to email the baby’s photo to him. I so had wanted to see his reaction in person! I could tell he was nervous and excited. Then he, the voice of ration, said we would send his file to the doctor and see what he said. I knew he was my baby when I saw his face, but I agreed to even more waiting. When the doctor said we should ask for even more medical information from China, I agreed again to more waiting. When I was about ready to tell my husband and the doctor that I was tired of waiting to get the rest of the information back and I was just going to get my little boy, we finally got the file and everything was fine. Finally the wait was over.