Part of the November series “30 Things I Know About Adoption.”
It took me years to learn to love roller coasters. As a child at Disneyland I preferred the teacups. It went round the big circle and I, depending on how hard I turned the wheel at the center, controlled how fast we spun
Roller coasters represented the unknown – twists, turns and giant hills followed by stomach-dropping plunges I was sure would catapult me out of the car.
I am a control-freak.
Or, as the Esurance commercials put it, a “control enthusiast.”
Nothing is more frustrating for a control enthusiast than adoption. I don’t think. At least I have not encountered anything yet.
Of course the ride begins with paperwork – tons of paperwork. But at least paperwork was something I could control with my color-coded folders and checklists. Make appointments for physicals – check. Fingerprints – check. Homestudy visits – check. Authenticate dossier – check.
The day I was putting our dossier on a FedEx truck, we got a call. The organization we found the children through was changing partner adoption agencies. It was up to us, but they advised us to switch.
This was NOT in my flow chart.
And thus began MONTHS of riding the roller coaster.
Do we switch agencies or do we not? (God answered that one with a closed door.) We sent in our paperwork.
Then we waited, and waited.
We hoped to pass court before the rainy season government shutdown that lasts from August to October. We should have been ready.
Someone totally dropped the ball and we missed the deadline. Commence emotional meltdown.
I had dreamed of having the kids home by summer. Instead, we were a family of four traveling to California that August for vacation.
Courts reopened but there were more issues with our paperwork. I felt so helpless – all I could do was make endless phone calls. Some of which I may have been close to screaming at people. I’m not saying it was pretty.
TIA. “This is Africa.” It runs on its own time schedule – or not.
We finally got a court date, the day after Thanksgiving. That should have made me feel better. It was a step. But, in the weeks before there had been an unusual amount of delays from the courts requesting more paperwork. The fate of my children rested in the hands of a judge in Ethiopia and God. (This was back before parents had to be in Ethiopia for court.)
A part of me felt confident that God had our back and we would pass on the first try. The other part of me knew that might not be God’s plan. I was literally sick to my stomach in the days before court. That’s the least amount of food I’ve ever eaten at Thanksgiving.
Wherever you are in the adoption process, if you can find a way to be okay without any control, you’ll do awesome.
I just kept repeating to myself and others, “It is, what it is.”
I can’t change it. (Well the screaming phone calls actually did get something done that needed to be done, but that was a bit unique.)
How do you deal with feeling helpless during the process?