Once all the paperwork is in and your crazy document gathering part is over you hand the proverbial baton over to your agency, remember, the agency which by now has thousands and thousands of your hard earn cash and seriously needs to start justifying their pay. At this point the stages of ‘waiting’ that most adoptive parents experience can begin. Now I have heard of all of these from other adoptive parents however I can only vouch for two myself. The first one and the second one that I am currently entering.
STAGE NUMBER ONE: The “Paperwork is done let’s sit by the phone now” stage
This is the time were you are still riding the high from all the paper gathering. You are feeling like a rockstar. You are finally done and you think to yourself, “Well now the agency will see how high-speed and amazing we look on paper and surely we will bypass all the weirdos to the top of the list”. You start making all kinds of decisions you really should hold off on like rearranging furniture, buying kid clothes, making big purchasing (ie. minivan fiasco see post from 01/19), etc. You see yourself getting a call or a message from the agency ‘any minute’ and think you might not have time to prepare. You are excited for people to ask you were you are in the process because you are dying to tell them that ‘any minute’ you might get the call. You want to talk about it all the time and with anyone who listens. “The cashier at the ShopRite just saw me buy extra tupperware, I must tell her why”. This stage is a bit of a honeymoon if you will; A time when you feel the agency would work faster than you at doing their part since they are, after all, pros at this.
STAGE NUMBER TWO: The “Something must be wrong since I haven’t heard from them” stage
It is during this stage that you begin to panic because you think there has to be something wrong. You search your email everyday, spam, junk and inbox. You call your cell from a landline and your landline from your cell just to make sure they all work. You start reading every adoption forum you can get your hands on just to check if the length is normal. You begin to question everything, from the agency you picked to the country you are adopting from. You start to wonder if there is any documentation that you missed and begin to dissect every step you took making sure you crossed your t’s and dot your i’s. Yet still in this stage you think to yourself, “we look excellent on paper, I would want us to adopt me”, “The agency must have made a mistake”. At this point, you are still easily comforted when a complete stranger (even one who has absolutely zero knowledge on adoption) tells you that they are sure you’ll hear from them soon.
STAGE NUMBER THREE: The “WTH! Did the agency lose our stuff?, maybe this is not meant to be, are we terrible parents? stage
Stage number three is something we have not yet experienced ourselves but from what I hear it is as intense and agonizing as one and two, however at this point you begin to place blame wherever you can. You get mad at how long it is taking and you first lash out at the person holding all the cards, the agency. You email and call them thinking you can get more than “we have to wait” as a response. Once you are done with them you move on to yourself. You wonder if there was any paper you omitted or didn’t fully complete. You go over all your copies frantically looking for a ‘logical’ explanation, since “waiting” couldn’t possibly take this long. Then you question the universe. You start doubting whether this is what you are truly meant to do. You want signs that what you are doing is right. While in this stage you no longer want to talk about it. You avoid everyone and anyone that might ask you about the adoption because you are going to respond one of two ways; either you will burst into tears or punch them in the throat, either way it won’t be pleasant for anyone involved.
I am not really sure how long the wait is. I understand it varies from country to country and family to family. I know it’s brutal, torturous even, but it must happen. You try to prepare yourself as best you can but in the end you are truly and fully invested in this and in your mind you are waiting to go get your children. In your mind they are already yours and they are waiting for you as well.