The Last Two Days: High to Low …

We decided to chronicle our adoption experience in blog-form because 1) we wanted a record of it, 2) writing is how I process all The Feelings, 3) we wanted to honestly portray an adoption experience for anyone else considering or pursing adoption.  I am so glad we chose to do it!  It has been more cathartic than I can express, and we have received SO MUCH positive feedback from friends and strangers thanking us for sharing our journey.

Naturally, the highs of the process are tons of fun to write about.  I read every comment and response, even if often there are too many to respond to (read: I have too many of The Feelings to do it), and have been so effected by the flood of encouragement we have received since Day 1.

The lows, of course, are way less fun.  Sometimes, I want to pretend they don’t happen and just go on living in Happy Adoption Land where everything is exciting and encouraging and full of grace and joy and baby otters (I understand if those don’t immediately come to mind in your Happy Land, but bro … you’re missing out).

The last two days have been perfect examples of the wringer of adoption – a huge high one day followed by a huge low the next day.  The high was definitely one of the best yet, and the low, while far from the worst adoption day we have had (attention Memory, please delete those days), was definitely the lowest in our journey with Baby W.

Let’s start with the high, because that came first.

Tuesday.

On Tuesday I woke up with a joy and peace that I haven’t had in weeks.  I had a feeling that today was the day, that something good was going to happen in Happy Adoption Land.  In preemptive celebration, I ditched the housework I had planned for the day and crocheted some mittens for Baby W.  I was just beginning the second mitten when an email popped up.

“Update about [Baby W] … with videos!”

Seeing the subject was all I needed.  I jumped up off the couch so quickly, I got tangled in a blanket and fell in a heap in front of my computer sitting on the coffee table in front of me.  Not bothering to get up or untangle myself, I opened the email and within a few clicks, seven little video screens popped up in front of me.

Seven.

I paused for a moment before opening the first one, savoring the moment.  I felt like Mary after she gave birth to Jesus, trying to store up that moment in her heart.  I was about to see my son for the first time, not just in a few unfocused images, but alive and growing and moving in front of me on the screen.  I wanted to remember this moment.

And then he was there.  I was there.  Suddenly we weren’t separated by thousands miles.  I was sitting across from my son on a merry-go-round in a Polish park, laughing as he made silly faces.  I was holding my arms out towards him and cheering him on as he smiled and shakily made his way towards me with the help of his physical therapist.  I was handing him a teddy bear that he hugged and kissed, smiling while I watched him rub his baby nose against the bear’s furry one.  I was trying to keep up with him as he zoomed around in his walker, chasing the cat.  I was laughing and watching his eyes light up when he pressed a button on a toy that played music.

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Ahh.  Perfect.  On a weird level, I was actually glad that these videos were sent to us so close to the end of our adoption.  They elevated things to a whole new level.  As much as I have always known that he isn’t just words on a page or an image in a picture frame, seeing him in the videos showed us a taste of his personality, his temperament, a glimpse of what makes him smile, the sweet sound of his baby giggle.  I didn’t think I could take it if we got those videos and then had a long wait to meet him.  Thank goodness we’ll be leaving in a few weeks.

And then … Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I woke up with the opposite feeling – that all was not well in Happy Adoption Land.  I didn’t know why, but I was tense and on edge all morning, through lunch, and up until the afternoon when I sat down to finish Baby W’s mittens.  In much the same way as the day before, sitting in the same place doing the same thing, an email popped up from our agency director.

I opened it frantically and rejoiced at the first line – the document we had been waiting for from the Embassy, the one needed to schedule our court date was issued!

I wish I would have just closed the email and went out to get adoption donuts.  But I noticed a second paragraph, and that’s when the bomb was dropped – our contact in Poland seemed to believe that it would take anywhere from an additional six weeks up to three months to schedule our court date.

It was like getting a swift punch to the gut.

6 weeks?  Up to … 3 months?

The contrast of getting the precious videos of Baby W followed by the blow that it could be another three month wait was too much, and something inside me broke.  I sunk to my knees in front of the couch and rested my head on the coffee table, where I was not 24 hours earlier, tangled in the same blanket on the floor, watching videos of my son and weeping for joy.  Now I wept again, this time with an intensity that I didn’t expect.

A thousand painful thoughts ripped through me like physical blows.  We will miss his 18 month birthday.  We will miss what we thought would be his first Thanksgiving.  On my birthday, all I will be able to think about was that it was supposed to be my first birthday with my son.  We will miss another Christmas with him, and we already have presents that we thought we would watch him unwrap on Christmas morning.  We will start another new year without him.

And the waiting … oh, God.  The waiting.  At that thought, I had to fight the nausea building inside me.  Out loud, through my incoherent sobs, I cried out to God, to the emptiness around me and inside of me.

“I can’t do it … I can’t do it … I can’t do it … I can’t do it …”

I can’t do it.

For two months I have been doing nothing, fighting the constant urge to break down at the thought of all of my son’s milestones that I am missing while I am doing this … nothingness.  For the last several weeks, I could feel myself teetering on the edge of panic, on the edge of depression.

I can’t do the waiting.

Three months.  A quarter of a year.  In the grand scheme of life, it isn’t that long.  But in that moment, thinking of how I had just barely survived two months and now had to face an additional three of nothingness … it felt like a prison sentence.  A prisoner in my own home.  A home without my son.

All I could do was drag myself to my bed, pull the covers on my head, and sob for hours until Alex got home.

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And now, we just wait.  We don’t know how to explain the wait.  Was it always going to be that long and somehow we misunderstood?  Is something not quite right here?   Is there a way to speed up the process?

Our agency director has been fighting battles for us since then.  Her goal is to get us to Baby W by Christmas, and all we can do is wait and pray that it happens.  I’ve spent most of the day on the phone or responding to emails or doing research about these end stages of Polish adoption and what is actually supposed to be happening.

We thought that when we got this final document, we would be celebrating and packing our bags and purchasing tickets, contacting our friends and family and house sitter, and crossing off the final few days until we met our son.  We thought that we would be leaving within about a week or so from now.  I am still kicking myself for making the rookie mistake of getting my hopes up about something adoption-related.

Despite that, I want with everything in me to hope that we will still leave soon, just as we planned and prayed … but once again adoption has reminded me that planning ahead is a dangerous game.

Three months.  Three months.

It keeps playing over and over in my mind, mocking me like a repetitive song that I can’t shake.

Three months.

God, I can’t do it.  You’re going to have to do it for me.

 

 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

… whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

… I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

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