And for those of you who haven't experienced this amazingly long and paper-intensive process, I will try my best to explain.
It seems to happen in fits and starts. When you first begin the process, there are weeks and weeks of endless paperwork and appointments and phone calls and inspections and doctor visits and home visits... Your entire world is laid bare for perfect strangers to see and analyze. But the excitement overcomes any discomfort at revealing your innermost workings to anyone and everyone.
And then there is the hope and excitement as all the paperwork is gathered to be sent around the world to the country from which you are hoping to adopt a child. The agency coaches you through everything that you need to make your dossier just right for that country. Everything is certified and re-certified. You're fingerprinted - not just once, but two or three times. Your finances are summed up on a single sheet of paper, but you know that doesn't do justice to the ins and outs of your bi-weekly budget. Finally, the agency has everything it needs to send your whole life (it seems) to another group of complete strangers, so that you can be officially registered into that country's list of prospective adoptive parents.
Then comes the hard part. The months, and maybe even years, of waiting. Gone are the weekly phone calls from the agency, and you begin to miss their friendly, helpful voices. One thing you don't miss, though, is the mounds of paperwork! You still have copies of it all in a binder on your shelf... so that when your soon-to-be child is old enough to understand, you can show him the effort Mommy and Daddy put into bringing him into their loving home. Nor do you miss the constant flow of appointments and inspections. The house slowly (or quickly, depending upon the level of stress and the number of people in your household!) becomes a mess again.
And, all the while, you're hoping and praying for that fateful phone call from the agency. The months slip by, then a year or more has gone. And you've almost decided that it really wasn't real after all. That this is just another one of those pipe dreams that's never really going to happen. (This is especially true if you have dealt with infertility issues and the years of disappointment that accompany them.)
And then, for some, you come to a fork in the road catches you off guard.
That's what happened to us recently, and it led to a decision to switch countries for our adoption. It was quite an unexpected turn of events, but we are slowly getting used to the idea, and we have begun the process of switching our dossier over to China.
Wednesday evening we had a phone conversation with our consultant at the adoption agency, and she went over the documents we need to collect for our new dossier. For me, it was a mixture of excitement, stress and dread. (weird, right?) There was excitement that there was movement again - we're doing something other than just waiting! Then stress, and a bit of dread, at the thought of having to collect all of these documents, again, and get them properly certified and re-certified for a new country. What if they're not done right? What kind of delay will that cause? We want to keep this moving as quickly as possible.
But I tell myself that, in the end, it will all be worth it, when I can hold our little boy in my arms and hear him call me "mama". It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. This is the dream of every adoptive mother. (I was going to say "parent", but I'm sure Brian doesn't want our little boy to call him "mama"!)
So, that's the roller coaster, in a nutshell. And, hopefully, when the ride is over, we will have a wonderful son to call our own!
We'll keep you posted! Good night!