Pity Parties, Progress, and 3-legged Turtles

Things had been going pretty well. We were checking boxes on our to-do list with what seemed like lightning speed. Keep in mind, lightning speed in the adoption world is like a 3-legged-turtle-trudging-through-molasses in your world.

I had handled handing over all of our financial information to basically a stranger. I had handled the fingerprinting (twice), the FBI background checks, the blood draws, and TB tests, and peeing in a cup. I even handled the temperament analyses we had to take so someone who we’ve never met can decide if we need to attend marital counseling sessions before we are allowed to become parents. I was handling all of that. Or so I thought…

I mentioned we had taken some temperament analyses. That happened a few weeks ago and we hadn’t heard back from our social worker yet. I emailed her on Monday just to check-in and see what the status of our situation was. I figured with all the paperwork we had been filling out it was a possibility we overlooked something and she was waiting on a form from us. Her response included that she was still waiting on the results of one of our analyses, waiting for a few reference letters to be returned, and then asked if our adoption consultants required any training of us. I didn’t pay much attention to the last part because Lifetime offers webinars for contracted families and I naively thought those would suffice.

But the waiting on reference letters…that was the match in my emotional powder keg.

Now, please PLEASE hear me when I say I was by NO MEANS upset with the people that hadn’t sent back their reference letters. Not at all. I was frustrated that I had to ask people if they had received their letters because I felt like I was bugging them. “Hey there! It’s just me. Little ol’ Amanda. I’m really sorry to inconvenience you again, but the future of our family and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams lies in the hands of what seems to be everyone but us, and you drew the lucky card and are now one of those people. Again, I’m so sorry to bug you!” That probably doesn’t come across in text the way it does in my mind, but I was starting to feel the familiar feelings I had during our infertility treatments. That starting our family, something that should be an intimate, personal thing between you and your partner if you want it to be, is now very much out of our control and in the hands of everyone else but us. I vented all of this to Joe as we headed to do some recording for our adoption profile video that we have to make. I got it off my chest and moved on.

And then another email came this morning. Our social worker informed us that the webinars from our adoption consultant agency do not qualify as training and that she had attached the list of online courses we will need to complete before our home study is finished. 6 courses to be exact. All of which are an additional cost that we are responsible for paying.

Do I sound like I’m whining? I might be a little, but the internet is a great listener and I’ve gotta get it out or it will eat me alive.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired today, or I only had half my normal coffee intake, or because my favorite pants ripped this morning, or maybe Jupiter aligned with Mars, but the news of these six online courses shoved me off the emotional cliff with a vengeance. As I added up the cost of each class my eyes welled with tears until I found myself locked in our lounge bathroom, wiping my red eyes and taking deep breaths to try and calm myself down. It was if I was being reminded once again about how unfair our last six years have felt at times. I didn’t want to jump through anymore man-made hoops. I didn’t want anyone else judging me, or my husband, or our relationship. I didn’t want our dreams to lie in the hands of people we’ve never met. I wanted to be ‘normal’ and our life to be easier. Pity party: Party of 1?

*ding* Another email. This one was from my mother-in-law. She had asked earlier this morning if we had heard from our social worker right around the time I was melting down into my pity party in the bathroom. I had mentioned how defeated I felt today from this whole process. Her response reminded me of something I have told myself throughout this process.

That all of these steps we have to take will assure a future birthmother that she has done everything possible to ensure her child is placed into a loving, healthy family. I mean someone is entrusting you with their child!! OF COURSE they want to make sure you’re not a crappy human!

I climbed back onto the emotional cliff that I nosedived off earlier. I reigned in my emotions and did a quick attitude check. These years of heartache, failed treatments, seemingly wasted money, feeling like our prayers were bouncing back off the ceiling and that we had been forgotten…no, these years will not have been in vain.

It is always darkest before the dawn.

I was about to post this when, can you guess? Another email. Seriously, I’m not that popular. Our social worker emailed to schedule our first home study visit! I honestly never thought we would get to this step. It’s a big one and it’s exciting! This is a sign of like, REAL progress people!

So with that, if you’ll excuse me, me and my 3-legged turtle have some more boxes to check…

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