April 05, 2010

Q&A: Our Waits

From Geochick (whose blog title makes me laugh):
Hi, nice to see you back! (Ed. note -- Thanks!) My questions: How long were your waits for Puppy and Firefly? Was the second wait easier than the first? Did you ever feel like you were getting things ready for a baby who may never show up? (We've been waiting 9 months for a match)
I'm trying now to remember when exactly we went "in the book" in our first adoption. It was sometime around May, maybe June? We learned that Kelly and Ray had picked us near the end of August and Puppy was born six weeks later, in October. So our wait was somewhere between four to five months.

The second time, we went in the book in July and were picked out by Beth sometime in the next few weeks. We didn't learn that she was interested in us, though, until September.  We met her for the first time in late October and Firefly was born in February. So about seven months total.

You've already made it further than I had to, so a big hug to you for that. To answer your question, I never felt like it would never happen, but then I didn't face down milestones like the one-year mark or a home-study renewal. We also didn't buy any baby gear or change anything in our house the first time around until we were matched. I was pretty adamant about not wanting visible reminders of the wait, so that I could take mental breaks from it all if I wanted. I wanted to keep living our life just as it was until we could be fairly sure it was about to change. Not that it stopped me from thinking about it every day, several times a day! It took up a pretty big chunk of my inner life. It was definitely hard at times, and I wrote awhile back (during another Q&A, actually) about how I coped with the emotional rollercoaster ride.

The second time around was so different than the first. I wouldn't say it was easy, but it occupied a lot less emotional real estate. I still dreamed about the future, but without quite the same undercurrent of longing. That time our life included Puppy. We weren't waiting to take on this whole new identity as parents.

I can't help but add that it drives me up the wall when adoptive parents who had a tiny blip of a wait get all smug about it, like they're valedictorians of adoption. It's not a competition, as much as some people try to turn it into one. The length of time we wait isn't a reflection on our worthiness, but how we conduct ourselves during the wait can be. The point isn't a fast placement, but one that is right for everyone involved--and that takes honesty, authenticity, patience and a bit of luck. And the nice thing is that, at least for me, the memories of the waiting time started slowly fading away once the parenting had begun.


Tammy said...

Both our waits were a year or more. And yes, the first time seemed to drag on as each day of waiting after we were approved just seemed to compound the time we were waiting and hoping before we started the adoption process. Second time, in some ways, we dragged our own feet in the beginning... as you said,, we had Bug and it didn't seem as pressing.

Our second wait was unique in that we were very open to many different situations that presented lots of challenges so in that process, we were asked to consider some pretty difficult circumstances both medically for the child and in relationships with the child's other family. That in and of itself made the second time different.

With both kids, we had VERY short waits from the time we met their parents until their birth and placement. With Bug, it was two days. With Si, two weeks. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have that time extended.

Currently, we are being considered for one of Bug's family members. She's almost nine months and it seems the wait to the decision may be long and drawn out. I'm wondering how we'll cope, but trusting that it will work out the best for Baby's future.

Just thought I'd add my two cents to this discussion, if it helps!

luna said...

"The point isn't a fast placement, but one that is right for everyone involved--and that takes honesty, authenticity, patience and a bit of luck." This is so true and I think overlooked by so many prospective adoptive parents.

cindy psbm said...

I always enjoy you honestly and authenticity. As a first mom, I've always been curious about how my own sons adoptive parents felt during their 'wait'. I think they approached it in way that is similar to you. From what I understand, they only had to wait just under a year for me to find and pick them. Actually I was interested in them three months before deciding to meet them.

Personally I just have to say that I think the more honest and authentic a pre-adoptive couple are in their profile, those couples get picked first. The less authentic people who make too big a deal of it all are the ones who are not appealing to those who might pick them.

a Tonggu Momma said...

"The length of time we wait isn't a reflection on our worthiness, but how we conduct ourselves during the wait can be."

Amen. While our wait experience is completely different (we are adopting internationally through the China non-special needs program - everyone gets in line and waits their turn), this very much resonated with me. We've been waiting almost four years now and I truly hope our conduct during this time reflects our worthiness.

Megan said...

I have never thought about a short wait time vs. a long one as a qualitative thing, but rather as a statistical curiousity amongst adoptive parents. I have similar curiousities about the number of visits between birth family and adoptive family, yet more visits does not equate to a "better" open adoption experience. Statistics like wait time and a number of visits don't reveal much other than just that: statistics.

I definitely talk about our relatively short wait time to non-adoptive parents because I find there are so many people out there who assume you wait 3 or 4 years for ANY adoption. Certainly, it can take that long, or longer, but I do talk a lot about our wait time to dispel that myth amongst non-adopters.

More so than our wait time, I acknowledge that I talked often about our 27-hours from the call to when we brought our daughter home (we had a last minute placement, so our daughter had just been born the first time we got the call). Thinking about it, I talked often of the 27-hours because I had a lot of trouble with The Pregnant whom I always felt shared their birthing stories as a badge of honor I would never get to wear. Maybe that was my way of leveling the playing field in my own mind. I don't mention it much anymore.

Among the many lessons I've learned, and continue to learn, along this adoption journey is that of context. What is perceived as one thing by one group of people is perceived entirely differntly by another. It all depends on the baggage your bringing into a conversation. I perceive The Preganant talking about their birthing stories as braggers; other women who have given birth probably just see it as exchanging experiences.

JenJo said...

My daughter's adoptive parents have an older child that they adopted as a newborn. They had were notified that they were a potential choice for a birthmom. A week later they got a phone call saying that the birthmom was in labor (early) and they needed to book it to the hospital.

With my pregnancy I knew nearly from day one that I would be placing the baby. I chose K & W as Ladybug's adoptive parents when I was about 9 weeks into my pregnancy. K has often told me that she preferred the short notice to going through the pregnancy because she was afraid the whole time that something would happen. And by "something" she meant that she feared I would change my mind, or I would miscarry like she did, or any one of a hundred other things could go wrong.

Of course, looking back she can laugh at how worried she was and she is happy to have been able to share in all the pregnancy milestones and share in the pregnancy itself.

Heather said...

@Megan - I didn't mean to imply that anyone who talks about their experience of adopting quickly is bragging by any means. (I've certainly never gotten that vibe from you.) It's a small subset. Like this. It's hard for me to read that and not see someone patting themselves on the back. Maybe it is just my own baggage, but that pushes my buttons.

Elly said...

We waited nearly 2 years. It got painful towards the end as it did feel like there must be something wrong with us that we were so unappealing. But then we and DS fit so perfectly together, it seems to all make sense, even though I do not in any way believe in fate, predestination etc. The funny thing, too, is that we were his b-mom's second choice family. Looking back, it doesn't really matter that we waited so long because obviously if we had a shorter wait we wouldn't be DS's mom and dad.

Anonymous said...

our crazy journey took about 5 years total, but we were technically only waiting at our agency for 7 months. i will say that it is very true that the wait fads quicky once the parenting begins!!

Sharon said...

We waited slightly over a year and it was very, very hard at times. We had three matches during that year which all ended in the mom deciding to parent. We learned about our son after he was already born so after a year of waiting we were suddenly parents overnight, with no notice. I wouldn't change anything about our journey -- we learned a lot from our "failed" matches and our son is the light of our lives -- but I still feel a little hurt when I feel like others are implying that a shorter wait = "better" parents.

kperdue said...

Your comment re: the smugness of parents who have a short wait hit home with me. Because I recognize that I have been that "smug" parent. I have to explain, however, it has nothing to do with whether I think I was a better parent to choose, therefore my children's BMs picked me faster. My smugness (and, yes, I recognize it's wrong. We all have things to improve, don't we?) comes from not being so darn "picky." I see and read waiting a-parents all the time lamenting about their long journey. Yet, I'd be willing to bet they have been pretty darn specific in what child they will accept. Race? BM drug use? China? (why? babies are born in the U.S. every day!) Heck, I've even see waiting parents turn a baby down because the BM smoked cigarettes! Are you kidding? Do you want to be a parent or not?
So, while I will now try and curb my "short wait" smugness, I do get quite irritated at the waiting parents who don't see that at least some of the wait comes from their own choices made.
Ok, feel free to skewer me now. :-)

Sharon said...

I totally see where you are coming from, kperdue. It is probably true that prospective adoptive parents who are open to more situations have shorter waits *in general*. However, we were very open and we waited a year while a friend who was open only to a healthy white infant waited just weeks. So, I guess I'm just saying that just like short wait doesn't mean better parent, long wait doesn't always mean "picky." Sometimes I think we (meaning a general "we") are always looking for a reason or an explanation -- why did this family wait X amount of time and we waited Y amount of time? And sometimes I think that there isn't really any rhyme or reason to it all -- you wait as long as you wait!

Lori said...

Our first two waits were comparable to yours but this third wait has already been nearly as long as the first two combined. For some reason, the longer we wait, the further away it seems. I know that makes no sense but it just begins to seem less real and more like a dream. I can't imagine how it will feel if we reach the one year mark! But we know that the right match will happen when it's meant to happen. (Doesn't make the wait any easier though.)

Geochick said...

Thanks for the reply and all the comments! It's interesting to read about everyone's unique experiences.

Geochick said...

Oh, and I forgot, kperdue, yeah, we found ourselves having to really be practical when we filled out our medical conditions/drug use, etc etc checklist. Still had to temper it with our willingness to take on risk however. So, I figure that people who are super picky are picky for a reason as it can be really risky when you're being open about that stuff. The cigarettes thing is pretty bad though, our SW told us we might as well get over it and assume the mother is a smoker. ;-)

JenJo said...

@Geochick - Your SW told you to assume that the mother is a smoker? Why would she do that?? I actually just blogged about this very thing not 20 minutes ago in response to comments made by another adoptive mother.

Not all birthmoms smoke. Some of us can even read and write.


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