January 7, 2007

A Keira Year in Review

For a while now, we've been feeling the weight and the dread of the ever increasing referral wait. It wasn't until we sat down last week with the numbers, the stork alerts, and all the dates in front of us that the grim reality set in. Simply put (not for the faint of heart...stop reading now if you're even remotely glum about this process...you may experience heart failure...ok, but I warned you...) where was I...yes, yes, simply put we sort of expect Keira's referral in April of '08. It's what the trends, the numbers, the LID's and the referrals tell us. Unless there is a drastic change in the referral time frame, there is just no other way of looking at it. I did also go here and check my LID and they say 12/15/07 for my referral - which is slightly "better" if you could call it that. A disgusting site that shall remain nameless for fear of crushing those in this process with me ( I know you would want to look!) said that the wait will surely increase to 2-2 1/2 years before creeping back down. This was based on all kinds of trends, the Hague Convention and all sorts of other reasons.

This was all quite depressing and I must say that I've noticed that my husband, who has remained positively cheery throughout this last EIGHTEEN months, has that same slumped aura about him that I've been lugging around for the last six months. It's not easy to adopt and it's certainly not for the faint of heart! There are so many variables, and questions, and changes to the process - it's not easy to get through that.

Meanwhile, you bargain with yourself the entire time you're in this, and to what end? For example:

  • I will not choose a name until we have sent in our paperwork
  • I will not start a nursery until we are logged in
  • I will not start buying clothes or toys until we have been logged in for six months
  • This will be the last Mother's Day without her
  • This will be the last Thanksgiving without her
  • This will be the last Christmas without her
  • I will not put gifts under the tree for her until she is here to open them herself
  • I will not keep the nursery door open anymore because it's painful to walk past
  • This will be the last New Year's without her
  • OK, this will be the last Mother's Day without her...

And so it goes...as it has for us, for you, and for thousands of other waiting families.

There does not seem to be a thing we can do but wait. Wait for the next referral batch, wait for the date to strike LID so we can update our blogs and say "Happy __ Month LID", wait for the next set of pictures of the babies who were referred out to our own bloggy pals and loved ones, wait for the next e-mail from our agency telling us "all things being what they are, etc . etc., we expect the process to lengthen beyond the current 16 month time frame", and so on. Waiting sucks and in this process there has been very little in the way of hope dealt out from the agency or from China.

Now, I don't want you to think I've said all this to be negative or to bring you down. Anton and I have discussed heading down a wildly unpredicted course and I, myself have started some projects that were previously not on my "to do before baby" list. I want to share them with you so you can be encouraged, or angry at me, or however it is you react.

For starters, let me say that I love my secret pal. She has been a great source of encouragement for me on this journey and I'm so glad we have each other. This has been a very helpful tool in passing the months. Here is a picture of the hat she sent to AB and he loves it and wears it regularly. I wanted her to see the proof! It says "Father" and also has the Chinese characters for father on it.

Secondly, let me re-iterate that we love Keira and have not and will not be giving up on her. She is as much a part of us as we are of each other. Her beautiful room is a daily reminder that she is out there and that we are not to give up. Here are some pictures I took the other day. I just loved the way the lighting came out. Also, she has a new book shelf that her Daddy put together for her. She had so many books, they wouldn't fit anywhere else.

Love the little blankie corner with rocker. She will love this room, I'm telling you...

I love this little rocking chair. AB's mom found it at a garage sale, his father re-finished it and painted it to match her crib. It's so darling!

See, already have her " Chinese Elder Respect" book sitting nice and pretty for her...

Above is the finished product. Nice and short for her to easily access, and full already with chubby books for her to love. That's what I like to call the "Baby Library".

Well, having said all that - AB and I are talking about pursuing other options. Stay with me folks...it's still the "Adoption of Keira Joy", it's just that we feel with the longer wait (the ever increasing wait is more like it) and the fact that we have yet to start a family - well, we want a family...what can I say? It's not that we don't want Keira as much as ever, it's that we want more than one child. And by the time this is over, it could be almost the end of 2008. Well, that puts one of us at almost 40. No pointing fingers or dropping names needed. That's just not ok with us. Not if we can help it. We got a late start...we got married late...we had fertility issues we didn't plan on...we moved across country...it's been a bit crazy. Time slips by and then you realize 'whoops...weren't we supposed to be further along by now?" So, I say all that to say this: we're looking into adopting baby number #2 now instead of after China, from another source as yet undecided, and Keira may end up being child #2 in the end. Then again, we may be very naive and have no chance of pursuing that, but I'm willing to try and so is AB.

On the other hand, I want to add that even with all the changes put into effect as of May by the CCAA - all the new rules, etc. - we are still not out of the running. We realized this last night as we read through all the new conditions. Further and further we got and realized "hey! we still qualify to adopt again from China!" Now, I realize that at this point that makes us sick and twisted to want to put ourselves through this again, but we really did want two children (or more) from China. What can I say? Maybe baby #3???

Meanwhile, we're also looking at moving on with life. We've been in an intense holding pattern for a year and we're exhausted, as are many of my adoption buddies. We actually took some time to go and look at some land (16 acres) today and loved it. It opened up all kinds of thoughts and dreams and reminded us that there is life outside of the adoption process.

We also have been working on getting to know each other better and re-invent the marriage wheel, as it were. It may sound silly, but I guarantee that there is something about your spouse you do not know. It's amazing what conversation can bring up and how simple things can turn magical. The other night, AB came home and cooked a marvelous meal while I sat at the table chatting with him and working on my laptop. We had an incredible dinner and afterward decided to forgo the dishes for a beautiful fire and a movie. Anton got to pick and he chose "Mulan". Fitting, I think. Later we "paused" for hot chocolate with marshmallows and went back to snuggling on the couch and the remainder of the movie. (*Side note: If you don't snuggle, I urge you to try it. Have your hubby sit on the couch and curl up next to him. There is no better way to end your day than this.) Point being: it was kind of magical in it's own quiet and normal way. It was just dinner, chatting, and a movie. But it was so much more - it was connection and camaraderie, and affection. Kind of a quiet way of saying "yeah, you're the one I want to be like this with when I'm 80" or "isn't life good?".

But I digress...I was talking about moving on...

I personally have started my own little campaign to rent as many documentaries and informative DVD's as I can about China. I've also started reading novels and biographies about Chinese women, and Chinese history. I've decided if you're going to go through this, you might as well be as educated and informed about the culture and country as you can be.

I'm painting. As soon as I have time. Ha! No, I really am...I already bought the paint and all of the supplies. Now I just need to get in there and do it. We still have two bathrooms, an office and a master suite to paint and it's all on me, baby, because AB hates painting. I don't mind it...I actually find it quite theraputic. No more postponing the home improvements - the time is now.

I've also decided that I must start hitting the slow-forward button on my "self remote". I have been living by the clock these past eighteen months and it's simply as exhausting as it sounds. The dossier process was stressful and anxiety provoking, the LID process is stressful and anxiety provoking and I'm here to tell you - I'm tired. Life goes on. I can't sit around and OBSESS any more, especially not for another year and a half. I'm just too darn tired, and frankly, I don't have the energy to keep at it as I have this last year and a half. So, I'm slowing down and placing my focus elsewhere. On maybe adopting domestically? On being a better worker, on being more involved with my friends and being a better friend to them, on improving my marriage (because they all need work, don't they?) and on being kinder to myself and having more grace for what I need to make it to the end.

Speaking of being kinder to myself: What I really need is a bubble bath. I need to read more. I need to watch more funny movies. I need to be with my friends more and laugh more. I need to have romantic conversation with my darling husband. I need to walk my dogs and love on my aging cat who has been in my life for 13 years. I need to take better care of myself. I need to stop waiting to take a weekend or a week trip with AB somewhere, and just go. I keep thinking "we should save that money for the adoption" or "we should wait until we know for sure when we're traveling" - well shoot - I'm tired of waiting. It's only going to happen when it does. There is no sense in putting your life on hold, as we have done in so many ways. So no more of that. I'm just moving on. Keira is a part of us, and there is no getting around it. But life does go on. I feel like I physically shrivel up each time referrals come out and the wait gets another month longer. I just can't let that happen anymore.

So here is the bottom line: I'm going to try my darnedest to move onward and upward. To stop letting this process weigh me down and instead have something spectacular to tell Keira about the two years we waited for her and how we used it wisely. I'm going to pursue other adoption options and see where they lead. As long as they don't lead us away from Keira, I think it's a good start. I'm going to pursue my life with AB and my pets and try to cherish each one of these days we have, as we are now. In fact, these times will not come again and we will not always have these fur-babies with us. I'm going to pursue the dreams I have for all areas of my life and not just one area. And I'm going to try and learn as much as I can in the process.

And if nothing comes of the domestic adoption pursuit, then so be it. But at least I can say I tried and we all know God isn't opening any doors that he doesn't want opened.

How's that for a New Year's Resolution?

Here's a good motto I've had for many years:

Now friends, be kind to me. We need your prayers as much as you probably need ours to get through this process. This is just our way of dealing at this point. So no worries and no frowns. We're moving onward and upward. You coming?

hugs ~


Robyn said...

How ironic that you would post this today???? I have had thoughts swirling in my mind for the last couple of weeks not that I needed to do a "year in review" post but I also kind of wanted to call it "life on hold" because that is almost what 2006 was. I totally understand and feel everything you have written.

I am going to head your advice and tips and join you in "life"!!!

BTW: I love Mary Englebreit and she had some of the best sayings especially the one you used!

Love Ya!!!

4D said...

Sounds like you have had an epiphany and can see clearly. Good for you!

Your armour is on and you are ready to head out. I hope it all works out and that there are happy surprises that happen along the way.

Keep us updated.

Keep smilin!

Kelley said...

Worries or frowns? No way! My heart is soaring right now to hear your positive, live life to the fullest now attitude! I will be praying and you know that I've got your back, my friend.

BTW, you know how much I adore Chinese culture and literature, so anytime you want a reading buddy, let me know. I'm about ready to start re-reading some of the historical novels again.

Love you!

Erin said...

Well, you know I am right there with you - every single step of the way! I feel this, I really do, but I also know that someday, hopefully soon, this will all be a very distant memory for us. I love you, my sweet friend. I am honored to be taking this ride with you. I can't think of 5 other women that I would rather take it with.


Donna said...


You hit the nail RIGHT on the head with this post!! I totally share your feelings about life being on hold during this wait and needing to move on in 2007. This is MY plan too!

Best of luck with pursuing domestic adoption...it sure would be wonderful if you ended up bringing a child home even before traveling to China. I can relate to the age thing, as Joe and I are both 42. We were also married later and spent years trying to maintain a pregnancy. All of a sudden you realize it's NOW or never! I just wish it really could be NOW and not so many months from now.

I admire your new attitude, so get out there and live life to the fullest!

Donna :)

Elise said...

I think you are headed in the right direction and I think Mary's illustration really sums up how life should be lived even when we are waiting and waiting and waiting! I'm praying for you on the domestic adoption front and I can't wait to read about all the adventures of 2007!