The Adoption Process: Hurry Up and Wait

The adoption process, whether domestic infant, international, or foster care, can best be defined as hurry up and wait.

It involves paperwork, deadlines, urgent emails, frantic cleaning, and important phone calls. It also involves a lot (a LOT) of waiting. Much of our process has gone this way. We check our email constantly, clear our schedules as much as possible, and spend late nights surrounded by paperwork to turn things in as quickly as we can.

And then, we wait. County and agency workers are busy, and have a number of parents and children on their case loads to communicate with and make decisions about. Things are being discussed and considered behind the scenes, and that takes time. Not to mention the chaos of trying to coordinate meetings of anywhere from two to a thousand people.

Now here comes the BUT…

BUT sometimes, things move quickly and there isn’t much time to wait. For whatever reason, county workers find themselves in a situation where they need to find an adoptive family quickly, and certain families get swept up in that process. Suddenly, it’s a lot more hurry up than it is wait.

Now here comes the SO…

SO two weeks ago, we learned the names of our future children. I’ll let that sink in for a minute (it’s still sinking in over here, too).

Let me preface this by saying, at our new year’s family meeting, we chose our word of the year: SLOW. We decided to give ourselves over fully to the wait, to take things as they came, to program our schedules less so we had more time to breathe. But life doesn’t like to wait, it likes to surprise you.

Okay so, there we are, all ready to go SLOW…and we get an email from our social worker on a Thursday with the public profiles of two little boys who needed an adoptive family quickly. Although we only had a few sentences about them, we both immediately texted each other and shared that we felt there was something special about these boys, like this might be it. Within minutes we replied and told our worker to submit our home study for consideration.

On Monday, we heard that the kids’ workers would like a phone call with us and our worker. On Tuesday, we said yes, we’d love to move forward into collateral meetings. On Wednesday, we heard they wanted to move forward with us too. On Thursday, we heard they’d like the boys to visit for respite care Friday through Sunday (which is highly unorthodox…as I’ve mentioned before, you typically don’t meet your children until you are fully official and have said yes to adoption).

That all means that just eight days after reading their names for the first time, we met our boys. They slept in our home, we played, we read books, we ate meals together, we had bath time. These cherished moments that we have been anxiously awaiting for over two years were happening, right this second. By Sunday evening when we dropped them back off to their foster family, we knew that there was nothing in the world you could do or say to convince us that these two little souls were not meant to find ours. We missed them before they had unbuckled their seatbelts.

Since then, we’ve had two more follow up calls and created a tentative transition plan. We will have a few more overnight visits, and then in a few short weeks, they will move in. For good. After so much wait, it’s time to hurry up. Time to make their room a little cozier, to have their favorite foods on hand, to prepare our hearts and home for a constant presence, to catch up on sleep! To have one last late night out just the two of us before we insulate ourselves at home for a while to bond as a family, before we become Mom and Dad, forever.

This is exciting, and terrifying, and surreal. This is fun and hard. This is the craziest and best thing we will ever do. So here we go–here’s to hurry up and wait, to this gentle and wild life, to our sons.

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Precipice

Suspended (in disbelief)

Teetering on the edge

Terrified to move forward

Unwilling to turn back

Water rushing…somewhere

Tides churning far below

Or waves surging from behind

Bound to take me with them

Ears ringing

Mind vibrating

Heart thumping

Arms outstretched

Step.