Yes, we put it in our thankfulness tree to take pictures. Please forgive the laundry in the corner. It's real life around here, you know.
Well, it's been a year. Maybe I should explain that a little.
A little more than a year ago, Hubs and I went to Fed Ex, took a picture, and then sent all our IC (that's Imaginary Child, if we're explaining things this morning) paperwork to Virginia. Remember?
After gathering paperwork for around nine months, by the time we sent our dossier, we knew the 12-18 month time frame was not realistic for us. We knew it would be longer. But, well, I am not sure we had any idea the slow down would really "take" as it has and we would really be waiting as long as it might seem.
So, here are some answers to some questions we get a lot. We're an open book here at 20S&C (Yes, I made that up).
Q: Where are you on the "official list"?
A: Well, there is no "official list." On the unofficial list, the one kept voluntarily by those waiting in our agency, we are about 54th.
Q: 54th? That doesn't seem so bad! Where did you start?
A: Well, about 71.
(person asking question): Oh. Well, that sounds a little worse then.
A: Yes, it is. Kind of. I mean, if you divide it out and things move as they have, it could be nearing six years of waiting before our person is home. But, we can't really think about that. Really, we can't. Who can? We have to just live by our day-by-day.
Q: But I don't understand. You say there are millions of orphans. Why, oh why, would it take so long to get one home?
A: That, my question-asking friend, is a super complicated answer. It has to do, for the most part with ethics. I think we all can agree we only want people to adopt children who really need homes. And for the past few years, Ethiopia had been severely under-regualted. So, well, they're really regulating now. There are agencies and individuals, unfortunately, who take advantage of people and situations. And adoption definitely has that potential to be one of those situations. So Ethiopia has slowed things down. Required more paperwork. Double and tripled checked cases. And in reality, we can't be upset about that. Because ethics have to be a priority. But according to our understanding, it also means kids are staying in orphanages longer and families are waiting longer. It would be great if we lived in a perfect world where all of this could be seamlessly handled and situations were never complicated. Then again, if we lived in a perfect world, thankfully, there would be no need for adoption. Alas, there is, so we have extra paperwork and all that jazz. And yes, I severely simplified this answer. There's tons that goes into it. Or as I like to say, anytime you involve two sets of governments, things get complicated.
Q: So, well, what are you doing in the meantime?
A: Have you met us?!? We are busy! Our regularly scheduled lives are happening. We have jobs and church and small group and a marathon to run. Plus, there are tons of books to read and trainings to do. And believe it or not, we'll be updating all this paperwork soon. Yup. It all expires. So we'll be updating all that in the next month.
What's that? That's not what you meant? You meant what's up with our family planning? Well, we don't know per say. Besides, that's a really personal question, isn't it? Well, I guess we are close enough. We have no idea. We talk and pray and talk and pray and we know God will work things out according to his plan. We're not too stressed about it. Most of the time.
So that's where we are.
What have we learned?
I don't know if I have an easy answer for that. But here's a bulleted list. Because I cannot turn down a chance for a bulleted list.
*We are not in control.
--Never have been, never will be. Really, never want to be. God has this. Oh, and everything else. And we? We cling to the cross. That's it. All we can do.
*There is no timeframe in adoption. Ever. Don't believe anyone who gives you a beautiful timeline where everything is perfectly laid out.
--Adoption just doesn't work like that. It's messy. And things change. Whether you're doing domestic or international or foster to adopt, everyone we've talked to agrees. You can't have a timeline. It could go faster or slower. It could stop altogether (we pray this doesn't happen. a lot.). But really, you just have to abandon the idea of a timeframe. It will help you sleep at night.
*We have good people.
--Friends, families, blog readers. You all have prayed with us, cried with us, loved us, supported us, hoped with us, dreamed with us, laughed at us (i meant with us), and really just been the body of Christ. Lucky for us. I mean blessed. And you know what? We've got many more years of this. Good thing you all love us so much. Wink.
*The adoption community is a beautiful, supportive web.
--We have met some of you in real life and hugged and cried and felt like lifelong friends. And some of you we haven't met at all. But I still feel the same. This bond is crazy. It's like we're the only ones crazy enough to go through all of this and so we automatically feel a special love for each other. And that is a beautiful and much needed thing.
*We are absolutely in the right place.
--We are just as committed to adoption as we were when we started this journey. Probably more so. We feel like we're where we are supposed to be at this moment and I am so thankful God has placed us on this journey. It's stretched and grown us. It's brought us closer to each other. And closer to Him. Truly. It's so hard but I am so thankful.
Well, I've spent enough words for now. I've got plenty time to write more.
Thanks for loving us well. We love you back. One year down. No one knows how many to go.
eric, jess, and IC.