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One of the problems inherent to adoption is that during the best part of the process is difficult to determine the moment when that long awaited new member of the family is arriving. With a regular and healthy pregnancy is – to a certain extent – easy to calculate and even schedule with many months in advance the birth day. Every stage is carefully planned and even premeditated leaving little room for surprises – except of course when Mother Nature likes to throw a tantrum.
Adoption is a very slow and uncertain process. It doesn’t begin (and certainly it doesn’t end) when the child is placed under the parents care. It starts much earlier – in some cases even two or three years earlier – with that first phone call to an agency or church. There’s a lot of paperwork, form-filling, phone call-making to do during this time. Also for the most part there is a lot of waiting. Long, tedious, boring waiting in which you’d like to plan ahead and arrange a baby-shower, go crazy at Babies R’ Us, stock your pantry with chicken and peas baby food; and design and paint her room. Except that not many details are known at this stage – and of course not the age or gender or your new child. During this waiting phase time seems to go by at three very different and immeasurable paces:
The agency’s—which is somewhat the most accurate and close to real life. If they say that something will take three weeks, it’ll take four or it’ll take two. They’re never wrong, yet they’re never right!
The foreign country or institution’s – this is actually some sort of time-devouring black hole.
And the prospective parents’ – in which a day equals three, a week is a month and you call to the agency every day to ask why it’s taking so long only to confirm what you suspected all along – you sent the forms just yesterday…
LECCIONES DE FISICA PARA PADRES ADOPTIVOS
Uno de los problemas inherentes a la adopción es que durante gran parte del proceso resulta difícil determinar con exactitud ese momento tan anhelado en él que el nuevo miembro de la familia haga su entrada triunfal. En un embarazo normal es, hasta cierto punto, sencillo calcular y hasta planear el momento del nacimiento. Cada etapa es cuidadosamente prevista y premeditada, sin dejar espacio para sorpresas – excepto cuando a la madre naturaleza le da por hacer una pataleta.
El proceso de adopción es lento e incierto. No comienza (y por supuesto no termina) cuando el niño es finalmente colocado al cuidado de los padres. El proceso inicia mucho antes – en algunos casos incluso dos o tres años antes – con aquella primera llamada telefónica a la agencia. Durante este tiempo habrá que hacer un montón de papeleo, llenar pliegos de formas y realizar mil llamadas telefónicas. También, habrá que esperar. Una espera lenta, aburrida y tediosa durante la cual quisiéramos planear un babyshower, volvernos locos en las tiendas de ropa de bebes, o quizás atiborrar la despensa con compotas de pollo y arvejas; y por supuesto redecorar la habitación del futuro huésped permanente. Excepto que en esta fase no son muchos los detalles que se conocen – y claro esta mucho menos el sexo o la edad del bebe. Es durante esta etapa que el tiempo parece transcurrir a tres velocidades diferentes, imposibles de medir con exactitud:
La agencia – para ellos el tiempo transcurre casi a tiempo real. Si te dicen que algo va a demorar tres semanas igual demora cuatro que dos. ¡Nunca se equivocan y sin embargo nunca aciertan!
La institución en el país en el que se adopta – una especie de hoyo negro que se devora el tiempo.
Los padres adoptivos – para nosotros un día equivale a tres, una semana a un mes y llamamos a la agencia casi a diario queriendo saber el por qué de tanta demora solo para darnos cuenta que apenas ayer pusimos las formas en el correo..
We wanted to do this for so long but it was difficult to find the time to set up a proper blog. We are finally here and we promise to give you a heads up of our latest adventures, fortunes and misfortunes on our journey to V.
All of you English-speakers in the audience (the three or four of you) hope you forget our broken grammar, I promise to run this through a spell checker now and then but prepositions and phrasal verbs always find the way to ruin my sentences!
Now let’s officially inaugurate this blog with a proper first post:
– When are we going to Colombia to buy my sister? – asked my son a few months back and I can’t tell for sure whether I blushed or my face paled to a milky-white shade. Samuel is a really sharp five years old boy. Extremely smart, funny and gifted. He reads better than many adults I know, and he is wonderful with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper, yet one thing was crystal clear at that moment: he had absolutely no idea what the adoption process was. Neither did we.
About a year ago (perhaps longer) we set out on one of the most intricate, expensive, stressful yet rewarding and fulfilling journeys we have ever embarked on. Little did we know about the process, what it involved, what need and needn’t be done or what was required of us. All we knew is that we wanted a sister for our son, a daughter to complement our blessed family, an extra member of the family to snore on my bed.
The possibilities of having another biological baby were slim to none at that point. We didn’t want to risk a pregnancy; especially after all we went through with our Samuel. The idea of adoption was always lingering in our heads, so we decided to stop fighting with nature and get along with the program. We read a few books. We went online a few times looking for agencies. We tried to get in touch with the friend of a friend of a cousin whose father knows someone in Colombia who may be able to help us. In other words we were really confused and disoriented. Could it be that Samuel was better informed of the process of adopting his little sister?
Enter Gladney Center For Adoption.
Beth, Raul and Gilma Ines were a godsend. They removed all the red tape (and believe me there’s like a hundred rolls of it.) They walked us through and stick with us during the ups and downs of the process. Thanks to their vision and professionalism we’re the proud parents of a beautiful Colombian girl.
Now, after all we’ve been through I feel I have acquired a better understanding of the process and of what adoption is and what is not. Next time Samuel comes with his handsome face and his two missing front teeth to utter the question – when are we going to buy my little sister? – I’ll reply: on March 11th!