A Confession and Story
by, 03-30-2010 at 10:24 PM (5732 Views)
Perhaps it’s time for a little confession. Some of you know this, some perhaps suspected this, and most of course aren’t aware. Pussnboots http://www.online-literature.com/for...hp?u=42312here on lit net is my wife. That’s wife in real life, not in any virtual way. I’m not exactly sure why we kept it on the hush, it just started out that way and then it seemed like the thing to keep doing. And if you have followed any of her blogs on her adoption process, then you now realize that that process is mine as well. Yes we are adopting.
And if you followed her last blog, you will know that we received our big call to travel for an available child last Thursday. So I thought this a good time to let people in on our relationship, since we will both be gone for an extended period of time.
I would say that this is probably the biggest thing we have ever done in our lives. That adjective “biggest” doesn’t do what I’m trying to say justice. I could have picked other adjectives: significant, momentous, notable, consequential, pivotal, important, meaningful –and I spent some time searching for that perfect adjective, and they all would have been applicable, but they all fell short. I wound up choosing “biggest” because all those adjectives fit and I couldn’t choose them all, and “biggest” in its non-precise way conflated them all to one word. It is the biggest thing we have ever done, and it has been a heck of a journey, and, while we may have turned a corner, it’s not over yet.
This process started almost three years ago. Well, at least the adoption part. In June we will have been married nineteen years, and at some point we realized we couldn’t have children. We went to a specialist for these things, we tried some of the drug methods, and, after a series of attempts and stressful disappointments, each disappointment more somber and despondent than the previous, we gave up and settled that it was not meant to be. We mentioned adoption, but we didn’t exactly know how to go about it, and here we were in our early forties and not sure what to do.
And then my wife decided she wanted to quit her job. That was three years ago, almost to the day. My wife had a good career of her own, working her way up to management at her company, but her company was going through some really tough times, and with layoffs, the workload for those still there was becoming unbearable—twelve hour days, several days a week was not unusual. And that’s not including the hour each way commute. It became intolerable, and even though she had been with them for over twenty years, and against my advice, she quit. Now she had every intention of finding another job, but this seemed the ideal time to look into adoption.
We started the adoption process in May of 2007. I asked around. I searched the internet, and boy are there a lot of adoption agencies you can find there, but I had heard how disreputable some can be, so I wanted one I could have confidence in. A friend of mine at work had a friend who used Pearl S. Buck Adoption, established and named after the Nobel Prize winning author, and gave them a good endorsement. Given the literary association I got good vibes with them, and so we went with it. They’ve been good, but I must say this adoption process is tortuous and exhausting and always with a sense of insecurity. Can you imagine three years to adopt a child?
Well, we lost the first year due to misfortune. We had initially set to adopt a child from Vietnam, were placed on a list, filled out paperwork, and had a home interview for a home study assessment. Slowly we worked our way up the list until we were nearly at the top – about a year into the process. And then bam! The United States and Vietnam shut down this diplomatic exchange. Apparently the US discovered people in Vietnam were making babies to sell, and that’s not too cool. But that hurt. While we didn’t exactly have to start over, we did lose a good deal of time, and paperwork expired and required rewriting, reassessments, and whole lot of redoing. We almost quit.
But we didn’t. We were given other countries to choose from. Our agency specialized in Asian adoptions – no surprise given Peal Buck had founded it – but there seemed to be issues with the other Asian countries. They either had a really long waiting period or they did not meet our requirements, such as the age of the child: we were requesting an infant. Kazakhstan is a blend of the Asian countries and Russia, being that Kazakhstan is a former Soviet Union Republic, with a strong national identity of its own. Though the costs of the adoption were a bit more, they did seem to meet our needs, and there seemed to be an extensive list of happy people who had adopted from there. We weighed our options and we decided Kazakhstan would be the place.
And then we worked our way to the top of that list. We did countless paperwork – I couldn’t even tell you what we filled out and signed: health checkups, financial affidavits, birth certificates, marriage certificates, employment statements, autobiographies we had to write, personal references, background checks, fingerprints. Oh what a fiasco fingerprinting turned out to be. It’s amazing how many times we had to do that, for different agencies and redoing them because they got smudged. You would have thought we were criminals. My wife has a spread sheet checklist of it all. She did a marvelous job compiling and coordinating it.
And then finally we submitted the package and it was sent to our State Department for review and though it was only supposed to take a month, it took almost three months (yeah, tell me that Government bureaucracy is efficient, pfft) and when that approval came through – meaning that our package was ready to go to Kazakhstan – we thought that was it, we were on our way. That was last October. But all that meant was that it passed our bureaucracy, now it had to lavish in Kazakhstan’s bureaucracy. I was beginning to think that our child would graduate college before I ever got a chance to meet him. They gave us a window of four to six months for that to work through, which projected we would get their approval and request to travel anywhere from February through April. In February my wife made the comment somewhere that she felt she had been pregnant for 34 months.
Amazingly the Kazakhstan bureaucracy seemed more predictable than our own. We got the call last Thursday to travel to Astana, the capital, where they had a choice between two boys from which to choose from. We are told that one of the boys is sixteen months old and the other eight to ten months. We are absolutely thrilled, though I will say I’m feeling pangs of guilt already in rejecting one of the two. I don’t know how to do that. It almost feels immoral. And so we’ll be off in about two weeks, and like I started this, it’s not over yet, and I know there are things that can still scuttle this. This could still take another couple of months. We’ll be going out together, and I’ll be staying there about a month, and then the current plan (current because we don’t exactly know how things will go) will be for me to return, my mother-in-law to go out and stay with my wife, and when the final court dates are set I will return. I think we are also very lucky that the region we drew is the capital and that we’ll be going in the spring. Kazakhstan extends the steppes of Russia and borders Siberia, and so we will not have to fight the brutal winter and will enjoy semi modern conveniences of a large city.
So that is our story. At the grand old age of 48, we will be first time parents, and yes I realize that I’ll be in my seventies when he graduates college and this probably prevents me from retiring by at least five years. But that’s insignificant. The love of this little tyke is much more precious. I can’t wait. Below is a picture of me and the misses.