That's a tricky question. We often hear that everyone who's qualified will eventually adopt, even if it takes a long time. We hear that we just have to hang in there. Our agency has told us this many times as have many other people. And yet, we know from the experiences of others that the wait can stretch beyond what works for them. So they end their adoption journey and make a choice to take their lives in a different direction.
We recently heard that a couple adopted a baby after waiting almost 9 years. They're a real couple, we've met them. And yes, you read right, that's 9 years!!! It's awesome that things finally worked out for them, but waiting for 9 years? That's a long time and it scares us that our own road might stretch out into the distance that long. I'll grant that most people don't wait almost 9 years, either because they have far better luck or they don't possess the incredible patience and tenacity it takes to hope and wait for so long. That said, many waits to adopt do stretch on for 3, 4, or more years. And after all, for us waiting 9 years would mean waiting another 6.5 years and not starting our family until 2019!!! Just imagine all the things that will be different in all our lives by then!
I go back and look that post I wrote a year ago, trying to remember exactly where I was in our journey when I wrote it. I'm trying to remember if I really considered that we might still be waiting a year later and I don't believe I did. I don't know if it occurred to me or not, but I'm sure I thought things would be different by now, either because we had adopted or because we had significantly changed our direction. It didn't seem possible that we would be on the same flat, endless stretch of highway that we've traveled on for miles and miles.
Of course we did hit a very curvy stretch of road for a while there when we matched and then unmatched. We could see our destination right in front of us when we matched, though we knew it was in the distance and we had a bit more traveling to do. And then it vanished when our match failed. Our destination is still out there, but it's really hard to see right now. In fact, it's been a while since we've caught sight of it. Waiting sucks, we said this last year and we'll say it again because it does.
Much of 2013 has been about our weariness as travelers on this road. Sure, we distract ourselves with trips to Disneyland and other fun places and enjoy our time together as much as we can. Despite all our best efforts, we know we're waiting and it still sucks. Even harder, some of the changes this year have been difficult as all the rest of life goes on around us. Looking back on that post from last year, I see we shared some really good tips and we'd share them again because they have helped us.
The advice from #3 about budgeting and saving money helped us greatly when it came time to redo our adoption letter early this year and pay for more printing. It also helped when we matched and found ourselves paying a non-refundable match fee and some of M from Florida's living expenses. The good news is that the match fee is only paid once so we don't have to pay it next time we match, but it's almost time to print more letters and incur some other expenses in order to continue our journey. The path we chose to travel certainly has not been cheap. That's something we wish we had realized and accepted before we set off, but that's a topic for another post.
I'm also particularly struck by our advice from #5 and #7. It's been a real struggle to stay engaged with life since our failed match, but it is sound advice and is slowly starting to help. While it still feels strange after our failed match, it no longer feels like we are taking baby steps when we get ourselves out there. Engaging with the world has helped, and though we wanted to disappear after that failed match, I'm glad we didn't. And supporting each other has made all the difference. As Winnie the Pooh says, "It's so much friendlier with two." We've always agreed and the long journey we're on proves it all the more. I couldn't do all this without Mitch by my side and I know he feels the same way. We're so lucky to have each other and travel this life together, especially when the road stretches out in front of us for miles with no end in sight. None of us knows what the future holds, but Mitch and I can say that we made the best decision of our lives when we got married. We'll be celebrating that decision with our 6th anniversary this weekend!