I will apologize from the get go. The whole "adoption update" isn't much. It's just that we get the same question often lately..."how's the adoption going?" or "any news yet?" And our typical response...we've got nothing. So, sorry I brought you here for very little. Another month closer, but no word from South Africa. We continue to wait.
I remember connecting with a Mom who adopted a young boy from South Africa earlier in our adoption journey. And although we so badly wanted to announce the adoption plan much earlier on, something she mentioned stuck with us...the earlier on you tell people, the more of the same questions comes through, and eventually it can become a little discouraging when you have no news for what seems like an eternity. I am so glad we took that advice because only three months since the official "waiting" after the dossier was submitted, it's hard to continue to respond with the same answer..."still waiting," "still no news," or "nothing yet." Time and time again on the daily those frequent questions remind us...still waiting. So to our people who have come together through adoption we thank you for that advice. I sure know that if we would have announce this an earlier, I'd be close to pulling my hair out with those same responses for such a long period of time. We owe ya big time!
As far as the adoption paperwork home front (I've decided we need different adoption categories because one area of adoption may have no news while another area just might and it can give us a little something to celebrate even if it's nothing at all), the most recent update at this point is that our "service plan" is now complete. The program our social worker uses shut down back in March and they said ours was to be the first to be completed once the program was fixed. We waited and waited as we always do until yesterday...we got our first portal message in a while to say it's all done! This was one of the missing pieces in our dossier that can now be submitted to South Africa. Thank goodness it was not mandatory for the service plan to be a part of the dossier packet when we submitted everything back in March or else we'd just now be starting that wait time for a referral. If you haven't already caught on, we have no control over all this and that alone can be one of the hardest things. So instead, you learn to give it up, let it go, and learn to let someone else take the reigns. Sometimes news like this is big news for us when we don't hear anything for a few months. We take those little wins, even if it isn't necessarily something that's getting us closer to our child.
As you all can imagine, we've had plenty of time to think. When I'm out on those 4 hour bike rides or 1.5 hour runs, I envision us getting that much closer to adoption day. I envision each mile I complete being that much closer to getting us to South Africa. And for every day, which turns into every month of living life around here...just that much closer. In all honesty, some days are easy but there are those few days in between that are hard to be patient, hard to understand why it takes so long, and hard to know that our child could be born at this point just waiting for us. (Not to mention, Case & Ev are excited to meet their cousin. They have been buying "him" things because "he should be 4 or 5" per Casey). Sometimes while I'm out, I pray for some sort of sign that indicates those last few things that need to be completed in our lives before taking on the rest of the adoption process. I wonder what the Lord has planned for us between now and then and what it is He wants us to do or work on as a couple before bringing a child into our family. I'm obviously still waiting on that sign because nothing has happened yet. I suppose I'll keep riding and running and praying and thinking until that day comes. Lord knows I've been doing plenty of each and every one of those things!
One of the more difficult things we've found lately is this feeling of not being prepared. Normally you get about 9 months to prepare for a baby. We have an unknown amount of months left to count, an unknown child to us across the world, two people sitting and waiting in our little home trying to do what we can to prepare for a big unknown. And yes, we do education hours and yes, we get practice with all sorts of kids. But we can't fully prepare ourselves for one child or another. One who is possibly new to life or maybe a child who will be 3 or 4. We can't prep a room with the right things because we have no idea if our child will be 1 or 4. We can't save up on clothes because we have no idea, again, how old our child will be. The room remains empty minus a small chest of random toys Casey, Ev, and Turner play with when they come over, a worldly beanie hat made big enough for a 3 or 4 year old because I didn't want it to end up too small when he arrives, an Ugandan doll we purchased after a group of Ugandan kids performed at my Grandma's church, and a little South African flag that hangs in the window to remind us each day of this special little body that one day will fill that room with more than he will ever know. And although there's this fear of being unprepared, there's also this cloud of calmness that covers it knowing that we may only have a month to prepare when all this finally goes down, but that child will survive without all the clothes, all the toys, or all the extra stuff. It's when you realize that, that you know all you need to do is fill your child with love, joy, life, experiences, and a family. I've found that sometimes getting thrown into the fire or riding into the rain is one of the best ways to do it. You can be fully prepare yourself for one thing, but it could all turn out to be something so completely different. So I guess that means we'll be riding into the rain and that's ok.
It will have to be.
It will have to be.
Often enough, I dream of the moment we get the phone call. Will they call while I'm at work or will I receive a voicemail with the good news on my drive home? I can't tell you the feelings of excitement I get thinking about sharing the news with Ty thereafter. But as with everything else...who knows when it will all happen. Maybe we will be together when the call comes through or maybe they will just post something to our portal website. I guess we'll find out one day, some day. And I'll briefly mention it here because I could possibly lose it in front of you if I brought up my thoughts on the day we get to bring our child home. Now that thought...every time...gets me all teared up. I can kinda laugh about it because it's the same reaction every time....an instant tear-jerker out of nowhere when that thought of getting off the plane and being home enters my mind. Thank goodness I've been out on my own when that happens or else someone might wonder what's wrong with me. It's interesting, I envision the first time meeting our child, maybe one of the court hearings while in South Africa, and coming home. There's lots of missing pieces in between and maybe because we have no idea what the process will be like in between those steps. In fact, I've never imagined what the plane ride will be like on the way home (although I probably should start seriously thinking about various situations pending any one of them could happen on the flight home), but what I do envision is the three of us walking through the Portland airport after 6 long weeks abroad through our journey of becoming a family and finding our way to the exit to be greeted by our family. I visualize all the people there, the tears, the excitement, the love, the moments, and what one day will be a memory.
We made it. We're Home.
Now that sends a thousand emotions through my body. It's exciting, it's overwhelming, it's our journey. A journey that we will been living for who knows how long at that point. Our journey in which part will have been closed come that time and the next part opens up wide to the next part of The Stanley Life....There will be more to it, more layers, more pages, more of our life. And my oh my, do we ever look forward to that. We are ready for you little one!
We don't have anything exciting for updates, but maybe you can find a little update within our thoughts/emotions and mini paperwork update as part of the journey process enough to get you by for now. So while we continue to wait, you too can sit back and wait. Maybe think some good thoughts and say a few prayers for a little one to come our way sooner than later. Other than that, hang tight because one of these we'll have some sort of update for ya and hopefully it will tower of today's post.
We appreciate all you adoption journey followers and all of you who make our village!