"Oh wait, Jenny and John are due next month. Add 1."
Everyone agreed. Of course!
"What about Steve and Kate...aren't you guys adopting? Should we count your family as 2 kids?" Silence.
Awkward "umm's" and uneasy "yeah, maybe's".
"Well, our table isn't going to win anyway, so it doesn't matter."
I get it. I feel the same tension. Are we expecting? Are we counted as a family of 3 or a family of 4. Pregnant Jenny definitely counts. But do I? There's no life growing inside of me. And there really is no definite time frame of when or if a child will be added to our family. I feel the same confusion with the continuation of the blog at this point. Steve said it best today as we were talking about it: "It's like trying to get into the Christmas spirit in January".
With pregnancy, there is a clear end date. Sure, one may go a week or two past their due date, but I've never asked a pregnant person when they are due and their answer was, "I don't know...could be next month, might be next year".
There is clarity in their waiting. There are countdowns and things to expect when you're expecting. If there was a book written about what to expect when you are adopting, only one sentence would be truthful: "There is nothing predictable about an international adoption."
There may be steps in the process that are clear markers, but when you are dealing with 2 constantly changing governments, the time distance between those markers contains no promises. This is incredibly frustrating.
I'd love to be able to provide a clear answer of when our daughter will come home. I'd love to track her progress on facebook with what size of fruit she may be right now, but I can't. This adoption, much more than the last one, has thrust us into a very unknown place. I feel like i've been blindfolded, taken to a dark room and told to find my way out.
I feel like I'm fumbling my way through the new terminology of adopting from India, I'm constantly stubbing my toe on the roadblocks of paperwork and changes. The darkness overtakes my spirit at times and my natural response is to go straight to fear and doubt. At times I feel bound to the dark waiting room, even though I know that God desires for us to be bound to Him alone.
I'm trying to focus on life right now - the joys, the hopes, the dreams, and the opportunities God has for me right now. I don't want my life to constantly hang in the balance of waiting. I want to experience what God has for me right now.
Here is what we do know right now about the India adoption process:
- Once our home study update is complete, it is sent to the US Government for approval.
- That approval, (along with all other documents) gets sent to the CARA (Central Adoption Resource Agency) in India.
- The CARA then looks for the best RIPA (confused yet?)
- The RIPA is the Recognized India Placement Agency - which is basically an orphanage
Once we reach the RIPA, we are officially "registered."
- That RIPA then labors to match us with one of their available children.
- This process could take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of YEARS.
- Once we are "matched", a tedious process of paperwork and court dates is set in motion, which again, could take months.
Then we would take ONE TRIP to India to bring our child home.
So, we feel like we are probably 18 months - 2 years away from completing our Indian adoption. We are learning as we go. This is a brand new experience for us and we are asking God for wisdom at every turn.
Thank you for journeying with us. Because we are so far off, I, at times, feel silly for even keeping this blog updated. How many years of blog entries can be about "waiting"? :) But, I so appreciate your dedication to our journey. Your words of encouragement and prayers carry us through this wild adventure.
Also, I have decided to classify myself as an expectant mom.
With confidence, I fully EXPECT God to sustain my heart, bring patience to my soul and give me the strength to live in the today He has given me.
Until next Monday,
love: Kate, Steve & Dima