This morning, I was quite pleased to see an email from a director at our agency with the subject "New Court Date." We have been eagerly--alright, often anxiously--awaiting word on when we might be able to have this appearance before the Ethiopian judge rescheduled ever since our first scheduled time was denied because of a government paperwork issue.
In adoption circles the question, "Which wait is the hardest?" is sometimes debated. For some, it is the hard-working, paper-chasing wait before you can declare yourself "paper pregnant" or all the necessary documents are collected, signed, sealed, stamped, and sent off to the proper authorities. For others, the hardest part is the do-nothing time of waiting for a referral. Still others find the waits after a referral--with pictures and background information in hand--to be the worst. These may include waiting for a court date or waiting out the time until parents can actually get on a plane to go meet their new family addition(s).
Personally, I do not particularly enjoy the paperwork (who does?), but it is usually a fairly well-laid out process. The inevitable delays and difficulties may arise, but it is easy to see what needs to happen and to make the necessary effort in order to achieve the goal. Not so hard.
Waiting for a referral, on the other hand, was very hard for me. There were so many unknowns. When? How many? What age(s)? From which region? From what circumstance? What genders? When? Will they be related? How will they fit into our family? What will they be like? When? When? When? This was terribly hard for me.
Once we had our referral, the wait for court did not feel too burdensome. It was a delight to have answers to so many of my questions. Having a specific day to focus on also allowed us to make tentative plans. However, with the documentation issues that caused us not to pass that day, our post-referral wait changed dramatically. Suddenly, our file was closed, new paperwork was needed, and new questions started to float in my head: When will our paperwork get there? What will happen to it then? When will we get a new court date? What if we don't pass again? When will we travel? What if we get caught in court closures? Again, the unknowns seemed to press in.
Do you think I have control issues?
What a lesson in gracefulness during helplessness this has been! ...and I must say that I am thankful to leave at least some of the uncertainty behind and to look forward to a new court date: Monday, June 22. Sometime after you and I head to bed on Father's Day night, a judge in Ethiopia will have the opportunity to legally change the status of two beautiful boys in Ethiopia from fatherless to fully adopted. Can you wait?