Monday, June 29, 2015

Difficult to explain

Number of days IL has cost us with our daughters: 87

There are just no words.

Now, I know in the great scheme of things, 87 days, nearly three months, is not that long of a time. For instance, those three months leading up to Christmas every year go by at the speed of light. The three months of summer tend to zip by as well. (The months of January, February, and March, not so much.) In the course of a life time, three months is just a drop in the bucket.

I get that.

Yet, if you are separated from a loved one, three months is a long time. And it's not that those three months are the only part of the wait, they are just leading up to the actual wait which itself can take six months. Then there was the two or three months of the actual home study process... Those three months have pushed us to at least a year of waiting to bring our daughters home.

A friend, trying to wrap her head around adoption commented to me on my use of "my" daughters in reference to R. and Y. It astounded her a bit that we would claim them so unabashedly as our own without having met them. This is where it gets difficult to explain.

If you have adopted, you will understand completely what I am talking about, if you haven't, I'm afraid that sometimes it seems as though adoptive parents speak a different language and there is a break down of communication. You see, in order to go through the adoption process, with its ups and downs, frustration, mountains of paperwork, government bureaucracy, and cost, you have to feel at a deep level that this child is yours. The process is too horrible to do for fun. Yes, you can fall in love with a picture and love that child in your heart. You dream about them, plan what you will do with them, imagine holding them and kissing them, think about what life will be like with them. They will have your name, be yours as long as you live, you will be present for the milestones of their lives... just as with your other children. They become your children even before the paperwork is signed to make it legal.

If you speak with parents who have had something go wrong with an adoption between being matched with a child and actually processing the paperwork, they will tell you it is like a death. It is a real child that will no longer be a part of your family and these parents grieve accordingly. Yet, it is a hard because so few people understand the depth of connection with a picture.

It is one of the first miracles of adoption, that parents can so wrap their hearts around a child they still have yet to meet. (Of course, there is the process of adjusting from the imaginary child to the actual child standing in front of you... but that's a whole separate post.) This picture becomes your child. Your really truly child. The one you will fight for and love and defend with every mama bear instinct that you possess.

Imagine that your child, the one that lives in your house with you, was suddenly transported to another country and placed in less than ideal living conditions. You would move heaven and earth and spend any amount of money to go and get them. To bring them home. And you wouldn't rest until you did that. If someone truly dear to you was far away and needing your help to come home, it would become your obsession. Of course I acknowledge that my story only correlates so far. A child who is known and lives with us will elicit strong feelings, and I agree that these feelings are greater than for a child who is still a stranger. But here is what I want to try to communicate, if ever so poorly. While a real, known child will elicit extremely strong feelings and need to protect that child, for those of us in the adoption process, something has happened and we feel about these children whom we only know from pictures and videos, in a very similar way. They are ours and we need to bring them home.

To wait is painful. We are missing children whom we realize we don't really know, yet love to such a great extent that we are willing to put ourselves through this pain to bring home. Parenting is often one constant act of sacrifice, and for adoptive parents, this sacrifice begins long before the child is known.

Please Governor Rauner, sign HB 3079. Right now it is only you who is slowing down the adoption process so atrociously in Illinois. How would you like it if some government official decided to use your child as a pawn in his political game? Just sign the bill.


2 comments:

Peggy said...

I understand exactly what you are saying! It took us 17 months to bring our daughter home. It could have been half that but for the ineptness of a few people, including the state of Illinois. I look back to 3 months of my life with my daughter and see that we have made a tremendous amount of memories and made strides in attachment. Three months is a long time in the life of a child, and seems to be even longer in the life of an adopted child. I'll continue praying for your journey!

Alex and Riann said...

Checking frequently here for news of your adoption/update. Praying for your family as I do. And, grateful once again for you putting into words a piece of my heart...thank you.

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