It was the summer of 2011 and I was done waiting. I was done hoping. My husband and I had experienced a year of loss that threatened to drown us both. Waiting for anything other than a lifeline seemed impossible. I was done explaining the story to those who asked, and done fielding the sympathetic looks when people discovered we did, in fact, want to start a family, but had experienced so many years, so many cycles of grief in waiting. “There, there,” kind eyes said. “It will happen; keep trying,” warm hugs said. “Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be,” concerned smiles said.
Maybe it wasn’t, I finally told myself. A resounding NO was the answer I kept hearing, in my head and in my unanswered prayers. That NO had already crept into my heart, filling it with a hardness that seemed to make each smile forced. I would stop waiting because there wasn’t anything to wait for.
I didn’t know it, but a trip back to Minnesota for a family reunion began to chip away at the hardness. My husband and I had always planned to adopt. It wasn’t a matter of “if”, it was a matter of “when”, or “when we can afford it”. We hadn’t ever given anything but independent adoption the time and consideration. We certainly weren’t going to do anything crazy like open our homes to foster kids, hoping to adopt them if that was an option. That would require too many risks, too much waiting, too much wondering. So, after I read an article on fost-adopt that my aunt showed us, I thought, “Well, that’s nice, but not for us. Not this way.” An offer by a cousin to be a surrogate for us floored and humbled me, leaving me to wonder, “Was this the way? Was this what we had been waiting for?”
The trip home was full of wonderings, full of questions…full of this odd feeling that resembled hope. Was that article and that offer the kick we needed to do something instead of feeling like victims? What were we supposed to do? What were we waiting for? I hate waiting…
When my sister walked into my office on a warm afternoon and handed me a business card for a local agency that specialized in fost-adopt, I thought, here we go again. “Call,” she told me. “No,” I told her. “I’ll just wait and think about it. I don’t think this is the way.” “It’s time,” she answered me. “Time to stop waiting. I’ll call for you.” Fine. Whatever, I thought as she left.
Two weeks later as I talked on the phone with the director of the fost-adopt program, I felt that hope begin to grow. An interview, some phone calls, much paperwork, emotionally-packed training classes and a few more weeks later found us ready to begin the next step in the process and meet our social worker. This was it; we were in it.
Had I known how many meetings we would have with her, how much a part of the family she would become, I would have hugged her immediately and welcomed her like an old friend. Of course, had I known how many meetings we would have with her, how much waiting we would go through with her, we may not have continued.
As she begins to take notes, I wait. I wait to hear her say this isn’t going to work. I wait to see if I can make out what she is writing. No matter how much I strain my neck, I can’t figure it out. So I wait some more. I wait in between meetings and phone calls with her. And when our home study is almost done and our profile is ready, I wait for the phone to ring. I wait for the disappointment. I wait.