I don’t really know why they (we) call what we go through between initial enquiry and placement the Adoption Process or even the Adoption Journey. If I am honest I suspect those in the know must surely refer to it as the Adoption Wait. Perhaps it is realising this that means you have finally gained access to some secret code!
As a prospective adopter there are times when everything seems to speed up and for a few hours or even a few days you live in a whirlwind. (This is particularly true when the deadline for submitting papers for panel approaches I note – anyone who ever approaches a panel, be warned, you can suddenly find yourselves aboard a very fast one-way train without any warning, a train you generally want to be on but which suddenly seems to lurch like mad and requires you to answer multi-choice questions or sign documentation as if by magic at no notice – thank goodness for the modern scanner and email I say …)
However the rest of the time you are liable to feel as if you are in a lay-by, watching the world zoom along outside your car window, feeling somewhat intrigued, not particularly unhappy, in fact often relatively mellow, but even so somehow … separate. Apart. A little out of it. And not necessarily going anywhere just now.
I see that perhaps this is deliberate. As a singly hopeful adopter it feels that part of the deal has to be accepting the fair chance I may feel in some separate zone to the wider world for some months and years. It is likely I will feel both never ever alone, being forever accompanied by a small, demanding, attention-seeking, all-important littley – while also feeling somewhat through a looking-glass from the world other adults seem to inhabit!
There also seems to be a fair chance that one of the many joys of parenting through adoption might be that I shall need to build my patience muscles to Olympic strength. Perhaps as such, I can see the benefits in the adoption process itself helping you get to first base in developing your resources of resilience and patience.
I suspect that, were I to be asked in a flippant moment, I might struggle to calmly list the positives for there can be no doubt, the Adoption Wait has its frustrations.
Yet in a more reflective mood I can see how the Adoption Wait parallels the nine months of human pregnancy. I have long felt that those nine months have a significance beyond the purely physical. As well as about growing a baby and all the physical changes (and the shopping, apparently!) that that entails, pregnancy is a time of growth and change of a much more intangible variety, a time of psychological reflection, new perspectives, developing expectations, different realities. It is a time to prepare for a whole new world.
And thus we come full circle. Yes, the Adoption Wait has its frustrations. Ultimately though it is a time that perhaps we should treasure after all, a time to allow ourselves to gain all we can in terms of our own growth and resilience, a time for our own different perspectives and new realities. As potential adopters it is our time when we prepare for our own whole new world.