We have done well. We have waited 4 months (post-match) for various reasons, mainly to do with bureaucracy, procedural changes and general international adoption waiting. We met our (prospective - argh, what a word!) children in late October. Now, in mid-February, we know that we are close, although we don't have a court date yet. So we wait...
How do I cope with it? Not very well, I think. I have good days and bad days. I keep busy. Very busy. I think if I can be so exhausted that when my head hits the pillow I fall asleep instantly, then that's a good day.
My list on how I am surviving the wait. It is personal and I am in no way advocating that it's for everyone. But here it is:
1. Keep busy.
That is my number one strategy. I work full time as a teacher, in a primary school with 37 teaching periods a week. For anyone who knows teaching, that is a lot! On top of that I am also the school's curriculum coordinator, which adds a bit of time on top of it all. Since January I have also taken on several private pupils, something I am hoping I can continue once the kiddos join us. It is only 5 teaching hours in the evenings, but also involves some preparation and commuting. To top it all off, I do freelance translations, for five or six hours a week. In total, I think I work around 60 hours a week.
It is certainly not sustainable and when I started I hoped it would only be for a few weeks or so. The weeks have turned into months and here I am, a little exhausted, but having made some extra money to put towards the adoption and to have afterwards once the kiddos are here! The upside is that it is giving me less time to think about the adoption, and all the things that could potentially go wrong (I am an expert at worrying and finding potential disaster scenarios)!
2. Build a support network
Some of my support network is online, in the forms of blogs and forums (fora?). I really enjoy reading about other people who have been through this and have come out of it unscathed. It really gives me a boost to read about other couples' waiting periods, how they coped with them and how they eventually managed to bring their prescious, longed-for children home.
Some of my support network is real, although none of them (bar my family) are face-to-face contacts. We have met some other families through our social worker and from our trip to Ethiopia in October and we spend a lot of time on the phone. It helps!
3. Take up writing
I write a lot. I have written a lot about the adoption and have relished every single word of it. I am even hoping to publish one day, although I wonder if anyone would actually want to read it... I keep this blog. I keep a journal. Generally writing keeps me sane and keeps things in perspective. It helps me see that, no matter what, this period is but a chapter of my life...
I have always been an athlete and I have been running for the last 10 years or so. Despite a chronic injury that keeps me from running as much as I would like, I still try to keep to two-three runs and week. Most are up the mountain with my dogs and husband - there is aalways perspective to be gained up on the mountain.
A couple of races also keep things interesting...
5. Do the things that I will not have time for once I become a mum
Like having coffee with my husband. Lying in on a Saturday morning (fine, until 8, but still...). Have long baths. Write in the middle of the day. Go mountain biking with D. Go to the cinema. Have a meal out. All these things that will become a challenge once there are two little people in our life.
6. Eat crisps and drink wine
Nothing profound here... Just a coping mechanism. Comfort eating and the odd glass of wine. Surely that's normal.
There are a couple of things I wanted to do, but have not got round to:
1. Learn Amharic - my loaded schedule has not allowed me to find the time to meet with the teacher I had found. I will have to make do with awkward phrase-book Amharic.
2. Decorating the kids' room - the uncertainty over when and sometimes if this adoption will go through has kept me from buying anything kid related. Yes, we run the risk of having the kids sleep in a box for a couple of weeks. (I am joking here. Mostly...) But at least I do not have to look at an empty crib every hour of the day... Swings and roundabouts.
3. Making the photo album that I wanted - with all the pictures of the children we have, from our referral pictures, to the ones we took while we were there, as well as the ones we get sent periodically from the orphanage, or when people visit. Hmm, maybe I should get a move on with that one...
4. Clearing out my wardrobes - Yes... that is still on the to-do-list... I've done the odd bit of throwing away that jumper that I have not worn since I was 17 (yes, I had one of those, doesn't everyone?) but I have not had that brutal one-on-one with the wardrobe yet. It's inevitable, but I am putting it off...
I hope the wait will come to an end soon. I hope we get our court date, so that we can start all the preparations on the way to becoming a family of four! In the meantime I am off to have that glass of wine...