Tag Archives: Waiting Parents

Thoughts on the Government Shutdown

So, this isn’t really a place where I envisioned talking about politics, which is strange because people who know me well, know I breathe politics.  I was a federal lobbyist for 10 years.  Most of my organizational client/members are beneficiaries of federal funds that advance higher education and biomedical research.   I live in the metro DC area, and many of my friends are federally employed, both civilian and armed forces.

The recent government shutdown infuriated me on many levels that I won’t go into here.  What I want to talk about here for a minute is how some folks believe that the shutdown had no impact on anyone.  A Facebook pal posted this today:


Now, she’s on the outer bands of my hurricane of pals.  You know the type…she’s someone I went to high school with, nice woman, really.  I enjoy seeing pictures of her family and seeing how she’s doing these days.  I wish her well, but we aren’t really friends, we’re “social media friends.”  She wouldn’t know how the government shutdown has affected me, Hope, or families who are waiting to adopt, especially adoptive families adopting internationally.  She’s not close enough to know about this personal adoption journey.

Even if she were close enough to know I was adopting my precious Hope, she wouldn’t know that some of the services that help Hope deal with the astounding losses she’s experienced in her short life are partially funded by the federal government.  She wouldn’t be privy to the knowledge that Hope’s foster mom works for HUD and was out of work for the last couple of weeks and didn’t know whether she would get back pay when she returned to work.  Foster Mom still doesn’t know when she’ll get paid; she and her husband are good hardworking people.  FB Pal doesn’t know how much I worried over the last couple of weeks whether Hope’s current foster placement would remain stable before we had a chance to place her with me.

What if Hope had to go to another placement because things became financially unstable at her current placement when she’s been there a year?  Would Hope really believe that she would ever come to live with me after that kind of placement disruption?  What might another placement do to her sense of security?  How might Hope react?  Would she recover?  Would she ever trust me for “letting that happen” because she doesn’t know that the freaking government shut down and triggered an avalanche of bullcrap?  Aside from watching some of my favorite small business owners in downtown DC take a hit and see good friends and colleagues worry about how long the impasse might last while they were maligned as lazy, ineffectual and incredibly unnecessary, my concerns about Hope were the real fears that twisted my heart these last two weeks.  This is what the government shutdown meant to me.

I effing make my coffee at home so I don’t give a rat’s arse whether any of the nearly 20 Starbucks I pass on the way to the office closes, but the schnitty arse government shutdown and the blowhards that dragged us through it to prove a point scared, and continue to scare, the schnitt out of me.   And that’s my truth.

So amongst all the rhetoric about Obamacare, debt ceilings and bad political behavior, there are some positive things about our government. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but not at gunpoint.

I just wish people were a little more thoughtful and a little more compassionate even about the things they don’t know much about.

Desert to Deluge & Back

The Match Period is challenging.  When you initiate the adoption process, there is always something going on.  PRIDE classes, medical appointments, fingerprinting appointments, paperwork, more paperwork and home study visits.  The first taste of “waiting” I got was the month long period between when I delivered my application packet and the beginning of my home study.  It is during this time that I waited for the fingerprints to come back.  It seemed like forever.  Little did I know that was what I now call “lowbrow waiting.”  It doesn’t even count anymore.

After the home study is completed and filed, then the matching process starts.  This is the period when the adoption agency searches for children’s profiles that meet your search criteria.  I was told that this process typically takes about 8 months before a match is made. I would get a monthly update of all the inquiries made on my behalf.   I was also told it was a quiet time in the process, and that I should just get on with life while I wait.

Oh, right, because getting on with life while you’re expecting such a major change to happen at any time is really going to happen. The truth is I’m addicted to any shred of information that comes into my email from the agency.  My program coordinator, Alex, could send me an email that just said, “Hi, hope you’re having a good week” and I will stare at it multiple times for the next 72 hours trying to decipher some kind of hidden message about Hope Kid buried between the lines.

If only I had a decoder ring…

I received the first email about Hope Kid 27 days ago.  To date, 46 emails have been exchanged about Hope Kid.  I have read these 46 emails approximately 3500 times, give or take 1000 views.  Three conference calls have been hosted specifically about Hope Kid, but only one has been fruitful because other important people didn’t show up for 2 of the 3 calls.

The intermittent silence is deafening, it’s like being in a quiet desert with no sight of an oasis in the distance anywhere.  So, I work on my dissertation and day job stuff.  I pray a lot.  I pray for Hope Kid.  I pray HK is getting along with everyone and everything ok.  I wonder if and when HK finds out about me, will he/she be as obsessive about information about me as I am about him/her.  I pray for HK’s foster family and the team of people designated to put me under a microscope to determine whether or not I’m the right fit for this kid. I pray they know what they’re doing.  I pray I know what I’m doing.

I am desperate for any information about this kid.  I loathe going anywhere without my cell phone, and get spastic when the battery runs down.  I am disappointed when the email notification is for a funny forward joke or a text message from a friend because it is not some precious piece of information about Hope Kid.  I wake up in the middle of the night to check email because, despite all reason (and the fact that this is a domestic adoption), I think perhaps that dinging notification holds the key to my future family.

And then a powerful email comes that just is like the arrival of a monsoon.  Thirst quenching, but almost too much to bear all at once.  It contains so much information and so many plans for one week that I have to sit down. I might even hyperventilate for a minute or two.  Things are moving again, and I rush to try to respond to confirm everything by phone, because I don’t want a minute to go by where there might be a question about whether I can accommodate all the new plans and discussions.  No one is there to answer my call, and I can barely hold back tears.  It’s all overwhelming after hearing nothing for days and days.  The truth is there is nothing I could’ve done to prepare for this email, so I just have to roll with it.

  • Oh wow, a conference call with the therapist?  Sure.  Holy crap, I haven’t prepared a list of questions for a therapist yet.  Why the heck haven’t I created such a list?  See me furiously typing a list of questions for the therapist.
  • A conference call with the full support team?  Sure.  I can move my meeting; I will be there!! I’m now desperately waiting for an email from the agency outlining what to expect from this meeting which is now about 22.5 hours away.
  • What?  A weekend conference call with the foster family?  SURE!  I actually have that list of questions.  Oh, not this weekend because of the holiday?  Um, ok. Sigh.

YES!!  Yes to everything.  Any conference call, any skype session, anything that will give me more information about Hope Kid. I’m almost delirious with all the new information and all the meetings that are scheduled. I’m also exhausted after receiving that email last Friday and can barely muster the energy to tell anyone about the updates or to just pass the time chatting about life in general.

The thirst quenching, nearly drowning rain of activity is over.  And I’m back to looking at my phone, willing it to ring or beep or do something…anything.

And so quickly, I’m back to being thirsty. Until the next email or phone call…

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