Now that I know we will be traveling, that YH is legally able to join our family in the US, I am feeling all kinds of relief.
And all kinds of panic. But the panic is over the little, easily remedied stuff: travel details, packing, forgetting to register Miss A for swim team...and so on.
This kind of panic is far preferable to the deep and wounding panic of our wait. And I am more than aware that my relief comes at the cost of other families' despair. Because you see, it turns out we were rather lucky amongst the families in our batch of Emigration Permit approvals. My program specialist had told us that we would likely be in the middle of the travel calls due to our ATK date. I thought for sure that meant at least a week after the first calls came out.
Instead, we were one of the first three travel calls for our batch. From what I know, it looks like our placing agency moved the "waiting children" (the ones with medical needs) to the front of the line. Now there are rumors that the US embassy will only be scheduling 9 VI appointments per Korean placing agency, per week. This is in contrast to the "normal" schedule of 10 VI appointments per day total, with no specific days for particular agencies. If this rumor is true it has the potential to really slow things down for families waiting for travel call.
And I feel sick knowing that my happiness comes with the collateral damage of someone else's disappointment. When we were mired in the muck of our wait I was quick to brush off the sentiments of families already untied with their children. Sentiments like "I know how hard it is. Believe me it is all worth it when you hold your child. You won't even remember the wait once you're home..."
We are the first families to EVER endure a wait to take custody that is this long. While I am sure the anxiety is at core the same for families waiting 2 months or 12 months, the reality of such a prolonged wait is that it drains the adoptive families of hope/enthusiasm/joy. We dare not celebrate any movement for fear the next news to come out will rob us of our expectations. We live on edge for over a year. It *is* hard and it *is* unfair. And if you are reading this and you are still waiting, please know I am rooting for you and your family. I will not try to placate you now that my wait is close to the end. You have a right to be angry at the circumstances and a right to mourn your expectations.
The other day, before our travel call came, I had coffee with a friend and fellow adoptive mother. She asked me what kind of "self-care" resources did I have lined up. Huh. "Self-care". Yeah--that would be a good thing to do... Of course I hadn't thought a lick about how best to take care of myself during our transition, so that I can be the best me I can be for YH.
We came up with a list of items: schedule a massage for a week after our return, schedule an hour or two for drinks with my ladies within 2 or 3 weeks home, make sure to move every day, make sure to write...
Little things. Little things that replenish the spirit and body. That strengthen my tie to the outside world.
For my waiting family friends: I encourage you to think of your own self-care list. What makes you feel like yourself? What can you plan or schedule now, before you're in the thick of parenting?
My next post will have some practical travel details, and some thoughts on "the airport welcome" and our plans for our first weeks home.