One year ago, on March 12, we received a call from our adoption agency with the date we were to appear in court to finalize the adoption of our daughter. Less than 24 hours later (yes, less than 24 HOURS LATER!), Big Papa and I boarded a plane headed to London, where we would stay for two days and two nights before boarding a second plane to Armenia. Only a handful of people knew where we were going and why: Big Papa’s boss, our cat sitter, our pediatrician-to-be, my mother and sister, Big Papa’s cousins (who offered to help us out when we first got back home), and one close friend.
We had waited to take this plane ride for nearly four years and the idea that it was finally happening felt surreal. Only a year before, our pending adoption of another baby girl had fallen through, merely ten days before our scheduled flight. I found it hard to settle myself and put away the fear that something bad would happen this time too.
My mind revisited all the scenarios we’d faced along the way: two referrals, five trips to Armenia, multiple updates to our files and dossier, several trips to our local USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) office for several sets of fingerprints, numerous visits to our bank to have paperwork notarized, and a number of road trips to Olympia (our state’s capitol) to have our documents apostilled.
I recalled the RFE (Request for Evidence) that had us gripping edge of our seats in the cliffhanger that was our prior adoption attempt, the interminable angst as we waited for nearly three months to get resolution when that adoption was interrupted, the uncertainty of how to “undo” our Article 5 (final Hague approval from the U.S. Department of State), a situation–as we were told by our immigration agent–that no prospective adoptive parents had faced before, and then the crazed race to update our paperwork yet one more time so we could be eligible for a new referral.
Reverently, I remembered the soul-wrenching isolation I felt, and the deep dark depression, when I couldn’t share what was happening–what had happened–even with some of my closest friends, for fear that we might jeopardize the future of our adoption. I couldn’t talk about it. I couldn’t blog about it. The only thing I could do was stew about it.
I thought about all the excitement, disappointment, hope and heartache that led to this moment. And yet here we were, passports and suitcases in hand, getting on a plane, literally on our way to parenthood!
That’s when it hit me. We were really on our way: TO PARENTHOOD!