I have a ticker, over there on side of the screen, that keeps track of our wait. I love AND hate the ticker, a familiar mix of feelings to have about various parts of this process. Someday I'll write a post about how adopting has helped me to move beyond the either/or thinking that permeates so much of how we Americans like to operate and accept the both/and realities of the world. But not today. Today I'm busy both loving and hating that ticker.
When we first started looking at adoption programs and agencies wait time was one of the big factors. Andrew and I had tried to get pregnant for a bit before deciding to adopt. We had no money and thought it would be cheaper. (HA!) But we had always wanted adoption to be part of how we built our family, so our move towards adoption was much quicker than some of the friends that I met through infertility buddy groups. Nonetheless, by the time we started the process it already felt like we'd been trying to build our family forever. There was a lot to think about, much to consider, but one of the factors that drew us was the wait time our agency published with the materials for their AAI program. Average wait time 3-11 months, it said. With waits as short as 3 days, and as long as 18 months.
3 days!! 3 months!! That was my main takeaway as we flipped through the details of the program.
"That's a pretty wide window for an 'average.'" Andrew said.
"Psh. We're not average." I replied confidently.
So, now, looking at my ticker I hate it because obviously we are average.
3 months, 5 days.
Average, Andrew likes to point out, in this case just means "majority." And as I've gotten in touch with parents who have adopted through our program, and talked more with our adoption coordinator I have realized that the statistical average is really closer to 7 or 8 months. What 3-11 months really means is that after 3 months it's anybody's game. Lots of people match in month 3 and 4 of waiting. But lots of people also match in month 10 or 11. The field is wide open. It is much much MORE likely that it will happen.
So, I love my ticker, because we're now in the anything-can-happen-wide-open part of our wait.
3 months, 5 days.
Some day, sweet some day, I'll be writing this in the story of my child's life. We waited __ months, __ days for your first mom to find us, to pick us as your mommy and daddy.
I love my ticker, because it is ticking down to something, to a stopping point at a number that will be part of our family story forever.
But I hate the ticker, too. Because today, 3 months 5 days, is not that number, and not that day.