Today we have been in the adoption process for 11 months...and we have been waiting for a referral for almost 5 months (that will happen Wednesday :)
Almost a year has passed since we officially made the decision to adopt....that seems unreal! There has been so much we have learned, felt, and experienced. At times, this process seems to be flying by and not such a big deal....like it's just a part of daily life. From month 4 to month 5 seems to have only taken a couple of days! If only they could all pass that quickly and painlessly.
At other times, this process seems to consume my mind and emotions. The wait can seem unbearable...almost like it will never end. Almost like you can feel every second tick by. I try not to think about the fact that if the wait times hadn't changed, we probably would be expecting our referral in only a few weeks!
I mentioned in a previous post that I truly believed God had planned the timing of our adoption and the graduate course on cultural issues that I just finished to coincide. In that course I read about what it is like for individuals who belong to the non-dominant culture (dominant meaning white) to live in the United States. Some stories were happy and warm, and others were quite difficult to read, and I was appalled at the ignorance, and just pure evil that the authors faced simply due to the color of their skin. I was in the midst of reading these stories when I began to recognize that though I have only the best intentions in my heart and mind when considering issues of race and equality (obviously, we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia, right?) at times, I have twinges in my heart that reveal otherwise. Yes, I just said that. That is hard to admit. I am glad I can admit it, but it is hard. Why do I say such things? Well, for example, when we first began the adoption process, I was somewhat hesitant to proudly exclaim, "We are adopting a baby from Ethiopia!" I ashamedly admit that I had a small twinge of fear inside as to what others might think when they put together the fact that Ethiopia was in Africa and Africans are.....black! As God continued to affirm our decision, it became easier and easier and more of an honor for me to tell others of our adoption. I hadn't thought twice about speaking about our adoption until a few week's ago when our elderly neighbors stopped for a visit. Upon seeing the nursery, they asked how the adoption was going, and then they asked us to remind them where we were adopting from. I admit, I had been dreading this moment, because I just had this feeling that they were not going to approve of an adoption from Africa. I know, I was making a value judgement that I had no right making, but I just had this feeling that they would say something not nice. Zack jumped right in and told them, Ethiopia. They didn't say anything back- not a word. What bothered me about the situation was not their reaction, but the fact that after all this time, I still feared what others might think. It just showed me that I still have some work to do in my heart. After they left I talked with Zack about my feelings, and we both vowed to be more proactive about race issues. What does this mean? For us, it means sharing Christ's love for all people with others, as Christ did, and not fearing what the world thinks. It means not standing for any jokes or inappropriate comments about culture or race, not just about black people, but about any race. It means embracing other cultures, not fearing or judging them because we simply might not understand them. And it means recognizing the privilege that we have as white people. This last point might be the hardest, and I know it usually strikes a chord with some white folks. It did with me as an undergraduate sociology student. Whether or not you want to believe it, being born white in the USA gives a person some advantages, lots, actually. If you don't believe me, feel free to email me privately, and I will gladly give you the names of some excellent texts that documents this fact quite clearly. The effects of white privilege on minority cultures is something that I have come to realize through the last five years, and thankfully, now white privilege strikes a quite different chord with me. Like I said, I still have a lot of work to do in my own heart, but I am thankful that God has opened my eyes to issues like these. We may never fully realize all the biases we have in our hearts, but I pray that God will continue to reveal them to me.
Okay, well that was quite a tangent I went on, but it was bound to come out eventually. Anyway, back to the "fun" stuff :) As I had mentioned in a previous post, we hope to hear something in late August or early September. Thanks to super sleuths in our Yahoo group, we have constructed what we believe to be a quite accurate list of waiting families and their positions relative to dossier number, dossier to Ethiopia date, and gender request. It would appear, and I stress appear, that we seem to be somewhere in the realm of #6- #10 waiting for a boy. Why the discrepancy? Well, there are mystery families out there who aren't members of our YG, so we can't know if they are requesting a boy or girl, an older child, or multiples. Obviously, if all the mystery families are requesting infant boys, then we fall later in line, if all were requesting girls, we would fall earlier in line, and if its about half and half (which is what I suspect), then we fall midway in there...so, we could be the 7th or 8th family in line for a boy....pretty exciting stuff!! At least it keeps us busy :)