This weekend, I had to hit the "pause" button on trying to figure out this adoption mess. I had to step off the hamster-wheel and take a time-out. Bjorn was on a work trip, so it was just me and the girls, and I only had to work for a few hours early Saturday morning ... so we got the enjoy lots of low-key time at home, doing the things we normally do (you know, when we're not in crisis mode!)... going grocery shopping together, working on craft projects, spending lots of time snuggled up on the couch reading books ... catching up on some house work, making pizza for dinner.
Friday was not a good day for me ... as a matter of fact, it was maybe my lowest point since this happened two weeks ago. I had sent an e-mail to our prospective agency with some important questions, and didn't hear back from them, and then another agency (who didn't originally think they could help us much) brought themselves back into the running by making an offer in regards to timeline and financing that we had to at least consider ... and all of a sudden I found myself doubting everything again. I can honestly say that in my entire life, I have never agonized over a decision as much as over choosing a new agency. Typically, Bjorn and I are excellent decision makers, we do our home-work, we talk it over, and we make a decision. Done. We don't second-guess ourselves, we don't look back, and we've hardly ever (maybe never?) regretted a decision we've made together. Last week Monday, we submitted a preliminary application to our new/prospective agency, and yet all week I'd been agonizing about it, unable to move forward and sign the contract. On Friday I was seriously depressed about the whole situation, and spent some time contemplating in the shower what it would look like to just walk away. Maybe consider adopting an older child once the girls are a little older (although who knows if we'd have the heart to start all over at that point.) Not a single time since our agency filed for bankruptcy and we lost all of our money did I seriously think this is what we should do. But on Friday, my mind was just on overload from all the analyzing and agonizing, and I was exhausted. So I hit the breaks and for the rest of the weekend, I blissfully ignored the fact that a huge part of our lives is in shambles.
Bjorn came home from his trip last night and first thing this morning, he got on the phone with the director and assistant director of our "new" agency to talk over all the concerns that we still had before moving forward. I was at the Y and running errands, but quite frankly, I had done almost all of the leg work and phone calling up to this point, and I was quite okay with not being on the call :) But according to the detailed report I got from Bjorn, it went very well and he feels that all of our remaining concerns were properly addressed. So I think we need to just pull the trigger, because in all honesty, I don't think my anxiety over this decision will get any better. The reality is: We just got burned big time, and I'm having major commitment-issues :)! After the girls are in bed tonight, we'll probably sit down and finally sign the 50 page contract (I've already studied it in great detail!), have it notarized tomorrow ... and then I can tell you on Wednesday if I actually sent it :)!
But the bottom-line is this: From the information we gathered through various sources and talking to other adoptive parents who used the same agency, we are confident that they have a strong and ethical adoption program in Ethiopa. They are very willing to work with our unique situation and will probably make the transition the smoothest for us. It seems like we'll have the least duplication of efforts and paperwork using this agency. They work specifically in the area of special needs which we are considering, and as far as they can tell us, it looks like our wait times will be relatively short - which also means, they're our best shot at getting this adoption done in a timely manner (without literally adding years to the process). The agency's director is a well-respected woman with decades of experience and - as we are learning - quite a bit of clout. She was awarded a congressional honor for her outstanding work in the adoption field last year, and from what we hear from other families, she's the kind of person you want on your side because she can make things happen. And getting this adoption done in an ethical and also somewhat timely manner is what matters to us now.
As I shared with my dear friend Katie (who is unfortunately in the same shoes as we are) last weekend that I was having so many doubts about our agency decision, she asked me how I felt about our decision to accept a child with a health condition. Those two decisions couldn't have been more night and day. We did not make the decision to accept a child with a certain health condition very lightly at all. We talked to our pediatrician and even reached out to one of the leading pediatric specialists in the field. We researched online and talked to other adoptive parents. And from the moment we made the decision, we had complete peace about it. It almost feels like this is what we were supposed to do all along ... and it's like: "What took us so long?!" And when I realized how much peace and confidence I have in that decision, I also realized that it is by far the more important one. Even though it seems impossible to imagine at this point, but our adoption agency will only be a part of our lives for a relatively short amount of time. Yes, the relationship is a hugely important one ... but I'm not picking a life-long partner here :) Our son, however, will be a part of our family for the rest of his life, and so will be whatever health issues or challenges he brings with him, and to know that we are doing the right thing in that respect is what ultimately matters.