Thursday, January 26, 2012
Another Event Down
When we found out that we'd passed court this morning, Paul posted a Facebook update saying that he felt like he'd just completed a leg of the Ironman Triathlon. It's one of the best analogies of this adoption process that I've seen - with the added caveat that you don't know at the beginning of any leg of this race exactly how long the course will be.
We go to the pool almost every weekend, but I can't tell you how long it's been since I swam the entire length of it and I haven't ridden a bicycle since college unless you count pedaling the kids' bikes to demonstrate. I do know a little bit about running, however, and can tell you that the wait for a referral was like signing up for a one-mile fun run only to find out that it was actually a 10k. Totally doable, but a real drag if you weren't prepared, were worrying that finish line would shut down before you got there, and all the good varieties of Jimmy John's sandwiches would be eaten at the schwag station before you had a turn to enjoy one.
The journey from getting our referral to passing court was akin to anticipating a 10k only to find that you were actually on the half-marathon course - and a really hilly, hot one at that - with very few water stations, poor organization, and road signs that weren't easy to read. The type of race where the scenery isn't pretty, even the little kids and elderly are lapping you, and you start to curse yourself for ever signing up in the first place.
Finding out today that our case had passed court - almost seven months after being matched with our bambinos - was a huge relief. For those wondering why this is a big deal, it means that in the eyes of the Ethiopian and American governments we are now legally the parents of Little Girl and Little Guy. We are theirs. They are ours. We're really, truly, according to binding legal documents, a family.
Now we prepare ourselves for the final leg of the triathlon: U.S. Embassy Clearance. In the Ironman, the final leg (after a 2.4-mile swim and 115-mile bicycle race) is a marathon. In current Ethiopian Adoption Land it's taking families about 3-6 weeks for their cases to be submitted to court (in the interim, the adoption decree is published, new birth certificates with the adoptive parents' names are issued, and Ethiopian passports are procured for the children). From our perspective now, that span seems like a fun run v. 5k situation. [Remind me of this when we hit Week 5 of waiting to be submitted.] It's the path after submission that will hold the challenge. Some children's U.S. visas are issued a week after submission. This would be akin to rounding the corner on Mile 2 of a 10k and finding a handsome Swedish masseuse waiting to rub you down and lead you to the hot tub. For other participants, it turns out be an ultramarathon in which they're expected to navigate an entirely new course without a map or guides. My personal hope is that we'll have the kiddos home by our son's second birthday. That's a semi-modest vision that allows for a few minor bumps in the road. Really though, we don't know which version we're in for. March? August? 2013?
Tonight we revel in another leg completed while looking forward with wide eyes and plenty of trepidation.