….and wait some more!

April 9, 2008 at 12:04 pm 9 comments


You never know what is going to happen in the adoption process.

At first China looked to be the best option when we started this journey in the spring of 2006. It was reputed to be the country with the smoothest process, taking only a year from beginning to end. When deciding to switch countries in the spring of 2007 we chose Kazakhstan out of sincere interest in the country and because it took such a short amount of time to for an adoption to be completed; a few months versus the now three year estimate for China.

No matter where you turn it seems as though adoption time frames are slowing down, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the phone call we received last week. As many readers know, our dossier reached the Ministry of Education on February 20th and were assigned to Kostanai, Kazakhstan on March 10th. This was very exciting news because it meant that we would be traveling soon; perhaps within the next week. (At least, this previously had been the norm.)

I needed a minimum of a week off from school in order to prepare for our departure so my adoption agency, MAPS, made their best estimate as to when I should start my leave. They based their decision on past adoptions (the family before us received their Letter of Invitation [LOI] two days after receiving their assignment to Kostanai) and information from their staff in Kazakhstan. This staff regularly checks in with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education in order to inform our agency and they tend to be “right on” with their estimates on travel time.


Other than a few “not yet’s” and “soon”, we didn’t hear anything concrete until the last week of March when we were told to expect our LOI anytime and to be ready to apply for visas with expected travel dates between April 10th and 15th. This was a little later than we had hoped but it was based on information gathered from the Kazakh Ministry of Ed. After not getting our LOI early last week, I asked our agency to double check on our possible travel date. I was called me back with the news that LOI’s for Kostanai will be sent out later this month with invites for travel starting on the first of May.

Talk about a shock; not only for me but also for my agency. They truly expected us to be in Kazakhstan by now and, of course, we were hoping we’d be there also. Why the delay? My understanding is that the woman in charge of invitations at the ministry wants to make sure there are definitely children available before LOI’s are sent out. From the information we got, there may have been children available earlier in the month (thus our potential travel) but circumstances arose that nullified possible invites: babies reclaimed by family (a good thing), illnesses, local adoptions, etc. Who really knows? The list could go on.

The important thing is that we are not being invited before children are definitely available. I really respect Kazakhstan’s MOE efforts to not have families leaving for Kazakhstan too early and then waiting in a foreign country for a child. It is certainly better (and less expensive) to be delayed at home, as difficult as it may seem. They are truly looking out for the interest of the children and perspective parents. However, I’m left with this with gamut of emotions as I wait for a phone call telling us to leave.


Defeat is the first feeling that comes to mind. It seems like every step that we reach that is a move forward comes with something that holds us back. I’ve been very conservative in my expectations during this entire process, but once being placed in and actual region in Kazakhstan I let my pent up adoption excitement escape, only to be disappointed a couple weeks later. It is truly defeating to finally let yourself experience the anticipation of becoming a mother, only to be reminded that it was still too soon to let that emotion surface.

Guilt is the second sentiment hanging over my head. I’m on leave from school. Had I thought that I would be waiting at home at this time, I NEVER would have left school when I did. I know, I know…I’ve been told many times that the adoption delay wasn’t planned and I made my best effort to work until I truly thought I had to get done. With the possibility of still being notified at anytime (yes, it is always up in the air) and because school vacation just one week away, it would be too complicated to try to delay my leave and then have to return to it at a moment’s notice. We really don’t know how long we’ll be waiting and consistency is best for my students, which is what they are getting right now with my long term sub.

It just feels so strange that I am at home when I thought that, at this point, we would be spending time with our child. I’m not just sitting around with nothing to do. I’ve been working very hard at the many things that need to be done on the house, but this time was meant for bonding and becoming a parent. I can’t help feeling disappointed.

TURNING THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN (I love this hokey quote!)

Basically, I need to take the advice of everyone around me and use this time to finish getting ready for our child. Trust me, in this house and with what we’ve been doing this time is a gift and is needed. I spent yesterday covering our new stair treads with polyurethane, thus crossing one more lead abatement project off our list. (We’ve replaced tons of trim, doors, etc. that were all laden with lead paint.) It is kind of a “Catch 22”; I have the time to be with a baby, but it is also time needed to prepare. As a friend said yesterday, Murphy’s Law is in effect. By taking my leave when I was told would be appropriate, we are having to wait. If I hadn’t taken my leave when I did, we would have been called when least expecting and nothing at home would have been done. I would be in Kazakhstan worried about returning to our home construction project.

This friend also said this is good training for parenthood: Any well laid plans that involve a child will not work out as expected. Again, wise advice!

As a result of our recent notice, I am trying to get back into the mode of no expectations and am working away at things needing to be finished up at home. If, by chance, our adoption is further delayed I will somehow have to return to teaching for the remainder of the school year. I’m hoping this won’t happen; not because I don’t want to be back in the classroom, but because I’m looking forward to being with our child. But, I will take what the Fates allow believing that everything happens for a reason and this must be the path to the child that is meant for us.

Phew! Now that I’ve articulated my frustrations, I can leave this post with acceptance of a little longer of a wait and appreciation of precious time that I may never have again. I really DO have much to complete but I also need to relax a bit…something that I’ve never really been good at but like to practice.

I’m also listening to my husband, for once, who said that I should use this time to connect with people that will be harder to see once we have a child. So, on that note, I found a good flight deal on Priceline last night and will be flying to San Francisco for a long weekend visit my sister. Seventy degrees and sunny is the expected weather! Can’t wait!

Happy weekend!

p.s. A special, “Hello” to all of my students! I just wanted to tell you that I miss you all and to get all of your homework done! (-:


Entry filed under: Kazakhstan Adoption. Tags: .

Hurry Up and Wait! Deflated and Defeated

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy  |  April 9, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    It is true that in International Adoption you have to be prepared for anything to happen – it continues this way right up until the very end and I think it is wise to realize that until you step foot into your home with your child, close the door behind you and lock the door that any reality is still a possibility. If you keep that in mind then at least you don’t have to deal wth the shock that comes from having something come up – the disappointment, yes, the frustration, yes, but not the shock.

    I also wanted to say that the wait happens for a reason – if circumstances had been different in your life (some of those circumstances being timing) chances are very good that you would have not met the person who became your husband. But because of timing (otherwise known as interference from the guy upstairs) you met him and you eventually married. So…look at the delays as what needs to happen for the stars and planets to align so that you can meet who you are supposed to meet. The child that is meant to be yours.

    It all sounds so sentimental but I was with about 10 other families in my region that were adopting all at the same time and they all one by one at one time or another said the same thing which was….if we had not been through what we went through (infertility treatments, failed domestic adoption, waiting, delays, etc.) we would not have arrived here at this precise moment in time to meet the child that was meant to be ours. And that they felt very strongly that the child they met was most certainly meant for them. I feel that way too and in that realize I got my own personal miracle. Miracles come in their own timetable not ours and when they come all the waiting is worth it. I would go through the whole process 100 times again if I had to to get to where I am now. Soon you will get there too and you will be grateful for the delays you curse now for the very same reason. ; )

  • 2. Susan  |  April 9, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Hey there-I have to second what Amy said. But, I know it’s hard when you had a date and then it just keeps getting delayed. We are also waiting on Kostanai, and from just my reading blogs and yahoo groups, I have counted 7 other families also waiting for LOI’s. So, that being said, I’d rather wait until they are children available. It is taking a lot longer the last few months in Kaz then it did when we started the process. I truly figured we’d be home by now with our child. But, we’re not, and we have 7 weeks of school left (my son is almost 10) I hope we go this summer, because it would be way easier with summer vacation. So, i haven’t signed up for any summer camps or anything-thinking we could leave. But, we may not. We were intitialyl told May too, but I’m not holding my breath. Maybe we will meet in Kostanai! 🙂

    Hang in there, and get your work done. I recently watched my freinds 10 month old son and GOT NOTHING DONE when he was here. It’s impossible to get things done with a baby or toddller underfoot. So, don’t feel guilty, you needed this time to get ready. 🙂

    Email anytime you want, since we’re also waiting. :
    Have a blast in San Fransciso-that was a wonderful idea!!!


  • 3. Chris and Tricia  |  April 10, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Have fun in San Francisco with your sister and definitely take some relaxing time for yourself. You are going to need the energy once you get that call!

  • 4. Vince, Shelly and Maddie  |  April 10, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Don’t know if you saw this. Just moved from AP:

    NEW YORK — The slowdown affecting adoptions from China coincides with unrelated complications in several other countries that have been major sources of adopted children for American parents. Some examples:

    _KAZAKHSTAN: Officials of Kazakhstan, the eighth-largest supplier of adopted children to the U.S. in 2007, informed the State Department last month that it was reviewing its adoption process and would suspend its normal handling of applications during the review.

  • 5. Chrissy McAllister  |  April 11, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Wow, I think you and I are having nearly identical experiences! I am a teacher (college level) and fought my school for over a year to get adoptive parents included in their maternity leave policy instead of just biological parents (they fought me on this for a long time, which seemed ridiculous to me…). The school finally changed their benefits policy. My agency indicated that travel was imminent for me last fall… I thought I’d be traveling in January or February… so I requested our winter quarter off (Jan-March of this year). Sadly, there has been no word about travel for us, and I used up all that leave time. Now I am back at work for spring quarter (March-June).

    Now I’m stuck thinking about what happens if a) I have to travel during this quarter…. what do I do? Substitutes are difficult at the college level and b) what if this gets delayed so far that we’re bringing home a child near the end of summer, and I have to go back to work in the fall and put him/her directly into child care?

    With my agency, we won’t know our region until we get our LOI. And your LOI gives you 10-12 days to get to Kaz. It’s so hard to know what to do with that level of ambiguity in our lives…

    I also completely agree with your emotional assessment of the situation… it’s so hard to keep a lid on the pent-up excitement and anticipation… but when you let it out (even a little bit) and nothing happens, it’s pretty rough.

    I hope you have a great trip to the west coast! Visiting other people sounds like an EXCELLENT way to pass the time during the wait.

  • 6. Regina  |  April 12, 2008 at 4:07 am

    I don’t know anyone who isn’t having to wait longer than expected — and often don’t hear it until the last minute. I know it doesn’t always help to hear you’re not the only one, but at least you have some truly sympathetic and empathetic readers out there. Hang in there and know that it will happen. It WILL happen when it’s supposed to. 🙂


  • 7. Mcmary  |  April 13, 2008 at 5:35 am

    I do hope your travel comes soon for you. The previous comments all have great advice in them that I agree with–just know you are not alone and we all wish you the best.
    Have loads of fun in San Fran–it sounds like a great way to pass some of the time.

  • 8. Maryanne  |  April 26, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Hey there! Just ran across your blog. I hear you about the waits. It has just killed us, too. We are getting our dossier translated ( again!!) because the last time , it had just been finished when the new guy at the embassy fired all the translators and it had to be redone again. Oi vey. I’m a teacher, too and I totally hear you on that end as well. I am going to have to take the beginning of next school year off, too probably. So keep your chin up and good luck! I’ll be sure to check in on this blog now to see how it’s going. I hope you get to Kaz soon and that we are soon after!

  • 9. Pearl  |  May 7, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Hang in there…I’m sure your LOI will come soon. We’re adopting from Kaz too, and our dossier is still sitting on the new guy’s desk since January 08. Our caseworker even went personally and had an appointment with the new guy at the embassy at DC to check status of our dossier, but the new ambassador just told her that he didnt have the time to check our dossier when she got there…(she requested beforehand to go over our dossier). This is truly an emotional roller coaster. I understand how frustrating it is, and I’m just praying that we’ll all get our LOI soon.


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