When we adopted Nora, there was so much waiting that it almost drove me nuts! Particularly rough was our Letter of Approval (LOA) wait. At the time, the waits were reaching 100+ days for some, and 30 days for others. We ended up with LOA on day 89. By that point there is no real celebration, just relief coupled with anger. Anger that it took so long, anger that there is no way of knowing why you weren't one of the lucky ones with a short wait, anger that your child had to wait another month for their family, and anger that another month of your child's life is lost to you. There really is no rhyme or reason to the LOA wait. Some people have short waits, some have long and there is no way of knowing if you will get the email tomorrow or a month from now.
We are now on day 40 of our LOA wait. A couple weeks ago there were loads of people getting LOA after only 30 or so days, and the average wait had gone down to about 60 days. I had hoped that we would be one of the lucky ones this time around. That we would have a shorter wait since we had such a long one last time. That the universe would see that after all the stress we had to endure just to lock our boy's file we deserved to get in the short line. I had hoped, but deep down I know that is not for us. For whatever reason, we are not short-line people. I really don't expect that we will get our approval until mid/late May at the earliest.
The wait is easier and harder this time. Easier because I have a (mostly) sweet little girl to occupy my time with and remind me that the end of this paperwork is completely worth it. It's easy to fill my days and not spend too much time torturing myself about how long this is all taking.
It's also so much harder. Harder because I have a hilarious little spitfire who learns so many new things each day and reminds me how much I am missing by not having our boy with us. Harder because there are new parents all around me with their beautiful little babies reminding me that I can never experience the birth and first 16 months of my own children. And so much harder because, while we got an update and new pictures of Nora a couple weeks after getting PA, we still have only the pictures and information from PeiSong's file that we received 2 months ago. 4 pictures. 2 pages. All of which are 6 months old. That is the extent of the knowledge I have of my son. He turned 1 last month and I have no idea whether the day was acknowledged in any way or not. I don't know if he is standing or taking his first steps, I don't know what his first word was. I don't know if he has a full head of hair or if he is still covered in peach fuzz. I don't know if or when we will get any update on him, but if we do I will have to deal with the shock of picture proof that I have missed a year. I also don't know how his health is and if he is having any issues. It's a lot to not know.
What I do know is that eventually that approval will come and eventually we will get on a plane and go get our son. This time we know better about how the process works. I know where I can push, and I will most certainly be visiting Eagle's Wings so that Nora's other family can see how well she is doing. Perhaps her Ayis will see her silliness and nod to each other saying that she was always a bit of a show-off. Perhaps we will learn more about her time there and be able to answer her questions better as she grows up. At the very least I can hug the wonderful women who helped raise my sweet girl, if only for a short time, and tell them what it means to me to have her in my life. I also know that I will insist upon these same things with PeiSong's orphanage. Someday I will be able to tell him from my own memories what his caretakers were like and how they loved him.
I know that eventually I will be back to those early panicky days of not knowing anything about what my child likes and needs and I will mess up, and I will eventually cling to the few things I get right and build on it until we can come to an understanding of each other. I will always look back on those months I didn't get to spend with my children with regret, but I will have the days together to sweeten their bitterness and make me appreciate it all the more. Until then, I'll just keep staring at those 4 pictures and re-reading those 2 pages and hoping.