The waiting shifts. That restless animal called impatience is subdued. For now it no longer paces and claws at the confines of its cage. With our application sent off last week to Texas, the impatience gives way to anxious worrying. We have summed up our lives and hopes for a child in a mere eight pages that will be the scrutiny of an unknown person at the Agency. Of course, I understand that much of the process will be like this. Forms will represent us, they will be our diplomats, they will be our translators and they will carry with them all our hopes for expanding our family to include children.
I keep myself busy. There is school, more papers to write and more books to read. I complete it all mechanically. I have a deadline approaching on a few writing projects but find myself thinking only about adoption. When I turn towards one of the projects, the script for a comic book or a few personal creative pieces to be published next year, nothing comes. My fingers linger on the keyboard, poking out an occasional word that quickly retreats under the backspace button.
Hourly I switch back to email. I check my phone, sliding it open to see if I missed call. Then, after a week of neurotic behavior this appears in my inbox:
8:36am Application and Payment Received - Hello Andrew and Jennifer, Thank you for your interest in pursuing an adoption from China . Your …
I stare at the screen, a dopey smile on my face. With a shaking hand I reach forward and click the link and scan the message several times before I’m actually calm enough to read it from beginning to end.
Application and Payment Received
Hello Andrew and Jennifer,
Thank you for your interest in pursuing an adoption from China. Your application has arrived and we are carefully reviewing it. Although our review process may take up to ten business days, we make every effort possible to review your application in less than four days. We understand how excited you must be and we don’t want to keep you waiting.
As we review the information you provided, we may need to contact you to clarify or obtain additional information. If you receive a phone call or email from Pepper, please contact us right away to prevent your paperwork from being delayed.
If you have any questions, please contact Pepper.
Again, thank you for choosing to give a special child new hope and new life and for giving Agency the opportunity to share in your journey.
Ten days? The good news has been slightly overshadowed by this, but I pick up the phone and call my husband. As I happily announce our application has been received by the Agency, Andrew greets the news with, “Okay.”
“So, exciting huh?” I try to poke some response out of him.
He’s busy, I can hear his keyboard clacking away in the background and so I sigh heavily and say my goodbyes. I’m still excited, even if it was nothing more than an announcement of another ten days of waiting. The rest of the morning is spent with my homework, too much time on Etsy, and watching ‘The IT Crowd’. I’m due back at school this evening for class and while I’m tidying up some English homework the house phone rings. I snatch it up absently, there is no caller ID in the house and I have no idea who is calling at three in the afternoon but suspect that one of the credit card companies is trying to sell us on identity insurance again.
“Is this Jennifer?” a woman with a pleasant voice asks on the other end.
“Yes.” I stop what I’m doing, muting the sound on my laptop. This isn’t a sales call.
“Hi Jennifer, this is Pepper from the Agency,” the woman introduces herself. My throat has suddenly constricted and my stomach feels like it has been dropped several feet. “I’m calling to let you know we’ve received your application and payment.”
Oh. This must be a follow up to the email. I fidget with the volume on my laptop.
“We’ve reviewed everything and it looks in order, I’d like to welcome you to the Agency’s China Program,” Pepper continues.
“Oh, thank you.” I’m a bit breathless with disbelief. We’re in. Oh my, we’re actually in.
“I’m going to send you our agency agreement and details about our different programs.”
“Well I can be sure my husband is going to want the cheapest program possible,” I say.
Pepper laughs, “It’s usually the men who do. Here’s the way it works most of the time, the women do all the legwork and research gathering paperwork and when it’s time to travel the men like to take over.”
I laugh, knowing right away she’s got it on the head. Andrew is a seasoned traveler, and I’m sure he’ll be chomping the bit to take over travel arrangements once we get to the stage. Pepper asks if I have any additional questions.
“When you send the agreement, we’ll get a list of all the paperwork we need?”
“After you complete the agreement we’ll do that. Depending on the program you choose there will be different requirements,” Pepper says smoothly. I marvel at her confidence. At my end of the phone I feel like every nerve ending in my body has been awakened.
“And you’ll let us know about who we can use locally for the homestudy?”
“Yes. Your local coordinator, April will also be able to recommend whoever she used in hers,” Pepper replies. I nod. A useless gesture over the phone.
“Okay,” I say, still nodding. I twirl a pen in my hand, poking the point at yellow square of Post-It. Pepper continues, letting me know the agreement will arrive by tomorrow and I ask her to please make my cell phone our primary number of contact. She congratulates me again and we hang up. For a few minutes I sit at the dining table and let the news sink in. It seems surreal.
I pick up the phone and dial Andrew. When he answers I try to be calm, and tell him that we’ve been accepted to the Agency’s China Program. This is it, we’re adopting. He seems to marvel a bit more at this announcement, but is still frustratingly English over it. We talk of more trivial matters, he announces he’s coming home early since he has to take a conference call to India tonight and I tell him I printed some photos I took of him and the dog at the tide pools the other day. Hoping I get a chance to see him before I have to go to class I say goodbye and hang up.
The homestudy. I look around the house. The table is still cluttered. There are a couple of wall sconces waiting to be put up. A box of jewelry I need to measure, photograph and list on Etsy plus lots of textbooks. I purse my lips, a little nervous about the thought of a homestudy. I don’t even want to look at the kitchen.