Can’t see the forest for the trees

by Beth Shepherd
( April 6th, 2010 )

Our adoption agency sent an email letting families know that the new laws regarding Armenian adoption have been published and there are several changes to update families on.  They will be sending each family a personalized letter with their current status, place in ‘wait’ and details about how the new laws will impact them. All we’ve been told at this point is that the new laws and time frames should significantly reduce the waiting for families once officially matched to a referral. The letter describing all of this is slated to be sent out next week.

One treeWe wait with bated breath. Can I just say for the umpteenth time how much I struggle with waiting? Whether it’s waiting to get our U.S. Immigration approval for the required annual update to our home study, waiting for a referral or waiting to become parents, it just seems like adoptive parents-to-be do a heckuva lot of waiting.

I’m not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth. Reduced time frames would be absolutely fantastic. I can only imagine how tough it will be to wait once we have a solid referral. At this juncture, time from referral to court dates and then homecoming has been taking anywhere from four to eight months.

Sitting here, know our child is sitting there will be excruciating. Missing months of developmental milestones makes me sad, so if changes to the laws translate to less time waiting, more power to ‘em.

Even though our trip to Armenia this past September was painful, I am thankful Big Papa and I had the opportunity to visit one of the orphanages and see the excellent care the kids receive. I can now picture what it looks like in my head: the rooms, the caregivers, and where the kids sleep. Knowing they are in competent, caring hands eases my anxiety to a degree.

Still, waiting to adopt can feel endless. I guess a lot of things in life that. Whether it’s waiting to find out your mammogram results, waiting to find out if you got into your number one choice for college, or waiting to meet the person you want to share your life with, waiting is a big part of the program. Minutes feel like hours. Hours feel like days. Months feel like eternity.

treesYou’d think because of all this practice, I’d learn some patience. I try so hard to cultivate my ability to stay present. I don’t want to miss joyful moments that are in my life each day because I’m so focused on this one thing that I can’t see the forest for the trees.

There are days when I find patience easily and other days, not so much. Something shifts my focus enough and I become hyper-aware that we’re not there yet. It could be news that a good friend just had a baby or I might see an adoptive mom at the market. Finding ourselves faced with yet another task to complete for the adoption (such as the recent update to our home study) or news (like this week) that changes are afoot with regulations in the country we’re adopting from, sets me off too. Or it could be a casual conversation with a caring friend who asks: “What’s happening on the adoption front?”

It’s a funny thing, this adoption journey. We wake up and our day looks just so…until one day it doesn’t.

Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then everything happens.
~Fay Weldon

From our partners
After 7 great years on Wanderlust and Lipstick, Pampers and Paklava has moved to her own website. Please come visit at See you there!
On April 8th, 2010 at 1:13 pm, Denise said:

Yes, I agree 150 percent, and that’s not a typo. The waiting is just aweful, and some days are definitely better than others.

On April 8th, 2010 at 7:08 pm, Zarouhi said:

Your day will hopefully come soon, it is just different now not able to adopt independently through physicians in armenia but throught the central authority, so everyone is playing by (hopefully) the same rules. Lets just hope Italy and France also have to be qued in and wait. Europeans have the support of their government who supplies the social workers, etc., so they may have a different protocol.

On April 12th, 2010 at 4:42 pm, pamperspakhlava said:

Yes, our day will come…it’s just tough to wait. I’ve heard there have been some changes in France regarding Armenian adoption though I’m not sure the specifics. I know that Italy and France are two of the top countries where Armenian children are adopted. It’s true that procedures have changed over the years (and are changing right now…new regulations in Armenia rolling out this month). Most of them, I feel, are good changes and protect Armenian children from child trafficking. It is one of the reasons we picked Armenia…that it is a ‘Hague Convention’ country and both the U.S. and Armenia must follow specific guidelines and regulations. Although the waiting is hard, I feel more hopeful that the kids are truly available for adoption, and have had the possibility (though in-country/Armenian registries) of being adopted by Armenians before being adopted by foreign citizens. It’s my personal bias, but it feels more ethical to me than countries who have not agreed to signed Hague Convention agreements.

On April 14th, 2010 at 5:01 am, Zarouhi said:

Italy and France have a zero population growth as Armenia does so their government supplies the Social Workers and the citizens get financial assistance to adopt. They have a wait time as well becasue of the Social workers schedules. The European countries like Italy and France but more so Spain have excellent children servcies, with support for the child’s care should they have medical or behavior issues. Spain deals heavily with Russia and the Ukraine, however the latest Russian fiasco (7 year old Adoptee returned to Russia) will not effect these countries only America because of the self-regulated adoption industry vs. government regulated
It is nice to speculate that the wait times in Armenia may be improved. Armenia has had issues with human trafficking but more so older children that age out of the system with no home, no jobs. Prostitution in Turkey and Dubai is the final destination for many of the girls and some of the boys. Many choose the military, at one time many of the newborns that were available for adoption were the offspring of some of these prostitutes who worked in Turkey.
Even though the Hague is in place it is new and there is no guarantee of improper or induced relinquishments in any country, more so the poor countries. Ghana for example has a pilot program, there is no formal adoption laws in place and most adoptions are handled independently via a physician or the bio family.
I have many friends and relatives in France who have adopted from Armenia. Armenia loves the French, the problem being Armenia, and the other past soviet states do not care for the attitude and mentality of Americans but rather the family-centered values of Europeans. Next time you are in Armenia try the French style Napolean deserts, or shop on the French Blvd. in Yerevan.

On April 14th, 2010 at 5:30 am, dimsumdiary said:

The thing is, the day you get the baby or child, and you are holding it in your arms, you’ll forget all about the wait and only think of the future. I’m so excited for you!

On April 14th, 2010 at 8:19 am, pamperspakhlava said:

Thanks E! I know you KNOW this journey.

On April 14th, 2010 at 8:45 am, pamperspakhlava said:

I do so enjoy your comments…great info. Yes, it is quite different here in the U.S. with international adoption than in other countries. And, I agree, that attitudes towards Americans – unfortunately- aren’t always in a positive light. The recent situation with the boy returned to Russia is very unfortunate for all involved.

I am always saddened by the horrific stories of what happens to kids who do not end up with families. The trafficking and prostitution, as you mention, is common in many countries. I had also heard that some of the infants available where children of prostitutes. It’s heartbreaking what happens to kids on the street.

We WILL absolutely be in Armenia again (can’t wait…for many reasons) and will try French Blvd. – thank you for that suggestion. We walked around a lot in Yerevan, enjoyed some fantastic food (one pastry shop, though my favorite pastry was the Pakhlava from the corner grocery/market…delicious!), Vernissage…and went to sites nearby (Genocide Memorial) and a bit farther afield (Lake Sevan). Beautiful country, culture and people.

On June 5th, 2010 at 3:18 pm, waitingaswell said:


I believe we received the same letter. Have you received any other updates since that letter?

Our dossier has been there for over one year and we haven’t received a referral.

On June 5th, 2010 at 3:29 pm, pamperspakhlava said:

Every few months we get update letters with our place in line. My sense is that it’s a generic letter and Hopscotch tweaks it depending on where you are (or have moved to) in line. Ours has also been there a little over a year. I think there are a number of people who sent dossiers in sometime between January through April 2009.

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