It is one of my least favorite personality traits. Sometimes I like to reason it away as diligence, or being thorough, but in truth, it is what it is – the inability to think about anything else when a certain thing is on my mind. Gnawing.
This is not to say that at times, being consumed by something is not a good thing. Sometimes it is fun, infectious, like a giggle turned into uncontrollable fall-down laughter over the silliest of things. That something that has tickled your funny bone renders you limp, with aching sides and unable to function. Every attempt to reclaim reality is challenged by the urge to break up into that gasping for air kind of hysteria, as you are consumed by that one funny thought again and again. You simply can not let it go, or want to.
I wish it was that kind of consumed I felt now, but it isn’t.
As I type, there is a little girl in India who does not know me; who has probably never seen my photograph, although some have been sent to her. In her short 18 months of life she has overcome much, developed her own life and I like to think, she is happy. She certainly does not long for anything different, she knows nothing else, as she has lived in an orphanage since her fifth day of life.
Ours is the family who has become consumed by her and the process to be joined with her forever, since first eyeing her photograph in February. Filling out paperwork - send me mountains of it and I will comply with an astounding amount of diligence and accuracy – crossing every T and dotting every I. Appointments and interviews - my date book is open and I willingly rearrange my schedule to fit all of them in every time. Then finally, there comes that time when all of your front end effort is done. It leaves your hands and is sent in the form of documents, forms and files to an office on the other side of the world. This office is one that I have no phone number for, no way to exchange email, in fact, I’ve signed a contract that states I will not contact them or interfere directly, but will only correspond through our adoption agency that is a whole state away. The agency's instruction to us was that the next step (NOC) usually takes 2 months, but has been averaging 3 months, and considering closures may take 4 or more months - all of these statistics are carefully marked on our calendar to help anxiously count down the time.
Just as we approached the 3 month mark and began to allow ourselves to anticipate good news with the next phone call....a bomb was dropped. CARA (the governing body overseeing all adoptions) streamlined their process, the result sending us a step backward to have our child cleared for international adoption again, but through a different office this time. Still, in that distant office, the flurry of shuffled papers takes place miles away and we wonder if our paperwork stack remains together, travels together or even finds the correct desk again. Is this change in course being handled in the swift way I could have done it if maneuvering the system myself? Is there any sense of urgency? We can only hope. Though cases waiting for NOC will be processed first, a 3-4 month delay is predicted. As the heavy dead weight of each of these facts filled with disappointment are loaded upon our shoulders, we find out that part of the days I so diligently Xed off my calendar, CARA was not issuing NOCs at all. We were not marking time at all. Stagnant.
With nothing but idle time to wait, I can’t turn off my brain. Consumed. The facts and figures swirl in my head, each analysis makes me further realize the devastation this news brings. Where do we stand now? I have no idea. Delays is a word that has no definite meaning. Delay in one's fast food order translates to 5 minutes. Delay on the production of a 747 could be years. In adoption, we are told delay is unpredictable and normal. For us this means traveling by the end of the year; highly unlikely. Traveling by her 2nd birthday in January; don’t count on it. Traveling, most likely, more than a year after seeing her cute little face in a photo for the first time; hard to comprehend. Will I even recognize my child, whose changing appearances were last captured in the photograph I carry; now more than 4 months old?
Then there is the worry that comes by the comparisons. Treya will be more than double the age that Devi was when we met her, which translates into so many more missed milestones, holidays, bonding time and selfishly, my last chance to cuddle my own baby baby; one who still fits my lap, not yet yearning for her own independence. I worry about her sense of loss when we take her from her home in India to her new residence in the states and remember the rule...we will see the biggest changes in our child when she has been in her new home longer than the time spent in India. For Treya that will occur when she will be nearly 4 years old! With each passing day these fears grow stronger in my consumed mind, knowing that I would do anything to change these circumstances. Yes, I would do anything for this child I've never met.
This part of the journey is miserable. It is sad, maddening and quite certainly, out of control. No matter how consumed I am or become over the numbers, there is nothing to be done about the changes at CARA, how fast officials do their job, the extra months of delay keeping us from our daughter, or other delays that could pop up later. I now understand how Devi feels when she throws herself down on the floor in a tantrum totally overwhelmed by the fact that she can not have what she wants. I feel like having one too–like pulling my hair and screaming how unfair it all is, but with my maturity comes the realization that none of this would change a single thing. Unless I can let these feelings go and live in the moment, I will most certainly go crazy. At the very least I've driven my family and friends to within inches of the cliff, as every conversation, no matter how hard I try, somehow comes back to Treya, rehashing the same facts over and over...I think of nothing else. Gnawing.
Last night, I dreamed of numbers. Average number of days for NOC or guardianship; amount of days until our paperwork begins to expire again; days until Treya's birthday, Christmas, and other holidays...numbers, Numbers, NUMBERS. I woke up exhausted, concluding that I have to let the escalating misery go and find peace.
After hearing the lasted news from CARA, I was commiserating with a fellow adoption friend who helped me see past my obsession of over consuming thoughts and brought back some focus. She wrote...
"Peace be with you, dear friend. I'm trying to remember that God is there with his big conductor's baton, orchestrating the day when our little daughters will be in our arms."
With no idea of when we might take that next step forward, my reply? "Let's hope He is conducting a MARCH!"