Salvador Dali, 1931, “La Persistencia de la Memoria.”

The adoption process is about so many things: desire, love, fear, courage, grinding paperwork, intrusive questions (official and unofficial), endurance, faith, hope, delight, joy, despair, physical stamina, finances, community….. The list can go on and on.

But what is glaring throughout the entire process adoption is the element of time.

Timing, in adoption, IS everything.
Most of us have lived through, in exquisite detail, the time issues that press and pull during the process: the initial thrilling phase of deciding to adopt, the daydreaming, the fantasies played out in a ‘not too distant future.” Then comes the excruciating paperchase, the hurry up and wait on CIS or the social worker or this form or that. Then we have the exhilaration of the referral; time stops, because it has been redefined into “before and after.”

It is not only ‘before and after’ referral, however, because time has, seemingly, just changed. The waiting has changed. Now it has a new layer to it. Now you are counting the hours and living with your heart and mind in two very distant time zones: what you are doing and what your child (who has a face and name that your are searing into your soul) is doing. But you can sort of move forward in more precise preparation and know that court will come. It becomes a goal. After you pass court (hopefully swiftly) typically you have that giddy breathless rush of packing and arrangements and sense that time has sped up. It has become a speeding locomotive, rushing straight at you. And your heart beats faster at it’s approach.

I know those kinds of time. I’ve been there. Done them. I know how to ‘surf’ those kinds of waves of rushing or bogging time. Now, I am in a new kind of time. It’s odd to me. I’ve been quiet for a few days or so, cut back blog and facebook, because I am literally in “process” time. I feel a bit like the painting above: surreal and droopy and just……hanging there.

This is not my kind of time.

We are in week seven, entering week eight actually. And I know I should be starting to feel the wind of that approaching locomotive: time is gathering itself to rush at me. But still, I am still. I feel the wait. I feel the weight. And I don’t know what may come.

And so, in this surreal wait time; uncharted by others as of yet (this tb culture protocal wait), I find myself slipping between things. I get very busy, it’s been slamming busy actually. And even so, it’s like two layers: the busy right here, do this now layer, and the set aside twilight zone “waiting” layer. Very split. Surreal. It’s not that I’m blue or depressed or fretting (tho I’ve hit those often enough of late). It just so different. It’s Time out of time….even as it is Time so swamped in time. And it’s bizarre. And I don’t know much what else to do except kind of muddle through it in my usual clumsy fashion.

It’s a different, unique, new, not so great, part of the adoption process time. Maybe, as it gets more familiar or God forbid, common, it will be less strange. I pray and hope and will fight if I can for it to not become common and in fact for it to be abolished…for this tacked on last endless minute of the process to be revamped or, best, cut off. This is a clock I would love to smash. I know, such a whiny post. This is why I have been quieter. I don’t mean to whine. But I think that since this is part of the new international, Ethiopian, adoption process for some….it’s maybe worth talking about.

I know, someday I will understand how this delay, this surreal drooping time, will have been woven into our lives for a purpose. I believe that. But right now, it’s hard to see. I accept it because I have no choice. But I still object to it. And it has, to be frank, thrown me into a weird state of stopped clock. The activities of any given day, from the most mundane laundry sorting to the most sweet and profound of my kids kisses goodnight or a quiet real talk with my teen son….they are functioning on two levels: the here/now and the filler. Not that the actions of the moment mean nothing, they mean everything…more so perhaps as I cling to their normal. But. It’s filling time too.

Time has stopped or it has slowed into a Dali-esque droop. This wait. The end approaches and my head and stomach can feel it. I now have three clocks: real present time and activity, eight hours ahead for my daughter’s time, and the culture countdown clock. Their hands have been independent, circling on their own cogs. Soon, soon, I hope those clocks will merge. And then perhaps time will reset back to a new normal. I am ready for that time, now.