18 months… and still crazy

May 5, 2011

18 months

Photo from rmlaflam.wordpress.com

Happy anniversary to me — and us. Anti-anniversary, really, because there’s nothing to sip champagne about over here. Unless you want to toast patience and perseverance. I’ll admit we’re making some headway there.

Eighteen months ago today we went on the official waiting list with our adoption agency — and our referral has now taken 6-8 months longer than we were told to expect. Not our agency’s fault; just the ever-changing process of international adoption.

I’ve been marking this date each month, and each time I have less to say. Or I keep saying the same thing — which is not very interesting. So let’s talk about something else…

Have you ever started using a word or phrase that doesn’t make sense, but you get stuck on it? Come on, don’t make me feel weird.

A while back I started calling people “crackerjacks.” I don’t know why. Like, if I met or talked to a person who’s a bit of a character, I’d say, “He’s such a crackerjack!” It just seemed so perfect.

Lately, I keep wanting to insert the word “cats” into random phrases. I’ve been saying “holy cats!” a lot recently, for one. And today, I almost wrote “crazy cats” in reference to something.

I have no answers.

I am relieved to tell you, however, that Mags will have something worthwhile to read here this afternoon. So you all come back now… you crazy cats.

UPDATE: Just want to say a big welcome if you’re visiting here from Design Mom. If I’d known you were coming, I would have written about something more profound than my tendency to use weird words and phrases. But a big thanks to Gabrielle for linking to my site. And to you for stopping by — come visit anytime! Feel free to check out the SlowMama Manifesto while you’re here. And this post will tell you a little more about my site.

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1 Elizabeth May 6, 2011 at 8:59 am

While this number is very sad, I think celebrating each month, even if it’s just that you survived another month of waiting, is very important. One of my adoption worker friends commented once that’s it’s actually very important to be able to wait. My friend noted that, as the Chinese adoptions began to decrease, the adoption workers noticed a sad trend. Potential adoptive parents, who’d been desperate for their children and their referrals, once they finally received them, sometimes after 3-5 years of waiting, had missed their parenting window. I don’t want to say that it was inappropriate for them to let their lives carry on, but, for some of these adoptive parents, their lives did move on and when the referral finally came, they’d become so comfortable being “future parents” that they didn’t want to be parents anymore.
It may sound funny, but celebrating your wait is a very healthy thing to do. Maybe you could take the 5th of each month – I do hope that there aren’t any more to be celebrated!!! – as the day that you get to pick out something you really want for your kids. Maybe it’s a book, a painting, the color you want to paint their room, a picture frame for that first meeting photo – things that you can take a picture of and, at some point, build a beautiful timeline with. I kept all the important emails, pictures, dates and documents so that I could build a picture timeline, kind of like those timelines that people put on the top of their adoption blogs. It’s kind of my tribute to my child – probably will be a source of embarrassment at some point, too, but, hey, that’s a perk of being his mom!


2 Zoe Saint-Paul May 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Elizabeth, I have to admit, I’ve had this thought myself… the “is it too late now?” thought. Since I started this process late in the first place, and now it’s REALLY late, I’m feeling old. When it takes this long, life doesn’t wait and all kinds of things can change… jobs, finances, health, etc., etc. After waiting 2, 3, 4 years, I can see how some people have moved on emotionally. You do have to check in with yourself throughout this process.

I like your ideas — do something special on the 5th of every month. I think I’ll start doing that, and I’ll blog about it here!


3 Elizabeth May 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I’m sorry, Zoe, I didn’t mean that to sound like you should be questioning whether you want to parent now! What I meant to say is that it’s awesome that you are still “actively” waiting. You don’t just let the months go by; you notice as each month is added on. I think that’s the big difference between families that eventually phase out of adoption and those that reach the referral and travel dates with excitement. My personal best example of what I mean is a couple that I know. They waited for 8 years for an adoption via CAS here in Ontario, when they finally received their referral, they were just overwhelmed and too scared to actually say, “Yes.” They had a couple referrals over year 9, but never could say, “Yes”, despite the fact that the children were as “normal” as any family could hope for. They had moved on in the 8 years and were frightened to start parenting. I don’t think there would ever have been a child that they could have said “Yes” to, if that makes any sense.

Really, what I want to say is, “Hurray for you!!!” You know you’re waiting, you know what you’re waiting for and, while you are tolerating the wait, you’re focused on the end, not on the waiting.


4 Zoe Saint-Paul May 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Oh, I didn’t think you were suggesting I should question it! Sounds like the couple you know was never grounded in their decision to be parents in the first place so when it became real, it was too scary. Sometimes people are more attracted to the idea of something than the reality. Thanks for your support!


5 Aleks August 4, 2011 at 3:03 am

Just stumbled upon your blog while googling “kids take up all your time”. My wife & I are 45 & 46, we have a 5yo and a 1yo. We started working on #2 when #1 was not even 2. It took us 3 years, and a whole lot of help from the doctors.
We felt the same way: “Is it too late?”. Now that we’ve had our baby for a year, we know, it was not. Yeah, we are exhausted at the end of the day. Everyone is, kids are just like that, they’ll take all you have, whatever it is. That’s their job.
Kid aptitude is both mental & physical. It starts off all blue collar, and becomes more of a mental game as they get older. If you have it inside your heart, it’ll work out. We’ve met parents of all ages, and I did not notice age being a good predictor of how good of a parent you’ll be.
We liked #2 so much, we’ve decided to try out for #3, due next Feb. Yes, we are signing up for 5 more years of total commitment. I am both excited, and repulsed by the idea :)
Good luck,


6 Shannon May 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Oh, the waiting. It goes on and on, and then suddenly you have your child and you totally forget about all the waiting because you’re so busy. I know it’s hard to believe that and I always thought it was easy for people who HAD their babies to say everything will work out just as it should, but it’s true: Everything will work out just as it should.
(came here via Design Mom; sorry to just jump in at you, but I’m just so happy whenever I know another baby is going to his or her “forever family,” as they call it around here)


7 Zoe Saint-Paul May 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Shannon, I’m sure you’re right. Once they’re home, who has time to remember the waiting??

So glad you came over from Design Mom and thank you for your well wishes!


8 Sharon May 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Came here from Design Mom. I love the concept of your blog. I have two kids, 8 and 5.5, and I’ve realized how much I HATE rushing them *all* the time. I’ll be back!
And good luck with your adoption. I have a close friend who adopted a son from Guatemala and is going to Taiwan next week to adopt a daughter. It is a long wait. Hang in there.


9 Zoe Saint-Paul May 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for the encouragement, Sharon!


10 Jen May 7, 2011 at 12:17 am

Hey Zoe,
Just wanting to leave a message to let you know that even though we are also waiting (and waiting and waiting), I am equally excited to hear your wonderful news. You seem like such good people and you just need your kids home! Enough of this holding pattern, already. I also love your new blog. So sweet and classy! Here’s holding out for good news next week…


11 Zoe Saint-Paul May 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Jen, I sense your referral is coming very soon! (But what do I know??) Thanks for your nice words about my new blog.


12 Wendy O May 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

Oh! You are being so patient! That is a long time to wait. We tried for 8 1/2 yrs. to get pregnant. Finally, we became parents to 2 adopted children. Good luck! Can’t wait to see how your story turns out!


13 Zoe Saint-Paul May 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

It makes such a difference to connect with people who understand this crazy process! Thanks for your comment, Wendy O.


14 Peter May 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

“Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never undestanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

—from Extravagaria (translated by Alastair Reid, pp. 27-29, 1974)


15 Zoe Saint-Paul May 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I liked this, Peter. Thanks.


16 anshk June 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I use a few choice made up words also but my specialty when working with school children as an SLP was to give them nicknames such as Austin from Boston, DannyDo, etc. I call a grandniece Madeline, Madeline in two straight lines. She has this passing smile on her face when I do; I think that she is charmed!


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