Posted by: Kristin W | March 10, 2011


Whoever said two steps forward, one step back was optimistic.  For me, the past month has been more like two steps forward, then lay down and get stomped on by an elephant.

Things have not been going well for our adoption plan lately.  I haven’t posted in some time, because I just don’t know where to begin.  But, today, three different people asked about it, so I thought maybe it was time to share a little.

First, I turned 40 earlier this month.  It’s really not a big deal and I’m really not hung up on my age.  The only reason I think it bothered me at all is because I had this unrealistic expectation that I would be done having kids by the time this milestone rolled around.  Not so.  My 40th birthday passed, and although it would have been a fabulous birthday present to receive a referral, it didn’t happen.  (Although, as a bright spot in a post that needs some bright spots, my friend Meg got a referral for beautiful kids – moving us up a notch on the sibling waiting list.)

Next, I spent a fabulous beach weekend with some fabulous women.  I came back refreshed, renewed and completely thankful for my life.  I mean, after all, I have a great husband, fabulous kids, and a great job.  We’re all healthy and well-educated (or doing well in school).  And did I mention that Andrew recently got promoted?  Life is good.  That’s when I jinxed myself.  I looked around at my life and thought, “Wow…I have everything just where I want it for when we bring home the kids.”  BOOM!!

I will not go into the work stuff.  Suffice it to say that things have been crazy at work.  There is reshuffling and potentially more reshuffling in the future.  Uncertainty.

Then, there are rumors/stories/articles about Ethiopia drastically reducing the number of adoptions they will process.  We are unsure how this will affect us, other than “it ain’t lookin’ good.”  If we were to get a referral today, and the slowdown went into effect as reported, then it could potentially take years to get the kids home.  This, obviously is not good news for an impatient 40-year-old.

We spoke with our case manager on Monday.  She didn’t have any news she could share with us, other than our agency has representatives in Ethiopia talking with government official about how to proceed.  Not encouraging.  So we began to explore other opportunities.  Our agency has two pilot programs (good news) in Africa, but both are yet to bring home a child (bad news).  That would mean that if we went with either of those countries, we would be pioneering a new program and have to deal with the unknown.  No timelines, no travel advice, no one who has “been there, done that” to learn from.

The other option is to look outside of Africa.  Russia, Costa Rica, Korea.  I’m sure these are all nice places and there are great kids in need there.  But they just don’t capture my heart.  Then I talked to our local social worker and she said we could even do a domestic through her agency.  But I just didn’t get excited about that news.  Somewhere along this twisting road, I fell in love with a place I’ve never been, with a culture I’ve never experienced and with people I’ve never met.  Their stories amaze me.  Their resilience inspires me.  Their need calls to me.  I can’t just walk away.  So, Africa it is.

Andrew and I have discussed our options and here’s what we’ve decided.  We will stay on on the Ethiopia wait list for siblings.  If, by some chance, we get a referral soon, we will decide then whether to move forward or not.  The best case scenario would be that the government rescinds its slowdown or finds a way to get more staff to help with the workload.  But, those of you who know me know that I am am a planner.  And every plan has a Plan B.  So, I present to you, Plan B:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

We don’t actually have a lot of information about this program yet, as the person who is leading the pilot program is out of the office all week.  But, we’ve read the program papers and think it sounds like the best match for us.  It seems weird posting this, as I’m not really sure this is where we’re headed, but tonight, we got a package from Amazon.  Andrew had already ordered books about the Congo, child soldiers there, and the civil war that has left so many children orphaned.  (Note to those who don’t know Andrew – when he makes up his mind about something, he buys books.)  Tomorrow, I am going to take the afternoon off work and run around town getting background clearances and starting our second dossier process.  We will be on both waiting lists and see what happens.

I have to admit that at the beginning of this week I was almost ready to give up.  I thought maybe it was time to grieve for a plan that hadn’t worked out.  Time to settle for things the way they are.  Admittedly, things are good, but just don’t feel complete.  What a difference a few days (and a lot of drinks) make.  I’m now cautiously optimistic that this may work out one day.  I’m not sure what country or what timeline, but for the first time in this process, I have a sense of peace that maybe I’m not supposed to know all that.  When the right kids are ready, we’ll be in the right place to welcome them into our family.  Even if I’m 41.





  1. Sounds like a good plan, and a good attitude to have in these uncertain times. Good luck!

  2. Such a great post. I love how you describe a sense of peace that can come with not knowing. Letting go is hard and I have a feeling you are a lot like me in that department. At the moment I am not quite so zen, but I admire you!! COngrats on moving forward with the DRC; it sounds like a great plan to be on both lists, then wait to see what happens. LIke Andrew, once a decision is made, I buy books, I get on message boards, and seek information relentlessly. I hope you are having a productive afternoon getting your papers in order; it feels good to be DOING something sometimes. You are so thoughtful and well-informed that I’m sure you guys are making the right decision!!

    Sounds like your ladies weekend was a success and just what you needed! Your pics on FB were awesome! No doubt some vino was consumed…?

    OK, I am going to try to try to be more hopeful and positive. =) Hopefully Laura will get knocked of the list sometime soon…

  3. A month from 41, I too am looking into Plan B. Nothing should be this hard. I know it will all be worth it in the end, but for now….it just plain sucks. Hang in there. I’m trying to remain cautiously optimistic, all the while, exploring other options.

  4. I’m feeling like I won’t even become a parent until I’m 40 (and I am 35 so I have some time)! But I hear you. It’s so hard when all of our work and plans are thrown right out the window. Sigh.

    Good for you for looking into other options and figuring out a real Plan B. I feel pretty uneasy about NOT having a Plan B at this point, but we’re also trying to hold tight until we know more about what is actually happening. I get sick to my stomach thinking about starting a whole new process, and also about possibly having to say goodbye to Ethiopia.

    • There is definitely a part of me that is finding it VERY hard to say goodbye to Ethiopia. It’s really hard to imagine going anywhere else after pouring so much of ourselves into the process for the last two years.

  5. Kristin,
    I totally understand and yes to echo the comment you left me, we needed to come to a decision and feel good about it. While I know the wait could be long, at least I know what I am in for! I am so excited for you to also look at the DCR- that is AWESOME! Who knows you could end up with kiddo’s from both places!! Keep the zen feeling you are doing what is in your heart and that is all that matters!

  6. I just found your comment from a blog post I did awhile ago – not sure why I didn’t see it sooner. I’m sorry. Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been watching your blog to see updates – I’ve been thinking about you and am following your journey. Hang in there.

  7. I’ll be 43 this fall. I too thought our family would be complete by now. Ethiopia was our plan B, but turned out to be plan A in our hearts…and now…now I just don’t know. So you are not alone in your thoughts.

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