I was finishing up my shopping and talking to my cousin on the phone while driving to my next destination for Christmas gifts. Mid-sentence I interrupted here with, "Our agency is calling! Hang on! They showed our profile yesterday. I'll call you back!"
LB: Hi! This is S from Love Basket, is this Nichole?!
Me: Yes, it is. Hi, S! (She never calls, it's always L. Oh my gosh. Is this actually happening right now? Am I actually getting my match phone call at Christmas?!)
LB: Hi Nichole! How are you doing today?
Me: I'm good...and you? (I hope you're fine so we can move on already... why are you calling? Did she pick us?! Oh gosh. This is happening.")
LB: I'm good. I'm calling about your profile.
Me: Yes...?! (bouncing in my seat now...thankfully I'm in a parking lot, not moving my car)
LB: We've spoken with your home study agency and it looks like you're fingerprints and background clearances are backed up due to the government shut down and a change of policy there in Nebraska, is that right?
Me: Yes. E was supposed to contact L regarding the details. There's a chance they can come back in a reasonable amount of time, but also a chance they could take longer. (deflated...she's calling about random paperwork issues)
LB: Yes. We spoke with E and it looks like we're looking at a pretty extensive wait time. I'm sorry to tell you this, but we just can't show your profile without those clearances so we're going to have to put you on hold here at LB.
I have no idea what I said next. Something about "Is there anything else we can do?" and "Could we get an extension of any sort on last year's clearances?" and random other grasping-at-straws sort of begging. Nothing. She couldn't do a thing for us. Both our state and federal criminal clearance was being held up due to the shut down, lay-offs, and backed-up files to process. Without that clearance, our Home Study couldn't be updated, and we were out of time. We had followed all instructions, all protocol, all deadlines. For everything. And now we're on hold for an indefinite amount of time. No more situation emails. No more potential birth mothers. No more hoping they'll call this time and give us great news. No more. It's all on hold.
I called Adam in tears and updated him on the situation. We were both disappointed and didn't want to talk about anything until we had time alone to think it through.
It's been a rough journey. We were prepared for this experience to be difficult. We weren't prepared for it to be excruciating. Our relationship, our finances, and our emotions have all been tested. Every slight setback cost hundreds of dollars. Every new step cost thousands. Every "annual" packet/update/study/report/anything else you please only lasted about 9 months...and cost hundreds to keep updated and on file. Our entire lives were invaded, investigated, questioned.
This time last year we were finishing up our profile book, excited for the possibility of becoming a family of three in 2013. And four months before that, we were filling out our first packet of paperwork and planning our financial journey for this exciting endeavor. We were all in.
After several days of thinking through our options, and praying for open doors and about what to do next, we've decided to take this as a closed door and move forward.
Our fingerprints and background clearances are still out there waiting for processing. Once they come back, we'll tell our agency what we want to do about it. But in the meantime, our adoption journey has been put on pause and we're going to pursue other options.
I've shared my few experiences with my doctor and my (failed) attempt at seeing a fertility specialist. I don't plan to share much more than that because those encounters are just too personal for me to broadcast to everyone who has an internet connection and the ability to type. But, I will say that we have options and we're moving forward with them. If this adoption door opens back up in the future we will consider the details and go from there. But, I don't see it going very far and am ready to turn my thoughts in a new direction.
We have hope for 2014 to be drastically different than 2013. No one looking over our shoulders. No one peering into every crevice and detail of our lives. No sitting on pins and needles hoping someone will decide in her own mind that we will be great parents for her baby.
We're closing the book on that chapter and choosing to write a new one.
This blog was started for sharing our adoption journey. That being said, it's coming to a close this year. If our journey picks back up later, so will this story. But for now, while everything is saying "Do Not Enter", we will be off the radar over here.
Thank you to all of our family and friends for your support on our adoption journey. We have an interesting Winter ahead of us with the start of a new year that doesn't involve the roller coaster of emotions that is domestic adoption. I'm looking forward to what Spring has in store whether we pick this back up or there's something more.
Please continue to pray for us as we earnestly pursue building our family.
Happy New Year to you and yours!
Adam and Nichole Lewis