This Christmas was an unusual one. We had completed our panel hearing in late November, where our adoption application had been approved and forwarded to the head honchos at the Adoption Authority. The time frame for the next and final stage was undefined and varied considerably depending on who you asked. We were excited, therefore, when we received a “declaration of suitability and eligibility to adopt” within two weeks of attending the panel. It sounded very promising despite being us unsure as what happened next. The letter stated that if we had any questions we should contact our regional adoption team. We called. Although they confirmed that it was a positive sign to have such a quick initial turnaround on the application, we were told that the letter meant very little in terms of an approval. Apparently the Adoption Authority could still take issue with our application and we had no idea when our adoption hearing would take place. We both held a faint, quiet hope that we would be given some information before the holidays. On December 18th we received a phone call from our regional adoption worker. She needed confirmation on a few minor details as requested by the elusive AA. We were hoping that it meant a much anticipated letter through the door within the next few days. Unfortunately Christmas and New Year’s Eve passed and we heard nothing.
Throughout early January, every time I heard the letterbox open I would race towards the front door. My heart would sink when all I found were bills. We had mastered the art of waiting during this adoption, however, so I managed to curb the initial disappointment and continue with our day. Our little boy remained blissfully unaware of the tentative expectation his parents shared. We continued to read his special story every night where each fact of his life was presented with happiness and love. Soon he could tell us who made him and who his parents were. He knew that he was created differently from his little brother and he couldn’t care less. His acceptance and comfort with the situation assuaged my doubts and anxieties. My own perception of the circumstances around his birth shifted; the anger and hurt began to lose its grip. I started to realise how much I had gained from such a difficult time. I had faced fears, endured a succession of enormous ordeals and now I could hold my head high without the shame or doubt that once consumed me. I proved my love for my son twice; the first time by giving birth to him and the second time by then adopting him. The closer we got to the finish line, the happier I was that we had started this process two years ago. Looking back now, this was the only option for our family.
Then the letter came.My hands shook as I opened the envelope; I ripped the pages by accident from nerves. I gasped, wiped a tear away and rang my husband repeatedly until he answered. The hearing was scheduled in ten days time at the Adoption Authority. The adoption would then be finalised. It was overwhelming.
Our days of waiting were finally coming to an end.
You can read about the adoption hearing here