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The Zipper: An Adoption Metaphor

We drove past OneLoudoun today and the carnival was all set up again. This week in our adoption journey feels like riding the Zipper. If you've never been on this most fabulous of carnival rides, each car goes around a central point (like a Ferris wheel, but elliptical), and the central point mechanism rotates, and each car is on its own axle so it can flip forwards and backwards as well. It's basically awesome, except when using it as a metaphor for a journey.

We put an inquiry in for a pair of siblings. They accepted the initial application and said they'd be back in touch within 15 business days. Three weeks doesn't seem like that long when you are waiting for your children - if you actually get selected. If not, then you just lost a month of summer waiting to be rejected; stealing time away from us actually getting matched. Now, before you go all crazy telling me to trust in God's time, thanks.

The thing is, that sometimes you are waiting 15 days and nothing happens. And people don't respond to your emails. Or your case worker tells you she had another family inquire after the same siblings in March and still haven't heard back. Then, she forwards an email from a social worker about the kids and it says they may have a match, but we'll keep you on the list. Except that email wasn't to you - it was to another family your case worker manages. But you didn't get that email. So maybe you are the match? Or maybe it is just because you haven't asked (because you still have time before the 15 days is up and you don't want to be annoying and call before then)?

Our case worker says we should put in multiple inquiries at once so we can increase our chances, however I'm uncomfortable applying for multiple children (or sibling sets) at one time; it feels like applying for colleges and knowing where you want to go but having a back up school. And maybe your back up school turned out to be perfect! Do you really want to ever think of children as a back up plan? This is why we are trying to be selective. Only inquire about children we feel confident, with the little information we get upfront, that we could love and want to bring home tomorrow. And yet, strategically, this is not the best plan if we want to meet our kids this year.

We're going in one direction, the cycle keeps turning, and we're flipping one way or the other. The only way off the ride is to go, wait for the cycle to turn in the other direction, flip, rock the car a bit, flip some more, and then get jerked to a sudden laughing halt where we get to meet our family waiting on the ground. Except, instead of two minutes, there is no given amount of time for this ride. And anyone who has ridden the Zipper knows that while it is potentially the best carnival ride ever, it is not the ride I would choose to ride forever.