PK and the Gang

Bringing Eastern Europe to Eastern North Carolina

Archive for the tag “Waiting”

A Bumpy Ride

poland-151461_1280 (1)Sometimes the trip to PK seems to take forever. In fact, a lot of the time the days seem to drag out. This past weekend, however, has been an intense rollercoaster ride of emotion.

Thursday afternoon, Becky and I got an email around 3:30pm saying that the agency had accepted the dossier and that Friday it should be on its way to Poland. Mission accomplished! The paperwork that we’d been working on for a year and a half was FINALLY finished. Now, we just had to be patient and wait for a phone call saying that Poland had a child for us to consider. We’ve been told that it takes about three months to translate the paperwork and so that would put us around mid-January staring at our phones and willing them to ring. Imagine my surprise when I get a phone call from our agency about ten minutes later saying that they had a child for us to consider.

We had been told that, on a rare occasion, a situation like this could happen. Occasionally, a family has to, for one reason or another, turn down a referral. When this happens, sometimes Poland allows the agency to look through its other waiting families and see if there is another possible fit. Since our agency had accepted our dossier, we were eligible, met the stipulations for this particular child and the fact that they had just read our dossier made them think of us. We said that we definitely would be interested in considering this child. They told us that, instead of the usual 14 days to consider, we had until Tuesday. After that, Thursday is a blur of me acting out of my head trying to process the speed at which this all happened, figure out where we could pull the needed money out of thin air, calling family, reading medical info and watching a video of this little boy who could possibly be our baby. It was hard to get to sleep and I kept telling myself that this needed to not just be a heart decision – the head had to get included as well.

Friday morning brought about strange feelings. It was all still a bit surreal. The rush had worn off some and I think the pressures of everyday life – going to work, giving a lecture, etc. – helped ground us a bit. A look back over the medical records, showed that a bit of information we had glossed over and explained away the night before really was the potential to be a big issue we just weren’t sure we could handle. To top it off, for all the praying we had done, we just didn’t feel a peace about it. Some good conversations and some tears later, we decided to wait until Saturday to really make the decision. When we woke up, both of us were on the same page – he wasn’t ours.

Those words were so hard to say, they were hard to say when we called our families, when I told our agency that we were passing on this referral and they’re hard to type. How do you, in essence, tell a child that you’re not their parents? It may sound silly but the moment we saw his picture, he’s stolen a little part of our hearts. He’s adorable. He’s got a fun personality. He’s just got another family out there, somewhere, that can meet his needs better than we can. It doesn’t make it hurt any less, though. Becky and I have been grieving the last few days for ‘what-might-have-beens’ and been feeling massively guilty. Words just really fail to convey everything that is going on inside. We went to the internet, since it apparently knows all, and searched for people who had experienced what we were going through. One page described it like a miscarriage. I don’t know. Thankfully, Becky and I have been spared the pain of that type of loss. I do know that I still feel like I’ve been punched in the gut and that someone’s tap-danced on my heart. You comfort yourself with the fact that PK is still out there, that this little boy has parents who are dreaming of him like we are PK but, honestly, the best comfort is that even though he isn’t PK, he’s always going to have me rooting for him. When I hear the song that he was rocking out to in the video, I’ll think of him and toss out a prayer. When I’m looking at the adoption Facebook groups that I’m a part of, I’ll hope that one day his face will pop up there with his forever family and thank God that they are better able to care for him than we would have been.

Where does this leave us? Where we were at 3:30pm Thursday. We’re back waiting for our dossier to get over to Poland and to be translated. For now, the roller coaster ride has smoothed out. We’re thankful for this experience, this preview of coming attractions. We’re thankful for the encouragement and the support that we’ve gotten so far. For now, we’ll keep day-dreaming, work on fundraising, and be very grateful that we have months instead of weeks to try and master Polish.

Holding Our Breath

20771997640_7c1047ffbd_zGoing through the adoption process, it can feel like you spend a lot of time holding your breath. While lot of people hold their breath for months looking at negative pregnancy tests or for results from a doctor, Becky and I were mercifully spared that phase. We went into marriage knowing adoption was how we were going to add branches to our family tree. Our breath holding started with finding an agency and waiting to hear they accepted us. Then waiting for the process to start, followed by towers of paperwork and the anxiety of the home study. You get small chances to catch your breath before you dive under for the next round. There’s holding your breath when you send off stacks of paperwork (that you realize are now your most prized possession) to be signed by shadowy figures with golden stickers and the intake of breath when you’re at USCIS and say mental prayers that the government will process the paperwork quickly and a thousand other times.

You might have seen on Facebook that we recently got the last stack of paperwork back from Raleigh with all of our apostilles. After making a few copies and getting some pictures taken of us and the house, the dossier is done. It is a massive accomplishment and we both breathed a huge sigh of relief. Breathing feels good.

Our next step is to send our dossier to the agency and have them go through it to make sure everything is right and acceptable for Poland. If it isn’t, they let us know so we can get everything perfect. As a guy who finds out that he is wearing his socks inside out more often than I’d like to admit, part of me suspects we may have to redo something. We’ve been in contact with our agency about this and they’re ready to receive the papers and they let us know the next batch of fees.

I don’t know whether it is the fact that we misinterpreted things, have been in the process long enough for a price increase, the drop in the Euro or some combination of the three, but it was a bit more than we expected. It isn’t an earth-shattering amount but enough to sober you up a bit. Adoption paperwork has its surprises. I understand parenting is similar as well.

We’ll press on. The dossier should be in the mail sometime next week. As we send off the stack of documents that I have come to think of as our “paper baby,” we’ll find we’re holding our breath again as we toss up prayers that we’ve done the paperwork correctly, that the papers are safe on their way to Poland, and that our translator doesn’t go insane turning our friend’s recommendation letters, our doctor’s notes, and our life stories into Polish (how does one explain Tourette’s in Polish anyway?). It’s understandable why it takes three months to do her work.

Around late January, we’ll start holding our breath and looking at our phones wondering when they will ring to say that the Authorities in Poland have a child for us to consider. I’m sure I’ll hold my breath when I get the first look at PK’s face on a computer screen.

Until then, thankfully, there are ways to keep busy. I’m convinced the world is not ready for Becky whenever she hits her full-blown nesting phase. There’s Polish to learn and money to save and raise. We’ve reached a major milestone. It reminds me of Samuel raising up a stone as a reminder that they had gotten that far through God’s help. In total, we’ve gotten around half of the funds needed for the adoption. We still have to get the fees we have to send over before each of the two trips and figure out how we’re going to live in Poland for two months.

We have been so blessed by all of your help and support. We have had a GoFundMe page for a while (the link is found at the top of the page) but have hesitated saying much about it. Every little bit helps us get closer to PK. We understand tight finances, believe me. If you can’t give, please consider sharing the page. Every bit of awareness helps. Thank you all for your love and your support and, the next time you see me, make sure I remember to breathe.

The Dog, Dyngus Day, and Staring at Phones

It's true. My wife is hot and she is an amazing Vanna White.

You might have already seen it on Facebook, but here’s Becky mailing off the application!

The past few weeks have a bit of a blur, if I’m to be quite honest. Between preparing for holidays and having extra events at work, life would have been hopping anyway but when you add on the fact that we’ve actually mailed in the application to the agency we’ve had extra homework. Becky and I have had to make copies of pertinent documents, fill our paperwork, write up our spiritual journeys, get doctor’s notes, and get everything notarized (thanks to our dear friend, Kathy) and we managed to get it all mailed off. Thanks to everyone for the prayers and good thoughts and for those who are wondering we still haven’t heard anything. With our luck, we managed to get everything mailed off during Holy Week and it arrived on Maundy Thursday, just a bit before the end of business. I suspect, since this is a Christian agency, they were closed on Good Friday, obviously shut down for the weekend, and are probably shut down for Easter Monday. Which means the clock doesn’t start until tomorrow. We were told that typically it’s a two-day turnaround (likely the shortest wait we’ll have on this journey) but, since we have to have a doctor’s note and it may have to be sent to Poland, it could take about a week. Of course, this coming Sunday is the canonization of Pope John Paul II, so I understand Poland is a little crazy right now getting ready to celebrate their favorite son. So when will we hear? I don’t know but rest assured I’ll let you know. If they want to play with us, and they have been encouraging that there’s no real reason they shouldn’t, then we sign the contract and we’re officially working with them. Then comes more paper work, more notarizations, more waiting…par for the course as far as I understand.

Nothing suspicious at all going on. Boys getting ready for a water attack on Smigus Dyngus in Sanok, Poland.

Nothing suspicious at all going on. Boys getting ready for a water attack on Smigus Dyngus in Sanok, Poland.

It’s Easter Monday or, in Poland, Śmigus Dyngus (pronounced SHMEE-gus DIN-gus) . I’ve enjoyed learning more about Polish culture recently and Easter (and the surrounding days) is something they take seriously. Śmigus Dyngus has a long tradition in Poland. Boys traditionally tossed water on girls who they thought were attractive and in recent years girls have joined in soaking the guys. Traditionally, there were poems to be said, ransoms of decorated eggs to be received, and, in some regions, a drunk rooster pulled through town on a cart. Now, it seems to be more of a feeling of “Don’t leave the house unless you have to – the neighbor’s kids are waiting outside the door with Supersoakers.” Proof that while traditions may change the poignant beauty of them does not. In all honesty, the Polish traditions, rituals and pageantry that are part of Easter weekend are amazing and I look forward to including more of them into our family celebrations (this year included kielbasa and a lamb (in butter form) on the table for Easter lunch).

Today is also the anniversary of Rex joining the family! Well, technically it was the 9th but I can be horrible with dates. Rex was adopted on Easter Monday two years ago and so in my head Easter Monday is Rex’s Gotcha Day no matter what year it is. To celebrate, we bought him some Beggin’ Strips (we spare no expense). It’s weird to think that it’s been so short a time. Hopefully, the time till PK is here will seem just as fast.

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