After our heartbreaking near-miss with the adoption Special Home Finding (SHF) list last spring, I thought for sure that I had learned caution and expectation management. Falling in love with a child, then not becoming her family is, after all, sufficiently grueling to leave a lasting impression, right? No. I was giving myself way, way too much credit.
It all started off well enough. We received profiles of SHF kids from our case worker in May and June, reviewed them pretty dispassionately, and passed on them.** Perhaps, we thought, our prior "incident" was telling us to be patient and wait for a match through the "healthy kids" track. So we waited, proud of ourselves for being patient, for not rushing into another match scenario right away.
But then July came with its own crop of SHF profiles. This was a big group: we were used to getting 15 profiles at a time, but this group was 25, at least. It was a little daunting. In fact, I almost didn't look at them. We're waiting, I told myself, quit being impatient.
I waited all of fifteen minutes from receipt of email. The profiles just called to me, like maybe I knew there was an extra something special in that giant pile of information about the many children in need of homes. So I started flipping through the profiles one by one.
She was in the middle of the group, by far the smallest child, with by far the smallest amount of biographical information. I felt that familiar pull on my heart, but I resisted. This is impatience, I thought. Besides, she's probably already matched just like the last one. I just need to keep waiting.
That lasted all of ten minutes. I decided to get Jake's opinion uninfluenced by me. So I sent him the entire group of profiles to look at with (what I considered) a rather casual note about looking at them when he got a chance. I decided that if he randomly picked the same child, then that must mean something. Sort of like picking a guy out of a line-up! If he picked her, she was bound to be meant for us, right?
An hour later, I still hadn't heard from Jake, and it was nearing the end of the day. I called Jake, who was headed to the airfield to fly. He'd been planning a mission and hadn't checked his phone.
"You need to look at those profiles and tell me if any of them jump out at you."
He got off the phone so that he could check his email. I waited.
Ten minutes later, he sent me back the same tiny profile of the same tiny girl. Calm down, woman! I thought to myself. She may be matched already. The match could be rejected for other reasons. She's probably not yours.
But by this point, I was completely ignoring my voice of nay-say. I immediately called our caseworker, who didn't answer the phone. It was a Friday afternoon, late enough that she may have been gone for the weekend. But just in case, I emailed her too; just for good measure.
Sure enough, it was Monday before we heard anything. Our caseworker responded that she had passed along our request to be matched to the Inter-Country Adoption Bureau (ICAB), and now we just had to wait.
This time, we didn't snap into planning mode, though. No talk about decorating a room or planning for her first few months home. No discussion of how to talk to Howie about this child. So maybe we actually did learn something from being burned--let's not get our hopes up until we hear something.
But weeks went by and we heard nothing. And as the silence grew in length, my resolve that this child belonged to us grew deeper. In retrospect, it seems really backwards, like my heart was asking for trouble. But so it was that my certainty grew in the absence of news to the contrary.
Which is really dangerous, because it would be seven long months (and some self-imposed heartache) before we heard anything more about this tiny little girl with her tiny little bio.
**For an explanation of the different adoption "tracks," check out this post.