There is a lot of waiting in adoption. Waiting for the home study paperwork. Waiting for a match. (Then, if that match falls through, waiting for another, then another, and so on.) Waiting for the baby to be born. Waiting for the termination of parental rights (TPR). And finally, waiting for ICPC.
The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children exists because each state has its own adoption laws. What’s required in California is different than what’s required in Louisiana. What’s required in New York is so different that most New York families cannot adopt out of the state. Because we, as a nation, can’t get it together, we have a patchwork of laws that increase bureaucracy, and force adoptive families to live away from home for anywhere from 5-14 business days.
Laine signed the TPR on Sunday. Our lawyer sent the ICPC paperwork to the Louisiana and California ICPC offices on Monday. The California office can’t really do anything with it until Louisiana approves it. Louisiana celebrates All Saints Day on November 1st, so Tuesday was a holiday here. We’re now waiting for Louisiana to approve the paperwork. Because California already has it, theoretically, all Louisiana has to do is fax or email the approval to California, and California can approve it on the same day. Theoretically.
Adoptive Families magazine loves to talk about how a family’s time in a hotel is good for bonding. I admit, that the first three or four days, I was glad that we only had to worry about Cassie. We didn’t have to add Jackson’s needs to the mix – we could focus on the baby. However, by Monday evening, I was done.
Living in a hotel sucks. Living in a hotel with a newborn baby sucks harder.
First, there’s the space issue. Although we have a lovely two-bedroom suite, at home, we have a house. Cassie has a crib and a video monitor that we can use to watch her while she’s in it. Here, if we put her in the travel crib, we have to check her all the time. One of us generally stays awake with her. While we probably could get away with just letting her sleep, I am far to paranoid to do so.
Next, there’s the stuff issue. Cassie isn’t really into being put down and left. So, for example, if I don’t have the sling on, and she’s doing her hungry cry, then I have to make the bottle one-handed. At home, I have two bouncy chairs, one real swing, and one travel swing. I also have two or three Boppy pillows and two baby gyms. Putting her down would not be an issue. We went out to see Laine today. I had to wash the bottles, because we only have five, which isn’t even enough for one full day. I couldn’t put formula powder in a wet bottle. At home, I have a nifty little container that you can pour formula powder into and out of. Here, I had to make do with a sandwich bag, which I remembered to bring from home, just in case. There are a number of issues like this.
There is also the issue of food. We either have to go out, which where we are means chain restaurants that serve mostly comfort food, or make do with what we can make in a hotel kitchen. I’ve eaten a lot of Pop-Tarts and Max has eaten a lot of pb&j. They don’t have Trader Joe’s here. I haven’t even seen a proper grocery store, just a Super Target. Forget about organic anything!
I’m a believer in schedules for babies. We can get Cassie on an eating schedule in terms of time between bottles, but not on any kind of schedule based on real life. For example, we’re going to have to work with getting Jackson to and from school. It’s also very odd for me not to have any kind of structure to my day.
Last, but very much not least, is the missing. I miss my son. I miss my cats (who are apparently driving my in-laws crazy because the one isn’t allowed out since the new neighbors have declared that they will trap and kill any cats they find on their property). I miss my friends. I miss Jackson’s friends. I miss my DVR – 49 DirecTV channels just aren’t sufficient. I mean, Max is now addicted to Storage Wars! We missed the pumpkin patch, his last soccer game and the ensuing party, Halloween, Watch Me Work night, a WASC meeting, and we’re going to miss Jackson’s first Book Fair. My mom’s birthday is Tuesday. I usually go to the cemetery and bring her flowers. I was really hoping I could bring her granddaughter to visit her this year. I know I can go when we get back, but it’s the principle.
Jackson is also acting up for the grandparents. His behavior over Skype is simply unacceptable.
And everyone wants to meet the baby! I don’t blame them. She’s darn cute. We’re going to get back and have to do some sort of tour throughout Antioch, Pittsburg, and Oakley. Lots and lots of playdates.
We miss you! We can’t wait to be home!