Guest Editorial by Tracy Houston-Smith
As a first time contributor, I will introduce myself as a working mom (teacher, so kind of best of both worlds) with one almost 6 year old daughter. We are trying to adopt a second child, but feeling the sucking, festering melancholy of THE WAITING. We waited 3 years while trying to conceive a second child on our own and with fertility treatments. We waited while we decided if fostering or adoption was right for us. We waited for our home study from the adoption agency to be completed, and now we are waiting for the phone call that will tell us someone has picked us to be the parents of their child.
There is no 'nine months' here. There is no known time-frame, nobody telling you that your due date is their second cousins' birthday. We have no idea when to get a baby's room together and set up that crib. There's no shopping for that one little baby item that you pick up as a secret treat when you're sure of a pregnancy (mostly - are you ever completely secure?) We have nothing ready, nothing done, and nothing bought. What would we do? Set up a nursery and have it sit expectantly in a little sequestered room like part of Mrs. Haversham's house? For how long? 3months? 3 years?
I see families with more than one child and I see complete families. In my mind, I am in the limbo of waiting for my complete family. I love my daughter very much, but I have always felt like there was a person missing in our family. It's not so much that we are waiting for a new arrival, but that we are waiting for the missing person, the one that's supposed to be here. It's very hard to wait for that. There aren't many other people I have run into that can commiserate with The Waiting, who can give me tips for how to get through it. I apparently know a disproportionate amount of very lucky people. How long did you have to wait, I would ask - Oh, six weeks. Seriously.
The hardest part about The Waiting is the uncertainty. Or rather the certainty that it may not happen at all. That we could wait and wait, and never get that phone call, that no one will choose us. Part of me has already prepared for that. In fact, in my mind I have already set my deadline (my daughter's seventh birthday) at which point I will give up The Waiting and go back to just being. Just being the family of three. Just being the mother of a daughter who will have no brother or sister to share all her family complaints with ("do you remember when mom and dad made us...took us to...embarrassed us..."). I suppose that's the most depressing part, that we're waiting, but all the things we're waiting for aren't certain to happen and that person we've been waiting for may never come to our house.