Remember that song by the Bangles? 1985? I was in 5th grade or so, and I could totally relate. (I had no idea at the time that the song was about her being late for work because she stayed up all night with her boyfriend. So many 80’s songs were completely lost in translation to me.) But the fact that she woke up late and couldn’t pick out an outfit? YES! That was totally my problem as a preteen. The Bangles so got me. It’s just another manic Monday.
Fast forward, ummm, lots of years. Manic Monday has a much different meaning. I have three kids, and Mondays are the signal for the chaos of packed lunches, homework assignments, and lost gym shoes to begin the five day long cycle again. Mondays mean my husband has work, and I begin to play catch up with the disaster of a house that was neglected over the weekend. I have a love/hate relationship with Mondays for another reason.
Adoptive mamas, Mondays are hard. Mondays not only mean work and school are back in full swing, but Mondays mean the beginning of another week of hope deferred. While weekends mean that nothing is moving forward with your adoption for two days, it also means that there is no reason to hold out hope that things are moving forward with your adoption for two days. Don’t get it? Let me paint a picture for you for a typical weekday of an adoptive Mama. No matter where you are in the process, weekdays mean that something could happen. The application may be approved; the social worker might schedule a visit; the home study might be approved; the call might come from your agency telling you that you have a potential match; you might get travel approval. While this is all good and fine, the waiting for these things is killer.
I was going to be the coolest adoptive mom ever churned through the system. I have three kids. I am busy. I wouldn’t obsess because God is in control of this, and I was going to be so chill about it. My plan was that I would casually complete paperwork, nonchalantly submit the dossier, and then the call would come, which I would miss because I was so casual and cool. I would be drawing with sidewalk chalk with my kids and forget the phone. Oops! How silly! You mean we’ve been matched? Well, that is just woooonderful, y’all! Thanks for calling. Yes, we’ll just review that file after we make an ice cream run. Sure! No biggie! (By the way, I hate sidewalk chalk, so that shows you my level of delusion.)
No. This is not how it’s going. I have completed paperwork at warp speed. I have stalked people like a starving lioness for reference letters and statements of employment and a completed home study. I have trained my children to be little staple police minions. Side note: The dossier (loads of official paperwork) cannot contain a document with a weird staple. The stapler malfunctions? DOCUMENT IS INVALID. Redo. I get it. I really do. Governments should not have to determine if someone has tampered with such important paperwork that leads to a child being placed in a family. However, this is not an easy fix as it sounds. Let’s say…oh, the Secretary of State gets to the last staple in the stapler. It does the funky thing where it half staples through the paper, and the staple is all squashed, but not really attached through the paper. Re-freaking-do. If this is, for example, your police clearance letter, you have to go back to the police station and ask for a new letter. Your kids climb on everything in the office. Get the new letter notarized at the bank. Your kids proceed to use all the deposit envelopes for drawing or airplanes or whatever in the 30 seconds it takes. Go to the county clerk’s office in the county where the notary resides. Your kids have no concept of quiet voices. The marbled floors echo EVERYSINGLETHING, EVERYSinglething, everysinglething. Get a certification stapled to the letter. Dear Lord Jesus, please let them staple it correctly. The kids are aware of the fact that a staple is involved. One is hovering over the counter in anticipation, one is hyperventilating due to staple-induced anxiety, and one is stuffing her pockets with the “free” paper clips at the counter. (You are getting the picture of why it is undesirable to redo this, right?) Ok, kids, we made it through this. Now, it has to go to the Secretary of State’s office to have a certificate of authentication stapled to it. (Yes, I said staple. A kid just fainted.) If you are the trusting type, (I am not.) you can mail this to the SOS office with your payment. Because I am a control freak and untrusting, my family will be driving two hours to the state capital to ensure there are no staple incidents. Ahhh, I am rambling. Back to why Mondays are now manic for the adoptive mama.
Because nothing can happen on the weekends, adoptive mamas have a two day respite from the crazy. The following is a rundown of a typical Monday for me before I received the referral for our beautiful son. And, if I am honest, this is kinda how it’s going as I wait for our Letter of Acceptance to adopt him.
I spend a couple of hours getting various children off to school. They are in three different schools, so that sucks up a good portion of the pre-9:00 am morning. No need to spaz right now since the adoption agency isn’t open yet. I drop the last kid off at school at 9:05 am. Victory already. Since I was occupied, I didn’t check my email at 9:00, which would have been a sign of my insanity since people are just getting to work at 9:00 am. (Related: I normally check my email at 9:00 am because well, what if traffic was really good and they got there early?!) I go to the grocery store with my phone in my hand. I check email one last time before walking in. What if I don’t have service in part of the store? I get through produce and check my email. I make sure the volume button is switched to ON so I don’t miss a call. It’s on. Plus the phone has not left my hand. I couldn’t miss a call. I get to dairy and check my email. I get to the checkout, and there is someone in front of me, so I check my email. Just for kicks, I look in my missed calls. I’m in a huge building, people. I might have missed a call. I get to the car. I check my email. I pull in the garage. I check my email. And the house phone for missed calls. I put away the groceries and verify that my phone is connected to the house WiFi. I check my email. I kill the mail app because it is obviously not working correctly. I relaunch it. No email. I do random household things like laundry and dishes and dinner menus. Obviously my phone is whacked. I shut it down and restart it. While restarting it, I open the laptop and log in to my email account. No email. I go for a walk because I realize that I’m going crazy, and I vow not to check email the entire time. Except for one more time before I leave. I check email, and there is nothing. I close the app and hear the “ding.” Ohmygosh, it’s probably my agency! Open the email app. It is from Groupon. But while I’m here, I should check my junk mail. Meh. Viagra, hot singles, and DirecTv. None of these offer hope of my Chinese child. I am completely successful in taking a 20 minute walk. Thank you, Ke$ha and Black Eyed Peas. You really helped. I check my email before leaving to pick up my daughter. I construct a VERY CLEVER decoy email to send to my agency regarding nothing at all important in hopes that our coordinator has inadvertently forgotten to email or call about our referral. (Sorry, Chris! I totally love you for putting up with my insanity!) I hit send and check my email. I do more household-y things with my phone in my back pocket, you know, so I can check email. I vacuumed for 10 minutes. Better check the house phone, cell phone and email! I get a text. IT’S PROBABLY MY AGENCY! It is not my agency. I’m pretty sure they would not text me with info about my potential child. But they might. It is possible. Daughter wakes up from nap. I check my email one more time before playing Minnie Mouse Bingo. She has to pee. I’ll check my email. And the house phone. Maybe it’s not working. Basically this continues until 5:00 pm, when I am sure everyone has left the agency office. I check, eh, pretty much every hour after that because what if they stayed late? It is possible that divine intervention occurred and our coordinator was all, “I have an overwhelming feeling that their match will come through today.” Now, repeat this tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, AND the next day.
Do you think I’m crazy? It’s really ok. I understand. Because if you do, then without a doubt, you are not an adoptive mom. I know a lot of them, and I’m pretty sure this is their version of Manic Monday too. Fortunately, as you all know, we were matched with our son relatively quickly. Now we’re on day 60 of our wait for our Letter of Acceptance to adopt our child from China, so I should better, you know, go check my email…