Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reality Check

Yesterday, we received an email from Imagine Adoption letting us know that we are number eight in the wait list for siblings.  I feel conflicted about this number.

The number eight is exactly where I had placed our family on my own private list of families waiting for sibs.  I know the child request of each of the first seven families and I am glad to know that my list was accurate - or at least, that there aren't more families than I thought there were who are on the wait list ahead of us.

I'm also pretty sure that, though we are number eight on the list, we will likely receive a referral before a few of the families who are ahead of us on the list...simply because we have a broader child request (age/gender) than many of the other families.  That's neither a good thing nor a bad thing for families who are ahead of us on the list - each family needs to be comfortable with their child request and not make that decision on the basis of who's going to get a referral earlier.  It's simply a statement of what will likely be the case in our situation as a result of having a broader child request.

So, with confirmation in hand as to where we are in the list, I am somewhat surprised by how despondent I feel about being 'officially' number eight.  Logically I know that each of the seven families ahead of us on the list have waited even longer than we have to receive a referral.  But despondence isn't about logic, I'm's an emotional reaction based simply on the fact that we have waited for so long already that being number eight on anyone's list suddenly seems too far down for my comfort level.

Ahh, but perhaps there is some logic circulating around in my head that is contributing to my despondence.  Let's try this out...

Since we began our wait for a referral, almost twenty-one months ago, on April 23, 2008, twelve families have received referrals for siblings.   Mathematically, that means that one sibling referral has been given out every 1.75 months.  Assuming that sibling referrals (going forward) are awarded under a similar timing format as in the past, this means that we will receive our referral fourteen months from March 2011.  If we 'jump the queue' by, let's say, three families (because of our broader request), this would mean that we will wait yet for 8.75 months, putting our referral into October of this year, better, but still two-and-a-half years after our file arrived in Ethiopia!

For those who will be quick to point out that we were delayed in the process for five months as a result of Imagine's bankruptcy and restructuring processes, let's factor that delay in.  Subtracting those five months from our (to-date) twenty-one month wait, this would mean that we have actually waited for 'only' sixteen months (though, believe me, I felt every second of those five months...this is a mathematical exercise only).  On that basis, mathematically, this would mean that Imagine gave out, on average, one sibling referral every 1.33 months, which would further mean that as family number eight on the current list, our turn will come in 10.64 months, or just before Christmas of this year (a lovely gift indeed, just one we thought we would have celebrated two years earlier); if we, in fact, 'jump the queue' under this scenario and would effectively receive the number five sibling referral, this would put us at receiving our referral in 6.65 months, or in early August of this year.

Of course, none of this takes into account that Imagine, by its own restructuring proposal, made a decision to hand out 'only' five referrals per month for the first few months of its being back in operation, after which they anticipate approximately ten referrals per month.  This would push further back every date that I've calculated, though by how much I have no idea.

So here's why I'm feeling crappy.  Even under the very best, most optimistic scenario, we're still going to be waiting until at least August of this year for our referral...two years and almost four months after our file landed in Ethiopia.  And it could mean having to wait until March of next year, just for a referral. Even under the very best scenario, and given the necessities of court dates and immigration processes, we will not travel until at least 2011.


Somehow, I had anticipated that, once Imagine was up and running again, our referral would happen, somehow, magically, imminently.  I mean, we know that there are waiting children in the least, more than have been referred in the past month.  I even envisioned a referral now, in the first two months of the new year.  Last week, I found myself doodling lists of the people we would contact after receiving our referral...though chances are that every one of those folks will hear our shout from the rooftops before receiving our call/email.  I've been on pins and needles every time the phone has rung, thinking that this just might be the call we've been waiting for, for about eight years.

None of the facts have changed since before getting confirmation of our placement on the list.  But for me a significant change has set in:  my bubble of expectation has burst.  Reality has set in.


  1. I have so much I want to say on this because my heart aches for you. I even feel a smidge of guilt as I type this because I can hear my children playing in the room next to me and as you know, our DTE was in the same month as yours. I always anticipated celebrating your referral shortly after ours and then perhaps even getting to meet you in Ethiopia while we picked up our children together and then the bankruptcy turned everything upside down.

    But I just want to encourage you to in a way go back to the list that you had before the bankruptcy and look at that one. The one that had Karen and my name scratched off. The one that would have put you at the top of the list for an open age range. Because although I know that your wait will probably still be a little while longer as they stagger referrals these first few months, I do think that you have reason to be optimistic. So hang in there my friend. And above all, I still believe that God is in control of the timing. I believe it now more than ever.

  2. Hey Sharla -
    Thanks for the kind comments. I'll respond more fully another time, but I did want to say now already that there is not one single, solitary reason for you to feel even the least amount of guilt in this. I am so thankful that you were able to bring your children home, despite the circumstances of last summer; I count it a huge blessing!

    And thank you for the reminder to look back to the list pre-bankruptcy - I will do that, and it may help to bolster my spirits today. THanks.


  3. Figured I'd better comment after the guilt trip you put on me earlier:)...

    But of course, I don't have much to say. Just wanted to say hang in there, and to all those other prospective parents, the same thing. If I've learned anything from this whole process it is that we have an extremely resilient group that is continuing on. That and the fact that God will provide are really the only things that keep me somewhat positive as we move through this process...

    Keeping on trucking....

    Now, if I can figure out how to get #37 to look more like #1, I'd be happier...


  4. Thanks Sheldon, glad your commenting again..though no guilt trips!

    Yeah, I can hardly wait til your #37 looks more like a #1, too.


  5. oh ugh. I hear you Ruth. I had a really awful week last week..I spoke with Melissa on the phone and she said an OPTIMISTIC estimate for a referral fro us would be 12 months, if that...unless we changed to single child. I too had (maybe, obviously now, i see) thought 'maybe any day!!' There are SO MANY CHILDREN, over 5 million orphans, I can it still be so very long? Of course we have to redo, or update, our file too..and that comes wth so much...stuff to deal with. I was so tired, discouraged, overwhelmed, and just felt like I couldn't hold out....but this week the sun has come out. Hang in there. It is going to happen, and it will be YOUR kids that come at just the right time...darci

  6. I know Ruth, this waiting is just so hard. How much longer? Who knows. But I have confidence that you will hear good news sooner then you predicted - especially the way referrals are flying in.

    Stay strong and let me know if you need anything from me.


    P.S. Would you mind doing those fancy calculations for me??? :)

  7. Oh Ruth, I figured you might be feeling this way - how could you not. I would've thought exactly like you that the referral would come right away. Such optimistic thinkers!
    It will happen these things are so hard to predict. The lack of control and lack of knowledge is crippling at times.

    Many blessings!!

  8. Thanks for the encouragement and support, helps.

    Two of the families ahead of us have recently changed their requests to include older children, so my hope of jumping the queue based on our broader age range is reduced. Sigh.

    Laura - I'd be happy to calculate for you if I could...but the only reason I could do it for us is because I've followed every sibling family's requests and referrals for two years. So I had all of the stats...which I don't have for singelton referrals, unfortunately. But based on your being #15 (after today's two referrals!), even if Imagine's only giving out 5-10 referrals/month (which doesn't appear to be a restriction, in fact), you're not going to be waiting too long...especially because your age range is more open than some of those ahead of you. It's coming very soon for you - I can feel it in my bones. That will be an awesome day!

    Thanks again, my friends.


  9. Hey Ruth... this is my first visit to your blog and I wanted to say "hi". Our paperwork landed in E the day after yours so we are #9. I have all the same mixed feelings as you about this knowledge. I was happy to know that my "list" (cobbled together from anyh info I could find/get) which also had us at 9 was accurate and that there weren't 16 other families in there that I didn't know about. But, I was frustrated to think that we've really been in that same spot for a long, long time (with or without the bankruptcy). For now I've decided to stay optimistic, hope for more than 5 referrals/month (if January is any indication I think that's a reasonable thing to hope for) and hope that more than 1 in every 10 referrals is for a sibling group/twins... at least that's where I am at today :-) A

  10. Hi Andrea -
    welcome to the blog - I hope you enjoy it!!

    Thanks for your comment, too; I'm excited that you and I are so close in our DTEs - maybe, just maybe, we'll travel together????

    Do you have a blog??


  11. Ruth... I don't have a blog, but I'd love to send you some more info by email. Can you see my email address from my posts to your blog? A

  12. HI Andrea -
    no, I can't see your email address, even when I click on your name.

    Here's my email address, though - I'd love to hear from you:

    (ruthbranson AT shaw DOT CA)