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 afraid...it'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 now...in 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 orphanages...at 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.