Friday, February 22, 2008

It's all in the numbers

I am having a difficult time coming here to work on my own blog because I'm interested in reading the blogs of other people! Instead of making an effort to reflect about our family journey on our own blog I am spending my "idle" time reading the reflections of others.

I've been grading Middle Ages Castles all day, and while grading I got to thinking about "numbers." CHSFS (our adoption agency) has a list of families waiting for referrals. Families are ordered according to the day their dossier was completed and approved by the agency. Our family made the "approved and waiting" list on September 28, 2007. I think that is 4 months and 22 days ago. I have no idea what "number" that makes the dossier in terms of the agency "list". But, I do know the agency suggests that families are waiting about 7-9 months for a referral for a child. I figure we have waited about half of our total wait at this point.

Our agency also has a discussion forum. Families ask questions, share experiences, look for support, and discuss the critical issues of raising transracial and transcultural children. The forum also keeps an informal list of waiting families. On THAT list our family is #47. It is suggested that this informal list represents about 40-45% of all participating families at CHSFS. I do watch the list - I check it about once a week. I think our family started at #72. So, we've moved about 25 places since officially "waiting".
At this pace, it seems like the wait might extend beyond 7-9 months. I'm ok with that - I greatly anticipate having the care of a child (or 2?) entrusted to us - it is a sacred trust that requires patience and preparation. I resist thinking of adoption as a shopping line in which each family must "take a number." It feels like I'm at the deli, and that feels like it dehumanizes the experience of adoption.
Back to grading - I've got a whole slew of 9th graders waiting to see their "numbers" (read: GRADES!). We are a culture of numbers, in a way.

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