Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I Just Want to Hold My Son

With a week-long national holiday looming later this month in Taiwan,
I was in a frenzy to get all my documents to our attorney there so he
could get us on the court docket for officially adopting Aaron. Get
everything in before next week and our court date would probably be
mid-March; delay a trifle and that court date starts to look more like
late March or early April.

Somehow there was a day free enough from meetings on my work schedule
that I could take a personal day. So I cleared it at work and made
plans to physically go up to New York to deal with the last hurdle in
the paperwork marathon: getting everything authenticated at the
Taiwanese consulate.

I told Amy I'd be home for dinner that day but that she'd have to get
Jada up in the morning, because I was planning on leaving the house at
the crack of dawn. Although the train to New York isn't super
pleasant, I was kind of looking forward to having some time to myself
to read, and I even scoped out a few museums nearby the consulate in
case I had a spare moment to do some sight-seeing.

Most of all, I was eager and not a little anxious to get the last
paperwork to-do's off my chest. After several evenings lately of
frantic form-filling and stapling and collating and organizing, I was
ready to have all that in our rear-view mirror and focus on the
logistical and emotional preparations for welcoming our son into our
world.

But when I got to the consulate in the mid-morning, I was told that I
didn't have my stuff right for them to authenticate everything I
needed authenticated. One of the problems was just a stupid oversight
on my part; I'd just have to make a few more copies of some things and
I was good to go.

The second and third problems were more disconcerting. One had me
scrambling to call my dad to ask what the heck I was supposed to do.
The other involved me having to do another wave of notarizations and
certifications with various government agencies, easily the most
anxiety-producing part of each of the three adoptions we've gone
through in the last three years.

By the end of my all-too-brief conversation with the woman at the
counter at the consulate, I realized there was nothing they could do
for me that day, that I would literally have to take every single
piece of paper home with me, get my stuff re-organized, and chug
through another round of forms and mailings and waiting and stressing.
So the net result of taking a personal day and enduring about eight
hours of travel from door to door was a completely useless half-hour
visit to the consulate.

I did some quick calculations of how long this new list of processing
would take and realized that rather than possibly meeting our son in
barely a month, it might be closer to two. And my heart sunk even
more as I thought about what might happen to that timetable if we
encountered another snag or two like this one.

I called Amy practically in tears, although more upset than sad. The
perfectionist in me had hoped to nail all this paperwork and was down
that I had fallen so woefully short. The anti-crastinater in me
wanted to be done and was stressed that there was so much still loose.
And the cheap bastard in me and the overworked part of me lamented
having spent all that time and money to come all the way up here only
to get absolutely nothing accomplished.

But as I left the consulate and walked down Fifth Avenue, I realized
that the thing that stung the most was knowing we'd be delayed in
meeting our son. My parents have done an incredible job checking in
on him, and their email reports and digital photos have given us a
pretty good sense of our boy. I ache to meet him, to hold him, to
begin being his dad. And the result of my trip to the consulate was
that it would be an additional 2-4 weeks of waiting for all that to
happen.

Amy and I trust that the "who" and the "when" of this adoption will be
worked out by God for the greatest good, as it was for Jada and as we
pray it'll be for our second Chinese adoption next year. That trust
is still there, but today it intermingles with disappointment and
longing.

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