Sometimes I find myself feeling like I'm living in multiple universes.
There is the universe of AJ, which is all encompassing of all things crazy and wonderful simultaneously. It is the world of mini-marshmallows needed for this week's class Christmas party, trouble-shooting his continued spasticity in his legs, and programming his new communicate app with lunch choices for the month.
There is the universe of being a student, in which today marked the beginning of my second to last class.
Then there is our Mimi girl.
I won't say its easy to forget, because forget is not the appropriate word. I cannot nor will I ever forget. However, with the other two universes intersecting with this rather large one, they rotate importance. They orbit? Sure. Lately my classes and AJ's needs have been at the front of the line. They've kept me busy while my heart aches during this Christmas season. I mean....aches.
We hadn't heard much in way of our adoption process. Until two weeks ago. We learned, as we suspected, that the Bulgarian government pretty much shuts down for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Even though we suspected this would be the case, I still mourned this news. And of course, because I cannot share specific information about her, I cannot share why this was and is so heart-breaking. We set a goal of having our dossier in Bulgaria by mid-January.
And then last week happened. Our caseworker called, causing my heart to drop to my stomach thinking something was wrong. The association our agency works with in Bulgaria called for an update on our dossier. Yes. Our child's country called us for an update on our progress. When the phone rang I was sure something was wrong. I could not have been more wrong with my thinking.
Our dossier documents, minus our US immigration approval letter, have been sitting, ready to go. Well, that's not entirely true. One other document was secured today, so that's really all that matters. Despite waiting on our immigration approval, our documents have been requested for translation. Let me tell you, it is a shocking yet amazing feeling to feel someone halfway around the world, yet in the same country as your daughter, advocating for you and your child. After a whirlwind couple of days, I sent 21 documents (with multiple pages included in each "document") to our state capital for apostilling today. In short, pretty certificates on top of each stapled grouping of documents. I pleaded our desperation/need for expedition of these apostilles and can only hope we'll receive them next week either the day before Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas. As soon as we receive that last letter, I will send it for apostilling and it will follow the rest of our documents to Bulgaria.
Once all of our documents are translated, they will go to the Ministry of Justice and we will be logged-in. This generally takes a month.
We can travel to meet our daughter.
Sometimes, it hits me hard. All that has transpired in such.a.short.period.of.time. When you are in the process, there is no "standard" timeline. You are given timelines, but they rarely correlate to your case. Remember THIS? Right now I am sitting at #3, #6, #7, and #8. Someone is missing, and boy do we feel it with Christmas right around the corner. Adoption is not pregnancy, and I will say that til my last breathe. I'm not sure when she's coming home. And my biggest fear, is if she will truly come home. It's that fear that I felt when our caseworker called. What happened?!
If you have been following our process, you have noticed that our timeline has changed several times over. While we are familiar with hold-ups, and static case status' happening on the country-side, we are not familiar with delays happening on the US side. While we've had only minor blips, they have pushed our case back by months. Knowing about Mimi so early in the process has made things more emotional than I could have ever imagined.
And then I remember how we received a referral before formally applying. Days after contacting our social worker to start the process. Days. And she called about a little girl. A little girl. We never decided on a girl name when choosing names for our first child (before we received AJ's referral) because "Schmidts don't have girls". We never thought we'd have a girl. Ever.
And yet when we saw her, we knew her name immediately. We knew her middle name. All of today I ran on adrenaline, determined to get these documents off to their destination. So tonight, its really sinking in that our dossier is DONE. There is no more paperwork for us to print, fill-out, fax, copy, sign, email. We are DONE. We are waiting on the efforts of others. Just short of six months from learning about our baby girl. In.credible.
Sometimes, beyond all the chaos is beauty. Beauty that is so deep that it brings tears and relief.
I've started to fill her dresser with clothes. Her mattress and crib pad arrived yesterday. This is happening. And I am so grateful we are in this place, this moment. I want to enjoy every second of anticipating her without the worry of paper, forms, and legalities. I want to embrace the humanity of this miracle we are so blessed to be a part of. I want to swirl the can of paint for her room and paint her walls with warmth. I want to wash her sheets the way a mother does and make her bed. Even if it is just (for now) for photographs that will be added to our dossier, I want to make this her home. She's in our hearts, its time to make her impending presence a reality in our home.