Saturday, December 24, 2011

Emotionally surviving a canceled court date

Today is one month since we were supposed to appear in court in Ethiopia. To mark the occasion I am listing the things that have helped me deal with our canceled court date.
  • Remember the adoption bell curve. As much as this stinks, it helps to remember that most international adoptions involve some sort of setback.
  • Assume the very best of intentions by the person who is causing the delay. I feel better thinking that the official delaying all the Burji adoptions has the children's best interests at heart.
  • Find a way to connect with Ethiopia that doesn't directly involve the adoption delay. Writing about our trip has been therapeutic for me. Last weekend we cooked up a lot of Ethiopian food and had friends over to share it. And we are learning to read Fidel. All this helps me feel connected to the boys without dwelling on what we're missing.
  • Accept any negative emotions that come up for what they are. I feel jealous when I read about other people in our agency passing court. It's a normal reaction. I can name it, accept it and move on.
  • Be mindful of things that can affect mood. Get more exercise and limit alcohol.
  • From another Burji PAP: Don't hope for good news every time the phone rings. Pick a date in the future and don't expect any news before then.
  • From another Burji PAP: Make a list of positive activities to keep you busy during the wait. Every time you feel bad about not meeting the kids, work on doing something off the list.
  • If all else fails: Fake it. Go through the motions. Put one foot in front of the other. Focus on what you have to do in the next five minutes and eventually you will find yourself busy with your regular life.


  1. I was just thinking about you, and yes,I thought it must be hard to see people going and returning knowing you still have the court date.

    I hope you hear something really soon. I would have needed sedated if my date had been cancelled. Yes, I knew a MOWA letter might be missing(and wasn't), but I never even thought of the possibility the entire court date could be cancelled.

  2. I am so sorry about these setbacks. It's maddening...but then you feel bad complaining. Like you said, you support anything that is in the boys' best interest. But it's tough. Waiting is tough. This post makes me think you guys are doing the best you can given the circumstances. I hope you get some news soon.

  3. Can't imagine what you're going through. So sorry that you're having to deal with this. The waiting is so much harder once you've met them, and I know the uncertainty must put an extra layer on top of that. Hoping for good news in the near future.

  4. Oh ugh. Sorry to hear you've hit a delay. I had six court failures in 2009 after I met my son. It bites. For me, I learned the hard way not to tell people when my court dates were. I just told them I wouldn't hear anything until I got good news. It was too awful announcing the delays over and over to people who had no insight into the process. I also found that a combo of film noir dvds, chocolate and merlot provided a solid two hours of distraction. Very few cute children or happy families in film noir. Take care of yourselves.

  5. Thank you all, I'm hoping for good news soon.

    Barbaloot, thanks for the film noir suggestion. I cannot (will not) imagine six unsuccessful trips to Ethiopia. I hope your experience was before the two-trip rule.

  6. I've been thinking about you guys and hoping to hear good news. It must be tremendously difficult. I love that you have found some ways to cope, but I'm sorry that you have to. Hugs to you.

  7. Kyra, thankfully it was. I would love to travel to Ethiopia more and/ or stay longer, but I think I would have lost my mind completely if I had to travel for six court failures before passing on the seventh go. Eeeek! Must easier to gloss over random loony behavior and extreme moodiness at work than being ahem, sick, that often. ;-)

  8. I am so sorry that this is still dragging on, and hope that things get resolved very soon. Thinking of you both a lot.