Thursday, June 21, 2012

Long "Gestation" Period

Black Alpine Salamander
Black Alpine Salamander, Photo: Wiki Commons/GNU*
Our adoption process has been compared to the gestation period of the mighty elephant. As we approach the 2-year mark of our foster-adopt process and the 2.5-year mark for our Jamaican adoption process, I researched gestational periods of other animals. Elephants carry their young for less than 2 years; we have surpassed that duration. The tiny black alpine salamander of the Alps gestate for 2 to 3 years depending on the elevation the creature lives. The dogfish shark is pregnant for 2 years while the basking shark for 3 years. The frilled shark lingers for 3.5 years before giving birth.* While our adoption processes have exceeded the gestation periods of the elephant and the dogfish shark, they have not yet exceeded the 3.5-year pregnancy of the frilled shark, the longest of all animals.

Many foster-adopt families are familiar with the long, drawn out process that fostering a child can be as the court determines if reunification or termination of parental rights (TPR) will occur. This process can take several years. Even if TPR is granted and the foster family is chosen to adopt, there may be appeals by the biological family and various delays before the adoption is finalized.

I have found it rare that families encountered so many road blocks as we have before a child is even matched. We haven't even been able to get to the point where our caseworker can talk to other caseworkers about potential children, until this month. We keep reaching the point of being able to inquire about children then get stalled. We hit that point in January and thought we were getting past that point this month.

I sure hope our "pregnancy" is not 3 years. Two years is long enough and we still have "labor" to proceed through which can be several months in itself. An encourager of ours said adoption is a "labor of Love" - a long, slow labor.

Adoption has many more unknowns than giving birth. With biological children, once you make it past the first trimester, you can expect to give birth between the 7th and 9th month. With adoption, you do not know which YEAR. Our journey continues as we wait for "gestation" to end.

*Source: Mother Nature Network

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