I've been thinking a lot about the infamous 5 stages of grief and sorrow. They usually pertain to grief due to the loss of a loved one by death or even divorce. But, it seems that in a way, this prolonged, unexpected and painful wait has been the death of an idea--the six months from LID to referral idea. I believe that those who were logged in at about the same time we were (11/05-3/06 or so) really got the brunt of the slow down. When we began the process, full months of referrals were still the rule --expected LID to referral 6-9 mos.
Right about the time we were DTC, 1/20/06, the sh** started to hit the fan so to speak. Massive slow down. One month with 3 LID days of referrals, ouch. There is no doubt in my mind that by the time we get our referral (which, barring any additionaly slowing, should be around October or November of this year) our group will have waited longer for a referral than any other China adopters in the history of the program 20-21 mos plus the 1 month from DTC to LID. Those who logged in after us will surely wait longer but had already started to see the evidence of the slowdown. Those who were logged in before us were of course also shocked by the slowdown but ended up with waits of about 16 mos or so (still painful of course).
I believe that I have experienced each stage of grief, in order, in varying degree and duration. I've certainly seen them all expressed by others in the many online groups to which I belong.
The 5 stages (and my interpretation of each) are:
1. denial --"there's no way this can be happening, I refuse to believe that we will not have our referral within 6-9 mos as I was promised by my agency, the referral times will certainly speed up, these changes are merely temporary and will have little affect on us in the long run", etc.
--I saw a lot of this on the boards for the first few months of the slow down. There were some people who absolutely refused to believe that wait times were lengthening, exponentially. Some on the Yahoo groups became literally incensed if anyone dared to express a belief that we, with 2/06 LID's, would not be home with our children by Halloween, and later Christmas, 2006.
It was as if they believed that the mere recognition of the fact that wait times were increasing would somehow cause a longer wait.
--personally, I tend to be a pragmatist, and somewhat negative and cynical by nature. I didn't live in the land of denial long at all.
2. anger --"this is ridiculous, how can CCAA be doing this to us, someone must be to blame, my agency intentionally misled me", etc.
--during this next stage I read of people even considering lawsuits against their agencies. I was angry for a while, not at anyone in particular, just generally pissy.
3. bargaining (pleading) --"surely there will be a change soon, these drastic extensions in the referral process cannot go on forever, this will be the month they will speed up, the wait is due to the bird flu, the Hunan scandal, CCAA moving offices", etc.
--I spent a little time here, pleading with the process, imagining how things could be different.
4. depression --this one is rather self explanatory. I've tried very hard not to get depressed but it creeps in. I've spent quite a bit of time being intermittently sad and frustrated. Sometimes it really hit me. The waiting, at times, felt so empty and even hopeless, it was actually physically painful. I think you actually would have to be in the process to truly understand this emotion. I miss and long for a person I havent' met yet. It's weird. I felt pretty sorry for myself and continually lamented the fact that we hadn't begun the process sooner.
And now, I enter.....
5. acceptance --TA DA!!! "it will happen when it happens, I will get my baby when the time is right, there is nothing I can do to speed this process--I can only control my feelings and reactions/response to the process", etc.
--Here I am. It's official, I have accepted that I have absolutely no control over these circumstances. I recognize the process for what it is. I no longer feel that sense of anger with the fact that the world isn't fair. I don't harbor any false hope that there will be some divine or other intervention that will magicly speed the process and I haven't shed a tear in quite awhile.
OK, I've arrived. Now what?