A Circus Run By a Cackle of Hyenas

I have decided that international adoption is the equivalent of:

a circus run by a cackle of hyenas.

And maybe better yet, it is like:

a circus run by clowns with the maturity and common sense of a cackle of hyenas. 

Needless to say I am frustrated.

On more then one occasion in the last week I’ve even said to Mr. MPB that I’m ready to call it quits.  I’m ready to go back to trying on our own.  The idea of enduring more miscarriages isn’t so bad when I think about enduring the international adoption process for even another moment.

We were told adoption is not for the faint of heart.  We were told international adoption is even harder.  We were told when we chose international adoption that no-one holds your hand through the process, and we are left to navigate the waters on our own.

We were warned more then once.

But we decided that we can do it.  We made the personal decision that the benefits of international infant open adoption far outweigh the risks of the more complicated process. We decided that we have the ability and know-how to manage almost any professional and personal situation, so we decided can do this international adoption thing.  We have each achieved top academic grades throughout our lives.  We each have a couple of university degrees.  We each operate as professionals with integrity.  We’ve survived 5 miscarriages.  We’ve navigated a medical system which does not support miscarriage diagnosis.  That said, neither one of us are the next Aristotle, Charles Darwin or Albert Einstein, but we were pretty sure we could handle this. (hmmm…side note, why aren’t there more women in the list of great historical thinkers?)

So, why is it that the adoption process is taking over my life and driving me crazy?  Honestly, there is no way to say this without sounding arrogant, so here it is: I think it’s because I expect common sense.  I think it’s because I see nuances in the system that simply do not make logical sense, that others seem to overlook.  Simple things like:

  • I think something like a list of requirements is easy to put together and is a common sense starting point.
  • I think making sure the documents that are requested actually exist is critical.  It just makes sense as a practical approach to determining the list of requirements.
  • I think it’s crazy to be changing the requirements every few weeks.  Unless the laws change, which they will from time to time, the requirements should not.  And they most certainly should not be changing every few weeks.  (Although the constantly changing requirements does help explain why no reliable lists exist anywhere).
  • I think it’s absurd that fees rise every few months and I cannot understand for the life of me where all the money is going.  I do not understand how there doesn’t appear to be much/any accountability or transparency in the financial side of international adoption, even through I believe the Hague Convention aims to help deal with such things. (I suspect there will be many more posts on this subject in the future).

All of this means that I’m spending a lot of my energy and time reminding myself that:

  • I do not have to fix the system, I just have to get through it.  I can work to fix the system when the time is right, but while we are living inside of the system, and dependent upon it, I must accept that we just have to preserver through it.  It is hard for me to let go of something that clearly should be changed, and this is taking a lot of effort for me to let go of it.
  • Just because I realize a particular nuance does not mean that everyone else does and more importantly it does not mean that the nuance means anything to anyone other then me.  For example, terminology is very important to my technical brain so the difference between words like request and waive is critical in my mind, but interchangeable to others.
  • The power dynamics within adoption feel to me like they are paramount.  This means I have absolutely no control over this process, and no ability to positively influence it.  This is my biggest challenge right now.  I think it says something pretty significant when I feel like we had more control when we were going through RPL!!  I cannot voice a concern.  I can not point our the obvious.  I cannot request an update.  If I manage to piss off the wrong person, the end result will simply be that we can not adopt.  I think my anxiety and frustration is drastically increasing because I feel like I’ve been handcuffed and muted.

So, while I currently think the international adoption process is beyond frustrating, I also know that quitting isn’t really an option at this point.  I know we are going to have children, living childfree is not something either of us want.  Given our medical diagnosis, the idea of going through more miscarriages is not something I’m prepared to do to another baby, myself or Mr. MPB.  So for now, I just need to keep reminding myself that a few more months and we should be through the approvals and paperwork.  And eventually, our child will be worth every single moment of stress, every single white hair that I now grow and every single tear I have and will shed.

And in the meantime, I am just going to start picturing these clown hyenas whenever I get frustrated and feel my blood pressure rising.

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43 Comments on “A Circus Run By a Cackle of Hyenas

  1. Clown hyenas, indeed! I think we should start a list of great women thinkers. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your candid thoughts. As always, you impress me with your courage and strength. Hugs!


  2. Oh that’s tough! I’m sorry it’s so difficult. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. Dealing with bureaucracies is never fun! What do you mean common sense? People are supposed to have that? XO


    • Thanks so much for your encouragement. You are right, it is never easy dealing with bureaucracies, and unfortunately there is rarely common sense inside bureaucracies.


  3. So very frustrating to have no control over an obviously flawed system. Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss and I remember why that cliche exists. If you were someone who didn’t no any better, it might frustrate you less… but that isn’t desirable either. Regardless, I am sending you strength and the ability to roll with the punches (and bounce back from being punched!) throughout this process. It sounds like you have your eye on the prize and could there possibly be a more loved baby than one who is fought so hard for? 🙏💞


    • You are right, at times ignorance would be blissful, yet not idea either. I guess, this is one of those situations where the grass is always greener on the other side.
      Thank you so much for your encouragement and the reminder to keep m eye on the prize! It will be worth it in the end.


  4. i certainly can’t compare my struggle with yours and i am not sure i would be strong enough to navigate the adoption process but i do know that your statement is true, this child will be worth every single moment of stress you are enduring at the moment. keep going. stay strong.


  5. It’s sad that it has to be this way and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it. I can only imagine how frustrating and stressful it is. But, you’re right, it’ll be worth it. Keep your eye on the prize and envision the moment you meet your child. The happiness you’ll feel at that moment will wash away all the doubt and frustration you’re feeling now. That’s what I try to do when the “I want to give up” thoughts start creeping in. You got this!


  6. It does definitely sound like the adoption process is a circus run by a cackle of hyenas. For such an emotional and expensive and LEGAL process you’d expect that there would be a list of requirements and some kind of regulation of fees. I agree too, that sometimes being too intelligent is a disadvantage. DW and I struggle so much with this fertility clinic stuff because we’re powerless yet are more educated in human physiology, embryology, and molecular biology than probably everyone except the RE and his embryologist. Sometimes, you just have to do a face palm and kill some brain cells, take a breath, and do what you can.


  7. I think this stuff takes over our lives because it is the closest to our hearts. For most of us becoming a parent or growing our families is much more critical and vulnerable than our jobs/careers/professions and any hobbies about which we may feel passionate. Not having full time work to distract you probably does not help (yet permits you time and energy to wrestle the hyenas and clowns, I note with some irony). Wishing you patience, perseverance and a big glass filled with a meaty red to get you through.


    • Thank you my friend. I completely agree with you that adoption, or RPL, or IF, or just about anything related to procreation in a non traditional way, is so complicated because of the significant emotional component!
      And, I suspect you are right the fact that I’m not working full time is a blessing because I have time to play in the circus, but also a curse because I have way too much time to focus on the circus!
      While it’s a bit early to take your suggestion on drinking, I might just have a rare mid-week drink tonight. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When you have a problem, you always propose few solutions. That is such a good nature of you. You will come through. We root for you!


  9. Common sense in anything regulated by government–that is a novel idea. Maybe you should start kick-boxing. That sounds like a good stress reliever. Wishing you the best! I wish I had some kind of adoption “in” for you.


    • You are right, it is a novel idea! Clearly my expectations are slightly mismatched with reality.
      Kick-boxing has always sounded like a lot of fun to me. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually have to try it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sorry this is so frustrating and ever changing for you. You’d think they would realize that probably majority of people who are adopting are doing so because they can’t have their own, which is stressful enough…they shouldn’t make it worse for them!! I hope you get through the next months smoothly and with at least a little sanity left.


  11. I know international adoption feels impossible at times-you’re dealing with two different countries’ sometimes bickering beaurocracies! It’s so incredibly frustrating when all you want to do is hold your child close to your heart and never let them go. It. Will. Happen! You just keep doing your part and one day you’ll wake up and all of the puzzle pieces will have fallen into place to bring your child home:) You can do this!!!


    • Thanks for understanding! I think at this point we just need to keep our eyes on the prize, and remember, as you say, it will happen!! We will get through the mounds of paperwork and we will do it!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I actually don’t think I could deal with it, you know. I’m in awe of you managing to hold onto your sense of humour, and I know you two are going to get through this with smiles on your faces. I hate inefficiency, disorganisation and vagueness so much – it really stresses me out. I really want you to break through this asap and just be ready for a match so we can all share in the joy of some very well deserved good news xxx


    • I promise you, not every day includes smiles! I’m with you about the stress of inefficiency and disorganization – it is driving me crazy. But, we don’t have much choice, so we keep trying to plow forward despite all the annoyances.


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  14. I am sorry this process is so frustrating. I can’t imagine not having set requirements and that whole document that doesn’t exist thing is just ridiculous. I can’t for the life of me figure out why any ol’ person can have a baby but those of us that go to extra lengths to be parents have to be put through the wringer!


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