Ducks All in a Row and Hannah Home

Did you have that one teacher who used detail-oriented cliches multiple times a day to remind you to stay on task and not turn in sloppy work? Mind your P's and Q's? Cross your T's and dot your I's? Keep your ducks in a row?

At this point in the adoption process, I feel I need that teacher and her incessant reminders.

Adopting is a very cross your T's and dot your I's type of process. One little missed dot, one T without its cross, and you have to do the whole thing over again.


On Friday, I sent in all the documents I had gathered for my dossier (the formal package sent to the South African government for review and approval) to Bethany to be reviewed before sending them off to the state to be apostilled (a really fancy notarization).

Yesterday, Bethany came back with a list of do-overs. The date of the letter and the date of the notarization don't match. These letters don't have official notary language. You should include more pictures of the inside of you your house.

It really does feel like I'm back in English with a red-marked rough draft in my hand. Verb confusion. Does not flow. Sentence fragment. Try again.

Ugh, really? Really?

Yes, I absolutely want Hannah* home. I want her home yesterday. Yes, I know this is the process and the crossed T's and the dotted I's are important, but good grief. Do you know how long it took me to gather all this together. Do you know how I already hounded my references for my letters and now I have to hound them again. Do you know? Do you know?

And yes, they know. Everyone at Bethany is super-supportive and super-empathetic, but receiving another list makes me feel like tearing out my hair, even if there's only one thing on the list that seems impossible.

The impossible thing is unbelievably again the medical letter stating I am healthy and fit to parent a child.

Unbelievably again because the medical letter held up my home study as well.

For my home study, finding a physician who would vouch for me was nightmarish.

Me, just returned from South Africa, my primary doctor prior to my leaving for SA having kicked me off his patient list, no job and therefore no insurance. Who in the world would vouch for me? I finally got someone at one of the clinics to do it, but he failed to tell me, FYI I'm not a doctor but a nurse practitioner, and of course I didn't think to look at those little initials. I just handed the done thing--the headache, bane of my existence thing--in to the agency and wiped my hands of it. Only to get a call when they were reviewing the home study to say my letter came from a nurse practitioner and I have to have a physician.

Thankfully at this point, employed with insurance and with a good recommendation for a new doctor, I was able to quickly produce a new letter.

Now my wonderful physician who is incredibly supportive of the adoption and has been simply amazing in the fight against the dreaded eye infection and the recent UTI and all the other ways my body decided to fall apart in the last few months--is a D.O. and not an M.D., and apparently, Bethany just informed me, South Africa will only except an M.D.

Are you kidding me?

Really? Is the stupid medical letter really going to cause me ridiculous amounts of trouble and stress again? Should I just start a door-knocking campaign and keep knocking on doctor's doors until one with the appropriate credentials will sign the stupid letter? The stupid letter that really isn't all that stupid, and it makes since why someone who is approving an adoption would want to know I'm phycially able to parent a child.


Step one, I called my physician and asked his nurse if they had any ideas of who I can talk to. I'm waiting to hear back from them.

Step two, well, I'll have to figure this step out once I hear back from my doctor (unless any of you out there in reader land know of someone who might vouch for me to the South African Central Authority).

Step three, hand in a medical letter with the all important M.D. affixed next to the physician's name.

Cross, cross. Dot, dot. Ducks all in a row.

Ducks all in a row and Hannah home.

Hannah home.

No matter how many little duckies wander out of the row, no matter how many dots fall off their lines, no matter how many P's invert themselves into Q's--the outcome at the end, the point to every T and every I is Hannah home.

It's not always easy to keep that in mind. It's not always easy to wait and remember why each step is important and necessary. It's not always easy to know and feel with each passing day I'm one day closer to having her home.

It's not always easy because I get frustrated and worn out. It's not always easy because I see the pictures of her beautiful face strewn across my home and it feels as though she's already here and has always been here and should be here. It's not always easy because you have to answer good intentioned questions of how it's going with nothing new to report.

It's not always easy.

But ducks go in a row. Ducks in a row and Hannah comes home. Ducks in a row and the maker of ducks and rows makes a family out of ducks in a row, crossed T's and dotted I's, minded P's and Q's.


*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all online activity regarding my someday daughter and her adoption.


Please consider supporting Hannah's adoption:

1. Buy a t-shirt from

2. Buy coffee from

3. Send a check to Oasis Haven US: (Your gift through Oasis Haven US is tax deductible.)

    PO Box 28362
    San Diego, CA

    *Please write "adoption support" on the memo line.