Monday, January 29, 2007

Some babies come by plane & Some people LIKE paperwork

I have learned so many valuable lessons during this 2.5 year adoption process, but one of the most astonishing came to me in a major "Ah Ha" moment last week. It was one of those moments where something that has been hazily lurking beneath the surface of your life, is suddenly illuminated and crystal clear. Here it is: I abhor, hate, can not stand in any way shape or form, doing paperwork. Up until last week, I thought everyone felt this way, of course, who, in their right minds, would enjoy paperwork? Well, I now know that these people exist and they are actually people that I like - funny, kind, interesting people. Who knew? I am still in shock over this. This revelation began when someone I really respect casually mentioned, "I've really enjoyed doing the paperwork for our adoption." WHAT??? Time stood still as I pondered what I had just heard. I immediately felt the shame of being a terrible adoptive parent who complained about every stinking paper we had to fill out, stamp, sign, notarize, wave above our heads 3x while hopping on one foot in front of a social worker. But something about this person and the way she said it, made me believe her - she really enjoyed the paperwork. She must be a complete freak I thought, but shortly thereafter I came across, we'll call her Susan. Susan is a mom in the process of adopting from China, just like I am. She has two biological kids, just like me. She has a website, just like me. The 1st time I read through her website, I thought, wow - we have a lot in common, until I got to her description of herself. She says that she loves paperwork and "the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and Scotch Tape". I laughed, thinking she was being sarcastic, but then I started seeing her posts on the yahoo group we belong to for China adoption. Someone had posted a long, tedious, ultra-boring post about all of the paperwork we will have to do in China. I immediately forwarded it to Scott. She replied with great glee how exciting that was b/c that gave her something to look forward to. And then she said it again, "I just love paperwork!". Those words jumped off my computer screen. It hit me - people really exist who like paperwork. It made realize how much I can't stand it! I don't know why this is so astonishing to me, but it is. It feels very freeing to just realize it and admit how much I hate filling out forms and reading about filling out forms. I was a teacher. I hated grading papers and filling out report cards. There, I said it. But for me, adoption paperwork trumps every other kind as being the absolute worst offender of all paperwork. The paperwork that goes into filling out the paperwork is what gets me. EX:
"This section contains instructions for filling out form 189-TOR-6581-TURE-5961-H."

The form itself is one page. The instructions - 3.5 pages of tiny type of if/then statements.
I just know they are trying to trick me, and I will not be fooled. No way, no how, no mam. So I read each if/then statement 5x before placing any mark on form 189-TOR-6581-TURE-591-H.
It's me against the form instructions.
Ex: Box 53: If your mother's, neighbor's 1st cousin's, coach's wife's, sister's maid ever cleaned your toilet, then mark "yes" in box 53.
Add to that, the forms we are now filling out have Chinese characters next to all of the English words. For some reason, this has thrown me for a loop.
Some babies come by plane and some people really do love paperwork - who knew???

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