I'm not sure why (could it be the British part of me?) but I spend a lot of time in my life feeling as if I'm in a queue. Things should be done in an order, most things should be first-come, first served, in my mind at least. I realise, of course, more and more as the years go by, that life is definitely not like that. However, there is a child inside of me, a small voice that shouts: "Wait a minute, that's not fair, I was here first!"
This has particular significance when it comes to parenthood for me. I always knew I wanted to be a mother, which is one of the reasons why I chose to become an Early Years practitioner - it was a family friendly job and I love being around kids: a win-win situation if there ever was one. My university tutors were not quite as enthusiastic as I was, as they felt that I was "wasting my degree" going into teaching, but I was adamant - I wanted to be a teacher (so that I could later be a mum).
In my mind, at least, we got in the queue for a baby when D and I got married. We had a stable home-life, our own home, and D was just finishing his post-graduate degree to also become a teacher, for very similar reasons to my own. We were ready!
The queue didn't seem long - surely to get in, you wait a while and then a baby arrives in your life - that seemed the pattern those around us what followed. Most people I knew were pregnant within the year after getting married; a baby soon followed.
It didn't quite work like that for us. Yes, we did get pregnant. But a baby didn't follow. And that was the time when I started looking around me and realising that either there was no queue, or people were blatantly queue jumping!!
In next few years, it became more and more obvious to me: people who had not even met when D and I joined the queue, had overtaken us, sometimes by a long way. Some of them had managed not one, but two kids! And here we were, standing in this queue that only got longer and longer.
I guess it is often the sentiment of those involuntarily childless. It often feels like everyone is having kids with ease, overtaking you in the queue of life. It is especially the case when you work at a school, surrounded by families who obviously did manage to have children...
It was a bitter time. It was a difficult time. It was also the time that made us realise that what we wanted in life was not to have our "own" kids, but to be parents and ultimately, it was the time when we decided adoption was the way for us.
Why am I writing about this now? Memories of being in the queue of life have been dredged up, involuntarily, by our adoption community. We are waiting with several couples at the moment, most of which we have become friendly with.
Yesterday we were told that two of them have received a court number. We are still waiting (as you well know!) and every day that goes by I lose a little bit of my ability to be patient. One of the couples in question had not even started their home study until after we had had a match! This feels like queue jumping!
I realise, in my rational mind (yes, I have a little bit of that left. Just a little) that it is obviously not their fault - it was luck, the gods of bureaucracy were on their side etc. But it doesn't make it any more fair to me. I don't begrudge them their court number - the quicker any child gets our of an orphanage the better. But I can't help feel, a little like I did when women who were pregnant the same time as me eventually gave birth, a little cheated by life.
And so we wait. As our little boy gets bigger, we wait. As our little girl grows taller, we wait. As he moves onto solids and starts sitting up, we wait. As she looks at our photos, wondering when we might come back.... we wait. In the queue of life.