We’ve adopted four beautiful kids – but I’ve only documented 3 of them on this blog: Preston, Mylie, Lakin. I need to do Norah; in addition to our biological kids, that makes for a big family. Â Yeah, I know. Crazy. Â But, we’re happy.
This article explores our experience in the child adoption process – they actual process, time it takes, and what can be done to improve the overall process.
Aside from the obscene amount of money we’ve spent on adopting four kids – none of which I regret – we’ve also spent a lot of time. Â In fact, all of that time I will never get back. Â Over my lifetime, I might earn what I’ve spent on adoption, but I’ll never get that time back.
So why did I wait so much and spend so much time – willingly? To answer this let’s review waiting line psychology.
Psychology of Queueing
We know the following are true – think of them as axioms in the psychology of waiting:
- Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
- Process-waits feel longer than in-process waits.
- Anxiety makes waits seem longer.
- Uncertain waits seem longer than known, finite waits.
- Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits.
- The more valuable the service, the longer the customer is willing to wait.
- Solo waits feel longer than group waits.
In the adoption process, the end result is quite valuable – a baby; so, it makes sense that I and my wife were willing to wait so long.
What is Waste? Â What is Muda?
Within the framework of Lean Thinking, all that waiting is a form of waste. Â In fact, from my perspective, there are only a few steps which I consider value-add:
In quantitative terms, 22% of the process above we could consider waste (68/298 = 22%).
Three Types of Activities
There are 3 types of activities, 2 of which produce waste:
- Steps that definitely create value.
- Steps that create no value, but are necessary given the current state of the system.
- Steps that create no value and can be eliminated.
(2) & (3) naturally create wastes, of which there are 7 types:
- Over-Production: Producing more than is needed, faster than needed or before needed.
- Wait-time: Idle time that occurs when co-dependent events are not synchronized.
- Transportation: Any material movement that does not directly support immediate production.
- Processing: Redundant effort (production or communication) which adds no value to a product or service.
- Inventory: Any supply in excess of process or demand requirements.
- Motion: Any movement of people which does not contribute added value to the product or service.
- Defect: Repair or rework of a product or service to fulfill customer requirements.
We’ve got our kids; the child adoption process is about as pleasant as wisdom teeth removal or a root canal. Â But, complaining aside, I’m sure grateful to be the dad of all these wonderful kids.
It’s Your Turn
How would you improve the adoption process above? Â Which steps could you eliminate? Â Of the value added steps, which comprise roughly 80% of the wait time, how could you reduce all the value added waiting? Â Should wait time be reduced? Â What say ye?