How does one say that something is long overdue in Italian?
For instance, is it correct to say something like "Fa molto tempo che sia in attesa"?
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It depends on the context.
If it's past the deadline / expected date:
(Qualcosa) è (ben) oltre la scadenza prevista.
If it's something that has been promised long time ago:
È da (tanto) tempo che lo/la si aspetta.
If it's something that should have been done before something else or just long time ago:
(Qualcosa) avrebbe dovuto essere fatto prima / avrebbe dovuto essere fatto (tanto) tempo fa.
Essere in attesa, as you've suggested, has connotation of "being pregnant, being expecting a child." If that's the context, then one could simply say ritardo della nascita or la nascita si fa attendere.
In addition to what I.M. already put in his answer I wanted to add that a generic overdue time is often called "ritardo".
This is valid in many cases:
"The job was completed past its due time" = "il lavoro è stato finito in ritardo"
"She arrived late" = "(Lei) è arrivata in ritardo"
and many other cases generically referring to something that was expected earlier than when it eventually happened, including childbirth, menstruation, intellectual development of a child, traveling, somebody slow in understanding a joke, etc...
I think you wish to keep the -due- component, where it has some duty related force. Indeed due is derived form latin debeo, debēre, debui, debitus which I understand can be translated by to owe, ought (you owe debt to the govt)
A almost literal translation is indeed possible
il riconoscimento a lungo dovuto finalmente è giunto
la risposta che ha lungo ti dovevo oggi ti invio
(la seconda suona forse un poco ricercata)