Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Untold Story of Adoption

People occasionally ask for adoption updates these days and everyone keeps telling us to be hopeful, to pray, and that things will work out however they are meant to. Adam and I smile, say thanks for the encouragement, and really have been keeping to ourselves – as I am sure has become evident by the lack of blog updates about the whole situation.

I think the time has finally come to give an official “update”, but first I must back track. Bear with me.

Over the past two years, Adam and I have been asked about why we chose to follow the adoption path instead of having biological children. Most of my family knows about my struggle with Endo and PCOS as it’s something they have watched me grapple with for the past thirteen years now, and I am very grateful that they understand why we chose adoption. Having so much support behind us this whole time from family and close friends has been more valuable than words will ever express.

Almost no one knows that we did try to have biological children and suffered through two miscarriages. After the second, I told Adam that I couldn’t go through that experience again. It is something no person should ever have to suffer through and together we decided that the prospect of a third loss was too great to think about. So we made our announcement that we had decided to adopt.

Fast forward a year.

We’ve completed our home study with Department of Social Services and have been certified to not only adopt but to foster as well, in case we decided to travel that road. We were informed that if we chose to pass up on the opportunity to foster we would likely expect to wait five years for an infant to be freed for us to adopt through the foster care system. After a few months we chose to also place an application with Catholic Charities – this is where everyone's support with GoFundMe came into play. Our adoption application fee came from the gifts everyone gave to us last year. It was such a blessing to know that when we placed our application on the counter at Catholic Charities, that the gifts given to us by friends and family helped to get it there.

Two months later brings us to Thursday, November 21st, 2013. People always say the day you get “the call” is forever burned into your memory, and that no detail will ever be forgotten. I know now, that “they” are right. I remember everything in great detail.

I was stripping paint from the French doors in the living room (I believe I posted a picture to Facebook with a quote from Rehab Addict’s Nicole Curtis that day!) when the phone rang. Classical music poured out from the TV, a breeze came in through the foyer from the window I had opened to circulate in fresh air. I answered the phone and a woman from The House of The Good Shepherd was on the phone. She told me a baby had been born and was in the hospital waiting to be released to a family. His mother had signed away her rights to CPS for him, and told them she couldn’t care for him. That she wanted for him to have a family and she knew she wasn’t capable of being his parent. The woman on the phone told me that someone in the hospital had named the baby Sheldon, because everyone deserves a name. She asked if Adam and I were still looking to adopt and if we were to come down right away to discuss the situation, to sign papers for him so that we could bring him home from the hospital, either that day or first thing the next morning.

I ran so fast up the stairs to get Adam that I nearly tripped and fell, flung open the bedroom door and jumped on the bed like a child at Christmas waking their mom and dad up because Santa came. Adam looked like he thought the house was on fire. I was showered and dressed within the next five minutes, telling Adam he was taking too long and didn’t need to shave. I told him I was driving because he drove like an old woman first thing in the morning and all he asked was that I not wreck us on the way there. When we got there we were filled with such excitement and such hope, but things were not meant to be. The baby had challenges that we were unable to meet and we left with broken hearts. We had just experienced our first “failed adoption match”.

Jumping ahead twenty nine days later – also a Thursday – brings us to another day I remember in vivid detail. I got a call from someone saying they knew a girl who was pregnant and wanted to place her baby for adoption. She had met us in passing the year before and wanted to meet with us. For simplicity’s sake, and the sake of this woman’s privacy, we will call her April. We spoke with April that very day for over an hour and traded phone numbers. She told us that she wanted us to parent her baby on the condition that we could have an open adoption. We were happy to agree. Over the next three months, April and I got to know each other better as well as what our expectations were for this adoption. We got to see pictures, and I was able to get to go to an appointment. Things were progressing well and we told close friends and our immediate families. We started to buy a few clothes, and when April went into premature labor (which was able to be stopped) we picked out a travel system so that we would be ready when this baby arrived. We began the labor intensive process of stripping wood trim and doors in what would be the nursery, spent days looking at paint chips on the walls and waited as patiently as we could.

Sadly this adoption was destined to fail as well. April sent me a text just after Valentine’s Day when I was pulling in the driveway, and informed me that she didn’t think she could continue down this path because a third party was creating too many problems and it was too much stress for her. While we support April’s choice and told her we would regardless of her decision from the beginning, this is devastating to us. In some ways it is harder to heal from this than it was for the first failed adoption because we had pictures and clothes now. A car seat. A stroller. There was a baby who’s heartbeat I had heard. While the first loss was difficult, there had been no visual and no planning involved for little Sheldon.

It’s been almost two weeks now since we heard the bad news and Adam and I have realized that we are at a fork. One road leads down uncharted waters, holding who knows what. The other is the adoption path – and we have seen how difficult that road is. It’s a struggle no one ever wants to talk about because it is riddled with uncertainty, expectations and often ruined dreams. For now at least, we are standing still. We spoke with Catholic Charities and they will hold our application for as long as we need them to while we decide if we can go through the process of convincing yet another person, another agency really, that we deserve to be parents. For now, we will put adoption on hold; maybe even pretend that it’s not an option for us while we take the time we need to heal.

We have now experienced four lost babies in just less than two years’ time. I don’t know how long it will take for our hearts to repair themselves. They say time heals all wounds, but what I don’t know is how time can heal this kind of hurt. Hearing well-meaning words like “It will all work out” or “It wasn’t meant to be” don’t help, as much as we know they were well intended.

For now, we will work on remodeling our home, rehabbing the bathroom, trashing and rebuilding the kitchen. For now, we will plan a crazy vacation and maybe even do something as drastic as sell the house, move to Australia and open a Koala bear rehab facility which will inevitably go bankrupt because no one in their right mind would pay to keep a facility open for Koala’s to munch on greenery in style. For now, we will live for today and stop planning for tomorrow, because as we have seen, tomorrow may never come. Today may be all we have.

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