The final journal entries shared.....
The continued personal reflections of one adoptive parent’s journey with parenthood and adoption. Adoption Options is grateful for the sharing of these personal journal entries, as it provides a vulnerable insight into the realities of parenthood and the journey of adoption.
#29 – A Call
So - another call received from the agency about a baby today. Expectant mom hasn't yet decided if she wants to parent this baby and will be induced on Saturday. We were asked if our profile could be shown in the event she wants to make an adoption plan. I'm having a hard time getting excited, feeling attached or committing to the process... We'll let our profile be shown, but it's so uncertain as to whether this will a) go through or b) we'll be chosen. At the very least, I feel it's cause to feel a mix of emotions - excitement, nervousness, happiness for a new life joining the world, anxiety, uncertainty. I don't know what my gut's saying at this point, but I'm not sure it really matters because if there's one thing that I've learned through the ups and down of waiting and matches and this process is that everything is unpredictable and my gut only speaks the truth at the very end where the fork in the road lies. We are open to this but know and trust that this will work out for all of us, no matter what decision the birth parents make. Saying a silent mantra for this new life and his/her mom and dad today. ***Two days later… We haven't heard anything further about the baby that is being born today/tomorrow that we were called about. I did talk to the social worker yesterday and I got the sense that there is a lot of uncertainty over whether mom will decide to place or not. So there's that. There are at least two other families that will be shown (up to four others - the social worker still hadn't heard from two of the five families she'd contacted when I talked to her yesterday afternoon). So there's that. In our profile and in our paperwork, we talk a lot about our open adoption with Moonbeam’s birth mom and that we look forward to having an open relationship with the next baby's family. We talk about wanting to get to know mom and dad on a personal level. We know that this mom and dad don't want to meet the prospective family and want limited contact. So ya, there's also that. I feel like there's a lot pointing towards a big fat no. But a big part of me is really wanting this to work out. I want another baby really badly, and situations like this remind me of this so much. I feel anxious and I feel sad. I feel hopeful, but the realistic side of me is screaming that there is a very slim chance this is going to work out. Mom was/will be induced today ... my google search and experience with Moonbeam's birth is that it will be a minimum of 12 hours between induction and birth, which means baby won't be born until tonight or tomorrow. We'll know more tomorrow and we'll know for certain on Monday ... the social worker told me she'd call us on Monday either way. It's hard to keep this private in our normal lives - I've had to let work know that I may not be there as of Monday because I may have to drive 3 hours to get the baby from the hospital. I've had to arrange childcare for Moonbeam in the event that we have to bolt tomorrow. I've had to rearrange plans I've had with friends in the event that we have an early morning wake up and mad dash to pick up our new son/daughter. I hate this part. I really, really hate this part. The worst part is the waiting. ***The next day…I woke up this morning feeling really antsy and uncertain about how everything was going to pan out. I knew that baby had most likely been born last night and that mom was going to make her decision today. I texted the on call social worker and asked if she had any news. I waited for an excruciating hour before I heard back. Mom decided to place her baby through a private direct adoption with someone she knew personally rather than through the agency. I felt ok about it all. I'm disappointed that we won't be bringing home a baby, but I feel that this was the best decision for the baby. I don't know the details, but I suspect the baby will stay in its home community, which is really important for maintaining cultural connection. Also, I suspect that the adoption will be more open than had the baby been placed with us ... because the mom knows and clearly trusts the parents she's placing with, I imagine that openness will be a more natural fit for everyone in this situation instead of if the baby was removed from its home community and placed with parents (us) who are not connected to them at all. So back to the drawing board. I feel disappointed, but I also feel optimistic. Moonbeam has been asking about "the baby" all day - we never specifically addressed this particular baby with her, but it's obvious that our discussions have permeated her spongey little mind. We took her out to the toy store and bought her a new bike to take all our minds off of the stress of the weekend and to remind ourselves how truly lucky we already are. Moving on.
#30 – Effects of 12 Years…
We've been trying to build our family for 12 years - a helluva long time if you ask me. For all of these years I've been looking forward to the next step in a long sequence of unanticipated movements. In all these years, I've never been entirely settled. I feel it's only a matter of time before our family is complete... And then what? Have I trained my mind, my body, my whole existence to feel unsettled? Will I be content with my two kids, my regular job, my normal family? What have 12 years of waiting done to my psyche and my ability to be present?
#31 – Letting Go
I have a weird thing about letting go. Like if I let go of the idea of baby #2 and when that's going to happen for us, it never will. Like being satisfied about my own current life situation will make the next thing I'm hoping for never happen. I know it doesn't make sense, but I feel unable to let the tension related to "when" and "how" just go ... just in case by surrendering I'm jinxing myself from the very thing I want so badly from never happening. Realistically I know none of this makes any sense. I'm holding on/obsessing about an idea of something (when will I get another baby? how will this happen?) which is unrelated to the events that will need to take place for baby 2 to happen (pregnancy from a woman who wants to place her baby, our profile being shown, our profile being picked, us having a relationship with an expectant mom that is strong enough to validate her placing her baby with us, etc. etc.). Had this not happened to me once before, I think I would be thinking the chances of this happening are incredibly unlikely. But it happens. Circumstances, situations happen. This too will happen. It's just really really hard to not know when and how. It's time to let it go though. I've been holding on too tightly and the uncertainty is driving me bonkers. I want another baby, but I worry that I'm focusing too much thought on this and not enough on appreciating that I am one lucky mama just as it stands today. So time to grab hold of that "when will this happen, when will this happen, when will this happen" and push forward to "wow - this is really awesome ... I have a two year old and she rocks. Let's enjoy this time." Letting go...
#32 – And so it begins…
Today my little girl noticed a framed picture we have on display in her room of her birth mom holding her the day after she was born, the day Birth Mom signed over guardianship to my husband and I. Birth Mom is smiling in the picture, proud of her baby girl, proud of the moment she had as her mother. I pulled the picture down for Moonbeam to get a good look and took this as an opportunity to talk about how special Birth Mom is to her. That she is her birth mom. That this means Moonbeam grew in her tummy and that Birth Mom loves her very much. That Moonbeam has two mommies - me, the mommy that takes care of her and loves her every day … and Birth Mom, the mommy that carried her in her tummy and who also loves Moonbeam every day. Moonbeam looked at me and said very definitively, "No, I grew in mommy's tummy. In YOUR tummy." This was hard. A lot harder than I expected it would ever be. I'd rehearsed this many times, told Moonbeam the story many times, but I swear this was the first time it really clicked with her. And honestly, I felt so sad for her. This is a lot for a 2.5 year old to process. She knows that everyone loves her very much and there is no doubt she feels comfortable in her own skin. She is a cherished child, spoiled rotten and very happy. I have no doubt that she lives a full, rich, happy life. But as she contemplated this and stared at the picture, running her tiny little finger around the frame, I felt she understood. That yes babies grow in mommies' tummies - but that she didn't grow in HER mommy's tummy. That she realized something was different about her/us and that she didn't want to have to deal with it. That the difference in our relationship compared to that of other moms and kids was the first time she has had to confront adoption loss. And she's only 2 and a half. It's a lot. I had a very hard time not holding her too close to me, not squeezing her too hard. So instead, I just sat with her and held her close and breathed, letting the moment wash over her, over me. I put her to bed, closed the door and then let myself cry. And so here we are.
#33 – I am Here
For three years we waited. Although we filled our time with happy memories and loving Moonbeam, the wait was hard. I felt super anxious, more so as time pressed on. My husband weathered the wait with grace and we both had a hard time understanding why I couldn’t just be happy for all we already had, all the blessings life had already bestowed. And I WAS happy and I DID feel blessed... but I felt something big was missing. And with the passing of time, I became less and less certain that I was meant to be a mother of two. Year 1 was hard on us as a family. When we initially submitted our paperwork for adoption #1, we were all starry eyed with rainbows in our eyes. We were open to pretty much everything that came our way... we knew that we could handle a lot as a couple and we felt that by opening our hearts to anything, the right baby would find its way to our family. We were matched very, very quickly with a lovely, healthy, happy expectant mom who we quickly grew to love. A week later, our daughter, a healthy newborn baby girl was born and placed with our family. She was, and still is, perfect. So, for adoption #2, we were certain that by opening up our hearts to anything that would come our way, we would be placed again with a similar situation... that fate would deliver another happy, healthy newborn baby very quickly and we’d have our happy ever after. That’s not how it worked at all. Week after week, month after month, we would randomly receive phone calls from the agency about cases that fit our checkboxes. We spent many many hours deliberating all of these cases, but in every scenario, either we weren’t selected by the birth parents or we declined the opportunity to parent the babies. It was crushing. It was hard on our marriage. It was hard on my heart. Knowing we had the means to parent some of these cases but refusing them was the hardest thing ever. But we moved through that year and made it through. Meanwhile, my job was causing me a lot of stress and was becoming more and more demanding.... much more so than the two year old I was parenting at home if you can believe that! In the fall, after a year of waiting on the list, I quit my position and moved to a smaller company where I thought I’d have more balance. After finding a new job, I talked to my husband and we decided to put our wait on hold for a year. That year provided us with reprieve from calls and decision making, but it was becoming increasingly clear that I didn’t like my new job and that I really wanted another baby. We talked a lot about next steps – whether or not we should add another child to our family. Many hours and tears were spent deciding on what to do next. I quit my job again and found a much less stressful line of work where I could contribute, help people and make a difference for 7 hours a day rather than the 10-12 I had previously been working. Life slowed down but my desire for another baby did not. Year 3 rolled around and a lot of hard family stuff happened outside of family building. In the meantime, we went back on the list, this time with a much more strict set of criteria and the request for no consultation calls. We got very few bites on our profile and with adoption numbers so low, it really felt like a second baby wasn’t going to happen. After five years, we took our first real vacation with Moonbeam and spent most of our evenings talking about coming to a resolution that our family was what it was, and being happy with that. We got to a good space individually and as a couple and resolved to be happy together, just the three of us. Less than two days after arriving home from our vacation, we got a phone call from the agency. A baby girl had been born two days earlier... just as we’d been pulling into town from vacation. Birth mom had picked us the day after baby was born and we found out the next morning. Baby girl was perfect. She was who we’d been waiting for. We were in complete shock... after three years of waiting we’d convinced ourselves that we were meant to be a family of three, yet here she was... funny how things work. Four hours later, we held our guardianship papers in one hand and our Sunshine Girl in the other. It was incredible. Our hearts had been prepared to accept what was coming our way, although our brains were convinced that this meant a future with just Moonbeam. Sunshine Girl’s arrival and presence take me aback at how meant to be everything has turned out to be. She is exactly what our family needed. Five months later, I still feel grateful every morning when we wake up together as a family. I have Moonbeam, my big girl of five years who brings so much spirit, heart and beauty to my life. And Sunshine Girl grounds me... her calmness and joy keep me tied to the moment. It’s amazing how this has all unfolded. The past three years have been painful. I kept busy and tried to be the best mom I could be with Moonbeam and my husband assures me that I did a good job of that. But I was sad. I was uncertain. Now, with every ounce of myself I can say I feel happy, I feel clear, I feel complete. After 15 years of not knowing how my story to motherhood would begin, I am here.