There’s been a few unpublished versions of this post. Many starting paragraphs keyed in and deleted. An adoption story begun, and then abandoned. A draft waiting for it’s turn. I know this isn’t the usual fun DIY, but I ask you to bear with me.
I never really knew how to begin. Our story spans over so many years. Some happy times, some incredibly sad. So let’s start with today. I can time-jump, and shimmy here and there — and we’ll see where exactly we end up. Sounds a lot like how we’ve been living our lives the last 7 years.
So, today. Today is difficult. Today feels like I’m living with one of those giant, hour-glass timers you see villains use while holding a super hero captive in comic books. Only mine signifies leaving a “season of life” (as I call it), and entering another. Usually this is uplifting to me. I love change, always have. Whether it was a new school, a new house or a new haircut — I always saw the positive, and the possibility.
Today I feel a bit like I’m hanging onto my current season with my fingernails scraping against the ground trying to hold me in place. Why? This is where adoption holds us for now. Waiting for the birth of our second child. I say that like she exists, like it’s just a matter of signing a few papers and she’s ours. But — she is in the ether. She is an idea, a dream I have been desperately wanting to come true. But, I can’t make her. I can’t build her like one of my DIY projects. She’s just an idea.
I’ve imagined a hair colour. Curls. Skin tone. What could she be?
Our First Adoption
We have had one successful adoption. She was a doozy! Talk about an arrival! We had been waiting about 15 months. We had a good wait. we were patient, and tried not to over-think it. I was not a Mother yet, so I didn’t truly know what I was waiting for, or missing out on. I remember hoping it would happen “before Christmas”. Then the Christmas season arrived. We hung lights and bought presents, and made our usual get-together plans. We were having an exceptional Christmas Day with family. Our nephew received a fancy new video game player, and that night all the cousins, and uncles, aunts, and grandparents were being silly playing the new karaoke and dancing games together. I danced into the night until I was out of breath. Not paying any mind to the regular everyday thoughts. Excited for the New Year.
My husband actually left his phone behind. This never happens. It’s usually glued to him. Front pocket. Ringer on. In reach. It was about 10:30 Christmas night when we decided we should head home, get a good night’s sleep, we had another day of visiting tomorrow. We were alone as we gathered our belongings. My husband picked up his cell phone and noticed he had a few messages. The adoption agency! He put it on speaker and the hurried voice on the other end, told us of a little baby girl. Born yesterday and ours if we choose. We listened to the message again. I picked up the landline so I could dial the number as I heard it over the message. My fingers stumbled under my shaking hands. Dialed wrong. Play it again! What was the number?! When did she call?! How long have we kept her waiting?! I hope we’re not too late!
We got through. Now it was after 11 pm. “Yes, she’s yours”, she said. “You can pick her up tomorrow at the hospital. I’ll be there to meet you. 11:30am. See you then. Goodnight.”
Best. Christmas. Present. Ever! It felt like a dream. Did that really happen? I remember thinking, how the heck am I going to get any sleep tonight?? I didn’t. It was a GIANT cup of coffee for me the next morning. And, a hectic trip to Wal-Mart. We needed diapers, formula, a car seat, and jammies. At least we made good use of the Boxing Day Sales!
I remember waiting in the lobby of the hospital. We watched the elevator like hawks, for the agency worker. She was late. 25 agonizing minutes late. I felt somewhere between happy and having a heart-attack, when she arrived to take us upstairs. I don’t remember the ride up, I floated into the room and looked at this tiny little human with a full head of black hair. I questioned if this was really true. Is she really ours? I was met with a resounding “yes”.
My eyes burned from tears, and no sleep. There she was. Our Kiddo. I’ll always remember she was actually awake for that moment (she slept the next 3 months solid — I swear people didn’t believe me when I told them she has brown eyes). She looked up at me, and over to her Dad. She tracked us immediately. It felt so true and so meant-to-be. We’ve been loving her everyday, ever since. Five amazing years later, and here we are. Hoping to repeat ourselves with a second incredible story.
But the wait hasn’t been so easy. It’s been long. Almost 3 years long. Sure, we’ve distracted ourselves with vacations and DIY projects, and most recently our huge full-home renovation. All the while telling ourselves, “it’ll happen”, and bumping up against our next ‘season-of-life’ change.
There is no comfort between waiting for something you think could happen right around the corner, and the fear of waiting forever. How do you put a date on the wait? I keep waiting for that moment where the switch happens — where I know it’ll be alright either way. Because being at the end of a long wait is taking its toll on my heart.
Some may say, “Well, you did it. Don’t be greedy. Be happy with what you have.” And in some ways, I can get behind this. Our daughter’s arrival felt like the end to a lot of things. It was the end to a long struggle with infertility, and trying for years really put a strain on our marriage. But, when we found adoption, we just knew. This was for us! There was no other road we wanted to go down. And, all things considered, we had an exceptional experience the first time around.
But — it’s okay to want more. And, it’s okay to want this to be easy.
This past January we got a phone call that made my heart stop. A potential adoption. A little boy. This was a unique situation in that we got a phone call before our profile was shown to the birth parents. Their situation had special circumstances that warranted the heads-up. We were completely comfortable with everything and quickly approved the agency to share our story with the birth parents. They warned us we may be waiting a while. It was 5pm. For three stomach-churning hours I faked my way through calm. I mustered up the focus to make grilled cheese for everyone for supper — but barely felt like I could hold it down. I went from elation to doubt every 10 minutes. And finally at about 8:30, the phone rang. The voice on the other end was soft, “I am so sorry. They decided on another family”.
The tears were hot as they ran down my face. It felt like they didn’t stop over the next two days. Understanding the story of adoption, I was so happy for that “other family”, but so very sad for my own. That was close. Really close. I could taste it. I spent the next week wondering what the lesson could be in that experience — what was I to learn? I soon recognized just how badly I wanted adoption to enter our lives again, and took comfort in my refreshed steadfastness.
So here we sit. Still waiting. I feel either way that I am on the precipice of great change. I’m not ready to let go of that dream I have for my family. But, I also know I can’t wait forever. This is an uncomfortable place to live. But — that is the story of adoption. So many factors are in play. So many emotions. Peoples lives feel up-turned every step of the way. The adoptive families, the birth families, the agency workers — responsible to be the care-takers of all these human-beings’ hearts all along the way. Adoption isn’t just a happy ending for those families wanting to have a family — it’s the heavy interwoven quilt of that childs history. It’s the stories of heartbroken and loving birth moms, and of tender and hopeful adoptive families.
I can take comfort in knowing we will come out the other side, just where we’re meant to be. Learning something, growing more, and at peace. We’re still on the journey, and that’s the hard part — but we’ll get there.