Monday, October 19, 2009

Grieving, Moving Forward, and Rematching

Some of you are not going to understand the way that James and I have coped with this loss, but I’m going to try to explain as much as I can about what happened last week and what’s going to happen now.

It’s been not quite a week since Mary called and told me that birthmother had changed her mind about the adoption. I was surprised, yes, but I’d be lying if I said I was totally shocked. Mary, after speaking to her further in the past few days, was completely blown away by BM’s decision and said that she’d been totally blind-sided by it. She talked to BM much more than I did, and she said she never saw this coming.. particularly because their conversation about James and I two days prior had gone so well. Mary thought that surely we were past the worst of BM’s cold feet and that everything would go smoothly. And I’m sure that’s how most everyone else felt that’s been following our story. On the surface, it looked like everything was going according to plan. We’d met with BM the Saturday before for 3-ish hours and everything seemed great when we left. Part of me has wondered if it would have made a difference if I had called her on Sunday and again on Monday to check on her. But at this point, I doubt it.

I don’t know what is says about James or myself that we weren’t as blown away as everyone else. I don’t know how to explain it best. I wasn’t EXPECTING this to happen, but in a way I kind of knew that it would. I’d been having a gut feeling about BM for several weeks now. In fact, my gut feeling was that BM would change her mind on the day the baby was born… that seeing the baby would make her have a change of heart. But I kept telling myself that I was just afraid and that I couldn’t let my fear take control of me. So I was trying to let it go. I can’t say I was 100% successful, but the intent was there. I wanted to trust her and trust in this journey.

But, to be completely honest, I was bracing for this news long before I got it. It didn’t hit me as hard as it hit everyone else because I’d already dug in my heels to prepare for the emotional tsunami. It makes me sad because it means that I really don’t have much faith in people, which I thought I kind of did. And it makes me wonder how much trust did I really put in God to take care of us? I’ve been trying so hard to let go of my control issues and put it in His hands, knowing that whatever happens is part of His plan and it is neither my job nor my right to know what’s in the plan ahead of time. But if I was already subconsciously planning for what would happen when birthmother changed her mind, then how much trust did I really give Him? One of the most important life lessons I can take away from this experience (if I can get it through my thick head) is to let go of the control. I still haven’t gotten it yet, but I’m making good progress and it’s something I’ve been praying about much more.

James took the news much harder than I expected (and I expected him to take it really hard), but he bounced back much more quickly than I expected, too. I was quite relieved about that, because I didn’t have it in me to try to take care of him while I took care of myself.... and my mother, and his mother, and my father, and all our friends, and our friends from church, and all our family members. I’ve never been surrounded by so much love and support during a time of crisis, and I can’t tell you how much it has helped, but with that comes the responsibility of breaking the news to everyone I know as gently as possible. I love each and everyone one of you very very much. Some of you took this news much harder than I expected and having to see that just ripped my heart out.

Telling my mother-in-law (who had JUST driven up from Florida when Mary called me - as in, she was still in the parking lot of the hotel) was gut-wrenching. She held it together okay while I packed up my car and prepared to leave. But when James called her later that evening, she had apparently fallen apart. I told my dad because he was in town with me (he was at an impromptu college buddy reunion when Mary called), but I couldn’t even call my mother. I let him do that dirty work. She was at my house when I got home at 1:30 AM, but thankfully she wasn’t a tear-streamed mess. I hope BM understands that her actions didn’t just hurt James and I. They hurt everyone we love and there’s just no way of taking that back. I can protect myself and, to a lesser degree, James. But I can’t protect all of you and I hate that.

So now what happens? James and I are still trying to pursue an adoption because that’s the only way we’ll be able to have a family and it would be pretty stupid to give up on that because of one person. I talked to Mary about how we would set ourselves up for a rematch with a different birthmother/couple. With our agency, rematches due to a disruption don’t cost us anything. So they will remarket us and put our adoptive parent profiles back on the web and in their files for free. We can’t offer as much money in birthmother support each month because BM pretty much drained our savings dry, but we do still have something left to give.

I know many of you are going to think that we’re jumping back into this too fast and that we need an appropriate period of time in which to grieve. But the truth is that losing that baby is still going to hurt in 2 weeks, in 6 months, in 3 years.... quite possibly forever. Waiting to move on with our lives isn’t going to make that hurt any less painful. At this point, we’re both just ready to move forward (cautiously, of course) and leave the past in the past. Dwelling on what happened doesn’t make me feel any better, so I refuse to let myself do it. The grief will come slowly. There will be good days and bad days, but moving on helps me to cope with it a little bit better.

And if we get matched too quickly, or with a baby-born (meaning that the birthmother decided to give the baby up for adoption and is almost at her due date or the baby was just born), and it feels like we’re moving too fast then we’ll turn the opportunity down and wait a little longer. Personally, I’d much rather be matched with a baby born because it lessens the amount of time I have to deal with another birthmother, and I just don't know that I'm ready to do that yet. But we’ll be okay, whatever happens. BM hurt me, but she did not break me. Everything I had to endure at the beginning of this year made me stronger than that.

Now I just need to figure out what the heck I’m going to do with our frilly pink nursery if we end up adopting a little boy!

We love you all. Thank you so much for your messages and prayers. We couldn’t have gotten through the past week without you. And if anyone wants to ask me questions about what happened or whatever, I’m okay to talk about it now. You don’t have to walk on eggshells.

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