Monday, September 12, 2011

What is Your Biggest Fear?

I have picked up “lucky” pennies.  I have wished on stars and numerous years of birthday candles.  I have prayed to God and any other higher power that may be listening.  I have looked for signs…good signs, bad signs.  I have thought positively and visualized positive outcomes.  But mostly, I have hoped.  I hoped with every ounce of energy I have.

A few months ago we sat at our adoption support group meeting.  Couples surrounded the long rectangular table…couples waiting to adopt.  That particular night we were discussing grief, loss, fear and coping.  A pretty heavy lineup for the evening.  Today I remember vividly the one question that prompted a unanimous answer:  What is your biggest fear as it relates to open adoption?  One by one each couple shared their biggest fear…a birth mom changing her mind after bringing a baby into their home…after bringing a baby into our home…by far our biggest fear. 
Two weeks ago today we received a phone call - another life changing phone call.  We had once again been matched.  Matched with a mom that was already in labor.  Matched with a mom that had been adoption minded since the beginning of her pregnancy.  Matched with a mom that was carrying a healthy baby boy.

That baby boy (whose name will remain confidential) was born the very next morning.  Our bags were packed.  Grandparents were put on alert.  We sat anxiously waiting for the OK to head to the hospital.  Waiting, the three of us, on the couch… waiting and waiting for the phone to ring. 
When Chris and I got to the hospital we were moved into a small private waiting room.  It was comfortable with a couch and two would be the room where we would fall in love and begin to bond with the little boy we had been told would be ours.  The nurse came in and said that the baby was in the nursery under the warmers…but we could come and see him through the windows.  We walked down the hall in absolute awe that this was actually happening.  When we came up to the window the nurse pointed to him…perfect little him.  My body crumbled, my tears started to flow and I leaned back to feel Chris to know that this was real.  He had more hair than I had ever seen on a baby and the most beautiful kissable lips.  The nurse cried too.  They warmed him up and brought him to the window so we could have a closer look.  They needed to make new bracelets for us so that that we could be alone with the little guy.  Once that was done they brought him down to our room.  We cried again as he was first placed in my arms…the emptiness lifting, the weight of his little body filling my world.  This was unreal. 
We spent the next two days feeding, changing, bonding, loving, and sharing with this little person.  Addison came to visit, not wanting to miss out on one bit of the action.  At one point the baby was having his diaper changed, screaming his head off and pooping like crazy… Addison stood on the side of his bed sobbing, not wanting to see the little guy so upset.  Chris and I smiled…it was a moment we had been waiting for…a moment of being overwhelmed by the needs of two children.

Then the morning of discharge came.  All the paperwork had been filled out.  Plans were in place on what would take place as we were all leaving the hospital.

And just like that everything changed.  His birth mom was having second thoughts.  She wanted to parent.  Having planned on an adoption since the beginning of her pregnancy she had nothing prepared at her home for a baby.  She needed time to think and time to prepare.  She asked that we take the baby home while she considered parenting.  We said yes.

We spent a total of 10 days with this most beautiful baby boy.  We had already fallen in love and our bond was growing stronger every day.  Two days after we got home, his birth mom stated that her plan was to parent but she still needed to finish preparing to bring the baby into her home.  Again, we were asked if he could stay with us while she prepared.  We said yes...still hoping and praying that she would ultimately come back to her adoption plan, and yet fully respecting the decisions and choices that she was trying to make during this difficult time.

Then the dreaded day came.  His birth mom was ready to take him.  Her home was ready to welcome him.  She was 100% confident that she wanted to parent.  We felt our world crashing down.

We gave him one last bath.  We packed all of the special things that needed to go with him to his mom.  We put together a note and a list of things that would be helpful for his mom to know.  We dressed him and held him.  We told him that we loved him.  Addison said her goodbyesdisappointed and sad…wanting to know why he had to leave and when we would get to see him again.  She asked if she could give him one of her books to take with him.

Chris and I drove the little sweetheart to the adoption agency.  We said our goodbyes in the office, gave him our last kisses and then we left.  The pain of having to walk away from a baby that you love, a baby that you brought into your life and home, a baby that although only briefly you thought might be yours forever, is indescribable.  His mom was there to pick him up minutes after we left.

We have been thrown back into the darkness of grief.  While comforting to know that this little boy is safe, healthy and being showered with love…his loss in our life is immense.

We fully respect this mom, and all birth moms, for making some truly difficult decisions.  We can only imagine how her heart ached and the agony she must have felt being away from her baby and weighing his future for those 10 days.  We wish her, and especially this sweet boy, a lifetime of love and happiness…only wanting the best for them both.

As for today, as for us…we will be ok.  We continue to survive what we think we cannot.  We continue to walk through life tackling the day-to-day ins and outs.  We don’t know why.  We will probably never know why pain and suffering have been such a large part of our journey.  We are fortunate to have family and friends that hold us up and support us unconditionally.  We lean on them during this time of haze and darkness.  There will always be tomorrow.

I have picked up “lucky” pennies.  I have wished on stars and numerous years of birthday candles.  I have prayed to God and any other higher power that may be listening.  I have looked for signs…good signs, bad signs.  I have thought positively and visualized positive outcomes.  But mostly, I have hoped.  I hoped with every ounce of energy I have.


  1. My heart breaks for your sweet family. No words I can say can take the grief away from you. Please know I'm praying for your family. The next lucky penny I see....I'll pick it up on your behalf.


  2. I'm with Leslie :( You are such a brave family....So sorry for the loss you are experiencing now.


  3. CH (CPT) Brian Stanley, USASeptember 13, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    The process you describe is cruel -- no other word for it. There has to be a better way.

  4. As I write this, tears are rolling down my face. They are tears of sadness for your heartache and loss, but also tears of joy that I know you and your truly amazing family. We love you, admire you, and respect you for the courage you have shown and the unselfish kindness you offer to others.


  5. I am feeling sad for you today. I will pray that your dream comes true. Thank you for sharing your family dreams and heartaches. You are a wonderful family.

  6. While reading your post, I myself felt incredible sorrow for all of you..You are an amazing family and your loving, kind ways will be rewarded one day. Cling to each other as you always have and find the strength to carry on. This seems so cruel and unbearable and I give you great praise for you continued strenght and courage.
    Love to all! Aunt Freda

  7. My heart aches for all three of you, we are here always and you are always in our thoughts and prayers. Your strength is admirable and your love know no bounds.

  8. Just read this post, Dana and I sit at work w/tears. You and Chris are amazingly strong people. My heart goes out and continues to pray for you guys.