Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pain begets beauty

In the adoption world, the thing hopeful adoptive families fear most is called a "disruption".  Basically, it means that the expecting mother decides to parent or decides to choose another family.  

On our way to the Nugget, we experienced a disruption, in which the couple decided to parent at the last minute.  Yesterday, we experienced the other kind of disruption, in which the expecting mom decided that we were not the right fit for her.  

Because of our past experience, we know that a disruption is just a step (a really painful step that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy) towards meeting the child meant for you.  Plus we are already parents to a brilliant, incredibly busy toddler, so we can gaze at him or simply try to keep up with him, and our minds are diverted.  So all around, it's much easier to cope this time.

However, this kind of disruption also felt more personal, because it was not simply a decision to parent, but a decision that we were "not good enough".  We had spent 4 intense days traveling to meet the expectant mom and her daughter, days that happened to be sandwiched between another trip and houseguests.  We forged a connection that we felt was genuine and real.  We spoke about our hopes and concerns, about future visits and photos, picked out a name, our children played together like they'd been lifelong friends.  We thought it was all going well.  But it ended all the same.  

We don't have regrets, because we were exactly who we are.  We didn't hide anything or hold back.  And in moments of clarity, I know it wasn't that we weren't good enough, it was just that we weren't what SHE wanted or needed, and I know that we WILL be what our child's birthmom wants and needs.

Then there's the issue of undoing all the good news we'd shared.  I had held back until after our visit, believing that because I'd lived through a disruption and an adoption, that I'd just know what it felt like once we met in person.  So after our visit, I shouted our news from the rooftops, dropped it like happy confetti.  Many tell me that it's so unwise to share adoption news, but I just have to, want to, need's a part of me.  If I can't joyfully prepare for a child to join our family, I don't feel like much of a mom.  

Taking back good news and replacing it with bad feels like hunting for all that dropped confetti, crawling through the mud to get every speck, half-blinded by my tears.  Most give it back sadly; that makes me feel like the grim reaper, that I ruined the happiness of others.  Sometimes I have to pry a stray scrap of confetti out of someone's hands, they are so angry and upset, that I have to defend the birthmom and her choice, I have to comfort THEM.  I do believe in her right to choose and sincerely hope she finds what she's looking for, yet in the midst of suffering, it's like having to verbally defend a driver who's just totaled your car.  She didn't do it on purpose, but you sure don't feel like standing up for her.  But I will, because it's the right thing to do, because adoption is forever and because she deserves to have the adoptive family of her dreams....which just happens to not be us.

I also feel a little perturbed at God.  I mean, shouldn't one disruption be enough?  Haven't I paid my dues in suffering already?  Again, in silence and clarity, I know better.  I know that misfortunes aren't doled out fairly.  And I also know that I have a very blessed life, and when I stop and breathe, I can be thankful for all the good things and people in my life.  I know that that God is holding our hands and giving us comfort through our trials.  

When our son was born, we looked at the Nugget and said it was all worth it and that we'd have lived through more disruptions just for the chance to be his parents, that the indignities, paperwork, and heartbreak were our labor for him.  That experiencing the lowest, hardest part of adoption, we could fully experience the highest high of meeting him, of merging his birthfamily with our own.  Lil Sib, you are out there somewhere.  We are laboring for you.



  1. Beautifully and wisely said. Still sending you big hugs... ~Christa

  2. Annie,
    Thanks for being so honest. You are human and there is nothing wrong about feeling sad, upset or mad after this disruption. Just because you deeply understand how open adoption works, does not mean that it should nullify your feelings. They are very valid too. Hugs, and more hugs...Lolo

  3. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), God just knows that you're strong enough to be able to handle it. It's not a happy thought, and I'm sorry that you guys had to go through it a second time. And, I'm sorry that you have to defend the bmom's decision to everyone else. It can be frustrating, when you know their intentions are the best (keeping your interests in 'their' minds), and I just respect you even more! It would've been easy to take the low road, but that's not what makes you a better person!
    Sending love,
    B ":o)