Sunday, July 13, 2014

Almost Parents.


Our almost adoptions are something I don't talk about often. For a few reasons. One of the main ones being that I'm friends with and genuinely care about all of the people that we've had "almost adoptions" with and I don't want to hurt them or make them feel bad for the choices they made. Another is that it makes me feel like a failure as a human.

There, I said it. I feel like my inability to not only conceive but also successfully adopt a child is a huge personal failure on my part.

I'm not even going to tell you how many times we've been *this close* to being parents just to have something happen, it's absolutely horrifyingly heart-wrenching.

I want to make one thing clear before I even get started, we have no hard feelings towards the women that have changed their minds about having us adopt their children. Each of these women had their own struggles and reasoning for even looking into adoption, and each had their own reasons for choosing to keep them. None of these women intentionally hurt us by beginning down the path to adoption and then changing their minds. I honestly believe that at the start of each of these journeys these women were certain in the decisions they made and simply had a change of heart later on.

I love each of these women dearly and we have no hard feelings towards any of them. The pain we feel is not their fault, and I am NOT writing this to make them feel guilty. In fact, I normally avoid talking about it so that I don't hurt their feelings.

But, I need to talk about it. For me. For my broken heart. And, maybe for you, too. Maybe you need to hear that you aren't alone and that someone else has felt this.

But, I need them each to know that this isn't about them, that my hurt isn't about them, my anger isn't from them. And I need you to not be angry at them for their choices either.

Things happen. Plans change, life moves in ways we can't predict. That is no one's fault.

Having an adoption get derailed is the strangest kind of mourning. It's hard to know how to feel, and you just feel all mixed up and broken.

First you feel let down and disappointed, you tried not to get your hopes up in the first place...but you did anyway. As soon as you have that awkward conversation that starts out with "I know I promised you, but..." your heart plummets right out of your chest. You curse yourself for ever letting your stupid hopes get up in the first place, for ever believing that someone would actually want you to parent their child, for ever thinking that you were good enough to be a parent. You feel dejected and unworthy. Every. Single. Time.

Then come the tears. These are always saved until after "the talk" the one that ends it all. These are not pretty tears, these are shirt-drenching, body-wracking, ugly sobs of defeat, bitterness, jealousy, and just about any kind of sad you can think of.

These emotions probably don't come as a surprise to anyone that hasn't dealt with this. That actually sounds pretty normal, I'd bet.

The weird part is twofold.

The first part being the mourning. The baby didn't actually die, but rather isn't existing in your life, so the plan and the idea of parenting that child does die. So, you begin the normal grieving process that we humans go through when we lose a loved one. But, it feels really weird to grieve the loss of a living person, morbid almost. You feel selfish for mourning someone that was never really yours to lose in the first place. You also feel selfish and guilty for mourning the loss of someone that is being celebrated as an addition to another's life.

Actually, now that I think of it, I wonder if that's how parents that choose adoption for their children feel? I would imagine so.

You are grieving and mourning what almost was, yet you feel AWFUL for doing so.

The second part of the weirdness comes in with the happiness you feel.

Yes, happiness, joy over a new life coming into the world, joy for someone choosing to parent their child. Joy for THEM. Happiness for THEM.

Even though it hurts for you, you do feel joy for them. It feels like you're being split in half by the grief and the joy. The two emotions are at war with each other, and each wins a few battles.

I can't really say which wins the war in the end, ours is still going on. And, everyone's war is different. It's personal. The emotions I described may not be what you felt if you've gone through this, but they're what I've experienced.

What I am experiencing.

It's been several years since our first, and only weeks since our last two, yes, I said two, I won't really elaborate on that, but there it is.

We still find ourselves wondering about the first one.

Sometimes we sit and cry for hours and just hold each other while praying for each of those precious children that have lives and homes elsewhere. It comes out of nowhere and hits you like a freight train.  They may never know how close they came to having an entirely different life, but we do.

That may be for the best, then again, it may not be. Only God knows that.

Either way, for us, for right now, it sucks.

It hurts.

My heart is broken and every day I wonder what I've done wrong. Every day I ask God why I can't have a child, why we're always so close, yet so far away from parenthood.

I don't have answers for you, or for me.

I don't have something I need to hear, or anything you can do to fix it.

I just need to express what I'm feeling, I just need you to at least try to understand why I am the way I am.

Eventually it hurts a little less, but every *almost* child we have adds a new scar to our hearts. They never fully heal, they're always a little tender to the touch. And every talk of adoption, every unwed mother upset about her pregnancy, every news story about another murdered, abused or neglected child, every talk about abortion, every pregnant family member is another touch on each of those scars.

One would think that every time this happens you'd grow a little more numb to it. But, no, it seems to be the opposite. Every scar leaves you a little more sensitive to the topics that touch them.

This is why telling us to do foster care, just adopt, or that we can have your kids really eats at me. I know you mean well, I really, really do. But, don't you think we've thought about these things? Talked about them, maybe even explored them? We have. We are. I don't mean to wince when you say these things, but you're hitting on my wounds and scars.

Does this mean we're giving up? No. Some days I'd like to, some days I think that all of this is God telling me I suck too much to have children ((yes, I know how irrational that sounds))

But, we're not giving up. We just have to keep trying, and yeah, maybe we have to keep hurting and never fully heal. Maybe we'll have to go through many more almosts. Maybe the next time will finally be forever.

We just have to keep trusting and loving God and each other.

That may sound insane to you, to willingly put ourselves out there to potentially risk this crippling pain again and again, but it's because we know a simple truth: They are worth it.

Our children are worth it.

They are worth every single tear, every scar, every hurt, every almost. We love them, even though we don't know them and may never know them. They are completely and totally worth every single second of what we're enduring. Even though many days it doesn't feel like it, we know they are.

Yes, we know we may never have kids, we know we may never meet our children.

We also know it won't be for lack of trying on our part.

We aren't going to say no to the next offer of adoption, we aren't going to say no to tying to conceive naturally, and we aren't going to say no to a child in need.

Sure, they may end in heartache again, and again, and again. We could avoid the heartbreak and all the pain by just quitting and saying no, we could do that.

But, doing so could mean saying no to our children, saying they aren't worth the fight.

They are.


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