NOTE: I’M SHARING THIS EXPERIENCE BECAUSE I CAN’T PRETEND LIKE EVERYTHING IS OKAY. IF I HAVE ONE WISH THROUGH SHARING IS THAT OTHERS ALSO TALK OPENLY ABOUT THEIR STRUGGLES. THE MORE I GO THROUGH THIS, THE MORE I REALIZE HOW MANY OTHERS SHARE SIMILAR HEARTBREAK BUT DONT TALK ABOUT IT.
You know when people as you a question like “how was your holiday?” and you just answer with some blanket statement like “it was good.”? Well that’s been a hard one for me to answer in the last week, because it’s a lie.
Sure, I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. And I was surrounded by love. But my heart was broken. And there was nothing I could do about it.
A week ago, Scott and I had planned to announce to both of our families that we were growing our family through adoption. And it was happening fast. After several months of communication, we had decided to move forward. We even met the baby. It was truly a unique situation. The social worker even told us so. It was moving unbelievably fast for us. We expected to have the child as soon Christmas but most certainly early in the New Year.
It’s one thing to hold someone else’s child. It’s another thing to hold a baby knowing (or maybe thinking) that it will be your own. We guarded our hearts well when she was just an idea, an already born baby that needed a forever home, maybe we could be it. But once we held her…It was something completely different.
How quickly your imagination can run in a short amount of time; planning our life with this child. We purchased baby stuff. We began making space in our home and in our hearts. We quickly worked to begin and complete a home study. We were about to be parents.
It. All. Moved. So. Fast. And it all felt so perfect.
Until it wasn’t.
Within 24 hours of meeting the baby, Thanksgiving Day, we learned that the adoption wouldn’t be happening. They decided they simply could not give the baby up. And there was nothing we could do about it.
Excitement. Fear. Joy. It all came crashing down into sadness, anger and heartbreak.
Thanksgiving was sad. Despite having a lot do be thankful for, all we could think about was what we’d just lost in less than 24 hours. To wrap our minds around the idea that we won’t be parents by Christmas and we won’t be parents by the New Year.
BUT…This heartbreaking process taught us that we are more ready to welcome a child than we ever realized. However, we also discovered and agreed that we will unapologetically act with love and welcome whatever God presents us.
You see despite the risks and unknowns, Scott and I had willingly stepped into this. We said “we love you and you’re welcome here” at the expense of our own heartbreak. Although honestly, I don’t think either of us believed we’d actually experience the heartbreak.
So as we head into the holiday season, please forgive me if I don’t seem my normal cheerful self. Scott and I are working through this together. Know that I’m still happy for you and your family. I’m still “‘ing” those photos of your kids with Santa. I’m still truly happy for all your moments. But I’m recognizing that they aren’t going to be mine this Christmas.
What’s so beautiful about this process though…is that we are also headed into the season of Advent. A time in the church where we wait for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent challenges us to spend time with God and reflect before beginning a new. It’s a time when anything can happen. A clean slate of sorts.
I bought a print a few weeks ago (in preparation for adoption) that reads: There is wonder in the waiting.
This year we wait. And we wonder what God really has in store for us.
And while we wait, we grieve. But it’s a part of the process; grieving so we can make room in our hearts (again) for our family to grow.
Moving forward, Scott and I will continue to open our hearts to whatever God has planned for us; even having learned how heartbreaking this process can be. Adoption isn’t off the table; we’re still moving forward on that process, albeit at a less breakneck speed. And neither is the hope for a biological child.
All we ask for is your prayers (not your sympathy). And an understanding that this (once) private journey has been made public in hopes that anyone who’s going through it or has gone through it can find comfort in knowing they are not alone. Because alone is not the way to go through this.