In one of the adoption groups that I’m a part of on Facebook, someone posted today about her failed adoption. It broke my heart. I remember all too vividly how much it hurts to be hopeful about getting a child only to be let down. There are so many mixed emotions going on within you. You are hurt and you can’t imagine that it will ever get better. Yet at the same time, you know that you cannot hate someone for wanting to parent his/her child. It’s like your heart and your head are in a battle over which is right. The truth is…both of them are. You are allowed to feel sad. You are allowed to be hurt. You are even allowed to be angry. Those are all valid emotions.
When you are told, “No, I’ve decided to parent”, the devastation is overwhelming. It does consume you for a while. Every family is different. Some families move on faster than others. There is no time frame on the healing of the heart. But you will know when you are ready to begin again. You’ll know because you will be able to talk about the event without feeling the heartbreak all over again.
That’s when you push forward. You have to. At some point (after you grieve the loss) you pick up and start again. Those who haven’t been through it may not understand how you can do it. You do it because you want a child. Because in your heart, it’s perhaps the strongest feeling of “want” that you’ve ever known. It’s a primal need that “most” women do feel. (Not everyone, of course. However, if more of the women that didn’t want to be a mother acted in the right ways, perhaps more of us maternal women would not be childless.)
Let’s not forget the adoptive fathers as well. My husband went through the grieving process as well. He felt the sadness that I felt. He felt it for himself, and he felt it for me. It was probably the most gut-wrenching pain he has experienced—seeing me go through that heartache. In adoption, a lot of times we forget about the daddies. My husband wanted those children as much as I did. And I leaned on him as if he were a rock. He was there each and every time.
The families of adoptive parents also experience this loss to some extent. Many times, their hopes are up and broken along with the waiting adoptive parents. In our case, both sets of grandparents were awaiting their first grandchild. My brother was awaiting his first niece or nephew. They were let down right along with us. It made us all stronger…closer. People ask me all of the time how we did it. I simply say, “We just had faith that eventually it would happen”. And it did.
If it weren’t for those failed adoptions, we wouldn’t have our little Logan. I can’t imagine my life without him. I can’t imagine not seeing his smiling face every single day. Of course, we’d have another child that we would love just the same, this is true. But now that I have Logan, I can’t imagine him not being a part of our lives. His personality, his spirit, his spunk…we would have missed out on that had those other adoptions gone through.
As hard as it is to face the pain, the pain is what gave me the strength to be there for Logan’s sweet birth mother as well. She needed a rock to lean on. I knew that I had to be there for her as well. The pain she was going through is unlike any I have personally ever known. That kind of selfless love is something I had never experienced. She told me once that I would soon understand what that kind of love is like—once you are a mother you learn to love like you never have loved.
And she was right.
To all of those that are going through this heartache right now, I simply say, “hang in there”. It’s overused. It seems simplistic, even. It doesn’t say the hundreds of words that one could use to explain this process of emotions, but it is the best advice I have. I truly believe that the angels helped lead our little guy to us. Those of other faiths may feel differently. You have to find that place where you allow yourself to just BE.
Once the acceptance comes, it does get better. We are all much more resilient than we are led to believe. It does get better. One day you will be looking back on the experience and you will feel the emotions change. You’ll pick up the pieces and start again. Because that? That’s what mama’s do.
So go ahead and feel the pain, and then let yourself feel the hope again. Someday you will be holding your little love in your arms, and you’ll close your eyes and sigh the most peaceful sigh you’ve ever known. One day your child will look at you with adoring eyes and say, “mama”. There’s nothing like it. It will come. Adoption is a long, hard process. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are many bumps and twists and turns, but in the end it is ALWAYS worth the struggle. Most of the truly amazing things in life are, after all.
Hang in there.