Here we go again…

Almost a year ago, the opportunity to travel to India for a friend’s wedding in February 2017 presented itself.  This fit well with our commitment  to “live life as we know it while we wait.” Until dissolution of the twin placement just recently, I had a very hard time feeling excited for this upcoming trip because I never felt sure it would actually happen.

Unfortunately, my husband won’t be joining me as it’s very difficult (and expensive) to take such a huge chunk of time off in the midst of teaching junior high. He loves to travel, just as I do, but India was not as high on his list. He has been been so supportive in me going without him.  This is one of the things I appreciate the most about our marriage…that we cherish our time together while we celebrate and encourage each other’s independence and interests.

I am due to leave in less than three weeks.  We agreed that starting today, we would put ourselves on hold for any instant placements until the day of my return.  We would keep ourselves active for any opportunities where a birthmother would be due after my return.  I called our social worker today to share our wishes.

We put ourselves on hold prior to Africa only to learn our file was out a few weeks later.  This lead to an almost match and a lot of frustration with our agency for the lack of transparency.  This time, as much as I did not want to ask the question, I knew I had to.  “Is our file out right now?”

And once again, it is.  To a birthmother due in April.  I did not allow myself to ask any other questions and said I would call back in March when I return to take ourselves off hold for instant placements.

The first time I learned our file had been viewed and we were not selected, was months after it happened.  I felt so excited to even be looked at that early in the process and there was nothing to grieve because I never had gotten my hopes up.  Last May, when we were viewed and spent two weeks in limbo, we were so incredibly hopeful and invested leading to us being absolutely gutted when we were not selected.  This fall, we were much more cautious, but waiting over four months to learn the birthmother had disappeared was incredibly disappointing. Here we are again, and the first feeling that came to mind when I learned our file was out was dread.  How awful!

Instead of excitement or hope, I immediately thought that we potentially have three  months of waiting/anxiety/anticipation only to be rejected once more.  I think I am learning to expect it will not work out.  My husband was much more excited than me and did a perfect reframe as usual that “we can’t be picked if our file isn’t out.”

I’m at the point where I wish I didn’t know and that our placement is an instant one where I don’t have to spend days and nights thinking we are close only to have it not work out.  I think my feeling of dread is self protection.  God forbid I allow myself to have hope.

I told my closest pal today about this update and her knee jerk reaction was “how exciting!!” until she saw the look on my face.  She empathized with my mixed feelings and asked if she could “hold my hope” for me.  How perfect!

For now, I will count the days until my amazing Indian adventure and will approach life as it is meant to be when I return.

 

 

Two years in.

January 29th marks two years on the domestic adoption waitlist.  Our agency says the average wait time is 3 to 4 years currently.  It was estimated as 2 to 3 years when we started this process.  I celebrate that women have more access to choices in how to approach an unplanned pregnancy and I accept that those choices mean our wait is long.  As we sit at around 60 or so on the waitlist (much lower considering families on hold), with an average of 40 placements per year, it is very possible that 2017 will be THE year.

This most recent lost opportunity with the twins (who essentially vanished off the face of the earth), contributed to a nagging feeling in my gut and some long conversations with my husband about this process and whether our hearts are still in it.

The longer we experience infertility, the more set in our current DINK lifestyle we become.  We agree that our trip to Africa was a catalyst for creating gratitude and acceptance for our current life.  In 2016, I focused so much on seizing opportunity only afforded to those without small children that I actually started to really appreciate being child free.  Maybe we could accept it just being the two of us for the rest of our lives…

This drawn out wait to adopt makes you evaluate often how committed you are to having your heart regularly tested and hurt. It challenges your will to become parents.  It makes you consider how deeply you truly want it and what you are willing to sacrifice to make it happen.

For a few weeks this past month, after yet another painful disappointment, I started to question how badly I really wanted a child.  Whether it was truly worth it.  I focused on the anxiety, grief, sacrifice, and loss of control one must live in when parenting.

Despite the risk, I continue to believe that the reward is immeasurable.  Anyone who has children tells us that the love you feel is beyond anything you ever know.  I feel we are good people who have so much we want to share with a child.  I also know that being a parent will open up so many parts of myself that I am not even aware of and that I will be better for it. And in reflection, I would truly regret not pursuing the opportunity to be a mother.  Maybe it will work out for us, maybe it will not.  But I am not ready to give up.

Heartbreak creates dissonance.  It talks you out of risk.  It pushes you towards acceptance. But as my heart heals once again, my commitment to our goal of being a family of three is reaffirmed.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

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Farewell 2016… In reflecting on this past year, it was a year of highs and lows.  We entered our second year on the domestic adoption wait list which lead to an almost match in May 2016. Our nursery is finished, we attended an adoptive parent infant care course, and we updated our profile. It was incredibly painful to come so close and we were so grateful to have our trip of a life time to Africa in August 2016 to focus on as we grieved. We have been in limbo for almost four months about a possible match with a birthmother expecting twins but learned in December she has stopped contacting the agency.  We realize that this likely won’t work out but haven’t given up hope yet. The four months of limbo have been very trying.

My husband celebrated 8 years of sobriety and continues to be a mentor to those around him.  There is safety and stability in our relationship.  Our time in Africa together reinforced how obsessed I am with him.  I cannot wait for him to be a father.

Work was incredibly challenging but the most rewarding of my five years with our program.  There was significant staff turnover that in the moment felt hard but opened the door for some absolutely incredible hires.  We lost clients tragically but we also welcomed new clients and witnessed their inspirational determination and resiliency.

We went to the vet with our two dogs more times than I can count.  Thinking of them aging and not being with me for my lifetime breaks my heart so I am trying appreciate my daily snuggles and that days of good health that they have.

We welcomed a niece on my husband’s side.  My two siblings are expecting this spring.

In 2016 I focused on choosing guilt over resentment. I hope to continue this theme in 2017.   I hate to let people down, I often over commit, and quietly resent.  This year I tried to say “no” more often and instead embraced opportunities that fulfilled me as opposed to draining my energy.  I spent time doing activities that wouldn’t be possible in early parenthood and instead of feeling sadness, I chose gratitude.

January 2017 brings our second anniversary on the domestic adoption waitlist.  I believe that our movement towards the front of the waitlist this year will bring the possibility of a match.  If I am being honest, I will be very disappointed if we head into 2018 without a child. That being said, we will not put all of our energy into waiting and will continue to live our lives.  I am headed to India in February and my husband is planning a trip to Peru in the summer.  We recognize we need other things to be excited about as we wait and we are willing to lose money should these trips be cancelled.

This blog has been such an important outlet for me.  I have seen those I follow have successful pregnancies, heartbreaking losses, while some continue to wait for their dream of having a family come true just like us.  I truly hope that 2017 is THE year.

End in sight…

Any day now.  These two precious little ones that we learned about in early September will arrive in this world soon.  By my calculations, birthmother is 35 and a half weeks along.  From my obsessive googling about gestation of twins, I am thrilled they have baked as long as they have but know labour could come at any time.

Our agency shared that birthmother has not be in contact recently.  Maybe she has chosen to parent.  Maybe she is terrified of what lays ahead and is taking some time to herself.  Maybe she will choose adoption and maybe she won’t choose us.  Either way, what feels like an eternity of limbo will finally come to a close.  And I feel relieved at the thought of it. The hospital social worker is aware of this family and will be in contact with the agency to provide an update should she choose parenting or open adoption.

We will be heartbroken if this is not our turn.  Truly, twins would be the only opportunity we might ever have of having more than two children.  But at this stage, I would would rather be in grief than in limbo.  No more checking my phone a million times a day.  No more living two lives (e.g. simultaneously planning a trip to India in two months vs researching formula and strollers).

I know if we are not selected, it could only be a short while before we are back in a similar position of knowing we are being considered but having weeks or even months in between a final decision.  After the ups and downs of these last three months, I hope the universe has an instant placement in store for us so I don’t spend the moments that my brain is not occupied with work or socializing stuck in the endless cycle of “what if.”

Even though this has been hard for us, I remind myself of how much harder it is for this birthmother.  And my thoughts and prayers are with her today and in the days ahead.

 

Gone Too Soon.

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This week I lost a client to a drug overdose.  He was 24.  He had not been with our program for long but our connection was instant.  I have experienced the passing of multiple clients during my time in this field, but this particular loss has impacted me differently.  My rapport with this client was maternal in nature and I am feeling his loss deeply. This was a kid who had made some bad choices in his life, but he was trying.  And I had a lot of hope his life could be different.

I spent the morning yesterday with his family, and it was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had as a counsellor.  It was clear there are years of wounds that will make this family’s grief journey complicated.  My heart is with them.

I am trying to process the significant transference feelings I am having about this experience related to my own thoughts around becoming a parent.  Often, I focus my yearning around the immense joy and fulfilment that will come from building our family.  This week reminds me of the insurmountable vulnerability and responsibility one takes on in parenthood.  It rather seems like having a piece of your heart exist outside your body.  I am stuck by how little control a parent can sometimes have over their child despite their overwhelming hope for that child to have the best life possible.

My client is any parent’s child.  He could be my child.

When we are gifted with the opportunity of parenthood, I am reminded that with limitless joy will come multiple sorrows.  But what I can control is me and the way that I love, honour, and encourage as a parent.

May the heavens wrap you in the love and light you so desperately wanted to feel on this earth. Sending comfort and peace to your precious family.  Wishing all parents hug their children a little tighter today.