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.
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.
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.
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.
First things first…still no news about the birth mom we continue to be contenders for. We are three months in since learning we were being considered. I’ve resolved myself to not ask our agency for any more updates about this particular case. It sounds likely that this birth mother will wait until very close to giving birth before making her decision which means we need to be prepared to cope with another month of uncertainty.
On to my pondering of the day…I’ve mentioned before that I work in social services and spend most of days supporting individuals with significant mental illness. The program I’m involved with does not work with families so I come across children very infrequently. Yesterday, I was involved in sorting out a very yucky situation with a client who has been victimized by a not so nice individual who I believe to be involved in some fairly serious criminal activity. When I went to visit my client yesterday, this not so nice person, who I will refer to as “tear drop tattoo face” was present, along with his two month old baby. I ultimately needed to involve police and got a call from Child and Family Services later in the day who is now investigating tattoo face and his baby’s safety and wellness. I think it was very likely tattoo face was dealing drugs out of the child’s stroller yesterday.
My heart breaks for this little one. I think it is appropriate for me to assume that baby’s father is making choices that will negatively impact his little one for a lifetime. I know that I won’t be a perfect parent but I do believe my hubby and I are in a position to offer a child more stability, love, and safety than tattoo face is offering his newborn.
This universe doesn’t always make sense to me. Why are we infertile and tattoo face is a parent?
Yet as I am having these feelings of judgment I remind myself that my future child’s birth family may have very similar circumstances in their histories and I need to change my attitude from being critical to finding compassion. Maybe tattoo face has had a terrible life and does not know any other way to provide for little one aside from dealing drugs.
This situation reminds me of the incredible strength and selflessness birth families show when choosing adoption for their child. To be able to accept that you are not in a position to care for your flesh in blood would be heart wrenching. I have so much admiration for families who choose this path.
Little one in the stroller – thinking of you and sending so much love and light your way. May this universe bless you and keep you safe.
We still have not heard whether we are out of the running for the precious twins due to arrive around Christmas. It has been over two months since we learned we were being considered by this birthmother. Last week, an agency Social Worker checked in with us and I boldly allowed myself to ask a few questions. It was clarified that the babies are actually due mid January, but as twins rarely go full term, they are estimating a late December arrival. This piece of info has helped immensely with my expectations around when birthmother may make a decision as I originally believed that her due date was Christmas and anticipated babies would arrive late November.
I also learned that birthmother feels that she will be able to select a family from the five original profiles she was given. I was not brave enough to ask whether birthmother has requested to view any home studies. Honestly, after coming so close in May, I would rather not know how close we get to being chosen. I feel it adds to the heartbreak when we aren’t selected. In addition, we learned our agency has not made a single placement in the past month and recently updated their expected wait times for potential adoptive families to an average of 3 to 4 years. We have not even made it to the two years of waiting marker yet and understand that if we are not chosen this time, we likely have years ahead of us before being matched.
So, I’ve managed to check my phone far less the last two weeks but I still think of birthmother and her growing little ones multiple times per day. It doesn’t help that a gal I work with announced she is expecting twins this week after one round of Clomid.
Hubby and I still haven’t shared that this birthmother is expecting twins with anyone except for one close friend. I have a strange fantasy of re-creating a video that made the rounds on social media where new parents surprised their family with twins when they told everyone they were expecting just one. Infertility has taken so much magic out of growing our family and it would be so incredible to have a moment like that.
My feelings about our current limbo change daily if not hourly. Some moments I allow myself to be hopeful. Other moments I convince myself our odds are slim and anticipate how I will take care of myself in grief around the holidays. I have no idea when we will get our next update but I sure hope it’s soon. Limbo is hard.