Blog Boldness

Not much happening in our world these days, hence my scarcity in posting.  We did our yearly home study update recently.  Placements are low at our agency.  The wait crawls on!

Our agency has been much more active on social media as of late.  They initiated a guest blog a few months back and I have loved reading the contributions of birth parents, adoptive families, staff, etc.  I felt inspired to share our experience and contributed a post that was published on their website last week.  Due to strict adoption laws in my province, the blog was posted anonymously as we have to be very careful to not “advertise” that we are prospective adoptive parents.  That being said, I boldly directed some close family and friends to check out the post.  This was HUGE for us as there were loads and loads of feelings described along with a synopsis of our experience to date of being waiting parents.  It very much felt like sharing a diary entry with my world!

As vulnerable as I felt that day, the response received was overwhelmingly supportive and encouraging.  Most powerfully, my in-laws acknowledged that they truly had no idea how difficult this process had been for us until reading the post.  This statement of empathy and validation from them was invaluable to me.  If only all of these folks knew I have almost three years of infertility blogging hidden in the depths of the internet!

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A bucket list item remains…

Yesterday my amazing new little niece arrived!  I was honoured to be invited to partake in her birth.  My sister and brother-in-law  wanted me to have this amazing gift knowing that being part of a birthing experience of my own would be very unlikely.  My sister called in the middle of the night on Saturday to share she was in labour (three weeks early)!  I met them at the hospital and was in the room as she quickly moved through the stages of labour.  Within 10 hours she was fully dilated!  Even with the epidural, her back labor became excruciating and she was eventually whisked off to the OR with daddy for a forceps assisted birth around 630pm.  No room for two supports in the OR so auntie was sent to the waiting room.

To say I feel disappointed to not have been there for the birth is an understatement.  It broke my heart when I walked in to the recovery room to have the first thing my sister say to me be “I’m sorry.”  She and her partner were champs and did everything they could but sometimes babies just need a little help to make their entrance.  I swallowed my own mess of emotions and focused on the joy of being the first family member to meet my niece and to know that I had been with her as she worked her way closer to this world.

Today, I am a bit of a mess.  That familiar swirl of intense happiness along with the ache of infertility grief is as present as ever along with a the heavy disappointment that I am unlikely to see a live birth of someone special to me.  Two new babies in my immediate family within 12 days is surreal and a bit overwhelming.  I am so proud and thrilled to be an auntie again but I am so resentful of my own negativity and grief.  Why can’t my joy be pure?  It feels so lonely and selfish to have sadness when everyone is celebrating. I just keep reminding myself that I am capable of more than one emotion and that my feelings are perfectly ok.

One excellent outcome of yesterday was that witnessing labour solidified my choice in adopting.  The mechanism of how our child comes to us matters less than ever.  I do not have labour envy!  As I watched my sister and brother-in-law search for what features their little one shared, I was strangely calm.  When I watched my parents walk into the room with such joy over meeting their granddaughter I knew in my heart they are capable of that exact joy when meeting our child, even if how he or she comes to us is different.

We are next out of our families.  I say this with absolute confidence.

Surrounded!

My brother’s sweet little baby boy was born two weeks ago.  It is surreal seeing my brother as a father.  I still think of him as a kid himself (he’s 28).  He is so incredibly proud and him and his wife seem to be taking to parenthood with very little fuss.  They do not have a ton of money, so hubby and I offered to try and use our pinterest skills to do a newborn photoshoot.  The pictures turned out really well and it was a wonderful opportunity to spend some special time with our new nephew.  My husband’s brother has four kids, so I’ve been lucky to be an auntie for years, but this newest nephew is the first little one on my side of the family.  There is something special about knowing some of my DNA is mixed in with his.

Now that my brother’s little one has arrived, we have started the countdown for my sister to deliver.  Although she is due at the end of this month, she has been having lots of contractions and the doctors feel it could be any day.  Truly, all my family can talk about these days, and understandably so, is babies!

With the pregnancies on my side of the family, I have been more comfortable to ask the questions that aren’t always appropriate.  My brother kindly obliged and took some photos of the placenta for me.  I am blessed to be invited to the delivery room with my sister.  These births are giving me some of the inside scoop I might not otherwise have as someone who experiences infertility.

When people who know about our adoption wait ask about my brother and sister’s little ones they often offer us platitudes about like “your turn will be soon.”  As much as they mean for this to be comforting, it seems to have the opposite effect.  Being surrounded by babies that are not mine makes our turn feel further away then ever.

It’s been a wild few weeks.  I feel proud to be an auntie and feel like I am getting better and better at coping with pregnancy announcements and infants.  Only minimal tears these last few weeks which is better than usual!

Feelings!

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I compulsively check the placement updates on our adoption agency’s website with a frequency that is embarrassing to acknowledge.  Our agency has been stepping up their social media game as of late which only serves to reinforce my checking.

In their most recent set of placement announcements, I recognized the couple in the photo from our adoption seminar in October 2014.  Attending this mandatory seminar was the first official step we took in our adoption journey.  Class #297.  To my knowledge, this is the first couple from our group to be placed.  We never really stayed in close contact with anyone from that seminar but have seen familiar faces in the adoptive and waiting parent support group we sometimes attend.

I  have mixed feelings about this announcement.  On one hand, I feel relief for them.  I know how hard this process is.  They stuck it out through 2 years and 3 months of waiting and they look so incredibly thrilled in their new family photo.  This also means that hopefully, we are that much closer to being matched.  The jerk in me resents them.  They already have one biological child and were experiencing secondary infertility. They have two children, we have none.  Greedy bastards!…I’m kidding…mostly.

I imagine some birthparents dream of placing their children in a family where they will have a sibling and actively look for families who can make this a reality.  I can also understand why a parent would want more than one child.  Until we realized we were experiencing infertility, we always thought we would have two children.  The rational part of me can make sense of why this family pursued adoption.

Waiting to adopt has changed our perspective on us having multiple children.  We are both in our mid 30’s and will likely be mid to late 30’s before we are placed.  Should we choose to adopt again after that, we would not be matched again until we are in our early to mid 40’s. We are not sure that this timeline would be the right fit for us.  Next, knowing how many other families are waiting to adopt an infant and having experienced unbecoming resentment towards “greedy” parents  who have more than one child would make me consider long and hard whether we would want to pursue a second adoption when other families who desperately dream of being parents to a newborn through open adoption are waiting.

Of course, this could always change with time, but this is how I am feeling today.

This is hard to write about.  I follow loads of blogs of folks facing secondary infertility or hoping to adopt a second or third child that I genuinely cheer on and hope for. I recognize that sharing these feelings will make me seem like an asshole.  But seeing someone who already has a child be matched before me does not make me 100% happy for them, just in the way that I do not feel 100% happy watching people conceive two or three children in the time when we have been yearning for one.

Please let this unflattering side of me be a side effect of continued infertility grief and not an indication that I’m selfish jerk.

Feeling Ready…

On Wednesday, I returned home from three weeks in India.  This trip was such a privilege. I was sad to leave hubby behind as he had to work, but his selflessness in encouraging me to go was such a pivotal point in our relationship.  I love that we share so much together but do not hesitate to support one another in pursuing our individual dreams.  I will try to extend the same kindness to him in his future endeavours without me!

I truly have been blessed when it comes to bucket list travel with trips to both India and Africa this year.  Travel always makes me that much more grateful for my own home and country.  I sometimes take for granted the health, freedom, and opportunity that Canada affords me.

I promptly opened us back up to instant placements when I arrived home and did our obligatory status check in.  We sit at #59 but with 18 families currently on hold, we are #41.  2017 has to be our year!

I had the opportunity to visit the Jagatpita Brahma Temple in Pushkar while in India.  I learned that this was one of the only Brahma temples in the world and considered to be a very sacred space by many Hindu people. It is said that praying at this temple helps to remove obstacles from life.  Our guide walked us through making an offering and encouraged us to pray for our most important wish.  You can guess what I wished for…

Pregnancies swirl all around me as per usual.  I was grateful to have a valid excuse to opt out of two baby showers that happened while I was away only to return to have invites to two more.  My brother’s wife is due in two weeks and my sister is due early May. Our close friends announced their second pregnancy yesterday (on their first month of trying).  Those old feelings of jealousy still taint what should be happy times.

I have no more epic adventures planned and for the first time since booking Africa last October 2015, I truly feel ready to be a mother.  There are no nagging feelings of “missing out.”  I feel ready to start squirrelling away some of my vacation days and making a more concentrated effort to save money for parental leave now that I’ve crossed two very epic adventures off of my life list.

I hope the universe feels this readiness.  I never know or understand what the plan seems to be for me, but I am open.

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.