Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What I Have Learned These Past Three Weeks

What I have learned these past three weeks is that people are simply incredible.  I have learned that, when I let them, people step up in amazing ways, to be there for me.  When I let them, people will go out of their way to make me smile and make me feel just a little bit better.

What I have learned these past three weeks is that I am surrounded by people who care.  Carla and I are surrounded by people who are rooting for us. We have amazing people in our lives who are as excited at the thought of us having a child as we are.  Not only, however, are they there to celebrate the successes, but they are there in so many incredible ways to help us pick up the pieces after things don't work out how we would want them to.

What I have learned these past three weeks is that this process is grueling.  As frustrating as the paperwork stage of the process was, this stage is so much more heart wrenching.  We have absolutely no control over what happens. When we are frustrated, there is absolutely nothing that we can do.  This is where we are.  This is what we are doing.  This is the process that I have faith in, that I believe will work for us one day, that I know creates the best possible situation for the child.  This is what we are doing.  Though it can be heartbreaking, we are in it now.

But, the other thing that I have learned these past three weeks is that we are incredibly strong.  Yes, we crumbled when we heard it was a no.  But then, somehow, we have been able to pull it all back together and keep on going.  Because that is what you do.  That is how you build a family.  No matter what circumstances you are faced with, that is what you do. That is what we are choosing to do.  That is what we will keep on doing, until that one magnificent day comes when we get a phone call and it's a yes.  That's why we will keep going.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another No...

Well, now we know it does get a bit easier.  Not much, but certainly easier than the first time.

That's right.  Today we got our second no.

Again, let me back up.

So what I didn't mention in the last post was that on the same day that we got our first no to a potential adoption match, we also were presented with a second situation.  This situation was a bit more complicated than the first and there was a bit more to think about.  Not only was I still reeling from the first situation not working out, but now I was faced with making a difficult decision that I just didn't feel prepared to make.

The complicated parts of this new situation were a medical condition that we didn't know much about and some family medical history that gave us some things to think about.  After I calmed down a bit from the first situation, Carla and I were ready to start thinking about the second situation.  It was an unbelievably difficult decision to make.  We were forced to be really honest with ourselves and think about what we could handle and what would be right for us and our family.  Luckily, I am married to a woman who believes in taking action and learning as much as she can about any situation that we confront.  (As a side note, here is an example that helps illustrate the differences in how we handle things.  Our back door lock broke.  My solution was to call someone to come out and fix it.  Carla's solution was to research how to fix the door, buy a six dollar part at Home Depot and fix it herself.  Our back door is now fully functional.) So while I sat on the couch completely overwhelmed and paralyzed by the decisions we had to make, Carla researched the medical condition, placed multiple phone calls to doctors, spoke with a child psychologist that we saw present at one of our classes, and ended up speaking with the head of hematology at Children's Memorial Hospital.

By Monday, I was ready to listen to what she had learned.  The child in this new situation had a mild form of Hemophilia.  He also had some mental health issues in his family.  After listening to all the information that she had gathered, I started to believe that maybe we could say yes to this situation.  Maybe there was a reason this situation and this child came along when they did.  Maybe this was something that we could not only handle, but do really well with.  By Tuesday morning, I knew my answer was yes.

So on Friday of last week we were presented to the birth mother.  We were one of four families who was presented to this mother.  Again, we began the wait.

Waiting for an answer was much easier this time around.  It was easier for me to believe that it was truly up to fate.  It was easier for me to believe that if this child was supposed to be a part of our family, he would be.  It was easier for me to wait calmly and know that what was supposed to happen was going to happen.  And so that is what I did.

And then today after school, right before I went into a meeting, I received a text from Carla that we were not chosen.  This time, I was able to put it aside for long enough to make it through my meeting (though I certainly was NOT the best version of myself).  But as soon as the meeting was over, I was crying in the copy room.  Luckily, I was able to get a good solid hug from a coworker and then head home.

On my way home I made the necessary phone calls. Carla, then my sister, and then my mom.  I cried to all of them.  Received sympathy from all of them.  They all knew that there was nothing to really say.  Nothing to make it any better.  I know all the things that anyone could possibly say. I know that it will happen one day.  I know that this meant that this wasn't the baby we were supposed to have.  I know that it will all be okay.  But in that moment, I just didn't care.  I was sad and I was thankful that sad is exactly what they allowed me to be.

One of the hardest parts of this situation was the amount of thinking that we had to do to even say yes.  We couldn't help but think about what our lives would be like with this specific child.  We had to imagine this specific child in our home.  We had to think about what our family would look like with this specific child in it.  We had to imagine our lives with this specific child in order to make a responsible and informed decision. And then today we had to un-imagine all of that.  That was the part that really got me this time.

Throughout this evening, there were moments of tears, but there were also moments of laughter.  I didn't quite feel the complete devastation of the first no, but there is certainly a deep sadness that has settled into a very heavy heart.  I do believe that I will wake up tomorrow morning feeling better, but this stuff is just so hard.  It is significantly harder than I thought it would be and I am still getting used to all the feelings that go along with this phase of the process.

So tomorrow morning we wake up and return to our normal lives.  It is nice to not be waiting for an answer for the first time in two weeks, but it is also scary to not know when the next situation will come along.  It is just one of the many sets of conflicting emotions that go along with this adoption process. It is just one of the many things that we must learn to live with for now.  But, I am learning to manage.  I am learning to let go of the things that are out of my control.  And I am learning that there is just no predicting what will come next in this journey that we are on.