Thursday, January 23, 2014

You think you have it all figured out, and then...

Today was an intense day.  A completely unexpectedly intense day.  I am left feeling drained.

There is too much to go into and most of it shouldn't be shared in such a public way, but I need somewhere to put some of this stuff.  So here it goes.

Today we received a call from our adoption counselor.  Millie's birthparents gave birth last night to a baby boy.  We did not know about the baby until today.  Until our counselor called Carla at work to ask her if we wanted to be presented to the family, Millie's birth family, as potential adoptive parents to this newborn baby.

Right.  This is where it gets intense.  Let me skip ahead and end the suspense.  We said no.

Here is how we got there.

Around lunchtime, Carla texted me at work and asked me to call her.  The kids were inside for recess and I was watching them, but assumed the call was about Millie having to get picked up at daycare (she has been having some awful, awful teething reactions and has been inconsolable as of late).  So needless to say, with a room full of kids who badly needed to let out a whole lot of energy, I called Carla and she told me what had happened.  I honestly and truly did not know what to say.

For a long, long time we have known that we have wanted to be a family of three.  Financially, we had planned on one child, our home is built for one child, our lives have the perfect amount of space for one child.  And we were just starting to figure out life as a family of three.  We never planned on adopting another child.  We never planned on adding another child to our family.  Our adoption agency knew that, we closed all of the paperwork we had with them.  We were open and honest with Millie's birth family from the beginning that our plans were to be a family of three. And yet, here we were, not one whole year since we brought Millie home, thinking about if we wanted to possible add another child to our family.

And the thing is, it wasn't just any child.  This is Millie's brother.  My heart feels heavier even typing those words.  This is Millie's brother.  And so, of course, there is conflict in our hearts.  We know what is right for our family. For Millie.  For this new born boy, who deserves everything and more in this world.  And yet, our hearts want to say yes, because this would mean that, potentially, Millie would grow up with one of her biological brothers as a member of our family.

To be honest, at no point did I really think we would say yes.  I maybe wished we could say yes. In fact, I am sure that is what I felt.  I wished that our answer was yes, for so many reasons, I wished that it was yes.  And yet, it just wasn't.  And that hurt my heart.  It hurt Carla's heart.  It hurt our family's collective heart.

And so Carla called our adoption counselor back and let her know.

It tore her apart.  Absolutely tore her apart.  There were just so many emotions to feel and we both felt them so intensely.  Carla ended up having to leave work and went to pick up Millie.  At the end of the school day, I headed home to be with them.  We decided to go out to dinner.  Millie decided that was a terrible idea.  We ended up getting the food packed up to go and we just came home.

Things around this house tonight are heavy.  Neither of us really knows what to say.  Maybe there is nothing left to say right now.  We both know we made the right decision for our family.  And it was still so incredibly hard.

On top of all of that are the thoughts of where we were just one year ago.  How badly we wanted to find the child that was meant to be a part of our lives and our family.  We would have done anything.  I know how many people will see this and think it unfair that we were presented with a child that we could not say yes to, when there are so many families waiting for their child still to arrive.  It seems unfair and wrong.

There are many things that we are left thinking about.  Some of them can't be written here.  But the ones that are most present are the thoughts of what the future holds in store for this newborn baby and what our relationship with him and his adoptive family might look like and what his relationship with Millie might look like and what this will mean for our relationship with Millie's birth family.  These thoughts are swirling around pretty rapidly and I fear that a long and somewhat sleepless night is ahead for us both.

I guess what I keep coming back to, the thing I know for sure, is that our love for and commitment to Millie are immeasurable.  We would do anything for her.  And that includes doing whatever we can do to maintain strong connections to every member of her birth family.  That means that this, too, will become a part of the story that we tell her.  We will be open with her and honest with her. And she will know, always, that we have made every decision, since the day we met her, with her best interest in mind.  And tonight, for now, that brings some peace.


  1. Your commitment to Millie and to your family is so clear. Although it's a hard decision to make, holding her close to your heart as you are is always the right choice.

  2. I'm a silent lurker but all I could think when I read this is that there is a family out there, like yours, that is praying and hoping and crying and desperately waiting for their baby and maybe this baby is meant for them.

    You are a loving wonderful family and choosing what is right for you is hard, but it's right.

  3. It sounds like you made the right decision for your family, but what an intense set of emotions this must bring up. And it must be hard to make such a major decision in such a short time. Thinking of you all, including Millie's birth family.

  4. This is going to be long, but I've had 13 years to think about it, so I have thoughts! My aunt and uncle and a set of my mom's cousins were both in this exact situation years ago--they each adopted a little girl, who already had three or four older siblings with a birth family who couldn't care for them all (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Millie's birthparents are orthodox Jews, too, since that was the situation for my cousins, and an explanation that made some sense to me about why one would choose to keep having babies you can't afford to raise) and were contacted a year or two later offered a sibling who was being put up for adoption. In both cases they said yes to the second child, but no to any subsequent ones. I imagine it was heartbreaking to say no, but they (and you) are right to know what your best family size will look like. If you will be the best parents to Millie as a family of three, then Bloggity is right, and someone out there who desperately wants a child in their life will now get to welcome a beautiful and long-expected baby boy. My cousins know they have other siblings--the eldest is reaching the end of high school and will probably have the opportunity soon to decide whether to reach out to her birth family. I expect if she chooses to do so she'll find that her younger siblings had excellent parents who felt blessed to raise them, just as my aunt and uncle do to have her and her brother. My heart breaks for everyone involved in this situation, but I think the truth of it is in the care and love you give to Millie. She is in a better place than she would have been otherwise because her birthparents recognized that they couldn't give her the childhood she deserved, and you have made the same decision about this little boy. I wish you much peace.

  5. Me and my girlfriend were in the same situation 3 months ago.our daughter who we adopted at 8months was already has two older siblings adopted together.we got a call to say her birth parents were pregnant again with baby number 4 they rarely leave a year between children and we had only had our daughter 9months and although we want a bigger family it was just to soon for us and we had to say no.I am still struggling with my decision but he has been adopted so I know his happy. I just wanted to say with have contact with our daughters two siblings and her adopted parents and we try to meet a few times a year. So hopefully you can have this in the future with the new baby. I never realised when we adopted how big our family was going to expand not just a new baby but everyone else that came with her and we love it!! Good luck

    Elle(from the uk)

  6. What an incredibly difficult situation, my heart goes out to you. Ultimately you and Carla are the only ones who know what is best for your family, while I also understand that this doesn't make the decision any easier. I hope you find peace in the thought that the family meant for this little boy may be waiting for the call that he is here.