Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Adoption is not easy.

I read the story today of a sweet family who had just gone through one of the hardest things a person can experience...losing a child...through adoption.  They had held him for three whole days believing he was now a part of their family, when the birth father changed his mind.

It brought me back to our experience with adoption.  As we lost two baby girls before we got Lia, and then we almost lost her.  You would think I would be used to loss, after having three IVF treatments fail, but I wasn't prepared for what I felt when we lost these two, almost three precious babies.

We had been on the registry for about four months for adoption, when a mother in California had chosen us. We were so excited and hopeful.  The baby was already five months old and the birth mother just felt that caring for her was too much.  She was a beautiful mixture of Indian, African American and white.  She would be perfect for us.  So I started to dream of holding her in my arms, rocking her to sleep, singing her a lullaby,   giving her all of my love and sharing our life together.  The future was ours and we were ready.  And then just like that the birth mother changed her mind.  This precious, perfect little baby was ripped out of my dreams and out of our life.  My heart sank into the abyss it had know from our IVF losses.  How was I to recover from this?  How much loss can one heart take? 

We somehow moved on.

Three long months later, we got a call around 10:30 pm from an amazing young woman in South Carolina, who had seen our profile on one of our registries.  She was pregnant with a baby girl (but we didn't know that until later) and she told us that we were it.  We were the family she wanted to place her sweet baby with.  Our hearts sang.  While we were still grieving for the loss of the first baby, our spirits were hopeful once again.  We talked with her almost everyday.  She was due in December, everything was great.  Both she and the baby were healthy.  We had fallen in love with this amazing girl.  She was becoming a big part of our little family.  We were so excited and once again looked to an amazing future.  I was a little more cautious this time.  I tried to not let myself to dream about this baby.  I tried to just focus my energy on our beautiful birth mom.  I was completely unsuccessful in my attempt.  How could I not imagine, once again, holding our soon to be baby?  I thought constantly of whether we would have a boy or and girl.  I imagined room colors and names.  I saw Hannah playing with her new brother or sister.  This baby was now a part of our life and we were sure this was it.  This joy lasted five weeks.

Then I got the email I dreaded.  The email that changed everything, once again.  The birth father decided he would never sign the papers.  He decided that she should be the one to raise this precious baby.  She was left with no choice.  

And once again, we lost our baby.  

I felt like my heart had been broken into a million pieces.  

The pain and agony was so overwhelming I didn't see how life could go on.  I knew I had a perfect little daughter who I loved tremendously and she loved me back.  I decided that maybe this was what we were to have, one amazing daughter to love forever.  I was an only child.  I knew she would be fine.  I knew she would be happy and grow up with two parents that loved her.  Deep down, however, I knew there was another child that needed to come into our home, so I was only okay on the surface...inside I was screaming.

One week went by and I was still overcome with grief when I got the call.  The call that would change everything.  We had been selected by two birth mothers on the same day.  Both had already given birth to their baby girls.  We now had to choose.  The grief and heartache were so much I had no way of knowing what to do.  One baby was in Michigan, the other was in Louisiana.  I fell to my knees in prayer, but nothing was coming.  I had too much pain inside me to understand what we should do. I called Flavio at work.  He too had gone through this painful journey, but I think he had kept his head more clear than I had been able to.  I explained that we now had two babies to choose from and that I needed him to go find a place at work to pray until he knew which baby belonged to our family.

After about 30 minutes he called and said without a doubt, Michigan.

So we left to go pick up our brand new baby girl.  Who we were going to name Lia.  

She was perfect and beautiful.  My heart was overwhelmed still, however, with the loss and pain from all we had endured that year....I was not completely healed when they placed Lia in my arms.  I was struck with wonder and amazement when I looked at her tiny face and fingers.  But I did not bond with her the way I had imagined.  I was confused and upset.  I was scared and overwhelmed.  My heart was still in so many pieces and I prayed they would come together for this little angel.

They did.  But not in the way I had imagined. 

Not all states make adoption easy.  Michigan is one of them.  We were blessed to have her father's blessing as he signed the papers through his own tears.  She was ours, almost. Our sweet birth mother had six agonizing weeks to change her mind.  She had six weeks to picture this perfect, beautiful creature that she had carried for nine months.  She had six weeks to change her mind over and over again.  Six weeks of grief and pain of losing her baby girl.

At the end of those six weeks, she did change her mind.

Lia had been with us for five weeks and now we were planning the gut-wrenching idea of having to give her back.  My heart seemed to explode inside my chest.  I was not going to be able to endure this.  At that moment when our adoption counselor had called us, I knew that I had bonded with Lia...I just hadn't known it yet.  The idea of losing her was so overwhelming I shut down.  I just held her, and fed her and held her, rocked her, sang to her, loved her for what I thought was the last time.  They were coming to get her in 24 hours.  I had 24 hours to spend with our precious daughter.  I prayed for the strength to let her go.  To know that she would be okay.  That she would be taken care of.  It was almost worse than death, her future was so uncertain now.

I didn't sleep that night.  We had told no one.  We were holding on to the small hope that Lia's birth mother would once again change her mind.  The morning finally came.  We waited by the phone.  The time ticked away slowly.  It finally rang.  It was our adoption counselor, Lia's birth mother had gone to court and at the last minute decided that we were to be Lia's family.  This poor, sweet woman had, I am sure, had a long sleepless night and did what was best for her baby, she unselfishly placed Lia with us permanently. 

Ours was a journey of loss, pain and in the end complete joy.  Lia was ours forever, finally.


  1. Oh wow, how awful! I knew there was a period where the birth parents could change their minds, but I had no idea it was 6 weeks! That seems like an eternity! So glad that things worked out!!

    1. Not all states are 6 weeks, just some. Utah is the best, where the birth mom only has 24 hours.

  2. Wow, what a beautiful story. I can not even imagine going through all that. So glad everything worked out. Thanks for sharing your story.