This has been a particularly difficult week. Sweet Baby's bio parent has decided that contact with us is not in her emotional best interest *cue two days straight of crying*. The transition seems to be going difficultly for her still and there's concern on the other end that it is renewing her distress and hampering her ability to settle in to her new life.
I could see how that's true and I really have to just trust the decision maker in this situation. However, the thought of never seeing her again has broken my heart again, just when I thought the pieces were too shattered to possibly be broken any smaller. I was wrong. There is more pain to be felt, more tears to shed, more heartbreak to have.
Just when I thought I was accepting and settling in to the new role I would have in her life, that bit part was snatched. Even if it is in just cause, it makes it no less heartbreaking. Perhaps even more heartbreaking because it tells me she isn't doing well. Such a decision can only make me think she's traumatized and heartbroken too. And that hurts worse, knowing that she's heartbroken and too small to explain that I didn't leave her, I want her, I didn't have a choice.
She will likely go on to lead a happy life with her biological family, but the thought that she may carry in her heart feelings of abandonment over my place in her life breaks me down. Although I had no role in how her early life played out across the drama of the court system, I will wonder for the rest of my life if she remembers me, if she blames me for leaving her, if there was something I could have done differently to make her transition easier.
As parents, many of us have heard of or spoken the words, "I would die for my child". There is no doubt that truly expresses the depth of my emotion for Sweet Baby, but I didn't know it would be this kind of dying. Dying to myself, dying to what I want her life to be, carrying the weight of Little Bean's sorrow along with my own. This isn't the kind of dying I expected. I didn't expect to hold a sobbing 8 y/o in my arms while she gasped, "my baby, my baby" over the loss of her sister. I didn't expect my 20 m/o to rub my arm when I couldn't hide the tears.
In some moments, I feel guilty at the weight of my sorrow. Because we signed up for this. Because she's not dead, she's healthy somewhere, just not here. How many parents would give their children away just to know that the cancer was gone, that the heart problem cured? How many parents would never see their children again if it saved that child's life? She wasn't mine to lose, she was mine to keep safe. How can I grieve to the bottom of my soul what wasn't mine?
Well, she was mine. I gave my life to her for two and a half years. Much of that time, it appeared we would adopt her and keep her forever. I think that made it worse and better. Worse to lose her, but better for the outpouring of uninhibited love she was able to experience in those early, forming moments. Every holiday was precious because we might lose her and we poured as much love as we knew how into her. But, I will wonder for the rest of my life if it was enough love.
When I picked Sweet Baby up on July 18, 2011, I had an experience that tore at my heart for her birth mother and I thought that experience made me understand what it was for her birth mother to lose her. That was but a glimpse, a taste. This, now, this is the agony of losing a child. It is a heartbreak barely survivable.
It's a pain so intense, you're surprised there's still air in your lungs to breath, tears left in you to cry. I feel like the birth parent giving my child up. I thought I could understand before what it must be to give up your child for adoption, but that was folly. Pouring your physical, mental and emotional energy into a new being for nine months and then having the strength to give that new life a better start than you could, that's a kind of sacrifice and suffering I never could have understood before.
Having poured years into a little person and then having to walk away to give that little girl a fresh start, my compassion for birth parents giving up adopted children is at a different level.
I used to not understand open adoptions. I wondered why someone would not raise a child, but then want to be kept so in touch with what was going on in that person's life. Now I get it. Now I know what it is to be the person left with the memory of a child who has gone on. Now I know what a picture or occasional letter would mean. And I wonder if perhaps, God didn't plan it that way for a reason. Maybe some day, we'll be adoptive parents, but we'll do it better, more compassionately than we ever could have without the gift of Sweet Baby.
Because she's a gift. Always, every time, no matter what has happened or will. She is a gift. And like any birth mother, I'll always live with that small, quiet hope in the back of my heart that she'll come looking for me someday. And like any believer, I'll know that even should I never see her again in this life, the story doesn't end there. In the end, it will be made whole....even if that means my heart has to break every day until then.
Thank you again for all your prayers, love and support. Having this place to share my heart is a part of my healing and I thank you for investing emotionally and spiritually in my family with your love and prayers.
I'm also trying to convince Hubby that a puppy would be good therapy for me, but so far we're at an impasse. Maybe I'll finish these organization projects I have going before I put on the full campaign :)