Friday, March 30, 2012

March 29th

It is 2:30 am and I'm having one of those moments were I'm scared and frozen to the chair in our family room.  I woke up sometime during the night and was just laying in bed.  Then I heard a noise outside so I got up to see if something was going on.  Now I'm sitting in the family room and the windows are open.  I heard something walk through the dried leaves in our backyard (don't judge us we live in a wooded lot).  I tried to tell myself it was just Charlie.  Then a few seconds later Charlie started barking on our deck right behind me.  I think my heat is finally beating again.  Still not sure what walked across our yard because if it was Charlie I would've heard him walk up the deck steps.  Jay is snoring away oblivious to the fact I'm in here having a chest pains.  Since I'm frozen in the chair I'll blog about what we did tonight...

We spoke in Springfield on an adoption panel for Bethany at an Explore Adoption night.  I'm not going to lie, I felt sorry for those people sitting in the chairs in front of us.  I'm also glad that we aren't where they are at.  I feel like we did our time in the trenches, but I also felt a little guilty.  Infertility stinks and I think it's natural for most women to feel guilty when they "cross over".   I think Jamie told me there were 23 couples.  Some looked like they were on information overload.  I remember feeling that way.  There was one lady who kept wiping her eyes.  She had that look of being totally wiped out and hearing that we waited for so long probably didn't help.  I was glad to be there to offer our story and some insights we learned, but it's hard knowing what most of those couples have been through to get to this point. 

For most couples they've already been through the wringer before they even attend one of those informational meetings.  It's not that they are resigned to adoption, or look at it as second best, but it's just natural for most couple to try for biological kids first.  Then when it doesn't happen that way it is natural to start out with mild treatments and tests...until one day you wake up and realize you've spent thousands of dollars, have had dozens of people "up in your business" and you still don't have a baby.  You are emotionally, physically and financially exhausted.  Then you realize that it's not carrying a child that is important, but being a parent so you start checking out agencies.  Then you go to a meeting like we were at last night and you hear terms like Domestic, International, TPR, Birthmother/Birthfather, Open, Closed, etc.  Then three happy families plop down in front of you (1 international and 2 domestic) and we tell you some of our stories.  Then you sit there with that Deer in the Headlights look and wonder if you'll ever get to the point of where those families in front are. 

I was a little surprised when they asked us to talk.  Not that we don't have a lot of insight, but I don't consider us the poster children for adoption.  I'm pretty impressed that Bethany had us there...not that anything that ever happened to us was the fault of Bethany, but when you tell people about our failed matches and how long we waited it probably doesn't reflect that good on the agency.  But what we went through is real life, so I'm glad we got to show that piece.  In fact the other domestic couple also had a disrupted adoption a year before they finally got their son.  It was definitely not all roses and unicorns last night and I appreciated that.  But on the other hand I hope it wasn't information overload for people who barely understand the different adoption terms.

Of course, like you always do, I came away wishing I had said more or worded things differently.  I was talking to a lady afterwards and she expressed how they hoped for a closed adoption.  We told the group that Camryn's adoption was closed, but I wish I had expanded on that a little more.  When we sat in that same seat all those years ago we thought the same thing about open vs closed because we didn't know what we know now.  I expressed to her that open adoption is not to be feared.  I told her how much I believe it is important for the children to have full disclosure - they need to know all of it (good and bad).  I really hate that we don't have that for Camryn.  I wish I could shoot her birthfamily an email when little questions pop in my head.  Right now I'd really like to know if there is a history of extremely picky eaters on either of their sides.  I also know that as Camryn gets older she will have questions.  The other couple was talking about how their 5 year old now has questions that they email her birhtmom.  I think that is great.  And it is one thing I really regret that Camryn won't have.  But like Donna said in the meeting last night your child will react to their situation how you react to it.  I'm not going to build it up to Camryn that it is a horrible thing that she doesn't have contact.  It's just the way it is.  God's plan is always better than our feeble attempts and her story is what it is.  Good and bad.  It all makes Camryn who she is. 

I also enjoyed meeting the other domestic family last night.  They were on the waiting list at the same time we were (sometimes I think half of the state was on the list at the same time we were).  We got to the meeting first and when they walked up they introduced themselves right off because they knew who we were.  Apparently we are legendary.  She said something about looking at our picture for the longest time so she knew who we were.  As much as I stared at the website over the years I have a hard time recognizing families from it.  It took me a minute but I finally realized which family they were.  They were super nice and very friendly.  We got to know each other a bit out in the hallway waiting for our turn.  She was a little more of a go-getter than I am so she knew a lot more about different situations and what baby ended up with which parents.  Jamie had told me there was another family she was doing post-placement visits with at the same time she was doing ours and they had commented on seeing us off of the website.  I'm sure it was this family.  We talked about when Jamie first started and how nice it was to have someone full time in this area.  I did tell her about how I was afraid Jamie thought I was crazy because our 4th homestudy visit(first time I met her) was the one where I sniffled through the whole thing (2010 was a rough year).  This lady said "yeah Jamie never said anything about that but when we did our first update we asked if she had done more than one update for any families and she told us there was one that she had done their 4th".  Yes, we are legendary. 

I know this is long but I can't leave without telling you Cade's perspective on tonight - Earlier in the week Jay and I were verbally going over our week.  Jay said something about the adoption thing Thursday night.  Cade was playing the Wii and I didn't think he was paying attention but when he heard adoption his snapped up.  With panic in his eyes he said "what adoption thing".  I quickly assured him we weren't adopting again.  He was relieved.  We asked him what he would tell a group thinking about adopting and he said "they better get used to crying because not every adoption will happen".  Honestly, the 10 year old probably got it better than any adult in that room last night.  It is hard, it is stinky, but it was so worth it in the end. 

I've jokingly said that I hope this didn't damage him too much!  But actually I hope this taught him some good life lessons.  I know that he doesn't quite understand everything that happened now, but as he gets older I hope he appreciates his experience.  I hope it teaches him to never ever give up on something just because it is hard.  I hope he learned that you never do something unless you feel that God is clearly telling you to...even when it doesn't make sense to everyone else around you.  I can't tell you the number of times people would ask why we didn't change agencies and we didn't have an answer except for "we don't feel that's what God wants us to do yet".   I hope that by going through this with us he will see how God worked in our lives every day even when we felt we were totally alone.  God answered Cade's nightly prayer in His own way and His own time. 

1 comment:

Shelley said...

I'm so glad you got to share your story and about your wait. We did this a few times as well and I felt the same way you did...sorry for the people because you knew it most likely was going to be a tough road for them, but thrilled we were FINALLY on the other side of the fence.

It is interesting how much a little education can do for people's thoughts on openness. We were the same way...thinking that pictures and letters were it. That was all we could handle, that being more open than that would be way too much for us. And here we sit with an extremely open adoption!

And a little side note...I thought this was so cute. I have used the word 'birthmom' with E and when she was 2 she immediately changed it to "Birthday Mom". It's one of my favorite things she has said regarding adoption.