Well this is the hardest post I have had to write so far. Since this is a blog about our journey, I will try to share what it feels like for us. There are three sides of the adoption triad… But I only know one intimately enough to write about it. I’ll leave it to others to share their stories. This is ours.
Part one of this story is the loss. Our expectant mom has chosen to parent. I don’t know where to begin. How do you describe what it feels like to lose a child you never held? A baby that was never yours but felt like she was? A daughter that will never know you, or how much you love her, prayed for her, cried for her? How you carefully planned your nursery and your life around her?
She is not just “some baby” to us. For months, she felt like ours. I could feel her through the distance. We imagined her childhood with us, her teenage rebellion, her wedding, her first baby. We imagined the great relationship we would build with her biological family, and the trip we would take to Ecuador for her graduation. We saw our life with her. We saw her playing with her cousins as they grew up together. We have so much love to give her. Not just any child… her. We longed for the day that we would get the call that it was time to meet her.
That day never came. And will never come.
I have a new perspective on open adoption. “Open” has very little to do with the amount of contact between the child and her biological family. “Open” has everything to do with hearts.
We opened our hearts wide for this little girl and her mom. We chose to be open, vulnerable, and to feel excited, to hope, to plan, and to love. We loved them fiercely. We prayed for them, we worked hard for them, we gave them every bit of ourselves. The love that we poured from our hearts to theirs has left an gaping hole, a wide open space that will take time and patience and love and faith to heal.
Last year, on December 10th, we had our first positive pregnancy test. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I miscarried. This year, we planned to spend Christmas with a new baby girl. We found out on December 6th that she would not be ours. This is a season of loss for the second year in a row. More on that later…
Some dear friends and I used to talk about the difference between walls of doom and healthy hedges. Walls of doom are built around a heart that has been broken so many times and in so many ways that the only way to protect it is to build walls of doom around it. Walls of doom keep out grief and pain, but they also prevent good things from getting through. Walls of doom do not allow hearts to heal properly. The only way to heal a broken heart is to allow love, hope, connection, courage, and faith to rebuild it from within. Walls of doom are impenetrable.
Healthy hedges, on the other hand, provide a safe space for healing. They do not protect from destruction completely, but they are permeable and allow love, hope, connection, courage, and faith to seep through and begin the healing process. Healthy hedges are what you build to give yourself time to heal. Be a little wary, but not paranoid. Give yourself time, but don’t shut yourself away. Watch for red flags, but don’t turn away every opportunity. Keep loving, keep moving, and keep hoping. Cautiously for a time, and then when you’ve healed, tear down the hedges and bring your heart back out into the world to love wholly and completely.
Love cannot exist without risk. Grief cannot exist without love. To love someone is to lay yourself bare and to open yourself to grief and loss. We loved profoundly and lost exquisitely.