Friday, July 15, 2016

The Loss of Hope

We thought we were being cautiously optimistic about the adoption happening, but that didn't mean we didn't have our hearts opened to the idea of welcoming you and your birth mother and birth father into our family. We wanted you more than you will ever know. We prayed for another child fervently for years before you were conceived, and we thought you and your biological parents were going to be our unexpected answer to those prayers.

But it didn't work out that way.

And now I grieve.

Most of the minutes and most of the hours of most of the days, I am fine. I am almost able to function at a decent level. But I have those awful minutes, hours, and days where unexpected grief overwhelms me. Often, that grief is accompanied by so many tears and such shallow breaths as I sob that I can only beg for distractions to tear me out of the all-consuming pain.

We learned about you almost immediately after your birth mother did. It was almost like finding out I was pregnant again, except without the worries of miscarriage, blood clots, hospital stays, morning sickness, and my possible death that I knew would be my frequent companions were you to be in my own womb. Only this time, I had no control. None. To pretend otherwise would have been foolish. And yet, I wanted to believe you would end up in my arms, so I allowed myself to believe.

As your due date drew nearer, I realized I needed to start preparing. While out with my daughter and her friend, I purchased the first onesie and first bib I bought specifically for you, designed and created by a local small business owner. I naively talked with these strangers at the booth about the adoption, allowing myself to get excited and caught up in the moment. Preparing for your arrival. Proving that I was worthy of you.

Then the facade started to crumble, and the bricks from that facade were used to build walls around my heart as I cried and began to worry in earnest, realizing that the doubts that had started creeping into my mind some time before were not unfounded red flags. Events confirmed the signs popping up indicated this was not likely meant to be.

But still, I had some hope left. Hope. The word hope, the idea of hope, and now the name Hope that had been picked for you by both your birth father and by me in what seemed to be kismet now seemed like a cruel joke. My hope was slipping away. Hope that your birth parents would do the right thing by you. Hope that placing you with me and my family were the right thing for you.

All preparations for your possible arrival ceased to protect our hearts from more damage, as though doing that would matter. We decided not to get the nursery ready. We figured that we could do that after you were in our home. We planned on picking bottles and formula and diapers and clothes on the way home from the hospital, when you were safe in our arms. I could not bear the burden of breaking down the walls around my heart again for fear my heart would be pummeled further and I wouldn't recover from the pain and loss of you, especially seeing the reminders of what could have been around us in our home. You were mine, but you were not. And yet, you had my heart.

However, I know now that the reminders are still there. Some visible, and some not.

This room, mostly unused these days, was going to be transformed into your nursery.

This flower lamp was going to hang on your wall, casting a soft glow in the room.

This was going to be your crib, followed by your toddler bed when you were big enough for one.

This is the chair where your new family members were going to take turns holding you and lovingly feeding, burping, and rocking you at all hours of the day and night.

This would have been a bib that was sure to get much use from you, and a onesie I was looking forward to you growing into.

My fractured heart is working on healing from the loss of you. I will never forget you, and I will never stop praying for your safety and well-being. I am trying so hard to hold on to my last shreds of hope, even as I let you go.

Today is one of those days that the grief has hit me like a freight train. Sunday was a hard day, and I cried with my head hung low while I played the piano in a room full of children, smiles, and laughter. No one saw the pain on my face or in my heart. No one comforted me. I even tried to call your birth mother. She didn't answer. I wasn't expecting her to, and I don't know what I would have said if she did.

Monday was a better day, full of family time at lunch and the movies and work. Better days, I have learned, don't mean you are over the worst of it. The rest of the week has been a struggle, with hours of grieving storming into my heart and mind unabashedly, making it difficult for me to concentrate on what I was doing or should have been doing, making it difficult for me to care.

How am I supposed to focus on work or anything else with a gaping, seeping, tearing hole in my heart? How long will I endure these unexpected and unwelcome acquaintances of mine, sorrow and pain? How is it that I am still in denial, as though some miracle will still bring you to me, when it is clear to everyone else that is not in the cards? How long will it be before I can truly move forward with my life?

I find myself thinking it will be better once you are born, but I know that I will still be so wrapped up in concern for your safety and well-being that you will continue to occupy my thoughts then, possibly more than you are now. I fear you are going to be used, as my family and I have been; mistreated, as we have been; harmed, as we have been; and broken, as we now are.

God knows you and loves you. I do too. I can't imagine loving you more than I do right now. And I suppose that is why this is so hard. 

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