Sunday, April 27, 2008

Grief

That's what it is. It's a thick, heavy, suffocating grief. I feel as if I'm mourning the loss of a child I've never even laid eyes on. A child who was never even mine, except only in my imagination... and in my heart.

That's the thing with adoption that I think a lot of people just don't get. You start to love that kid long before a referral. I think it happens as soon as you choose to say "Yes" to adoption. Once you decide to take that leap, something in your heart transforms. Your common sense is still telling you to be cautious- Don't be silly. Nothing's final yet. Don't get too wrapped up in this. Be careful. But your heart doesn't care. You're a goner. You think, you wonder, you stress, you fantasize, you worry, you daydream, you plan. You love. You begin feeling and thinking with the heart of a parent months, and sometimes years, before you sign the final papers. Your heart aches to hold this little one who is completely yours. Except they're not. Whether it's right or wrong to do it, a mental picture of this child is created. He or she is so very real. Hopes are formed for his future. For many of us, this child already has a name, a room, clothes, toys, and even siblings who ask, "How much longer until we bring the baby home?"

Sam never existed. But now he's gone. Just like that. Overnight. And I miss him. The Sam in my mind may not have been real, but the hole his absence leaves in his mother is. It sure hurts as if he's real.

Maybe we'll still adopt. But, unless some miracle happens before Sept. 1st, we won't be adopting Sam. Sam is a beautiful, Vietnamese, baby boy who was going to have a diaper bag covered with dragonflies, and a quilt made by his mama, with jungle animals on it, out of material that was carefully and lovingly chosen just for him.

Was I stupid to concoct this vision of a child when I knew there were no guarantees; no certainty? Of course I was. Was I irresponsible to discuss it with my children so soon and allow them to become excited? Probably. How many of you did exactly the same thing?

I want to make it clear that I absolutely, in no way, would disrespect or devalue the grief of parents who really have lost a child by comparing my feelings to theirs. I'm not doing that. I know many of you have come to adoption through a long, difficult road of infertility, pregnancy loss, or the death of a child. I have never experienced anything even remotely close to that level of pain, and here I sit with my six healthy children complaining about my grief. Please know that I don't mean to be insensitive. And yes, I do know that I am incredibly blessed. Even if we never adopt again, I have been allowed to enjoy and experience motherhood to its fullest and I don't take that for granted. Many of the parents whose hearts have just been broken by the latest developments in Vietnam were waiting for their first child. For some the waiting has come after years of struggling and hoping and Vietnam seemed to be The Answer, finally. I'm so, so sorry.

I guess there is still hope that that miracle I mentioned will still happen. God is certainly big enough. Darrell believes it. He's not giving up until Sept. 1st. He''s faithful and optimistic. Too bad he's married to such a pessimistic old hag. I'm hoping and praying he's right, but for now his faith will have to be big enough for both of us.

9 comments:

Leslie & Shaune said...

michelle. no way around it, this sucks. i am so sad for you and all the other affected by what has transpired. my heart goes out to you, it is perfectly normal to mourn a dream. a boy. you deserve a chance to do that.

i will be praying for a miracle for you and all other american families.

leslie

tina said...

you conveyed many of the things i have been feeling as well. the first thing i said, was that it felt like a loss... but felt a little silly since we don't even have a referral yet. it is comforting to know i'm not alone. i'm keeping you in my thoughts during this difficult time. --Tina

LaLa said...

Honey, I feel it right along with you. Annslee mentions Malia a million times a day and I am so sad about this. Here's hoping we all get our miracle.

Miles' Mama said...

Please don't feel guilty for grieving for this child. This is a VERY real loss. I'm so sorry...there just aren't words...

char said...

I am so sad for you, all the other waiting parents, and most of all for the children of Vietnam who need parents like you guys. God IS big enough. We just have to trust what our head knows. I know I say this as my newly adopted Vietnamese son is sleeping upstairs, so my perspective may not be what you want to hear. But as I waited over 6 months from referral to travel, there were days I had to tell myself the same thing- God is able..

sassy chic said...

my precious friend my heart is aching with yours. I am so sorry. You know I am praying for you, and believeing with Darrell and you that there will be a miracle. I love you dearly, E~

Keith and Kelly said...

You're not alone in this. Thanks for sharing honestly. I am mourning the loss of my imagined child as well, and yet it's hard because there is still a slight possibility. Do we cling to that? Or, move on? I'm so unsure about how to deal with this. And no, I don't think most people understand the loss. Blessings, Kelly

kimmhigh said...

This grief is exactly what I've been feeling, you describe it so beautifully. It is different than loss through miscarriage or another tragedy, but it is a loss. Thanks for sharing and putting it into words.
Kim

Elaine said...

I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. I totally agree with you that we start loving our child before we even know who they are. I think, for me, that has been the greatest lesson I've learned as an adoptive parent: love is a choice. It is not the big romantic fantasy, and it is not something born of biology and post partum hormones. While time and effort can deepen and intesify our love for anyone, fundamentally love is a choice.