Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Tears - But I'm Pregnant Too...the revised edition

A quick recap: We are headed toward adoption with #4. In February we learned of a potential #9, #4's parents were pregnant and wanted us to adopt both kiddos. The plan was for the parents to call CPS upon arrival to the hospital, CPS would take custody and place in our home. Fast forward to May - I get a, let's call it brief, email that said mom changed her mind, she would place potential #9 up for private adoption to a woman who couldn't have kids. We were devastated and tried to do everything we could. We met with the birthparents to let them see #4 and talk with them about #9. We chatted a bunch (unusual) but not much about #9, but I did get to see an ultrasound, learned the due date is 7/28, and that #9 is expected to be a boy. They left the meeting saying they'd talk about it when they got home.

Fast forward to yesterday. Another brief if not cryptic email to us telling us to get an attorney and provide contact information to birth parents so they can call us when the baby comes. CPS is trying to stay out of the adoption of #9.

When we originally learned about the new baby and that the parents wanted us to adopt both can I tell you we were unbelievably excited. To say our dreams came true would be an understatement. We had set out in foster care to adopt a sibling group because we believed we could and we could even more with "special needs" status that comes with a sibling group. We're not about money here, but let's be honest here - kids can be expensive and the more support we receive the more children we can help. So here we were, attached to a baby girl who would almost certainly become ours with the chance to raise a new baby, her sibling.

The reality is there is no certainty with foster care and the adoption process. It keeps us in an adventure, no doubt, but the other side of that adventure is extreme uncertainty. It causes us to keep our faith in God - in His plans for our lives and not our own, but it also causes a bit of a challenge in protecting our hearts (and that of our son) from the hurt and disappointment related to foster/adopt loss.

I really struggled with it. For 2 months I thought I was "pregnant" of sorts - I was going to write a post all about it. I wanted to participate in normal pregnancy things, but I didn't (and still don't) know what's appropriate without putting my heart out there too much. As an example, is it reasonable to want my family/friends to throw me a baby shower for new baby? The answer I came up with was this: as much as I could want them to throw me a shower if I were pregnant myself. The bigger challenge was though - did I truly want that?

I struggled with the answer. I chatted with my mom and sister about it at length. The answer is: Yes, I want that. But, I don't. It's hard enough balancing the fine line of getting excited about this pregnancy without being realistic that it all might not happen - bringing my family into that mix would put it over that edge of unbearable for me. My husband and I try desperately to calm our excitement by reminding ourselves constantly that it might not happen. To some degree the whole hope for little then be amazed at the big concept. I usually don't subscribe to that idea but in this area it's a survival mechanism.

In the conversations with my sister and mom what it came down to was that yes, it is a risk. It is a risk for loss. Until the judge signs papers with any adoption (and potentially through an appeal timeframe) the reality is that it's not final. There is risk. But there is risk in a biological pregnancy too. When I was pregnant with my son I had the prescription for clomid, the one I received 3 days before finding out I was pregnant, on my refrigerator for 5 months before I threw it away. I knew there was risk that it wouldn't work out. I think infertiles understand this best, but the risk is there for every child-bearing person...a pregnancy or an adoption both have risk. We aren't guaranteed that it will work out.

And yet when you are pregnant you do all the pregnancy things. You have a shower. You pick out names. You tell your friends and family. You get excited about it all. Maybe you take calculated risk - maybe you just come up with a list of names but don't actually pick till you see the baby. Maybe you don't take any baby things home with you until after the baby is born. Maybe you wait until 12 weeks (or more) before you tell your friends and family. All of which are more common with those who have challenged fertility.
So where does it leave me? I don't know...I had all those thoughts BEFORE we learned we wouldn't get the baby. Now that we are supposed to be getting the baby again I have no idea how to handle it. We're excited. We need to prepare (afterall we may indeed have a baby in less than 2 months). But what if... What's the right level of preparation? How do we guard our hearts without missing out on this time of pregnancy?

I don't know. That's where we are today.


Anonymous said...

It's hard for sure. When we got the referral for our Mea, we waited until the week before to buy anything at all. I still didn't set up anything or put anything away until the TPR hearing was finalized.

We had two days to set up her crib, carseat, toys, clothes etc. before she came home.

My Mom and sister did throw us a baby shower, even though our daughter was 13 months old, we just waited until she had been home a couple of weeks.

Sunday Koffron said...

I think it is wise to protect yourself a bit, like you are doing. I will say that I did not have a baby shower until a week after my (oldest) daughter was born. With my first I didn’t even buy anything baby related until after I got home…thank goodness for my sister and friends who ran around and bought me the essentials while I was still in the hospital. I just couldn’t fathom having to go and return things if it didn’t work out. I didn’t have one at all with my other two. In the Jewish culture they do not have showers until after either, it goes back the old counting your chickens before they hatch thing.

Elevation 7400+ said...

My dear that is a hard place to be in isn't it? We have often called it trepidatious excitement. The truth is that you should wait to protect not only your heart, but the hearts of your children that will see all of the baby's stuff in anticipation of an arrival that may not happen. Failed adoptions are all to common with details similar to this and a room full of baby items somehow makes the hurt even deeper. As your life as a foster parent has taught you there isn't much that a baby needs the first few days and you probably have that on hand. Your church and family will spring into action after your little one is in your arms and in your home.