This is the first in a short series of diary-like posts I kept starting in mid-April as a way to keep my sanity while some life-altering things were beginning to unfold in my and my husband’s life. Start here and more will follow…
April 18, 2014, 2:29pm:
“There’s a birth mom. She’s picked you and Frank.”
Normally, those are the words any adoptive parent-in-waiting longs to hear, but I’d heard those words before. July 2011, those exact same words ended up being, unbeknownst to me at the time, the opening line to one of the worst experiences of my whole life–an experience that rippled and lingered, and was followed and highlighted by a years long eerie silence of seeming disinterest from any birthmother, anywhere. Still, the bolt of energy that surged through my body and felt like it was going to shoot out of my chest was hard to contain. My head started to feel tingly. I mean, it’s someone who’s never met me, and has only read my words and seen my photos at an adoption agency’s website, and she has picked me and my husband to parent her child. Truthfully, I wanted to crane my neck back and scream towards the sky “FINALLY!!!! Someone realizes how awesome we are!” But I kept that on the inside, along with many other emotions…joy, excitement, longing, anticipation, fear. Getting too excited is a bad thing when you still have the bitter memories of what happened the last time still swirling around in your head.
I couldn’t help but think maybe this was one of those when you least expect it kind of moments. In the weeks leading up to this call, Frank and I had been talking seriously about our future. I was so close to feeling fully exhausted of my will to continue on the path to parenthood. The mere thought of having to travel across town to be fingerprinted, for the FIFTH time, to keep our paperwork in compliance left me mentally and emotionally raw. I was ready to give up. I was prepared to sell all the clothes, nursery furniture and baby things we’d acquired and kept behind a closed door for nearly three years, put our house on the market and move to a condo downtown. I’d lost the ability to see a happy ending with us and adoption. I thought, instead of being sad about waiting for an adoption that wasn’t going to happen, I could use that energy to try to get used to the notion of us being a childless couple and mentally rewrite what the rest of our lives together would like, just the two of us. I won’t lie, I dreamt up some fabulous vacations and a killer condo, and a place at the beach where we’d summer and entertain friends.
Side note: Somehow, in this childless lifescape I conjured up, we became independently wealthy (maybe a winning PowerBall ticket?), I was a lady of leisure who couldn’t be bothered with a job, and I lost about 60 pounds and looked great in a caftan and oversized sunglasses at the beach!
As much as I tried to convince myself that this new version of our future was doable, happy, and fulfilling, I couldn’t silence the little voice that kept whispering, “but you’ll be lonely.” I teased myself that I was stronger than that, busier than that, had too many friends and people who love me, and because I was worried that I’d be lonely meant that I’d find a way to make sure that I wouldn’t be lonely. Still, I told Frank that I was ready. We just needed a deadline–a cut-off point. I said, “If there’s no call by the time fingerprinting is due, then we’re pulling the plug. That’s it. I’m done. I can’t keep doing this.” Frank, in his beautiful German stoicism, quietly agreed.
That decision started the countdown clock ticking.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
We were 56 days to childless…
And that’s when the phone rang.