Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mourning the Loss of Adoption?

I have been reading the beautiful posts by Grace in my Heart, Pray, Hope, Don't Worry, and All You Who Hope, among others, who have taken the time to asnwer a list of questions about adoption (questions compiled by GIMH) for others who may be discerning it for themselves. Their answers are all unique in some ways, and unified in others, and reading them had me remembering my own answers to questions like: "How did you know you were ready to adopt?" and "Did you feel like you were 'giving up' trying to conceive when you began the process?"

I can remember so vividly the series of events that lead me to finally begin the adoption process... my grandmother dying of cancer, telling me from her deathbed that she would be praying for me to become a mother in heaven... days later deciding to go to the March for Life (my 1st)... seeing the advertisement for my Infertility Support Group in the Diocesan newspaper for the first time while on the bus to the March... doing a double-take at the ad, and seeing right next to it an ad for a Christian adoption agency... coming home, and sending out an email requesting more information... receiving their introductory letter, which very boldly stated their pro-life position... sending in the pre-application... going to Eucharistic Adoration, praying for my grandmother's intercession, and for God to show me His will... coming home that SAME NIGHT to find our "acceptance letter" to move forward with the agency...

It all seemed so Providential, so right. I knew this was God's plan.

But then, how could we not see the same Providentialism in the timing that ensued? The fact that the Social Worker chosen for us was new to domestic adoption, and while our Home Study should have taken 3-4 months (since we did all of our paperwork quickly), it was in the 5th month that we were lining up the 3rd Home Study appointment (out of 4 total). And it was in the exact same week that our Social Worker decided to "check in" with one of our issues (after sitting on it for 5 months) that that same issue reported a huge problem to our Social Worker (which was a false allegation, but our Social Worker's hands were tied). Then, 6 months later when we re-assessed the situation, it is only a matter of weeks after meeting with the Director of our adoption agency's branch that DH was arrested for yet another issue beyond our control.

God's plan.

I am not saying that to sound bitter or facetious. I KNOW without a doubt that we were MEANT to pursue adoption with that agency, at that time. And I also know without a doubt that we were meant to encounter these roadblocks, and we were meant to suffer an unbearable cross far worse than infertility. The whys I'm still shaky on, but it is not for us to know all of the whys.

And so when I sit back and reflect on this all, it makes me wonder what the next step is - what God is calling us to do. I don't mean the next steps in pursuing parenthood, but rather, the spiritual next steps to becoming closer to God, to living out His will, and to accepting it.

Many, if not most adoptive mothers speak of mourning the loss of pregnancy or of birthing a child. I remember mulling this over when we were in the midst of our adoption education classes, and not knowing exactly how to do this, nor if I really wanted to. Now, it makes perfect sense why I was so resistant to making this step, and I thank God every day that He made me a stubborn Italian, unwilling to admit defeat when it came to my reproductive organs. Because now, my only hope for motherhood is through my own womb.

But I wonder... should I leap that hurdle in the opposite direction? Should I now mourn the loss of adoption?

From those who speak of adoption (and the agencies), mourning the loss of pregnancy can have several benefits, namely, a) it allows you to stop obsessing over the means by which your child will come to you, b) it opens your heart to bonding better with an adoptive child (without any lingering resentment about your own body's failures), and c) it puts adoption itself onto the pedestal it deserves to be on, as its OWN beautiful, specific calling for you and your spouse, not as the Plan B or consolation prize or mandated next step to infertility.

Looking at this through my very unique lens of inadoption, I could possibly gain something from mourning the loss of adoption, namely:
a) I would stop obsessing over the means by which my child will come to me
b) my heart would be opened to bonding better with a biological child (without any lingering resentment about our failures in adoption), and
c) it would put conception, gestation, and birth on the pedestal it deserves to be on, as its OWN beautiful, specific calling for me and my spouse, NOT as a Plan C or consolation prize or mandated next step to inadoption.

Perhaps I have been placing way too much emphasis on a path God may not have in mind for me right now or ever. And perhaps in doing so, my body and soul have not been fully open to receiving the gift of fertility, the gift of conception, the gifts of pregnancy and birth.

This may sound crazy to the majority of my readers. But I'm starting to think I'm onto something here.

Those who mourn the loss of pregnancy aren't "giving up" - they are accepting. Accepting whatever God has planned for them. If that plan includes biological children in the future, I doubt any of those adoptive parents would say, "No, thank you, I have already mourned the loss of my fertility."

Maybe my plan will include adoption in the future. Right now, I can't see how it would ever be possible, BUT, God can certainly see things we can't.

For now, I will be steering my heart in a different direction, by letting go of adoption. Yes, it would have been so much easier for God to build my family through adoption - no one is "pregnant on paper" forever, and we would have been so overjoyed to be a part of that beautiful calling - even to be blessed with just one child.

Now, we will let go of those resentments, let go of those hurtful thoughts and painful memories, to ready ourselves for the possible gift of conception.

A gift we hope and pray God will bless us with, in His time.


Second Chances said...

This is SUCH great post, from your views on adoption to your views on conception to your acceptance of God's plan for growing your family, however that may be. You have a gift of clarity right now that is beautiful and no doubt God-given. And wisdom! This post is full of wisdom. I can tell God is gracing you abundantly right now. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Chasing said...

Amazing post... you are seriously demonstrating ALL the gifts of the HS, girl!

Amazing Life said...

Beautiful post and I will keep your intentions in my heart at mass this week. From someone who to mourn the loss of adoption for many years for really sad reasons, I know how hard it is to accept this change in direction even though our paths and feelings may be very different. I truly believe it was God's compassion that allowed us to conceive because my heart ached to be a part of the miracle of adoption and God has healed my heart with Joseph.

Nicole C said...

I wish I had your strength. You're a living saint!

Julie said...

Although I can't really share details of the whole reasons, we too were unable to get an approved home study until we had been married 9 years, and I understand how you feel. I was angry at God for years about this, but had we adopted earlier, we probably would not have been pursuing adoption at the time Isabella was born and we would never have had our daughter. I can't imagine life without her. God created her for us!
I pray that God brings you peace, love and joy! And that He blesses you with a child in His timing!

Catholic Mutt said...

Your faith is so beautiful; especially accepting what you cannot understand. That is SO hard!

Foster Mom said...

We also went through the adoption process years before we came back to it. You are so right in saying you know you went through that for a reason. God knows too. One day, you will be able to look back with assurance and see every thread of his beautiful plan for your life's tapestry. You are beautiful and I know this hurts like a m.f. I am so glad you met Gianna and are still riding on some sort of supernatural, ubernatural hope in God's mercy for you both.

Blessed and Broken said...

that was me.

barbie said...

I'm so sorry for the crosses that gave come your way. I love your beautiful spirit through it all. LOve and prayers.

Little JoAnn said...

This is such an amazing post. I can hardly contain all your insights in my heart.

Is there any way you could do a private adoption? I don't know much about adoption, but I perceive that it seems so demanding and intrustive into people's lives.

That is not the way it use to be! When I was adopted by my parents the story goes they went to the agency, saw me, and took me home. And, my parents would NOT have passed all the scrutiny now.

Is there a timeline when the "issues" these agencies are "seeing" will drop away? Say, in 2 years or so?

Or, will these "issues" always be with you?

Your adoption loss makes me so sad. It makes me so confused. If somebody knew you personally and wanted to have you adopt their baby, could they not chose you still despite what these stupid social workers say?

I so mad! I am sorry. I just have to look for ways around all the bureaucracy! I can't stand the institutionalization of adoption.

What if you did met someone who wanted you to parent their child?

Surely they would be allowed to let you adopt their child. Am I wrong?

JellyBelly said...

This post really spoke to me. I have been struggling with starting the adopting process for so long and I am more afraid of the loss of control it will bring me than I am with my own IF. I wish that I was called more clearly like you and so many others were.

I think that you need to go through this stage of mourning. I don't know why your path seems so much more arduous than most, but perhaps you're right about valuing your body and its capabilities to reproduce are at the bottom of it all.

I continue to pray for you, I wish that I could take some of your burden!

The Skirts said...

This post really touched me. I know what you mean about understanding God's plan for yourself, only to realize that it was His plan-for-the-moment and not The Plan. If that makes sense. You said it better.

In any case, you're so right. What is the next spiritual step? You seem to be always seeking it, with a stubbornness and humility that I so admire!

Dang. Another great reminder that I will take to heart. Keep it up.

Awaiting a Child of God:) said...

I'm so impressed with your trust in the Lord's plan. You really are a wonderful example of that to all of us. I know when I was struggling, I was comforted with the fact that it was ALL in His hands. That is a really powerful thought and once one gets that into their heads (like you have done) it really does make the suffering somewhat easier. Continue to depend on Him....He is so proud of you:)

Anonymous said...

This is an amazingly insightful post of a faith-filled woman. In His time...

lavishedwithlemons said...

This is a great post. Although I have not adopted myself, my sister is the proud mother to three adopted children. I watched from the sidelines as she and her DH struggled with infertility for several long years, and then waited anxiously along with them as each of their children joined our family. I think you are incredibly insightful, and I'm praying for you.

Rebecca said...

This is an amazing post. Thank-you for sharing it.

mrsblondies said...

Beautiful post. Your trust in God's plan, however much it hurts right now is such a grace. Praying for you as always.

God Alone Suffices said...

Thank you so much for writing this post. It really spoke to me, too. I don't often cry when reading blog posts, but this one definitely made the tears well up!

St. Rita's Roses said...

A beautiful post indeed! Graces are pouring out- I feel them in every post! God Bless you! Go Rita and Anthony!

Mrs. Mike said...

You are a powerhouse of grace. You may not think it, but I am just always so struck and amazed at your unwavering faith in the face of every obstacle. You're probably so tired of hearing it, but your reward is coming. Such faithfulness reaps unimaginable blessings.

God's not done with you yet.

Hannah's Song said...

Could I have your e-mail address. I have a question to ask you!! If you don't mind...

Hannah's Song said...

Mine is [email protected]
Sorry...forgot to add that!!

Anonymous said...

I am always impressed with how you handle all the disappointments that have come your way...and there certainly have been more than your fair share, it seems!
I really do hope you conceive, and then get to adopt at some point in the future. You would be a wonderful mother after all of the trials you've been through!

Fight The Good Fight of Faith said...

God Bless You and keep you! May God's Grace continue to always shine through you. Thank-you for sharing, for echoing the word of God in your life! :)