Son Two. Son One. Son Zero?

SON TWO

I don’t know what to think anymore. Now, after two years in the adoption process, our agency cannot find the birth parents of our match so our referral cannot be completed. If they don’t show up…sometime soon, I guess?…then, we will get rematched and start the last seven months over from the beginning. If you are reading this and considering adopting from Haiti, I would run away as quickly as possible and find another avenue. Don’t believe the promises of a system getting resurrected like we did. If we get rematched, we could easily have another 2.5-3 years in process ahead of us.

But, that is all about us. The really sad thing is that, from what I have heard from other families in similar situations (unfortunately this is not a rare circumstance),  it takes Haiti a long time to declare a child a true orphan if the birth parents drop out of the picture, committing the child to several more years stuck in the system without being released to join a waiting family. This boy. This boy that is waiting for proper familial love. I could write a lot more but I am afraid I would be projecting and exploiting his experience, so I won’t. But, this just makes me very sad.

So, as my husband and I are considering, once again, if this is the right path for us (not adoption as a whole but this process in Haiti), we have recently received an opportunity to work through some of our past trauma by going back to the hospital where our son, Adam Gabriel, was born.

SON ONE

Hospitals are a big trigger for us now. When our niece was born last fall, the whole family wanted to FaceTime with us from the hospital 15 hours away from our home, but we regretfully declined, explaining how births and hospitals are just such a big trigger for us, and we weren’t sure we could handle it well. We felt awful telling them we couldn’t just FaceTime, but we also know we have to explain our perspective to people because they didn’t experience the awful situation we did so they don’t know how it haunts us.

So, a dear friend had a beautiful baby girl this week. In my excitement about her wonderful news, I immediately committed myself to going to see her as soon as I was welcome (as the real, undamaged me desired). We have the kind of friendship that there was no reason to hesitate. It wasn’t until after the conversation ended that my anxiety started erupting. I realized it was the same hospital, the same floor, possibly the same nurses, and the same set of doctors…the doctors I have since sworn to never visit in that capacity again because of my personal disappointments with them over the four miscarriages I have had (they had nothing to do with the losses, but handled many, many other things very unprofessionally and even dangerously).

So, now my mind was racing. What if the doctors ask how I am doing? What if the nurses recognize me? What if I see pity in their eyes? Can I really make it through those same doors I left 2.5 years ago without a baby in my arms but, instead, with a short list of post-labor instructions? Talking it through with my husband, I decided I really wanted to go see my friend, but I knew I couldn’t do it without him. I knew it had to be a game time decision when we received the okay to head down.

And so we did. We got the invite. We bought flowers. We parked in the same parking lot where we left our son. We walked through the doors into the building where we left our son. We went up the elevators, passed the nursing station, and down the hallway where we left our son.

And then…

We walked through my friend’s room that was bursting with family and energy. Toddlers, grandparents, sisters, and husbands. A newborn baby girl as perfect as anything. She is handed to me. She is beautiful. This room has life. This room has hope. This is a different room in every sense of the word. No doctors come by and no nurses I recognize come into the room. I just get to catch up with my bubbling, beautiful friend (I mean, come on, how can one look so good after labor at 4:30AM?) and hug her kind, compassionate family. I witness cousin kisses that are as soft as butterflies. I see the glow that no lack of sleep can touch.

And I remember why we force ourselves to recover. We go through those doors and up those elevators. We risk the panic and being overcome by emotion. We do this because there is so much more to life than our pain. Sometimes sons don’t come home, but sometimes daughters do. And that is everything.

 

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A Time for Reflection

Each new year brings a chance to reflect on the last one. Some years, the dam finally breaks. Instead of a rushing stream of water, sometimes it feels more like a steady trickle of new life, but – still – the crack in the stone wall has created room for breathing.

My 2015 finally presented a broken dam. For the first time in three years, I did not endure a miscarriage (or two). I also stopped putting anxious energy into my work life. In some ways it felt like a giving up of big pieces of my life – turning a blind eye toward goals and achievement – but, in another way, it just felt finally, calmly, like back floating in a bed of water, warming myself under the sun above me.

And you know what? I needed the back float more than I needed the achievement or marked progress. I was thirsting for the sun to provide its soft loving gaze. The UNfocus, the accepting of life, the kicking off of responsibilities or any worries that could bog me down…these healed me. The kid in me reappeared. Slowly, and not without resistance and some old-bitter-woman moments of fallback, but the kid in me reappeared nonetheless.

Toward the end of 2015, I finally started recognizing myself again. I was laughing easily, back into a friendship with my body, and giving my mind a break from the criticism. 2015 did not bring home a child with all of its adoption delays. It brought me less consulting work than ever. But it brought me wet, juicy memories – laughing and just BEING with friends and family – that will always remain.

It brought me travel, shenanigans, and boat rides. It brought me stargazing and nights full of fireflies.  It brought me life again. So, for the first time in several years, I did not say good riddance to another year. I said thank you for being with me in the time we had.