What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by an anonymous reader.
I fell to my knees onto the floor of the hotel's Berber carpeting and cried out to God. I had no idea five months ago when I signed on to adopt domestically that my heart would shatter into a million pieces on the day he was born. I was dumbstruck as I cried the longest and hardest cry I had ever made and the sound of it frightened me.
Rewind five months earlier and my husband and I were sitting on my best friend's couch anxiously waiting to meet a young couple who were considering adoption. They had come to the decision that adoption was the best route for them as their pregnancy was a surprise and unintended. As my husband and I had already been through two years of failed infertility treatments, we were hesitant and cautious about adoption. So many times we had put all our hopes into a cycle, mediation, new doctor, or "treatment" only to end up distraught and frustrated all over again.
When we received a phone call that a family member of my best friend had heard our story and was considering us for the adoption of her son, we were thrilled but hesitant. It seemed too good to be true. We took over two hours to get ready to prepare to meet the expectant couple. We rehearsed the conversation days beforehand - the questions we would ask.
I want you to know that the day we met the expectant couple we were completely respectful of their decisions. We proceeded cautiously and respectfully as to keep their feelings and needs in mind the entire time. We felt that open adoption was the best fit for the child and we looked at these expectant parents like an extension of our family. We thoroughly made sure to explain that the decision to place with us was theirs and theirs alone and that we would understand if they changed their mind from the day we met....up to the day of birth.
I want you to know that I had no idea they would change their minds. I want you to know that even though I completely respect their decision to parent the child it still hurt me deeply to walk away. I want you to know that when we opened up to the idea of domestic adoption we always thought that a change of mind was possible but never considered it to happen to us. The expectant couple reminded us on a continual basis that they were invested in this adoption plan and wanted us to parent the child.
I want you to know that we fell deeper in love with the couple, our new family, adoption, and the unborn child the further she got into the pregnancy. We were so glad to have an open communication for the foundation of our adoptive relationship. I want you to know that I loved the expectant mother as much as I loved the child growing inside of her. We were so glad when she invited us to the ultrasound knowing what a private moment it was for her. We were overjoyed to see the baby was a boy and to share in that moment together.
I want you to know that if you are thinking of doing domestic adoption but are afraid of a change of heart, not to let it scare you away. It is difficult and painful to walk away from the family you thought you were going to be - but you will be stronger for it. I want you to know that if you are an expectant mother or father and you are deciding whether or not to make an adoption plan for your child that you should obtain counseling before and after placement. You should understand that the adoptive parents will love you just as they love the child. That it is completely your decision on whether or not you would want to parent. I want you to know that showing empathy and respect should be mutual in all parts of the adoption triad.
We walked away from that hospital with empty arms and came home to an empty crib. Even though we respected her decision to parent I wish she would have told me in person, through a friend, or over the phone before the day of His birth. I want you to know that returning to an empty home and seeing the baby thing we had bought was more than I could physically handle. I want you to know that I grieved that child like I had carried him in my own womb. I want you to know that even thought I had read many books and was trying to be the best adoptive parent I could be, I still ended up feeling crushed were weren't chosen to parent. I want you to know that I felt so guilty about this as well. I wish I would have known her desires beforehand so I could have better prepared myself.
I want you to know that domestic adoption was not how I pictured it five months earlier. I was mad, angry, upset, and most of all hurt. I want you to know that returning to work after our failed adoption plan was the hardest thing for me. I want you to know that people had no idea what to say to me and the "looks" of pity I got from coworkers, friends, and family members was duly crushing to my heart. I want you to know that I felt so foolish when we retracted the birth announcements we had made through phone calls to family members and emails.
I want you to know that the hurt could have been avoided had the expectant couple sought counseling and had the counselor or couple filled us in on the possible change of heart. I want you to know that the decision was not made that day and there were hints and clues along the way that the couple would want to parent.
I want you to know that even though we are parents now (though our second attempt at adoption) it still hurts me to think back about the day He was born. I want you to know I still cry from time to time when I think about it. I want you to know that I wish they would have let us know these things beforehand so we could prepare our hearts for not just walking away from a child but also a family we had grown to love. I want you to know that even though it was difficult I respect on us, I respect their decision to parent. I just wish I could have seen it coming before I was there.