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. This guest post is by an anonymous reader.
Note: a couple months ago I posted the story of a woman who experienced adoption loss. This post is from her best friend, who wanted to tell the story from her perspective.
Two years ago I heard of a younger family member who was expecting. She and her boyfriend were not wanting to parent the baby. He already had two children of his own and they could not afford the new baby. So, it was brought up that I have a friend who cannot have children. We had a family reunion over an hour away and rode together. She and I talked extensively about her choices. I filled her in on what life would be like with a new baby, and how hard financially it is when you are working fast food and you cannot depend on odd jobs from your partner. By the end of the 3 hours total in the car she tells me she thinks she wants to meet my friend.
That same day I had dinner with my best friend and her husband. I filled them in on the conversation that day. She was in tears just thinking that after years of trying they may finally be able to have a child.
What I want you to know is that no matter how much you tell yourself you are doing the right thing, everything is going to be alright, sometimes it's not.
The evening came for them to meet. The meeting took place in our living room, you know neutral ground. For hours and hours they sat there, talking and laughing, and crying, and spilling everything on the table. By the end of the conversation it was all but set in stone. My friends would adopt their child. They would be open and be able to share appointments and everything with them. This was ""their pregnancy"" too after all.
Months went by and every so often I would get a frantic call from my friend asking why they haven't heard from the birth-parents. Why did they miss a meeting? Why won't they call back? What I want you to know is that even if you are the one who is reassuring your friend, don't feel guilty, you aren't the one who changed their mind.
The morning after He was born I got a phone call. ""Something isn't right. They are acting off."" Then I got the phone call I will never forget. I answered the phone expecting to hear they were on their way home with their new son, but instead I hear inconsolable, unintelligible sobbing. They changed their minds.
What I want you to remember is, this wasn't your fault.
As soon as my husband got home I took off and made the 30 minute drive to be with my friends. For a while I just sat with her while she was retelling what happened. I'm not sure if she was telling me, or if she was trying to convince herself that this really happened. For a while more I made phone calls to her friends, family, work, anyone to make it easier on them. They were both too shocked to really think of what to do. Then I took everything for Him and put it either into the nursery or basement so she wouldn't have to look at it. But mostly we sat there crying together. Or staring at the walls together. It was like I HAD to be there. I was the one who brought all of this pain on to them, I had to be there to try and absorb it some.
What you need to know is that when something like this happens to your friends or family, sometimes there are no words. They may not want to hear that you are sorry. They don't want to see your looks of pity and see you whispering to co-workers about them. They want to act as if nothing happened until THEY are ready to talk about it. Until that moment comes, you cannot rush it. There is nothing you can do or say to bring it out without damaging your relationship. Give them time to grieve like you would anyone else who has lost a loved one.
It has been just over a year and a half now and I have not spoken to my family members who were involved. I have also not spoken to the other family members who helped persuade them to change their minds. I feel as though my bitterness towards them is not something I should bring out in public. I'm not saying I will never speak to any of them again, they are family. I'm bound to run into them again someday. I just feel as if they were very cold in the delivery of the news to my friends. I feel as though any person with feelings, whom had gained a personal relationship with another person, could have shown more compassion.
So, my loyality in this situation belongs to my friends, and their gorgeous daughter whom they brought home almost a year to the day from that fateful first conversation.