Adoption Loss

I was sitting in on a Diagnostic Assessment for a child under the age of 5 for my new job (which I love) and the therapist was asking the mom a bunch of questions about the first months of the child’s life. Normal things such as when did he sit up for the first time, walk for the first time, crawl, first words, things like that. I know logically that the therapist wanted to see if the child was meeting developmental milestones and other (attachment related) aspects of the parent/child relationship, but to my surprise these questions hit me really hard that day.

I realized that I will not know the moments my children took their first steps on their own or said their first words. I won’t have any hilarious videos of them trying to walk only to have them fall down and have Sammy run over to “help” by drowning the child in kisses (depending if course on the ages of the children that are places with us) There will be few (if any) baby or early childhood pictures or stories to re-tell to the child as they grow older.

Please do not mis-understand this post. Adopting never was a “second best” for me but was always something that God had placed very strongly on my heart. My husband and I never tried due to many many reasons and we feel at peace with that decision. I am not looking back at that so close to the end of this paperwork process and the start of this parenting process with regret wishing we would have gone another way. That is not what this is about. I have heard it said (and seen it written in all the adoption books I have read) that adoption is, at its very core, about loss. I always understood that from the child’s perspective but now I am beginning to understand how that is also true from the to-be parent’s perspective.

Again, adoption is, and always will be, my forever first choice on how I wanted to start my family. I am not passing judgement on how anyone else makes their family, just stating that I always felt I would gather mine to me through adoption. Life’s circumstances and God’s perfect plan have all come together to make that a reality.

We are literally weeks away from being matched, and while that excites me and makes me want to start nesting like no other (with the frustration of being unable to nest as I don’t know the ages or gender of our future children) my grief has also hit me head on this week. I suppose it was bound to happen but still I was so unprepared. I figured since I was always planning on adoption I would have nothing to grieve about. Boy was I wrong. I have been in tears countless times this week over stupid sh**. Like REALLY stupid sh**.

I find comfort in my family and friends (thanks Mom!) that assure me that this is normal (which I still doubt…) and the never ending love and patience of my husband (he is so ready to be a dad if he can put up with me!). I’m not all that sad about missing out on the labor and delivery, I mean, really, who would be? Nor do I crave the sleepless nights (though I can’t count myself free of those just quite yet).

I mourn:

The surprise pregnancy: the ease with which some people form families, every single solitary step of the way Joel and I have had to (almost literally) sign on the dotted line agreeing, once again, that we want to do this. While it was cool in the beginning, now I want to scream, “I am I great person, I work with kids other people scream at for a living! I just want a kid, do I really have to sign one more thing and go to a 3 hour class for how to put in a car seat?”

That rant brings up the second thing I mourn, the seeming lack of surprises: I imagine new parents bring babies home from the hospital and look at each other and their baby and say WTF? We have gone to well over 20 hours of trainings detailing many many possibilities about just what might happen and how to respond and it has been suggested we read more books to give us more tips. I love knowledge (and got way into reading WAY too much) but where is the WTF feeling (in future posts, feel free to leave a link to this post in the comment section of a post where I am freaking out). I mean, really we have to go to a 3 hour class on HOW TO PUT IN A CAR SEAT! (Disclaimer, I am only complaining a little bit and I know why Social services requires these classes so we will do them, but I am totally allowed to complain a little) I just feel like the social worker sits down with you and talks about everything. What if your kids……, What about……., while I liked this at first (and so did my OCD) now I feel more like saying “You know what, I don’t know what I would do, how about this: just put the kids here and we will see.”

Baby Pictures: There will be no tired in the hospital pictures of family gathered around, maybe no pictures at all of the kids before they turned 3,4,5 (or whatever age the entered our home). Imagine not having any pictures AT ALL of yourself when you were a baby. How many school projects would you not be able to complete? What about High School and College Graduation collages? Wedding Slideshows? Things we all (or at least I) take for granted.

Funny stories: I won’t have funny stories from before they came to live with us (but I am sure they will make many with us). I know many funny stories about myself growing up and while they are cute and funny they also help define who I am. For instance, as I child I LOVED going to my cabin in north MN and would never want to leave. I developed a elaborate plan to get a job at the grocery store and ride my back back and forth. Well, one trip when it was time to go I secured myself in the lift (if you go to north MN, you know what that is) and kicked my dad in a very sensitive region when he was trying to get me out of the lift and into the car. This may seem like a cute story but it also defines my stubbornness from a VERY young age! (and everybody said: Oh poor Joel!!). I look forward to creating and remembering all these fun stories once I meet my kids but I have to admit to mourning not being present at the earlier moments

Other moments: first words, ect (see above)

I have two big sad-inducing things left and they are both very hard to explain. I will start with the one that makes me look bad and end with the one that makes me look good! 🙂

Other people’s happiness: Ok, let me be clear, I am not a raging B****. (At least I hope not) However, lately as I hear about other people getting pregnant (and as we started this process there seemed to be a lot more) I get sad. Not that I am not happy for them. I have not experienced anything like that before and I HATE the feeling of being sad at someone’s happiness so if you have any insight I would love to hear it. It’s not even about them and their child. It’s more about the fact that they get to not experience the things listed above (and below) that have so saddened me lately. And while I am so glad that they will get to be parents and that their child(ren) will be truly and completely loved I get sad that the things they are or are soon going to experience are the very things I will miss out on. Until I figure it out I am grateful for the headsup before the news from the happy couple

Heres the one that makes me look less like a bitch. Being a mom-to-be I am really feeling that protectiveness and it hit me this week that my children will have gone through horrible losses and things that my heart breaks just thinking about. I mourn for my inability to protect then from everything, even things from before I was around. As with all parents I want the best for my kids and knowing that they come to me with such big hurts already breaks my heart. Thankfully God gave me a heart strong enough!

I feel like this post sounds very anti-adoption, and it is not meant to be that so I hope it did not come off that way, but I am trying to be more honest about how I am feeling about things and this is where I am today. I know that with adoption Joel and I will have many more and different challenges and blessings that any other couple we know. But I think that is true with every parent as no two kids are alike. No we were not there for them when they most needed someone and I will live my life knowing that my child was hurt profoundly before I even met him/her and I can’t fix it or protect him/her. But, like I said elsewhere, I can sit there in the sh** and show them that not all people are like that and God was there through it all!

I debated posting this, but this is honest and real and where I am. I hope today finds you well.

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3 thoughts on “Adoption Loss

  1. I am so glad that you did decide to post this. I think that you are simply sharing honest feelings and doubts that any almost-parents experience. If that can’t be shared here than where can any of us go on days that the “cons” on the list are feeling heavier than the “pros”? Stay strong and remember “All the miles of a hard road are worth a moment of true happiness.” Your true happiness is on the way!

  2. Just wanted to echo the previous comments–what you’re feeling is very normal, or at least, I’ve had very similar feelings. I think it is totally appropriate to view these feelings as mourning a loss, and it’s not something that will just go away & you’ll be “fixed.” Thanks for being brave enough to share.

  3. Katie, I really understand your feelings in this post. I still feel this way. We never were able to have kids and it hurt me deeply. Ron would have made the best dad, and I would have been a great mom. We’ll never have those photos, or those events either, and you put into words precisely what I was never able to. I hurt too when friends of mine had kids. Like you, I was happy for them, but still so sad for us. I am anxiously awaiting your family growing, almost as much as you and Joel. You two will make the best parents.

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