Friday, July 1, 2011

Thank You

Seriously... thanks.  For the emails and text messages, the Facebook postings, the comments...  For the prayers and the thoughts.  Thank you.  We truly do appreciate them.

We're okay.  Really.  We are.

I think that had this been a traditional adoption, where we were going through the motions in advance, were matched with a birthmother or a child in an orphanage, and then things fell apart...  I think in a situation like that I wouldnt know what to think right now.  But we knew, going in, that working through a crisis pregnancy center adoption process wouldnt be an easy road.

While we wanted to adopt (and have since we our relationship start... and still want and plan on doing in the future!), we werent actively engaged in the adoption process.  When we were approached, we were shocked.  But we said yes.  We actually have a philosophy behind this, taught to us by our dear monk friend: "Just say yes; no will present itself."  While we arent always able to put that in practice, we try.  So, it was a nobrainer.  Say yes.  If it is meant to be, it will be and, if not, then so be it too.

That being said, some Yes's cause you to invest more of yourself than others.  Adopting a child for example.  From the moment we said "yes", we were in love.  He became a part of us.  We carried him in our hearts as she carried him in her womb.  And we loved him... And love him still.  We always will.

But we knew the risk.  We knew it and we'd take it again, even knowing the same outcome.  The goal of saving babies from abortion isnt giving them a life through adoption: it's empowering their mothers to embrace their motherhood.  Adoption is an option- and a very beautiful one- if the birthmother makes that choice.  But, truly, our role is to support her as she navigates a terrifying road of pregnancy and impending motherhood.  Whatever choice she makes, we support her in that.  If knowing there is the option of a loving family that will raise her child as their own gives her the strength to continue a pregnancy and leads her to loving and embracing the idea of mothering that child... Then that is the best possible outcome.

With a lot of pain, no doubt. 

But ask any adoptive parents- adoption comes with pain.  Someone has to suffer.  There is no perfect situation.  Whether it is when the child is older and asks questions that break your heart or it is the dumb comments of people who notice your conspicuous family and just NEED to say something or it is a failed adoption or the grief of the birth family in a completed adoption... There is pain somewhere.  Our prayer wasnt "God, please make sure he comes home to us."  It was "God, please make sure he is safe and loved and, if that means he is with us, we will be grateful.  But if that isn't to be, please watch over him and let him always feel our love for him."

Someone once said that foster parenting required a huge heart with even bigger bandaids.  I think the same can be said of being an adoptive family working with a crisis pregnancy center.  Your heart has to be big enough to offer all the love in the world to these women/girls, their families, and their precious unborn babies.  You have to be able to give yourself to the prospect of a new child in your home 100% while at the same time knowing that the best outcome is the empowerment of these women to be the best mothers they can be.  You have to be able to rejoice in the outcome no matter what and be willing to pick up the pieces at the end, holding that big heart together with the hugest bandaids you can find.  Having Bobby and Maya to help hold us together doesn't hurt.  :)

We're at a place where we can do this.  I dont know how long we are, but for now, we are...  We've helped one mother, and for that, I'm thankful.  I will always know that, even if I never hold him or see him, that that sweet little boy is alive and well.  And because the Center stays involved after babies are born to provide moms with the tools the need for the every day cares (as well as job, education, and housing assistance), I can sleep well knowing things are okay.

I have to.  There isnt another choice.

I'm grieving.  I'm aching.  But I am, truly, okay.  I know that I have a role to play in this world and that my role comes with a fair amount of heartache.  I dont pretend to know the reasons behind it.  But it's something that this experience has taught me I should accept.  Just like working with grieving parents as a doula after loss, someone has to do this.  Someone needs to.  Perhaps this is where we are meant to be right now. 

I'm a spiritual person.  I believe in the Divine Spark that rests within all of us.  I believe in the Great Spirit that is all and was all and will always be, that is within every little thing.  I'm a practicing Catholic and am deeply involved in my parish.  But, sometimes, I fall back on the guidance of my grandmother, my mom's mom.  I talked to her just yesterday and she's something else.  She always has been.

Growing up, she used to tell us "It's a footprint day."  She loved the Footprints poem, about Jesus carrying the narrator when he wasnt able to walk on his own.  On Tuesday, when Peter's mom asked me how I was doing, I answered "It's a footprint day."  I was anxious, pacing, ringing my hands.  You name it.  I dont remember much of that day, honestly!  I was trying to make it to naptime so that I could pace and pray some more!  When she visited in the afternoon, she oftered to watch the kids so that I could do a decent run  (I run 2.5-3.5 miles every morning now, but I try to fit in some 5-7 mile days as well, in addition to my one long run (the mileage ups each week) every week).  So, I mapped out a 5.5 mile run and got started.  My mind was everywhere and I have no idea what I thought about.  I prayed a lot.

As I began my run home, I had the distinct presence of Jesus with me.  I know... I'm nuts.  (Just wait- it gets better).  I said (OUT LOUD because I really AM that crazy) "It's a footprints kind of day".  But I heard, as clear as day (I told you, the white coats ARE coming to get me), "No, it's not a footprints kind of day.  What about if I just run here beside you and hold your hand?  You'll be able to make it on your own."

I sobbed for part of that run home.  I knew then that the adoption wasnt going to happen.  I cried Tuesday night before falling asleep.  The call on Wednesday afternoon was just a confirmation of what I knew.  My heart was broken; it rubbed salt in the wound, but I already knew.  And, in a way, the healing had already started.  Even though I wanted to bring him home so very much.... Even though we are ready and prepared...  Even though... we wanted him to be happy and loved and wanted.  And that is what seems to be.  What is.  And who could ask for more?

But thank you... From the bottom of our hearts.  We are mourning this loss to our family but are rejoicing that he is alive and well.  We will never forget him, never stop loving him, and never stop praying for his family.  As Sarah said, we may not be his forever family, but we are his spiritual family.  And, in my book, that counts for something.

Love to you all.


Sophie said...

Big hugs Michelle. You are an amazing mother. xxx

And hey, i don't think you're crazy. I think you are very blessed to be so open to such experiences. However you look at it, whether you call it God, the Divine, or the Universe, it was speaking to and comforting you. I have had similar experiences.

Sending much love. xx

Hillary said...

You are spreading such a wonderful message about adoption! I know that you are experiencing the worst pain right now but are still brave enough to continue to encourage other parents to move forward and continue trying!

Love and hugs! xoxox

Dana said...

Beautiful and inspiring. Love to you.

quadmom said...

You've been on my mind so often these past couple of days! You're not crazy -- I think that is amazing that God took that moment to communicate with you and support you. I truly admire you for what you have done for this little boy and his mother. Sarah is right, you ARE his spiritual family. I am glad you are all right, but I will continue to keep you in my prayers to mend your heart. Hang in there, Michele. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

Oh Michele. I've been a little "unplugged" (to use your word) lately, and I missed this. I am so sorry for the heartache you must feel. You are a beautiful woman for having such a wonderful outlook about it. And I don't think you're at all crazy. ;)

Barb said...

I'm so sorry Michele

Holly said...

I just read. I'm so sorry. :(

Noelle said...

I am so sorry that this happened, but I am happy that you are okay. You did save a life and you did so much for him and his mom. I will keep you in my prayers.

Leah said...

I've been unplugged myself, and just saw what happened, and wanted you to know that I'm thinking and praying for you.

Canaan C. said...

That was beautiful. I love how you identify that adoption options can mean opening the heart of the birth mother to be able to love and care for her child.
I am sad for your loss, but grateful that the Jesus came and spoke to you directly when your heart needed it. Isn't it amazing how he meets us where we are and runs beside us?

Janelle said...

I think you are a strong person and I view you as a role model for myself and others. Just keep moving forward. You will continue to inspire yourself and others every step of the way. Miss you and will talk to you soon.

cheryllookingforward said...

Lots of love to you and your family, Michele. You've been on my mind.

Jenn said...

Michele, my heart breaks for you, yet I'm so encouraged by your strength. I sit here and cry thinking of what you are going through, and hating that you know the pain of a failed adoption. It's different. It's different then loosing a child you are carrying. I don't know why. But I've experienced them both too, and even if it's different, it still hurts. Sending much love.

St Elsewhere said...

What? I thought I commented and I realize that I didn't.

I can't say you are taking it well, but the clarity you show over the situation is amazing. You have an amazing grandma, I must say. Those words should never be forgotten.

Please take care!

Scarly said...

I've been following your weight loss journey and clicked over to this blog. Just want you to know I'm thinking of you.

Rebecca Frech said...

please take care of yourself. Find me on facebook if you want to chat.

I hope you come back soon. I miss reading what you have to say.