I'm not sure why it has taken so long for me to write this post. I have written about the painful parts of our adoption journey before. Writing helps me process my feelings and gain perspective. God has many, many times taken my blog posts and turned them into a mini devotional to encourage me to regain hope and faith. But here I go, procrastinating again...
I'm not even really sure I'd be writing now, except that I signed up to participate in the Open Adoption Bloggers 2013 Interview Project and I feel like I've left out a chunk of our story. It's not that I want to leave it out- I have learned through this process that ALL the parts of our journey are important, including the painful parts. Someday we will have our happy ending and the whole story will become a beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness and grace to us in our journey to parenthood.
So here goes...
Many of you already know some of the story- In August we were contacted by a young woman (who I will refer to as L) who said she was interested in placing her baby for adoption. She had already visited our agency the day before and had found us while browsing on their site. We seemed to hit it off and talked several times over the weekend. She told us she lived in Indianapolis (which is only about 1 1/2 hours away from us) and that she was originally due in January, but that the doctor had recently moved her due date up to December. On Monday, we called our agency and found out that she had indeed come in that past week and had picked up a packet of information on placing her baby for adoption.
From there, she and I continued to talk every few days by phone. Our agency worked with her on starting the necessary paperwork and talked with her about her options and needs. She was in a hard place, staying with friends and had a lot of crisis going on; yet she was faithful in staying in contact with me and in returning the necessary forms to the agency and keeping connected with them. They talked with her about what financial assistance she would need and what the state of Indiana allowed. Everything seemed to be going well and my conversations with L, although short, were easy and felt comfortable.
After a few weeks, we decided to meet. On September 19, we drove to Indianapolis to pick L up and take her out to lunch. We were nervous, but the conversation seemed to flow well and we sat at the restaurant for over two hours talking and getting to know each other. Then L asked if we would take her to the agency so she could talk to her adoption counselor. We drove her, went in and said hello and then went to a nearby mall so she could have some privacy and so we could also talk about how things had gone. Having gone through a previous failed match, this meeting seemed like night and day compared to our experience the first time. L seemed bright, asked us great questions, and really made us feel like she was interested in us and in staying in connected through open adoption. She seemed to be taking care of herself and seemed to want the best for her baby.
We drove back to the agency and the adoption counselor called us into her office to let us know that L wanted to match with us. She gave us the option of taking more time to think it over, but we had already talked and neither of us hesitated in saying yes! We went out and the counselor let L know that we had said yes. We were all excited and had our picture taken so we would have it to put in the baby's scrapbook.
Afterwards, we took L grocery shopping and then dropped her off at her friend's house. Jim and I were super excited! We stopped at Target and bought a cute little teddy bear and then Jim took my picture in front of the restaurant we had eaten at earlier in the day. All the way home, I made phone calls to family and close friends to share the good news.
The following Monday (23rd), L called us and told us we were having a girl. We were elated and although we knew that she could change her mind, it was becoming more and more real to us that we could be parents in just a few short months. For about a week after that, things seemed to go really well. I even pulled out my material and cut out squares to start a quilt for the baby. We also announced our news to the rest of our friends and family via Facebook and email.
But then things started to change. L's calls became less frequent and would often be interrupted just minutes into our conversation. Then after inviting me to come with her to a doctor's appointment (on October 8) she didn't answer my calls or texts, so not knowing where she lived (she had moved into her own apartment at this point), I was unable to go. When she finally called me back two days later, she said she forgot. We talked to our agency several times during this week, and they also had concerns. She was not coming to scheduled appointments and not returning paperwork. There were some financial concerns and some things that just weren't adding up. On Friday they told us to be cautious in our interactions with L while they tried to get some answers.
The following Monday (October 14th), we got the call that ended the match. Our agency had found out very disturbing news. L was a fraud! She had worked with an adoption attorney that summer and made an adoption plan with a couple. After giving birth to a baby boy, she decided to parent. This meant that either 1) she was not pregnant at all when she contacted us or 2) she was very early into a new pregnancy and was lying about her due date. Whatever the case, basically she was using us to get financial help and the baby girl we were preparing for did not even exist.
That was a hard blow to take. We've been in the adoption process for a while- we had prepared ourselves that she might change her mind. We had prepared ourselves that money seemed to be at least one motivating factor in her decision to make an adoption plan. Never did we even imagine that she wasn't even pregnant! We were shocked, devastated and left wondering how to grieve for a baby that wasn't even real. All I can say is that without God, I don't know how I would have made it through the day. God knew what was happening even though we didn't and in a way He prepared me Sunday night during the worship and altar time at church. The sermon that day was on finding rest and peace in God's presence and I clung to that promise all day (and in the following days to come). I was sad. I was angry. I was confused. I was broken. But somehow even in the midst of all of my grief and unanswered questions, I felt God's comfort and I knew that He would bring us through this.
The first few days are still a little of a blur. Somehow God gave us the strength to call family and friends and let them know that the match was over. A few days later, we posted the news on Facebook and our email. Words of comfort, love and support started pouring in from all over the country- I still say we have the best friends and family ever! Family and friends let us do and say what we needed to- they were there, but didn't push. They didn't try to answer the whys, they just loved us and that 's exactly what we needed.
It's still hard. I still think about the baby girl that we all thought was on the way. But each day does get a little easier. No one is immune to grief. We live in a broken world and life doesn't always make sense.
So how do you keep moving forward? The best answer I think I can give is one day and one step at a time. Grief is a process- you can't rush it, but you also can't just stay stuck in one place. It can seem overwhelming if you try to tackle it all at once, but it's manageable if you don't try to handle it alone. God gives me the strength that I need for each day, and for now that is enough.