Four years ago, I spent Mother's Day in our empty nursery sitting on the floor, weeping. I had my weak moments, this was one of them. I tried not to question, "why me?" instead I tried to visualize the future that I wanted so badly. I couldn't quite picture a child's face or imagine what life would actually look like. I just knew that it would be complete. After facing the constant emptiness + heartache of infertility, I knew in my heart that adoption was our option. It was how God was leading my Husband and I to become parents.
Unless you've experienced it, you'll never be able to fathom what it feels like to be 'waiting to adopt' or a 'hopeful adoptive parent'. Talk about hope. You essentially are waiting for someone to look at a scrapbook about your life and say, "Yep that's them. I want them to parent my unborn child." It's a big freaking deal - because odds are there are hundreds of 'scrapbooks' to choose from. What makes our life so special that we will be chosen? Why us? I feel like this is the forgotten stage of the domestic adoption process. Some families wait years and years to be chosen. How could you possibly expect me to go from wanting to be a mother so badly, to dismissing the very person that is responsible? Let's remember that she actually CHOSE me to do this, out of many deserving candidates. I thought I could be the Adoptive-Mom that shares photos with a Birth-Family and occasionally has a visit. Never did I think I would be in an active open adoption. Never did I think that I would feel so confident that the mere use of certain "adoption trigger words" would no longer trigger me. It's taken a lot to get me here, but I can't help but think it was a chain-reaction set off by one thing I did. Shortly after we were chosen, I wrote a letter to myself. I wanted to remember all that I was feeling. I encourage every waiting mother to write this letter. It is VERY important that you remember how you felt in this chapter of your life.
The Day we got THE CALL was one I will never ever ever forget. Being chosen felt like a lottery win. I pictured the life of this expecting woman and everything she was possibly going through, and was filled with different emotions. Felt more like every emotion. I was full of joy for us, but I was equally filled with sadness for her. Our greatest gift was surely going to be her biggest heartbreak. Everytime I could feel my 'sad' emotions creep up I would reassure her that we were a great choice and we would do everything to be the best parents. My new hope was to be the EXACT parent she wanted for her unborn baby girl.
Shortly after Finley was born, it came time to sign THE PAPERS. Lex was relinquishing her rights and we were accepting parental responsibility. Such a legal matter and I know we are trained to abide by the law, but in this capacity- it felt unnatural. I remember sitting across from each other at the table and passing her the pen, being scared to make eye-contact with her for fear that I would feel too intense of guilt. The tears just streamed down our faces, for a million different reason. She was willingly giving us the precious life that she created and we were promising her to cherish it. Our verbal agreement was to exchange photos and have some physical visits within the first year. I was encouraged not to make any promises that I know I wouldn't keep. Let me tell you, that is VERY hard to do when it is something you want more than anything. Lex asked for nothing because she didn't need anything, even though I would have given her ANYTHING she requested. The beauty of our relationship was always the trust, the unspoken trust that we established on day 1. I honestly believe that as much as Finley was a perfect fit for our family, so was Lex. A piece of that puzzle I struggled to imagine back in that empty nursery.
Open Adoption can be such a beautiful thing when all parties involved are healthy enough to handle this type of relationship. It is difficult no matter the circumstance. I've never felt threatened by Finley's Birth-family because we've always maintained a mutual respect and gratitude. They've never commented on the decisions we've made as parents, there are clear boundaries that are honored. Even when we all have our issues, we communicate through them. Ultimately, we share the same desire for Finley to know she was loved through the placement process and is continuously and uncondtionally loved by her Birth-family. I believe that this is the foundation for a successful open adoption. Lex chose to place Finley in our Lives, and that is the sole reason we are Finley's Parents. We will always celebrate Birth-Mothers day with her, for as long as she is comfortable doing so.
As I sit here writing this blog, I think about all of the women who spend their nights sitting in empty nurseries. I can't tell you what having family and friend's support means to someone in this place. My prayer is for you to know you are loved and you are worthy. I pray that you know when the time comes, that your pain and suffering will be flushed away and overpowered by joy. I love the Bible Verse about joy coming in the morning, because I always felt that I was the saddest and the emptiest at night. I pray the nights be short for you. I pray that your Journey to Motherhood is an inspiring one. Lastly, I pray that you share your story with other's to bring them comfort during this time.
With Love, Christina