Friday, April 29, 2011

Coincidence - I think not

Brit was born in March.  In June, my sister got married in Chicago.  I was a bridesmaid so I had to go.  Whether I felt like it or not.  Because my family was not particularly supportive of my adoption decision, I knew I would have to keep my game face on the whole time.  The face that said how happy I was for Brit's parents.  How glad I was that she was placed with a loving couple and how I was perfectly OK with all of it.

Needless to say, I wasn't.  I was still very damaged.  Brit wasn't even 3 months old yet.  My hormones were a mess.  I was traveling, by car, from Kansas to Chicago with my 5 children - all alone.  Oh yeah, and my daughter who was traveling with me was also pregnant.

The trip was hell.  The boys fought.  My daughter cried.  I cried.  I celebrated my "one year anniversary" of being with my BF all by myself in another state and he didn't even remember. I had invited him to go on the trip with me, nearly begging him to go, but he decided he had too many work obligations to go with me.  (Insert resentment and hurt.) 

One a singular positive note, I did get a marriage proposal from a random stranger at a McDonalds the day of my "anniversary".  Very fitting.  He was smokin' hot.  An actor and model.  We are still in touch. My kids thought I was a fool for not pursuing it any further. lol.

But back to the story.  I was an emotional disaster case.  I was very lonely.  My heart was broken.  And I had to keep it all together and be the grown up while traveling with 5 kids.  I would say that it was a recipe for disaster.

So on the day of the return trip home, I was driving and doing alot of thinking.  My phone rang and I answered when I saw it was my pastor's wife.

She wanted to tell me about a woman from our church who she had met with.  Like me, this woman was 30something and unexpectedly pregnant.

She had two teenage sons and an ex-husband who she still lived with who was trying to decide if he wanted to stay with his family, or move back to California where his girlfriend and his child lived. (The story is sordid, but he had a child with another woman while married to the woman who I am speaking about.)

My pastor's wife wondered if I would connect with this woman because she was considering abortion and then began considering adoption.  My pastor's wife thought I might be able to share some insight with her about adoption and if nothing else I could encourage her through this very tough time.

Me.  A complete disaster.  A sobbing mess.  A mother missing a child that I had placed just 3 months prior.

I told my pastor's wife that I would pray about it.  Of course, I knew it wasn't coincidence.  But I wasn't ready.  My heart was bleeding from the pain of my own loss.  How could God be doing this to me?!?

Needless to say, I called this woman after I got home from the trip.  We met and talked. And cried.  And cried.

She was in a terrible relationship with a man who did not value her.  He couldn't even decide if he wanted to be with her and their children, or head off to be with his girlfriend and his 2 year old son.

So my new friend, Sara (alias of course), was trying to figure out what to do.  They were/are very poor.  She was supporting her family by working at Applebee's as a waitress.  She could hardly support the children she had, let alone another baby.

I told her my story.  I shared all the reasons I had placed Brit.  It was very interesting to hear myself saying such positive things about adoption when I am pretty sure I was second guessing my own decision.

Sara and I established a friendship.  I went with her when we met with a prospective adoptive couple. I even went to lunch with all three of them after the meeting with the attorney.  Sara chose them to parent her child.

I shared my adoption story with this couple and I found a true gift in the insight that this adoptive mother could share with me.  Once again, I know it was no coincidence.  God knew what I needed right then.  And Heather was such a support to me.  She was the mother of an open adoption and she gave me hope when I had little.  Another story for another day.

I supported Sara as her pregnancy progressed.  She loved the adoptive parents.  They were so good to her.  They are great people and it was very apparent from how they treated Sara and her children during this time.

But Sara started to have second thoughts.  They found out the baby was a girl.  Her ex-husband started warming up to the idea of sticking around and having a daughter.  Sara was feeling the tug of motherhood again.

Sara chose to parent her daughter.  She contacted her attorney and the attorney told the adoptive couple. (My heart BROKE for them.)  But I understood completely why she would change her mind.  And I suppose it was better before the birth than at the hospital.

**Note - For those of you who have experienced disrupted adoptions, my heart hurts for you.  I know what it is like to long for the child I do not have a relationship with, so I can only imagine what it must feel like to love a child in your heart and not bring that child home with you.  I feel the same kind of pain.  I am so sorry each time I read your stories of loss.

Sara had the baby in December and you can see from this picture how it affected her.  She was in love.

Sara still struggles.  Their financial situation has not changed.  Her ex-husband did stay.  I don't know if that is a good or bad thing.

I have not had much interaction with Sara in the last few months because I have been so busy and she has been too.

But Sara called this week and was desperate for someone to watch her precious baby girl when she worked this weekend.  Since I don't work weekends, I was glad to help her out.

I can't wait for some baby time.  I will have this little princess from 8am-10pm on Saturday (Sara has been asked to pull a double shift waitressing. Poor momma.) and 6am - 3pm on Sunday.

I will have to load her up in a car seat.  Take her with me to prom pictures with J and his date.  Out to dinner on Saturday night when I have a date with BF.  It will be just like I was parenting a baby girl.

Sara has even asked if I would consider doing this regularly when she works weekends.  Of course I said yes.

I look at her situation.  They struggle financially. The father is not exactly a model daddy.  She has no family support because she is from California.

Yet she chose to parent her child.  In spite of the less than perfect circumstances.

I have a good paying, career job.  A network of family support.  And while I would not describe my relationship with BF as perfect, it is certainly not toxic.  He is a good man and would have been nothing but a positive influence in Brit's life. (Although he absolutely did not want to have another child. Again, another story for another day.)

But I chose not to parent my child.  I chose different parents for her so she could have a married mommy and daddy.

I listen to Sara say "I just can't imagine not having this sweet little girl with me."

It hurts my heart.  She doesn't mean it to hurt me.  She is simply speaking from her own heart and acknowledging the love she has for her daughter.

Why do you suppose God has placed this woman and this child in my life?

I know I am being 'refined by fire' as the Bible verse says.

Sometimes I wonder how much pain, loss and regret I can endure.

But I suppose this story has a happy ending.  I get baby time with this sweet little girl.  I get to help a momma support her child who she chose life for.

Maybe God is providing this opportunity to me to help with the void that is empty in my heart.  It will not replace the place that was made for Brit (which I fully expect to start filling when we do have a relationship someday).  And it won't take away the loss I feel. But maybe it will soothe some of the pain knowing that I can provide love for this child, right here and right now, when I cannot do the same for the child I had.

I don't know why things have turned out like they have.

But I do know this.  God wants only the best for me.  And I do not believe any of these things have happened by coincidence.  What may be my pain, could be someone else's joy. 

So I will snuggle Princess this weekend.  And I will thank God for the fact that He provides for me, even when I don't know what is best for me.


m&msmommy said...

Absolutely beautiful post! As I read your words I think to myself, "How does she do it? How does she even handle the unbearable "void" in her heart?" You seem SO amazingly strong because I can't even imagine what your heart and mind goes through on a daily basis. I admire you! :) I am not sure why Sara was put in your life, but I do know one thing, He knows why she is there and He put her (and her baby girl) there for a reason and that's all that matters! :)

Enjoy your weekend with this precious little bundle of joy. Of course she will never replace Brit, but I have no doubt you will have a huge smile on your face all weekend! :)

Enjoy my friend! :)

birthmothertalks said...

What a great story. I hope watching the little baby girl brings you some comfort and happiness from helping out a struggling Mom.

Lu Holt said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I feel your pain and I feel your strength. What you gave to Brit was the greatest gift you could have ever given her. You loved her enough to give her more.
I hope you have the opportunity to have a special relationship with her when she is older. Hold on to your hopes and dreams.
Things happen for a reason. You are an angel in Sara's life. Enjoy this bundle of joy as you take her into your heart and home.
I am a birth grandma and I understand how a broken heart can hurt. When my daughter gave birth to her son three years ago and placed him in his adoptive parents arms to take home I thought my heart was going to physically break. It not only broke to lose my first grandchild, but it broke to see the pain my daughter was suffering. I can't imagine even though I know it was the best choice for my grandson. I get to see him, I'm so blessed for that. I love him as much as a mother loves her child. His parents have been very good to my daughter and I pray it continues throughout his life.
I wish you the BEST as you deserve it.
Enjoy your weekend.
I love reading your blog.