In my book, The Eye of Adoption, I write about my first lost connection:
I turned my thoughts toward the birthparents and the chosen adoptive parents. I took the gifts [I’d purchased for the birthmother] to the [adoption agency] and asked the office coordinator to give them to the birthmother. She said, “How sweet of you. That’s just bread on the water, honey.” Did she mean like fishing bait or is that a Biblical reference? Either way, it was funny and comforting.
…People who are waiting for a baby toggle between prayerful, hopeful rest in the calm eye—the wait—and nerve-wracking clashes with the eye wall—the mental work of adoption.
That beautiful opportunity appeared out of nowhere, and then vanished in what felt like a split second. I encountered a varied range of surprising emotions and attitudes. I felt like a fool. The experience beat me down, back into the wistful eye, and there was where I regained strength and hope.
I asked other parents who have “been there” how they healed after a loss in adoption. I hope you find camaraderie, relief, and inspiration in their honest responses. (Names withheld to protect their privacy.)
• “Believe that you’ll be bringing YOUR child home at the right time.”
• “I learned: Do not guard your heart. Love with everything you have. That child needs your love at that time and you NEED to love. I found other waiting families. We cry together and [hope] for the future together. Thank God for the internet! Friends are just a click away.”
• “We tried to return to life as ‘normal’ as quickly as possible. It was my belief that those were bumps in the road. We were going to eventually successfully adopt, and that’s what kept me going through it all.”
• “I said [to our social worker], ‘Tell [the birthmother] I will pray for [her and her baby]. Tell her I hope their lives are wonderful.’ The next birth mom chose to go thorough with her adoption plan and I have the perfect son for me. If I didn’t know the sorrow of loosing the first one, I would never have had the great joy of receiving my son.”
• “My friend, who had suffered 5 miscarriages said, ‘It’s like a miscarriage. When you find out you are pregnant it’s not so much a physical connection as it is an emotional one. You don’t feel the baby. It’s emotional, you love this baby, you make plans for this baby and when the hope of this baby is gone, it’s heartbreaking.’ My husband encouraged me and we knew we were meant to go on. As Christians we did what we always do, especially in difficult times, we prayed. We had a peace inside about moving forward. What got us through was believing that those babies were not meant for us and that God would bring us the right situation and the right child. Our daughter is 8 and we are so blessed to be her parents. If we had given up, we would not have the honor of being her parents.”
• “Time was the greatest factor in. I wholeheartedly believe that my son is ‘The One’[and] that had I actually adopted any of those [who] came before him I would have missed out on an amazing experience with an amazing boy. But honestly, it is a whole lot easier to see cosmic alignment once you are on the other side.”
• “I can now look back and see it was the perfect thing to happen. I believe the two children we now have were meant to be with us and with each other. The grief is gone.”
Perhaps hindsight in adoption is a glimpse of God’s vision of time and relationships. I hope the insights from these successful adoptive parents comfort you in your wait. Friends, have faith! Soon enough, you, too, will welcome a child through adoption and enjoy a privileged view of faith, love, and family!