Monday, March 24, 2014

A Prayer Answered

I believe in prayer and in receiving personal revelation and a God who individually guides His children as they seek Him (or even when they don't). I believe the Spirit can help us make important decisions if we listen, and that no big decision should be made without praying about it with an open heart, knowing that the answer you receive may not be the one you were inclined to make.

About a month after we learned we actually would not be the parents of a little girl in Mississippi, I finally got up the courage to do what we knew needed to be done - take down our adoption profile, let our caseworker know we're done trying to adopt, and then live happily ever after with the family we have now until we can save the money for other options: international adoption, fertility treatments, or buying a house big enough to begin foster care.

But before I did that, I prayed. Really hard. I let God know what was in my heart - that we really couldn't do this anymore. That the waiting and the emotional vulnerability that is required of us and the heartbreak when it doesn't work out is just way too much. And that we're confused about what to do, but we are really only hesitating slightly right before pulling the plug. That we know without a doubt that we were supposed to do this (adopt) before. That Kal came to us at the exact right time and could've only come to us the way that he did. But that maybe now we weren't supposed to be doing this anymore. We did what we were called to do and now that chapter is over.

I started a blog post that morning (that I never published), using it to work out my feelings about all this before calling it quits. I wrote that we were "closing our file if something doesn't happen soon (even though we just barely renewed our homestudy for the year). We'd need a HUGE OBVIOUS sign to keep going if this is what we should be doing. I don't see it happening, but I'd love for someone to prove us wrong!"

That same exact day, only a few hours later, I saw a short email from an expectant mother working with LDS Family Services in Maryland saying she'd like to speak with us and she'd prefer the phone and as soon as possible. I literally laughed out loud. I wasn't actually expecting a sign. I was expecting nothing to happen. We were already set on not going through this anymore. That we were done. That it was over.

I quickly emailed her back and gave her my phone number. It was Zay's birthday and he decided that all he wanted for his birthday was to be able to take a nap. So he was sleeping. I took Kal outside and we watched the rain as I waited on her to call. I started to get really nervous and my hands were shaking. It took about an hour before she called, so I nervously fidgeted and grabbed a pen and the back of an envelope out of the minivan and started jotting down questions to ask her.

Right when I thought she wasn't really going to call, she did. We talked for close to an hour. At first she wanted to keep the gender of the baby a surprise. She said she wanted to find a couple who didn't care about the gender and then when she decided what family she wanted to go with, she'd let them know with the ultrasound picture (how sweet is that?)... but she let it slip on accident and we both laughed about that. It's a boy! Due April 20th. She was just shy of 33 weeks along.

She let me know her situation and why she was choosing to place him for adoption. The birth father's involvement. What she wants in adoptive parents. What she wants for her son. Ideas for baby boy names.

She wants her goodbyes to be at the hospital and to not have anything set in stone about openness until she knows how she feels afterwards. At the very least she wants to be there to answer his questions when he's older, but she doesn't know if she could handle pictures and visits. We told her we'd respect that, because everyone who places a child is different. But I made sure she had an idea of how our first adoption works and that she can be open with us with communicating what she needs. And that we wouldn't disappear on her, ever.

She seemed super happy to talk to me and almost didn't want to talk to any other couples. I encouraged her to take her time and really be sure about her decision. Look at all her options. I told her I'd talk to Zay and have him call her the next day so she could get to know him a little as well. She said she would love that. And that she'd want to make a decision by the end of March. If she is leaning towards our family, she will want us to fly out and meet her beforehand and then come back after the baby is born. I told her we'd be willing to do that.

My mind quickly raced with the possibility. A son. To make up for the one we lost last summer. Same ethnicity, same beautiful little face in my mind. The name "Malik" came back to me. If I use a name from a failed adoption, could that make all the grief forever go away? Make it seem like it never happened? For a split second, I imagined this woman as our child's birthmama and how we could interact with each other over the years. What that relationship would look like. For that brief second, I could see it.

How awesome is this quote? Part of me still loves adoption.

Zay woke up and I summed up all that had went down while he was asleep! Ha ha. I asked him would he like to talk to her... and does this sound like a good idea? He said yes immediately. He called her after work the next day and... she said she was sick and she'd get back to him. And then... she never did. We haven't heard from her since... and we haven't heard from her caseworker in Maryland at all.

I looked up all the adoption laws in Maryland, just in case. To see how it would likely play out if by chance she did get back in contact with us. I found out Maryland has 30 days for the revocation period (time period after birth parents sign relinquishment papers in which either one could back out and change their minds about the adoption plan). THIRTY DAYS from the time they sign papers, which could happen only after the baby is born. I don't think I could do that. Fly out and meet her? Fly out a second time and "adopt" her baby, leave the state, have a son for up to a month and then have to possibly fly back and return him if she panics and wants him back and changes her mind??? (because we know TOO WELL how that happens)

Ummmmm, NO. That is too much. That, plus the baby is due a week before Zay's finals and he'd have to fly back to Utah to take them and then come back out to Maryland with me and Kal and the new baby, all shacked up in a hotel. My mind kept going back to the conversation I had with her on the phone, and this girl really sounded like she didn't have a clue how hard the whole adoption thing was actually going to be. It didn't really add up to something I think we could commit to after all. Zay understood and knew it would be too hard for us and not the right timing. I don't think we're ever going to hear from her again anyway, but I'm glad we were able to come to that decision together and be okay with it.

I still marveled at that answer to my prayer. Out of all the times we could've been contacted by a potential birthmother, it happened the day I was pouring my heart out to God about it. I needed a sign. Something to say, "Don't give up yet." And I think that was it. AND I think I've learned that it will be okay to say "no" to a situation that doesn't feel right. If the girl from Maryland calls again and it still feels like something we can't do, that's what I'm telling her - "no." It's not going to work for us, sorry. And that's okay. The world will not end. It will just save us a lot of pain.

So, our adoption profile is still up. We're not taking it down. We'll ride it out until our homestudy expires next January or so. But it won't be our focus. If something is supposed to happen with adoption again, it'll happen. But we'll be off trying to make babies again in the meantime. We have an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist in May (after Zay's semester is over) - I'M SO EXCITED!!! We're gonna get the fertility party started again and jump right into an IUI. We'll leave the adoption door open, but our lives will not revolve around it and possible-baby-mamas anymore. It just can't.

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