Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Raw Emotions of Placement - An Adoptive Mom Perspective

Dayna emailed me last week after I posted Stacey's experience and all I can say is wow!  Heavenly Father truly is amazing...I got her email when I was in the car about to go to an appt and I started to read it and was so engrossed in it that I could not leave the car til I was done was so good and I am so thankful she felt compelled to email it to me and to share it with everyone that reads my blog...It is so touching...Thanks for sharing this Danya! - Deanna

Experience: Danya

I call our placement story unique knowing all placement and adoption stories are. But ours is unique in a different way then most since it was a constant stream of pure beauty and treachery (in my own mind and heart anyways). Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change a thing! But it was also pretty hard and scary. So here's our story.

My husband and I were elated when we were matched with a set of birth parents only 4 short weeks after our profile going active with LDS Family Services. As we got to know the situation and birth parents we become slightly hesitant; perfectly amazing birth couple, supportive birth family, wanting the same amount of openness as us - it seemed too good to be true! But we trusted in Heavenly Father and the strong feelings of love he was placing in our hearts for this birth family and baby girl. Our little one wasn't due for about 6 weeks so we started to cultivate a relationship of trust and openness with her sweet birth family. Time was an interesting mix of going way too slow and way too fast during those weeks but everything was falling into place so perfectly. Together with our birth family we made a hospital plan that did not include my husband and I being there for the birth. We were slightly disappointed but knew it was for the best since our birth mother, N, and our birth father, C, had such a large supportive family that would be there at the hospital. We agreed that we would visit the day after she was born to start bonding then have placement shortly after.

We began to fantasize about our baby girl and what she might look like. We picked out her name. We would dream about touching her soft skin and bundling her up for her first car ride home from the hospital. I even packed up her coming home outfit. So you can imagine the shock that followed when our dear N called me about a week before Little Lady L was due to let us know that they had not changed their minds about the adoption plan, they were still firmly committed, BUT they needed more time with Little Lady L to say goodbye. Instead of having placement from the hospital they planned to take her home for a week so that they and their family could process their goodbyes. I remember that phone call all too clearly. Fear shot through me. I trusted N with all my heart but just a few months earlier a close friend of ours had experienced a particularly devastating failed placement. It started with the birth mother saying she needed just a couple more days, taking the baby home, and then deciding to parent. My husband and I were so torn between trust and fear that we hardly knew how to react. We told N that we trusted and supported their decision. To be honest, we were dying inside. Was this the beginning of the end? Maybe things were too good to be true.

After a phone call of tears to our amazingly patient case worker we began to pray... hard. In our minds we didn't have a choice, we just had to trust N and C that they did just need some time and that they would be honest with us if they were changing their plan to place. I became exceptionally defensive (and still am) of N and C's decision to keep her for a week. We decided we would only tell our closest family of their choice until after the fact. The last thing we needed was a barrage of well intended yet hurtful reminders of what might happen.

Finally Little Lady L's induction date came and N was put into labor. N and C were so sweet and kept us posted via text message all day long of changes in labor. At 8:41pm our Little Lady made her grand appearance into this world. It was a small picture and message but it was the sweetest one we had ever received. We were completely smitten. The next day we went to the hospital to meet our daughter. I cannot express the peace we felt as we walked into N's room and held our baby girl. In those moments we knew things would be OK. The following day N was released from the hospital and took Little Lady L home, to her birth home, in an outfit picked out by her birth mother. That hurt a little. Part of me wanted that experience so badly.

I don't know how but Heavenly Father helped us find patience and peace that week. We kept busy as possible preparing for our daughter's arrival home, to our home. We visited again that Thursday at N's house and for the first time I was able to step outside of my own selfish desires and realize why this time was so desperately needed by our birth family. I'll never forget as we were saying goodbye and walking out of the front door when our visit ended I nearly burst into tears. Not of fear or pain but of joy! The Spirit spoke so strongly to my heart that this was right. That if we were patient our time with our daughter would come but they needed her first. I was so indescribably grateful that they had chosen to take this week with her! Even today it fills my heart with joy that they had those few precious moments to cherish. 

Sunday was finally here. Placement day. How do you describe placement? Pure joy for yourself. Guilt for that joy knowing your joy meant someone else's hurt. Someone you loved, no less. We arrive at N and C's LDS Family Services office and waited patiently in the lobby. They were already in the back having their last moments as Little Lady L's parents. My heart hurt so bad for them. My husband, and I sat silently across from our caseworker. I don't think words were needed as we waited. After a while N, C, their mothers, and our Little Lady entered the room. Those were tearful consuming embraces we exchanged. We sat for a while and talked about Little Lady L's health and schedule. We took some pictures and hugged some more. It was time. N was ready. I could see determination in her pained face as she gently placed our daughter in my arms. Pain, joy, and everything in between. Emotions were palpable. There weren't many words that could be said after that. Everyone could feel it. It was time to go. N and C wanted us to leave first. I don't think they could stand walking away. We understood.

Once we exited the building I stopped being strong for everyone else and cried for the first time during placement. First they were confused tears, not knowing how to feel, not knowing what I was allowed to or should feel. Finally I allowed myself a few moments of unrestrained, guilt-free joy. I wanted to jump in the air do a fist pump and yell, "Whoohoo!" I didn't. I felt the urge to run to my car and speed away so I could show my beautiful baby to the world. I didn't. I just sat down, buckled Little Lady L in snugly, kissed her cheeks, and told her how much her birth family loves her.

In the end I realized that what placement came down to. It was an act of complete and pure love."

Mrs. D
"The Adoption Advocate"
on Facebook


Tyler and Jeena said...

Fabulous and heart felt story. Thanks for sharing. Reading about other's experiences has helped prepare me for what is to come in our adoption process. It is helpful to know how all parties involved feel in this journey of love.

Stacey said...

Thanks for sharing. What an amazing story! I could not imagine how you felt that long week. said...

Beautiful! I would like to share this on bmb, if that is ok with you.

Danya said...

Gina, go for it

An Open Adoption Documentary

Adoption Isn't Selfish

Straight from a Birthmom...

The Open Adoption Project via The R House