I spent a long time tonight sitting outside, staring at the stars, A long time praying with the trees whispering, the wind whipping strands of hair into my tears. The candle had blown out long before the tears came.
I prayed, I gave it my all, and I fell in love. I fell in love with a girl’s quirks, dreams, potential, and learned ways to meet her needs. I didn’t go into this knowing that my heart could get hurt so deeply before even meeting the child in person. Every mishap, every delay, and every probing question answered wasn’t enough for us to get chosen. We requested to proceed to the next step and her foster parents decided to adopt her. I’m thankful that she is blessed with her home and family. So thankful that another child has the chance to be loved. I grieve because I lost the chance at the future I had dreamed of with her in it.
I don’t think I can use this as an opportunity to improve how I handle disappointment or to better myself in some way. I’m not disappointed. I’m grieving. In yet another attempt at becoming a mother I lost the chance. Just like the miscarriages and failures. I lost part of my hope and heart. At times I wish I could protect my heart, but then I don’t think I would be the right person to have started this journey. There are other inquiries out, one inquiry turned over to another child’s case worker now for consideration, but I’m going to be sad. I’m mourning the loss of the dreams of special moments that might have been shared, the chance to hold my daughter in my hands. Most likely the next one will be the same and probably somewhere along the path we’ll get a little further and get rejected in preference of other parent(s), too. And just like when the stick had only one pink line or the ultrasound was empty, I’ll grieve for that lost hope, the lost dream. As one woman said in a forum thread many years back, “I really hate that phrase [about birth mother’s knowing the right parent] along with ‘the right baby finds the right family at the right time…’ That falls in line (for me) with ‘Everything happens for a reason’ ‘It was meant to be’ etc… The reason I hate those phrases? Because for those families for whom it doesn’t work out, you feel even more like some type of cosmic failure. Even the “universe” felt you were unfit to be parents…”
The other stages have been so incredibly hard all ready, but somehow it felt like although we missed out on the previous chances, we would get picked quickly. I have no explanation for why it seemed like this part would be the easier part. I didn’t expect so much emotion during this phase either. And I didn’t expect to find empathy from a group of women, all strangers even among themselves, who understood the frustration and grief, along with this sense of failure. All rational women. All women trying to figure out how to hold our shattered hearts together enough to try again. All women who delete multiple versions of what they share (I’m on five right now). I didn’t know that I could feel like I’m failing at this and would never have imagined that I’d learn from strangers that I’m allowed to, and need to, mourn those possibilities. We all fell in love with someone we didn’t know and had our hearts broken a bit. And we’re all scared of being vulnerable yet again.
We don’t pour our hearts out for pity; we do it to keep one another strong enough to try again and so that the right message can be found when this happens to another should-be mother. You will try again. You will set a date to reevaluate if you have enough hope and strength left to continue. You will be misunderstood by those that can’t empathize with your loss. Very few will understand your grief, but don’t let that stop you from grieving. Just like each chapter in the pre-home study, there’s another page after this. Scream at the stars, cry in the dark, get down on your knees and pray for probably the eightieth time just this week if that’s what you need. But allow yourself to grieve. The tears will dry on the paper and when you’re ready, turn the page.