This past Friday, I spent hours and hours online, reading stories about failed adoptions. I did the same thing Thursday. And I’m fighting the temptation to do the same today.
I know. I have issues.
In my defense though, I am part Irish. It’s in my blood to expect the worst…or, as I call it, to be “extra realistic.” Besides that, this whole adoption process has been so fraught with problems, from first to last, that expecting these remaining days to be anything less than traumatic seems foolish.
Friends and family, trying to be helpful, keep telling me to relax, to put it in God’s hands, and trust that it’s going to be all right. But human hearts don’t trust on command. If they did, I assure you, mine would be trusting right now. I order it to trust God daily, explaining to my heart how loving and merciful He is, and how He is working with the mess we’ve handed Him to bring about the eternal good of everyone involved in this adoption.
But my heart can’t hear those explanations. It’s too busy flipping and flopping about in my stomach—anxious, distracted and overwhelmed—to really listen to what my head is telling it.
Even my head, however, for all that it knows about God’s goodness, also knows that so much could go wrong in the next nine days. The baby’s mother could decide to give him to another couple. The baby himself could stop breathing. Our plane could come crashing down in some Kansas farm field. Heck, a nuclear bomb could fall on Sacramento. Yes, it’s a stretch, but we just don’t know.
Then, there’s the baby’s mother, who is worrying me as much as the baby himself. She is in so much pain—so much gut-wrenching, heart-searing, soul-piercing pain—not just about the adoption, but about all the uncertainty that lies ahead for her. And it’s only going to get worse.
I hate that. I hate that my joy can only be made possible by her sorrow. I hate that my prayers can only be answered through her suffering. It’s like praying for an organ transplant, where one person has to die, so another person can live, except, in this case, one woman has to give up her child, so I can have a child. One woman has to renounce her motherhood, so I can become a mother. It’s not a physical death she has to go through, but it’s a death just the same.
Moreover, this particular someone who has to suffer is already the most wounded person I’ve ever met. She’s had every bad hand possible dealt to her in her 36 years, and the one beautiful thing she has in her life right now—this precious baby—she has to give to me, a woman with so many gifts, so many loved ones, so many advantages. It’s just not fair.
I know: life isn’t fair. I also know there is no other way for her. She has to place the baby for adoption. Not because I need it, but because the baby needs it. She is not physically, mentally, or emotionally capable of raising a child, nor is there is any one else in her life or the father’s life who can care for him. Adoption is the only and best option for this little boy. But the whole thing, on a cosmic scale, is still massively unfair.
I don’t understand it. I don’t know how God will bring all these things right in the end. I know He can. I know He will. But it’s impossible, from here, to see how.
And so, I fret. I suffer and pray and sacrifice for a little boy who feels like my own, but who still belongs to somebody else. I wash and fold and pack mountains of baby clothes, not knowing if I’ll ever dress that sweet boy in any of them. I hang pictures in a nursery, where no baby may ever sleep.
And the whole while I do it, I mourn for the woman who carries him in her womb, who is anxious, scared, and grieving, and who doesn’t have the emotional or spiritual tools to cope with that grief. I think up 100 different ways to help her, knowing she’ll reject or squander every offer made. And then, late at night, instead of sleeping, I sit in a dark, empty nursery and pray another Rosary for her, because that’s all I’ve got left.
Adoption is a beautiful thing. But it is also a terrifying thing. It is a maddening thing. It is a mystifying thing—a joy born of tragedy, an echo of that happy fault that led to our own adoption, as sons and daughters of God. It is a type of grace…but it’s still vastly more complex than I ever imagined, from the outside looking in.
Pray for me. Pray for us. But especially pray for her, the mother. If baby still looks good at today’s doctor appointment, we’ve got nine days to go. Two weeks from now, one way or another, this part of our seven month journey with this woman and this child will be over. Here’s hoping another journey with them will soon begin.
**Yes, that’s where the crib is going. No, a baby won’t be sleeping there for some time. Yes, we’re taking down the curtains and putting up cordless roller shades. No, a baby can’t open or break the windows from the crib. Yes, it’s very warm there, even in winter. And no, it’s not an antique; my parents bought it for us from Wayfair. Thank you for your concern. 😉