This time of year always gets to me a little more than other times. The daughter we thought would be ours is turning two. When we officially started our adoption journey, we met a young lady who was very early in her pregnancy. We chatted a little on Facebook, as she found me through our adoption page. Since we were working with an agency in our state and she was in another state, I honestly never thought anything would come of our conversations in the form of an adoption match being made; we just talked about her situation. After talking awhile, she expressed her wish that we could be the parents of her unborn child. We began educating ourselves on the possibilities and what we would need to do since our agency only worked with people in our state. We soon drove to meet her and her boyfriend and immediately hit it off with them. We got along great and had so many similar interests!
As our friendship blossomed, I couldn’t help be feel concerned for the turmoil she was under due to the adoption plan she had made. I witnessed her amazing parenting ability with her three year old son and I saw how much she loved the baby in her womb. I felt uneasy and to add to that stress, the father desperately wanted to parent the child, but had agreed to sign his rights prior to birth at the mother’s request. I tried to ensure that she was making the choice she absolutely wanted. We had long, deep conversations about her reasoning and she sought counseling to help her deal with the grief of the situation. Still, something didn’t feel right.
As our match continued, things became more and more complicated. Our friendship grew stronger than ever, but I still couldn’t shake some of the feelings that this was not the match meant for us. However that didn’t stop me from growing deeply attached to the baby. When you have an expectant mom continuously reassuring you that this child is meant to be yours and refers to you as “Mommy” in conversations, it’s hard to not start to lay claim to the child, even knowing that until TPR is signed, nothing is a guarantee. Not only did I fear losing the baby I envisioned in our life, but I also grew to love the expectant mother so much. I couldn’t imagine life without her! I made a promise to always be there for her, no matter what her decision.
As her due date grew closer and tensions increased with viewing sonograms and making decisions that would define the open adoption, there were misunderstandings, misspoken words, assumed actions and they lead to a large falling out. While we tried very hard to preserve our relationship, trust was broken and the match dissolved. She was devastated for the things she thought she understood and I was devastated for not only losing the daughter I thought we would have, but also for unintentionally letting her down. It was extremely difficult to maintain our friendship through that time as emotions were high. We worked very hard to stay in touch. It was especially difficult when it came time for her to make a decision to parent or move forward with adoption, without us. I helped her sort through the new parent profiles and let her bounce her thoughts off me. She was sad and distressed about finding a new family. Nightly I clung to a little onesie I tie dyed for the baby and cried myself to sleep. I had frequent outbursts of tears or anger. No one around me quite knew what to say. Some friends felt angry at her, but she was important to me and no matter what emotions I felt, I defended her. This was HER baby and she should do whatever she felt was best. It was a trying time of mixed emotions.
When her daughter was born, she ultimately decided to parent. She chose a new name from what we had chosen and she shared pictures and joy with me. I was so happy for her and even though we were re-matched and expecting a son in a short time, I was still very torn with the sadness I felt seeing the girl I still held in my heart. Over the next few months she and I had to reassess our friendship and take a break from seeing each other on social media. We stayed in contact over texts, although not as frequent. We were able to slowly build back our friendship and our ability to “re-friend” each other on Facebook. While over two years have passed since the dissolution of our match, I still get a little choked up at times thinking of the what ifs and missing the friendship we built that may never be fully repaired.
As her daughter is about to turn two and my son is also due to turn two only a month later, I reflect on the path that lead us to where we are; the opportunity I would have missed out on parenting my son had that match not fallen through. I ponder the life that could have been and rejoice in the life that I have. While I sometimes still mourn the daughter I never got to have, I am thrilled to see her happy and thriving with her mama! We successfully adopted Ezra only a month after her daughter was born. He does not replace the spot in my heart that was reserved for her, but that little spot for her has evolved and I am at peace with what was meant to be. I am very grateful that her mother allows me to walk beside her in life and share in the joy of her daughter’s milestones and growing.
Happy 2nd Birthday beautiful girl!