Monday, January 17, 2011

Circles

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy (fertiles) be exalted over me?
...
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:1-2 & 5-6

I could not have described the prayers of my heart better than this psalm. And, yes, those two parts are the same psalm...and even as I cry out with the first part, I feel like I can simultaneously agree with the second part. But I still often wonder if God really hears my cries? Does he really see each tear that falls? Does he really have a plan for me, and will he show me? How long will I have to wait in this place of pain & confusion? Scripture, knowing the nature of God, and remembering his past work in my life guide me to simply have faith and wait, but my heart cries. How long, Oh Lord?

I also want to link to my friend A's post that describes many of my own thoughts as I wait (not very patiently) on God.

Yesterday, I finally picked up the book Inconceivable by Shannon Woodward that I have been putting off reading, and read about 2/3 of it in one sitting . I sobbed as I read the first part, and how much her descriptions of the emotions that surround infertility mirrored my own. It is so much like reading an infertility blog, where somebody can often give words and a voice to feelings I have had but perhaps struggle to name or express myself. Woodward's journey is a heartbreaking one that moves to adoption soon after her infertility diagnosis, and includes many failed adoption attempts.

Her feelings throughout her first successful adoption described many of my own thoughts as I seek God about whether or not he would have us move forward with adoption. However, at this time I do not feel God's leading in that direction - or any direction for that matter - and I have so many conflicting thoughts, emotions, and doubts about adoption.

Woodward pursues domestic adoption, which is the form of adoption that I have thought the most about. As selfish as it sounds, I think it is my starting point because it is the one that most closely mimics birthing a biological child (outside of embryo adoption, which is currently not a consideration for us). In most domestic adoptions, it does seem like one is able to bring home a newborn (unlike international adoption), and the goal is for you to parent the baby for 18+ years (unlike foster to adopt where the goal is reunification with the birth parents).

I want to share some poignant passages from the book where Woodward shares her heart as she navigates through her first successful adoption. The emotions behind these quotes reflect my own fears and questions as I think about adoption:

Woodward is meeting with a birth mother who has chosen her and her husband to adopt the baby. Upon her arrival, the birth mother lights a cigarette and begins smoking, which understandably upsets Woodward as she thinks about how the cigarettes are effecting her unborn baby. She writes, "I watched her smoke and felt a sickening grip of frustration...I was a beggar, and beggars don't make demands. Beggars take whatever is handed to them, and smile and say thank you. She could do whatever she pleased between now and the moment she handed that child to me - and I had no right to stop her. It's the law of pander. You hold out your cup and you don't say a word." (69)

Later, Woodward and her husband arrive at the hospital just after their son is born. They enter the elevator full of joy and excitement to meet their son, and end up sharing the elevator with a janitor.

"'It's pretty late for a visit - but you folks look happy. Must be good news,' he prods.

'The best,' Dave says.

'We're adoptive parents; our baby has just been born,' I add.

His smile fades.... 'Now listen,' he begins his lecture, 'don't you two be runnin' in there all happy and such. This is a hard time for the mom. Be sensitive.'

His words are like liquid nitrogen. They surround me in a cloud of frigid accusation and harden every soft spot they touch. My heart is cold like ice when the door opens and we mechanically step out. I am an interloper, pretender, the insensitive stealer of babies. Why would anyone in her right mind let me even touch her child?" (81)

Throughout their time at the hospital, everybody from the nurses to the birth mother's sister treats the adoptive parents like they are baby stealers. Fortunately, they have a a strong relationship with the birth mother, but then on the day they arrive at the hospital to take their son home, she says, "If I hadn't grown to love [the adoptive parents], this baby would be home with me right now." (86)

I guess in the face of the birth mother's grief and so much opposition, I wonder if I could take the baby home. It's just such a cloudy and painful situation for everyone involved. I vividly remember Leah writing about the nature of loss in adoption on her blog - a birth mother loses her child, a child loses his birth mother, and an adoptive couple has, often times, already experienced much loss through infertility. When I start thinking about it, the heaviness and truth of those losses is heartbeaking to me.

And then I come back to this: why can't I just have the simple joy of pregnancy and childbirth, that is not linked to so much suffering?

See, I am back to square one: infertility treatments that don't work.

**Disclaimer: I know adoption is a hot topic. I welcome your opinions, but if anybody leaves a hateful comment it will not be published.**

14 comments:

RMCarter said...

I am adopted with an older biological brother and sister. Despite all the loss involved, my parents tell of no more beautiful moment than the one where my birth mother placed me in their arms. I have several friends who have adopted who have said the same thing. I'm not saying adoption is right for you or a perfect thing in general, I'm just sharing the other side of that particular moment.

I love you and I hope your answers come soon.

Melissa G said...

"why can't I just have the simple joy of pregnancy and childbirth, that is not linked to so much suffering?" Oh Hillary - I wish I could give you a big squishy hug right now... Thinking of you.

Btw, LOVE RMCarters comment. What a lovely thing to share.

Heather said...

H-

I totally appreciate you posting this blog. I have been where you are, and even when our birth mom changed her mind last week an dleft us with empty arms and a beautiful nursery only missing the newborn baby.

I hope you and I figure this whole thing out, because my patience is so thin, and I am just struggling with what to belive. Is He there or not? Im not sure I really know anymore.....

Heather

Anonymous said...

I'm a mom to two biological daughters and a daughter adopted at nine months from China. You are wise to consider all the issues involved in adoption that are not present with a biological child. There's another layer involved when parenting a child who was adopted and a certain amount of loss is always a factor, and part of my job as a parent is helping my daughter deal with that loss. That said, having gone through both experiences, for me at least, one was no more wonderous or miraculous than the other. And now that my kids are here, they're just my kids - how they came to be in the family is not something I think about very often.

Missy said...

I just finished reading that book. It actually freaked me out a little bit with her multiple stories of failed adoptions. The story of Zachary breaks my heart several times and makes me wonder if I can (or should) do this.

WantWait&Pray said...

What a beautiful, touching post. A dear friend of mine adopted a beautiful baby girl and it was THE most amazing thing to be a part of. Watching the hoops they had to jump through, the ups and downs but then......the day they got to bring her home and every day since then has been better than the last. They stay in touch with the birthmother, but their daughter is their daughter and nothing, no one can change that. It's given me a new light on adoption and opened my heart up to the reality that there are SO many children/babies that deserve a good, Christian home. My prayers are with you!

M3MU said...

It IS so hard to pick a direction or to leave it to God to direct you. Something I've been struggling with as well. I hope everyone finds/gets the answer(s) that bring them peace and hope.
Btw, it sounds like I need to pick up that book!

lastchanceivf said...

I'm a former IFer who is in the midst of international adoption. I have had the gamut of emotions related to this. I plan to post more on this (www.mytwolines.blogspot.com) soon...but I will say that as cliche as it sounds, so much of my heart changed the moment I saw the pictures of my two babies waiting in Ethiopia. Does my heart break for all the losses involved? Most definitely. Everyone deserves to birth and parent their children, but the simple truth (one that took me a long time to realize) is that it doesn't always work out that way, for myriad reasons that are beyond my ability to comprehend. On that note, why is there ANY pain and suffering in this beautiful world? Why is there so much disparity amongst the haves and have nots? Adoption isn't right for everyone, but it can be a beautiful thing, a healing thing, a freeing thing, and a wonderful thing....even with all of the loss.

I hope you find some peace in your heart soon, because everyone also deserves peace.

Kelli said...

Hello sweet friend :) Every thought and concern you have is normal and I was bombarded with those feelings before choosing adoption for our family, too.

J's birth mom told us that her adoption was "the most beautiful, miraculous experience of her life." Yes it was bittersweet to her, and there were many tears, but she knew that she was making the right decision and found such joy in watching us become parents.
Every situation is different, but if you are ever lead in the direction of adoption it doesn't come without heartache and risk. But if that is the path that God wants for your family, He will lead the way.

..."But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches where the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

Leah said...

Wow Hillary. I got goosebumps reading the clips from the book. It sounds so powerful, and I'm sure you can relate to feelings on many levels.

I pray that you feel guidance in one direction or another. I know for me, one of the hardest things about infertility was living in limbo. It's nice to have a plan, although as we all know and realize, God sometimes laughs in our faces at "our" plans.

Thinking and praying for you.

Mommato2miracles said...

My heart is breaking for you as I follow your blog. I have not experienced what you are going through. I do not know what it is like, but I do know that I am sorry and wish that this wasn't happening to you.
I have had struggles in my life and I just wanted to recommend an amazing song to you: It is called "How Would I know?" by Kathy Troccoli. It talks all about trials and difficulty and knowing God. Google it, it should hopefully encourage you. God bless!!!

Jummy said...

I feel nothing but love for you, Hillary. Thank you for being so open and honest with us...God will reward your faithfulness.

Mrs. Hoppy said...

A circle is a perfect way to describe what we go/are going through. And like a circle, infertility feels like it has no end.
In our house our end has come and gone - and I often wonder if we made the right decision. All I know is it was the right decision for us at the time. And no decision is forever.
I think you'll know what to do when the time comes. And you have so much support in the decisions you make.
I am always inspired by your faith in God, you are much stronger than you think!
((hugs))

Deborah said...

I just found your blog through a google search and I had to post.

I am a birth mother. I placed my sweet baby boy with his parents almost 7 years ago. Yes, placing for adoption is hard. It is a lot harder then any birth mother expects it to be. But it is also wonderful. The most spiritual and uplifting experiences I have ever had have been during placement and then hard times that followed through my healing.

There is no such thing as a baby stealer when it come to adoption. For whatever reason, whether the rest of the parties involve or not, that birth mother has chosen adoption. She has picked that couple to care for the most precious thing in her life. If they were baby stealers it would not be the choice of the birth mother to place her child.

Although there is pain for the birth mother there is great joy in watching your child grow and be happy with the couple you have placed them with. The pain goes away and that birth mother can become even stronger then she was before because of her selfless decision.

I hope that didn't seem to preachy or like a rant. I just hope that people are able to see adoption as a wonderful thing for all three parties involved. The adoptive couple, the birth mother, and most importantly the baby. Although it hasn' been with out great pain I am so grateful for my choice to place and I love adoption.