This blog is probably one of the most raw things I have written to date. It contains thoughts and experiences I had previously chosen to keep private (in fact much of it was written a year ago and never published) - odd for someone like me who has otherwise made a decision to live this diagnosis out loud in an attempt to change its course. But now is the time to share. My prayer for you if you are living some of these same struggles is that you find some hope in our story.
My journey to her began at age 19. It was the year I took the job as a nanny for a little girl newly adopted from China. I clearly remember rocking her to sleep in my arms, gazing down at that gorgeous perfect little face, and having the wind sucked out of me. What if her parents had not cared enough to go and get her? What if she had stayed in a Chinese orphanage? What hell of a life would she have lived? And here she was, safe in their home, safe in my arms, the world at her feet. I vowed then that I too would make the difference in a little life, and adopt.
I knew the child I got would be a girl... Altruistically speaking, girls have a pretty tough time in much of the world and I wanted to make a difference for one. Totally selfishly, I wanted to raise a ballet dancer, like me, someone to share that with (for as long as she would tolerate it before asserting independence, of course!)
Eight years ago I had another brush with adoption that only further solidified these feelings. I was teaching special education and I had twin girls from India on my case load. They were the result of a botched late-term abortion and had survived, eventually being adopted by an American couple. Again, I found myself looking at them and thinking, "What if..."
Fast forward many years, and I have an incredible biological son. A son who is my own miracle - as we now know I shouldn't have survived the pregnancy because I probably had PH already, and we just didn't know it.
When you have PH you can't get
pregnant. Or, at least, you really really shouldn't. This is something you're told
pretty much upon diagnosis. When I was told, it didn't faze me. My son was an infant at the time, and pregnancy was not something I was too big of a
fan of the first time around. Since I already knew I wanted to adopt, I figured that would be our route, and that was totally cool.
Except, for a long time it wasn't our route at all. I was so busy chasing a toddler and trying to get better and trying to be self-employed, and my husband always works so hard, and our lives were just full. Although we batted the idea of adoption around many times, the answer always seemed to be "Not now." And that was fine.
But then a little over a year ago my
damn biological clock started ticking...and chiming... and the gong
started going off... and I couldn't make it stop. I wanted that baby.
long heart-to-hearts with my husband, it was clear he just wasn't ready
for adoption. And I couldn't blame him. It's not like other times when
we've disagreed and my nose is all out of joint because he doesn't see
it my way (come on, you know you all get like that). This time, he had real fears about the future. How the financial burden of supporting our
family is by and large on him. And worse, he had fears about being a
single parent some day, if PH took the ultimate toll. These aren't fears we face head on too often. In
fact, we never had before. We've chosen to live with the positive and
not think that way. But when we're choosing to discuss a very purposeful
choice for the long-term future, and involve the life of a child, we kind of have to wrestle with that dark side
For the sake of my marriage, I vowed to force this clock away. MAKE it go away. Focus on my son - whom I love and adore and is so so so enough in all possible ways. Basically, I tried to beat my biology. And pretend I was winning. And I did okay... for a while.
Then in the spring of 2013 I attended a dance recital. And I sat there and looked at the moms around me smiling with so much pride for their daughters on stage and I just lost it. I sat in the dark auditorium and cried silently. That should have been me. PH robbed that from me.
The grief followed me in the months ahead, although I tried to keep it in. Baby showers were torture. My sister got pregnant and I cried my way through shopping for the niece whose arrival I was over the moon excited for. And finally it was clear that I was going to have to either get some serious professional help in letting this all go, or re-visit the decision.
I tentatively broached the topic with my husband. And... he said yes. Why the timing is right now, I just don't know (neither does he). But my health is stable (thriving, even), all of my doctors are 100% in support of this decision, my business is growing, things have changed... and now we're ready as a couple and as a family.
Then it was just down to deciding on how to get her. International adoption held little draw now. I wasn't that interested in having to travel overseas with PH to go and collect her. Domestic adoption sure sounded good, but the tens of thousands of dollars it costs seriously deterred us. Surrogacy was also on the table... but I ended up deciding that if we really were going to do this, I needed to stay true to my original intent all those years ago and help a child in need.
And so, we were left with the foster system. We have chosen to adopt through social services and take a child whose parents can not care for her. It does not escape me that for us to get our daughter, someone else will loose theirs.
This path is scary. In fact, I should probably be much more jittery about it than I am. The child may come to us drug exposed, abused, neglected... who knows. We could be placed with a child, only to have the arrangement fall through because the system deems reunification with the birth family or extended family is better. But the truth is, the road to her has been so very long, sometimes so very hard, and now is the time.
It is going to be fine.
I have total peace about it. A peace that surpasses understanding, and I'm pretty content with that.
We're almost done with all of our DCF licensure requirements.
Now, all we have to do is wait for her.