If my memory serves me correct, there's a song called The Ride by Hank Williams, Jr. And no, that's not what I'm referring to in the title of this particular blog post! This ride I"m referring to is the emotional roller coaster ride that comes with adoption and family in general. I've never been a big fan of roller coasters and the last four months in particular have reminded me why.
To recap: In the last four months, my best friend's son died, we put Bo down the next day, we've had six potential matches with six clear rejections, and my father had a heart attack and then had triple bypass surgery. The last two just occurred over the last three weeks.
Dad is doing well, and we hope he'll be released from the hospital in about another week. Thank God for that news! Hopefully he won't have any more set backs as he did just a few days after his surgery (which landed him back in CVICU).
I was on the road by myself on Monday, February 1 for what would normally be a 10 or 10.5 hour drive. I knew the drive would be expanded by at least two hours, if not more, because of a rock slide on I-40 in Asheville which meant a massive detour. The region had also just been dumped with nearly a foot of snow, which could potentially increase drive-time. On my drive down to SC to be there for my parents and my brother, Chris, I got a call from our adoption law team. Amber informed me that she had gotten a call from a birth mother who was scheduled to have a C-section in two days. The delivery of her child would take place on the day my dad was to have his surgery. The birth mother was in Georgia - convenient, right? The birth mother was also anxious to make a decision - NOW. She had already had counseling and had spoken to an attorney in Atlanta, where she was due to give birth. Amber arranged for the birth mother to call me. Our first conversations were quite amusing, and we made arrangements for her to call me later in the evening when she got off work.
Since Kurt wasn't with me due to his work situation, we tried to make sure the birth mother knew we'd be available to arrange a conference call. But birth mother started asking some bizarre questions; we came to find out from Amber that she was insisting Kurt and I be at the hospital in the delivery room when she gave birth. But birth mother was concerned that I had "divided interests" with the situation with my father. Ya think?
Between conversations with me and with Kurt, we spoke to birth mother no less than six times. She reached out to Amber an additional six times. It seemed like a done deal. Before we finally turned in for the night, birth mother promised us she would call us the next morning for our big conference call (at 6 am, no less). Kurt and I were already thinking about how he would immediately get on a plane to Georgia and I'd meet him there for the delivery.
In the meantime, my heart was indeed conflicted and divided. My purpose was to be there for my family. My fear was that my dad wouldn't live long enough to see his first grandchild. How could I leave my family in the midst of such a challenging time? Both of my parents gave me their blessing to go and be with "our child" (if birth mother chose us) and that this would be something for all of us to look forward to. I tried to buy into their enthusiasm but I still felt torn. If we had been chosen, we would have been required, by Georgia law, to remain in the state for seven days before we could leave with the baby. What if my father didn't make it? My mother would have been forced to either have the funeral without me and my husband there, or prolong her own suffering by waiting until we could leave the state to bury him. I certainly couldn't leave Kurt in a hotel room with a newborn baby if I had to leave urgently!
They were all "what if's" but they were questions I had to ask of myself. I was literally sick to my stomach at being faced with what I felt was this captivity the birth mother had placed me under. I realized I was making a decision to do what she wanted without giving consideration to anyone else; I was making a decision to please the birth mother just so she would give us her child.
A sleepless night crept into morning but the phone never rang. We waited and waited but the birth mother never called. Our legal team never heard from her again either. We have no idea what happened. As I said goodbye to my father before he was wheeled into surgery the morning of February 3rd (the day after my birthday), my thoughts immediately went to the child that was coming into this world, somewhere in Georgia; the child that could have been ours. I wondered if it was a boy or a girl; blond hair or brown. What would we have named him or her? We hadn't even decided on names yet!
Only when we were able to visit my dad a few hours after his successful operation did I finally realize that I felt as if I had lost my baby and almost lost my father on the same exact day. I've never experienced a miscarriage but the pain in my heart was no less than what I suspect is the real deal for someone who has lost a baby.
The feeling of being punched in the gut hasn't gone away, and I'm (sadly) to the point where I don't even care if we ever have a baby now. I'm certain my heart won't survive another similar scenario.