Confusion never stops, closing walls and ticking clocks. Gonna come back and take you home, I could not stop that you now know. Come out upon my seas, cursed missed opportunities….Am I a part of the cure? Or am I part of the disease?

Little one, it’s been too long. I’m sorry about being MIA. I have not been MIA from this journey, just from writing to you. In fact, this journey taking so many twists and turns is the reason I haven’t been writing to you.

Let me try to explain. 

Today marks one year since we’ve been on this journey. One year since that car ride with my mother, where I learned about the situation in New Jersey. One year since I frantically busted through the door when I got home, eager to tell your Dad about our new life plans. That night your Dad and I made the decision to adopt while our friends were waiting outside our house in their car for us to go bowling on a freezing January Friday night. One year since we couldn’t stop smiling while continually bowling gutter balls because our mind was on you- and our friends asked us what was up with our game. 

One year since our lives changed forever.

But I’m not the same person, at all.

I’m not the same person I was one year and one day ago, either. That version of me was sad. Sullen. Heartbroken. Lost. Hurt. Confused. That person was overtaken by the grief of infertility with seemingly no way out. That person was bitter. She loathed going to happy bubbly baby showers. She would dig her heels in when going to family gatherings with children. Her heart sunk when she walked past a baby aisle in a store. 

I’m definitely not her anymore. 

But I’m also not who I was this time last year. I cannot be, because I’ve been through too much. I’ve seen too much, felt too much, talked to too many people and learned too much. I am not that hopeful person that looks at each new day as an exciting opportunity. I’m not that nervous girl frantically cleaning every crevice of her kitchen counter before her first homestudy visit. I’m not that woman who wished on stars and imagined that they could actually come true. 

 

I’m now the woman who has had five fall throughs in one year. I’m the person with all the failed matches. I’m the one who has spent countless nights this past year lying awake, wondering what went wrong. I’m no longer bitter about baby showers- I’m bitter about other peoples fast matches. I’m hurt, and a little broken. I’ve seen the dark, painful underbelly of adoption. 

 

One year to date and still, I’m the childless mother. I’m the one who has had so many women tell me I’m the one- only for them to drop off the face of the planet, or send an email mere hours later telling me they’ve gone a different way. I’m the one on the other end of the phone while a mother in crisis screams at me because I legally cannot pay her living expenses, and then threatens me with physical harm. I’m the one answering heavy breathing phone calls from sex offenders calling our adoption phone line in the middle of the night. I’m the one losing faith in humanity, in how much strength I once had, in myself. 

 

And yet sweet baby, I’m still your Mom.

 

I’m still the woman who has hope. 

A glimmer of unwavering faith.

Endless love and determination for you. 

 

I’m not going to say this past year has been easy. It just plain hasn’t. There have been endless sobbing tears into a soaked pillow at three in the morning. Sleepless nights, lying awake wondering and hoping and wishing and praying for an answer, if you added them up I’m sure it would be a full two months of those nights.

And it’s difficult, because with each fall through and scam we’ve experienced, a part of it feels like a miscarriage. Only it’s not at all. Those babies are in homes, they are loved. But they have no idea about me- about the other way their life could have gone. They have no idea that before they were born, at one point in their lives they had a stranger who loved them. A mother who knew nothing of the features of their face, but held them in her heart and loved and cared about them mercilessly. 

And it’s difficult to mourn these children who will still go on to have what I’m sure will be beautiful lives. In doing so, my grief is selfish- I’m only sad for myself. That isn’t fair to them.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart, and I knew that going into this- but I also had no idea the year that would lie ahead. Despite this, it has been one of the best years of my life- because it’s leading me to you. 

I think it’s been so hard to write to you because unbeknownst to you, the idea of you just keeps changing. Throughout this year we’ve had so many names for you, so many names for your first mother. It feels endless. I feel like I’m failing you by not getting to the finish line. 

 

It takes a lot of strength for me to come back to the place where I need to be. I know that those babies weren’t you. Those babies aren’t our babies. Those little faces I’ve loved so much that I’ll never see- they aren’t the faces we were meant to love forever. 

And I can tell you this, sweet baby- it will be worth every. single. second. Every molecule of every single tear that has streaked my face for the past three hundred and sixty five days are worth all that you are and all that you’ll be. You are so worth every heartache, every wrong turn, every misstep. You are worth a million days of walking through the desert without a drop of water. And sometimes, that is what this journey feels like. 

I have to keep reminding myself that one day- it won’t feel like that anymore. 

One sweet, beautiful, incredible day- you will be placed in my arms. I will physically hold you. I will see your tiny nose and your soul through your eyes. I will rock you,sweep the whisps of hair from your forehead and cry a thousand tears of a joy so deep and meaningful- and you will forever be a part of who I am in a way that I can’t even picture yet because it seems so far away. But I know one day, it won’t be far away. One day, it will be THE day. 

And I’m not letting my heartache be the roadblock to that amazing day. 

I wish I could adequately put into words how much I love you, how much you mean to me. I wish I could explain the feeling in my heart when I think about being your mother- and the soul crushing fear that overcomes me when I fear that it will never happen. But I don’t think there are enough words in the English dictionary to cover those emotions. They are far too deep. Just know this sweet little one- I am never, ever giving up. 

I am blessed by this journey. Though the road has been broken, it is the right road for us. It is the road we will keep traveling down until we reach you. No matter the pitfalls, the detours or the wrecks along the way- we won’t stop until we reach you. But for that, I am thankful. I am grateful that I will never for one millisecond take for granted the gift it is to be your mother. I will study your amazing personality, I will stand in awe of your existence. Because I have seen what it takes to get a miracle, and the hard work that goes in behind the scenes. I will be a better mother because of everything we’ve been through. 

And it hasn’t been all bad, either. This year has brought me some amazing gifts in the form of women I’ve talked to who are going to make (or already are) great mothers who’ve decided to parent. I’ve bet first mothers who have placed, who I’ve connected with in the kind of grief only those in the adoption triad understand. I’m leaving this year with great friends by my side walking the same path as me- some who already have adopted their little ones, others who are in the trenches like us. 

I’m definitely coming out of this year with lessons learned, friends made and support. 

 

And sweet baby- let me just say this- your Dad is so very amazing. We have been in this together, every single step of the way. He is taking each and every painful experience to heart just as much as I am- only he’s also being the one to hold me and tell me it’s going to be okay. He’s the rock that keeps me grounded when I feel like it’s never going to happen. He is the cheerleader by my side, whispering to never give up. He’s downright amazing, and he’s going to be an amazing Dad to you. 

 

No matter how hard this road gets, we’re not giving up. We’ve made it through the first year alive, and nothing can stop us now. 

 

I keep listening to this song by Jason Mraz every time I feel down: 

And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?
I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up, still looking up.

I won’t give up on us (no I’m not giving up)
God knows I’m tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We’ve got a lot to learn (we’re alive, we are loved)
God knows we’re worth it (and we’re worth it)

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

 

I can’t wait to sing you to sleep with that song. 

 

After a year on this road, I’m not giving up. God knows I’m tough enough.  

 

And God certainly knows your worth it. 

 

Not giving up, even for a second

With unwavering love forever and ever, and still looking up- 

Love,

Mom 

The real person smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.

Little one, the past few weeks have been a huge mix of emotions. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’m not going to get into it right now, but this journey has been a rollercoaster.

Going through the past week has prompted me to reflect quite a bit. I went back and read some of our old entries, the very first ones in January and February. I have to say, it was a bit painful to read and tears were shed- but it helped.

I realize when reading those words that were written only ten and eleven months ago, it feels like a lifetime has passed. And it has. A lifetime of experience, anyway. Reading back I can see the hope we had in the beginning that everything would work out like clockwork, the images in our head that we’d have a baby born in June and that we’d get the storybook ending. I see the trust I had in this before. I see how crazy naive we were back then.

But that is not an entirely bad thing, Lo. Being naive and not knowing the outcome gave us the strength to even pursue this, and now that we’re in it- we’re in it until you are here. Besides, a storybook ending really is not our style.

And when I look back and read all of that, how we were taking baby steps and thinking it was all going to work out great, it makes me both happy and sad. Happy, because with reflection comes knowledge and perspective. We’ve come so very, very far in this journey. We’ve gone through things we’d never dream we’d have to go through, and we’re still fighting. We thought we’d have a bouncing six month old on our laps for Christmas this year, and that life would just go on like nothing happened. But as you know, that is not how this story panned out. Oddly though, that part doesn’t make me sad.

What makes me sad is the amount of hope and trust we had when this all started. I feel like with the experiences we’ve had as of late with failed matches, with scams, with hurt…it feels like the hope and trust we once had a mountain of in our hands is now slipping through our fingertips like sand. I’m clenching my fingers tight to keep any semblance I have left, but it just keeps pouring out.

That is the saddest part of all.

We’re not losing hope or faith in you, sweet baby. We’re not losing our sense of you being in our family. That we will never lose. We’re losing our trust. Every connection we make, I have to guard my heart. If I let myself feel attached and get invested, I ultimately end up getting hurt as I have every time. So to guard myself, I try to look at it objectively, logically, without emotions.

But I’m not a robot, baby. I cannot help but fall and let myself feel every ounce of hope, trust, faith…and then it all comes crashing down on my head again. It’s like filling a balloon with your entire self: your love, your hope, your faith, and someone just keeps popping it with a pin and letting all the air out. I’ve repaired it so many times, and I promise myself I won’t let it get filled up again, but it does. I can’t help it.

I can’t help it because it’s so personal, so close to my chest. It’s you in that balloon, sweet baby, because it’s you in my heart.

When I think back to the person I was earlier this year, I barely recognize that person. She was excited about this, she was learning new things every day about adoption and taking each day as it comes. When I put that person that I was next to the person I am now, it’s easy to spot the difference. Now I am tired. I am running myself ragged. I am hurt. I am healing. I am trying to take each day as it comes- but it’s harder than it has ever been.

I knew this journey would be hard, but I don’t think my head or my heart were prepared for it being this hard. This doesn’t change anything with us wanting to adopt, with us fighting for you as hard as we possibly can. It just means that your Dad and I are far stronger than we ever knew, far braver than we’d ever realized, and so in love and in this together than anyone could ever imagine.

I love the saying that it is always darkest before the dawn. We didn’t know this journey would get this dark, we didn’t know it would take this much out of us. But we’re strong, and so are you sweet baby. Your soul will find a way to get to us, no matter what. You are meant to be with us.

That is what this is all about, and all it’s ever been about, Lo. It’s about you. It’s not about our desire to be parents, our wants or needs. It’s about you, your life, your future.

I wish I had all the answers. I wish I knew why things happened when they happen. I wish for a lot of unfathomable things, especially lately. I just hope you’re not unfathomable. I hope that someone can open up their trust to us as we will to them. We’re ready. We’ve been ready for months now. Our hearts are still hurting from all the pain we’ve experienced lately, but we’re not broken. We’re ready with our arms wide open, but we need the other side. We need someone who is going to open their arms up and trust us just as we will trust them, and clasp our hands tight to form a circle of love around you.

Because this is all about you, sweet baby.

It’s always darkest before the dawn. I’m hoping to see that sunrise soon, Little Darling.

With love, reflection, and a renewed sense of trust and hope,

Never ever ever ever ever ever giving up.

Love,

Mom

Remember, the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.

 

Little One, we weathered the storm. This Monday hurricane Sandy hit, locking your Dad and me in the house until this morning. Monday night was one of the hardest we’ve been through together. The eye of the storm passed right over our house. We slept in shifts on the couch, one of us asleep lulled by the sound of our hand cranked operated weather radio, the other holding a flashlight, vigilant to any noise of creak that could signal a tree about to crash onto our home. We huddled on the couch as a family, your Dad and I and all the pets. We protected each other.

In the quiet hours before the storm hit, but after the electricity had gone out your Dad and I made the best of it- we played pictionary, did crossword puzzles as a team and made hand shadows on the wall. We attached glow in the dark neon wristbands to doorways and the staircase to be able to navigate our own house. It’s such a weird thing when there is no light- you’re in a place so very familiar and yet it all looks so different, so alien. It’s like meeting someone you forgot you met the first time- so familiar, yet so distant.

When the light of morning hit, we braced ourselves to open our front door and assess the damage. Walking hand in hand out the door, we were at the ready to call insurance agents and discuss deductables. Miraculously, nothing was damaged. There were branches, leaves, even garbage cans littering our front yard- but no damage.

We weathered the storm.

The most eerie part of it all was when our home was directly in the eye of the storm. It was one of my shifts to be awake, and as I stood looking out into our front yard, the hum of the generators making the air feel electric, everything suddenly fell quiet. No gusts of wind that howled like freight trains as there had been all night, no rain drops pelting the sidewalk with force- nothing. Just calm. Eerie, scary calm. It’s that calm that comes right before an accident. It’s that calm you remember last before you’ve forgotten everything else. It’s the calm where all you can hear is yourself.

And I realized while looking out that window pane, that it’s the calm we’re in right now.

We’re in the eye of the adoption storm.

The homestudy was hustle and bustle, the fall through and the scam were a mixture of hurt and picking ourselves back up and dusting ourselves off. We’ve stood strong in the wind and rain, and lately it’s been calm. Quiet. Waiting.

But I know that soon, the winds will pick up again. The rain will soak through to our bones, we’ll have to stand strong like we always have. But after that, it’s over. The storm is gone, and the sun shines again.

We can’t wait for your sunrise, LO.

Image

Today is Halloween. It doesn’t even feel like halloween, because your Dad is working late to make up lost time from the storm and we have barely any trick or treaters. And yet, I’m still lonely from it. I miss the children dressed head to toe in costumes, holding out bags asking for those sugar packed candies with bright eyes. I remember the days of my youth, going out with my parents in gorgeous homemade costumes my mother had spent months stitching together. Then, as a teenager- opting for the pop culture references that adorned the party store walls. I’m ready to be on the other side. I’m ready to cross over, to be the holder of the little hand across the street, the pusher of the stroller, the impromptu coat rack when costumes get too tiresome to wear at the end of the night.

I hope that next year, we’ll have our little sunshine to dress up. I hope next year, I can cross over.

I hope that we’re out of the eye soon, because we’re well rested now.

We’re ready for the wind now.

Waiting for you sunshine, 

Love always,

Mom

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.

Sunflower fields forever

Little One, when I was little I had trouble sleeping. I attribute it to having multiple surgeries at a very young age- I would go in to the hospital, and wake up unable to move. I was terrified to go to sleep for fear that I’d wake up in the hospital. So when my Mom worked nights as a nurse, my Dad struggled to get me to drift off to sleep. He’d kneel down next to my bed, stroke my hair and try to get me to relax. One of our nightly rituals was him talking me to sleep, and often times he used (what I didn’t know at the time what it was, but with adult eyes I now know) meditation.

He would push my hair out of my face, and whisper to me, “Imagine you’re in a sunflower field. All the bright sunny flowers are everywhere – as far as the eye can see. The breeze gently sweeps through the field and the sunflowers wiggle, and the wind blows your hair. The sky is big and blue, the clouds are fluffy enough to sleep on.”  It would go on for hours and hours. Eventually, my mind would be fully immersed in that sunflower field, and I would feel relaxed enough to give in to sleep.

I cherish that memory, Lo.

This week was a rough one, sweet baby.

 

We thought we were so much closer. We had a lead. We met her in person. It all seemed so perfect..until her name glared on one of the scam boards.

An emotional scammer- not looking for money, just craving attention- had us sucked in and made us more hopeful than we’d been in a long time. We were all excited at the possibility of having you here by October, the due date she gave us. She sent us sonogram pictures. She told us we were chosen. And then it all came crashing down.

And I feel like ever since that fateful email that it was all a sham- that all our dreams were false- I feel a bit numb. I feel like I can’t even cry. I feel like it’s going to take a lot for me to trust that this will work, to trust another contact or lead. We’ve had our hearts broken twice now, once with a fall through and once with a scam. The scam hurt far, far worse. The fall through was meant to be, it was fate. The scam was all smoke and mirrors (we don’t even believe she was actually pregnant) and for no purpose other than someone elses selfishness. How could anyone do that? How could someone be so mean and hurtful? And she was not only scamming us, but at least six other hopefuly adoptive couples. Why would someone do that?

Because they are hurting, too. Badly.

It’s sad, and I feel terribly bad for this person. She needs help that we cannot provide for her. She needs to find peace.

And it hurt. A lot. Depths of your soul, how am I going to make it through this alive kind of pain. But for you sweet baby, for you I refuse to let it overcome us. I’m a fighter when it comes to you. I won’t give up. Not now, not ever.

Your Dad and I went to a local sunflower field on Saturday. After this week of the highest of ups and the lowest of downs, we needed to step off the rollercoaster and plant our feet somewhere familiar. To us, the most familiar place is nature. 

Driving up the road, out of nowhere we saw it, a gold mine- a sea of yellow beauty. The kind of beauty that only comes from nature, or God, or whatever diety you believe in. It’s not beauty from a photoshopped magazine. It’s beauty one rarely sees with their naked eye.

It gave me hope, that beauty still exists in this world. That faith, hope, and love are alive and well and on their way back into our lives.

And as I trunched through the waist high field of sunflowers, nothing but yellow petals for what felt like miles, I finally felt free.

 

We’re going to focus on the positive. It would be easy to throw our hands up and say, “Well, this is too hard. We’re not good enough for this. It’s just not meant to be. We’ve just been hurt too much already.” But kid, I’m not, nor have I ever been, a fan of easy. Life is hard. Adoption is hard. But the outcome…my God, baby, the outcome is going to be worth every single heartache we’ve ever had. I will not give up on you. Not now, not ever.

I will not give up on everyone else either. Your first Mom is out there. I cannot be doubtful when she comes into our lives. I cannot second guess giving her my love, just because one other sick person misused it. I refuse to let that person win. I will let your first Mom win though. I will love her with everything I am,  for your benefit and your sake. And I will not lose my faith in humanity or the good in people.

Sometimes, sweet baby, people hurt. They don’t know why all the time, but they will try to take it out on you. First of all, you’re better than that. Don’t let it get to you. Secondly, know that it’s not personal. It’s not about you or what you stand for- it’s about their pain and suffering. People that hurt other people are in a bad place, and they need understanding and love more than anyone else in this world. That doesn’t mean that responsibility rests on your shoulders- a lot of times it is outside the realm of what you can give. So my only advice when encountering someone that is in so much pain that they use it against you for no reason is this: respect yourself enough to give them space, and respect them enough to know it’s not about you.

So that is what we’re doing, Lo. We’re letting go of the hard feelings, and looking to the sunshine, just like the sunflowers taught us to.

 

I’m no longer afraid of sleep. My parents helped me get over the fear. And though this experience has been a life lesson, we won’t let it get us down. We won’t be afraid of this proccess- because in the end it means having you here in our lives forever. And that is all that matters.

 

The good thing about faith, Little One, is that the sun always rises tomorrow. It hasn’t let us down yet.

 

With my petals outstretched to the sun, ignoring the shadows but looking for you,

 

Love always,

Mom