If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew, To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you, Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

longroad

 

 

Oh sweet baby. Mothers Day is Sunday, and to say that I’m not taking it well is an understatement.

 

Part of me wants to scream.  I want to scream out to the world to get them to understand that this isn’t right. How they can keep on moving when my world has been shattered so much? I want to scream until there isn’t a single breath left in my lungs, until they sting with the energy I’ve expended and my words hang in the air for all to hear. I should be a Mom by now. It was my turn. It’s been my turn so many times….and yet here I am, at this junction again- a childless Mother on Most Definitely Not a Mothers Day.

The part of me that doesn’t want to scream wants to curl up into a ball and pretend this isn’t happening. I was supposed to have not one, but two bouncing babies on my lap this year. This year was supposed to be different, it was supposed to be my first mothers day.

 

And to be honest, this holiday is not just full of sadness this year- but it’s also full of fear.

The fear that I will never be a mother hangs over my head like a storm cloud following me around. It’s the little voice whispering in my ear when I’m searching the greeting card aisle, taunting me, “will you ever get one of these cards?” It’s the lump in my throat that chokes on the tears whenever I hear another pregnancy announcement or adoption match announcement, not because I’m not happy for them or excited, but because I wonder- again- if I will ever get to be in their shoes. Will I ever get to be a mother? Will I ever find you?

It’s the disdain for every greeting card, every TV commercial, every restaurant promotion, every radio ad, every magazine cover… all of these reminders that I am not, in fact, not a mother. That I failed. That what has come so easy to so many others is still an every day battle for me. That I don’t have my precious baby to spend this holiday with, that I am once again knocked down, because I let my hopes get so incredibly high.

 

It’s the reminder that another year has passed without you here.

That hurts most of all.

 

I know that it will all be worth it. You mean more to me than any holiday, any time table and every heartache we’ve endured. I know that this is just part of the journey to get to that elusive finish line, that even if I cannot see it, I feel that it’s there somewhere in the distance.

 

The other day I reread one of my most favorite poems, If by Rudyard Kipling. A lot of the words spoke to me now more than ever:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

Right now, there is nothing in me but the will to be your Mother. That is my will telling me to hold on, to not get caught up in the loss and get tired of waiting. I refuse to sink, because sinking means not getting to you- not being your mother. I refuse.

So I’ve been thinking of my own If’s for this Mothers Day.

If I can wade through the greeting card aisle, and focus on the positives, like having my own mother and mother in law who support and love us every step of the way.  If I can hold my head up, and count my blessings. If I can believe, really believe that you’ll be here soon. If I can pick myself up ten times after getting knocked down nine. If I can tie a knot and hold on with everything that is in me. If I can keep preparing, keeping moving in the direction of our dreams. If I can let myself feel that deep down, this waiting and heartache will end.  If I can let myself let go of the pain, let go of what was supposed to be and what isn’t and prepare myself body and soul for the goodness that is coming down the road if I just keep on walking.

If I don’t give up.

 

Then mine is the earth and everything that’s in it,

And- which is true – that is you, my daughter or son! 

 

And if you’re not here next year, I will just keep trying. I will never give up on you, on us being a family. I will push through all the hurt and pain and glaring reminders. I will silence that little voice of doubt in the back of my head, and replace the if’s of doubt with the if’s of reassurance.

 

I will be a mother. I will find you, sweet baby.

No if’s, ands or buts.

 

Waiting for the earth and everything that’s in it, 

With love and unwavering hope this Not Yet a Mothers Day,

Love,

Mom

 

 

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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 

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.

 

Your Dad, studying

Little One, today is Fathers Day. For some reason, I think it’s hitting me harder than Mothers Day did this year. I think I know the reason (we thought you’d be here by now, and that we’d be celebrating fathers day with you) but the reason doesn’t really matter.What matters today is the man who you’ll one day call your Father.

Today is all about your Dad.

Let me tell you a few key things about your Dad, that you’ll know as you grow up with him but I should point out:

At our wedding

Your Dad is the sweetest person alive.I know all wives (well, a lot anyway) say their husband is the sweetest, but trust me. your Dad really is the sweetest. At the end of our first date I was cursed with a migraine (they happened a lot when I was in college) and your Dad offered to drive behind my car all the way home to make sure I got home safe. At that time, he lived over 40 miles away from my house, but it didn’t matter to him. It didn’t matter to him that it was our first date, that he had just met me, that I lived far away- he would do anything to make sure I was safe. That night I knew he was the one.

 

On the train in Strasburg, PA

 

Your Dad is extremely smart. He always has been. There is an age old tale that your Dads side of the family always brings out when talking about your Dads childhood. He was young (three or four years old) and got in trouble as toddlers do. His punishment was to sit at the top of the stairs for a few minutes, and he whined to his family, “Can I get a reprieve?” What three year old says that? And now as an adult, he will try to explain computer programs or theories to me and I’m at a total loss and will usually make a joke to not look so dumb about whatever it is he’s talking about.

We Mustache you a question

Your Dad is silly. He’s a joker, a laugher and a prankster. He can put on a silly voice and have full on conversations with me about things that don’t exist, just because we think it’s hysterical.

All Smiles

– Your Dad is romantic. Not in a traditional flowers way (though he does do that too) but what counts more is the little ways in which he shows his love for me. The everyday romantic gestures that mean so much more than big sweeping dates. The little notes left on the door, the whispers that I’m the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. I hope that one day, you either find a man as wonderful as him or become a man as wonderful as him.

Holding our nephew

– Your Dad is nurturing. He cares about our two dogs as if they are our kids, he cuddles with them and shows his love easily. When I’m sick or feeling down, he’s right there to lend a caring hand and soothes me back to health. Every cell in his body exudes his caring, loving personality.

In NYC

What does this all equal out to, Little One? It all means this: your Dad is freagin’ amazing. He’s going to be one super Dad to you. Does that mean he won’t make mistakes? Of course not. We both will. I can guarantee that there is going to be a learning curve for us since we’ve never experienced parenting. But I also know that now, in this moment before you’re even here, he’s more of a Dad than most Dads out there. He’s been there every single step of the way, we’ve been in this journey together, one thousand percent. He cleaned the house spotless with me for the home study, he took time off of work to get things done, he talked me to sleep on tough nights when the crying wouldn’t stop. He’s going to be your Dad for the long haul, forever. He’s always going to be there, day or night. You’re going to be so incredibly lucky Little One.

I’m trying to remember how much this fathers day hurts. I know that sounds odd, but it’s in a good way. My hope and prayer is that next year at fathers day, we’ll be holding you, talking cavalierly about last years Fathers Day being the last painful one. I hate putting a timeline on this journey, because each time we have it’s been met with hurt and pain- but I think in order to be hopeful we have to put a time on it. And if next year, we’re still waiting, then we wish and hope again.

You’re out there, sweet baby. It’s just a matter of time.

Until then, I’m wishing your childless Dad a Happy Fathers Day regardless. He’s already one of the best Dads I know.

Your Dad and I walking on the boardwalk with our nephew

Waiting for next June,

Love,

Mom

Don’t Ignore Adoptive Parents this National Infertility Awareness Week

Image

Little One, this is an important week. Not only because of our good fortune the past two days, but also because it’s National Infertility Awareness Week.

I think it would be remiss for me not to mention our infertility to you, Lo. After all, it does play a part in how you’re going to be in our lives.

The other day, the TV reporter asked me a question that I’ve been asked several times, and it’s always a difficult one to answer: What were your first thoughts when you were diagnosed with infertility? I stared at her, unable to speak. I stammered over my words, and blurted out some rote response.

It’s a difficult question for me to answer not because it was some life altering moment, but because it wasn’t. I didn’t have my stomach drop to the floor, my head didn’t spin, I didn’t cry or have any reaction.

I was only sixteen.

My mindset at that time was, “Okay, deal with it later. What am I doing this Friday night?” There was never really an earth shattering emotional breakdown, just the truth. And I’ve realized something important Lo: that wasn’t my defining infertility moment. My defining moment would come years later: my legs spread open on a doctors table, my loving husband grasping my hand, a trans-vaginal ultrasound wand in places trans-vaginal ultrasound wands are built to go but should never go, the white coat straight faced reproductive endocrinologist saying softly, “I’m sorry Mrs. Miller. It looks like that round didn’t work either.”

That was my moment. Not when I was sixteen.

But I’m very lucky that I had that moment when I did. Sixteen year old minds aren’t meant to comprehend such news, and neither are twenty-something to fifty-something minds. What gave me a leg up when coming to my diagnosis realization wasn’t my age, it was my years of experience. I was not blind sided. I didn’t get married with hopes this would happen right away, I didn’t always picture a bouncing baby with Dads eyes and my nose on my lap. Because I had years to marinade in my diagnosis, take it in during small windows of my life, a bit at a time. Your Dad and I had plenty of time to discuss our options before we even walked down the aisle and said a single I do. My diagnosis didn’t hit me like a freight train- so it didn’t derail any image I had of a future family. I knew it was coming, I had time to prepare.

That is one of the reasons I’m such an advocate for infertility. It is not because I feel like I’ve been through so much, or I want pity or attention for my disease. Instead, I want people to have the experience I had. My infertility has been painful, it’s had moments where it’s hard to go on, there have been weeks of depression. But despite the hard moments I had a clear and concise early diagnosis. That is such a beautiful gift in the world of infertility that very few get the chance to experience.

I want to change that.

I want every woman and man who has to face this terrible disease to have a warning. I want young women and men to get tested for diseases that cause infertility early. I want there to be awareness. One in eight couples will face infertility. One in eight! So many women and men are walking around in this world, blissfully unaware of the freight train coming their way. I want to jump in front of them, knock them off the tracks and give them their due time to soak up the information, support and resources needed to overcome infertility before it really hits home.

There is this stigma around those with infertility. I’m not really sure why it exists, but I want to break the stigma. I’m not ashamed that I was born the way I am. My poly cystic ovarian syndrome is something that is a part of me, completely. I embrace it, I respect it, and I treat it as best I can. It has made me who I am, it has given me the grief of infertility, yes, but it’s also given me so many gifts. I am a strong courageous fighter because of my infertility. I have a voice that I’m not afraid to use because of it. It’s something I hope you never have to face, Little One, but if you ever do or know someone that does: I want them to know by the time you’re a twenty-something what to do about it. How to treat other people who face it. I want you to see the compassion and heartache the way your Dad and I do, and not run from it like so many people. Instead I want you and everyone else to be brave, look into the eyes of someone facing infertility and say the only words that need to be said, “That’s awful. I’m sorry. I recognize this is difficult because it’s out of your control, and it’s not your fault. I’m here for you, you’re not alone.”

Break the stigma.

 

If the stigma is broken, then the realness of infertility as a disease can heal and rebuild anew. Doctors will recognize the disease, as will insurance companies. They will begin to cover it, and people won’t have to stare down their bank accounts to see if having a family is even a feasible option. It will be treated as it should be: as a disease that should not be ignored.

I don’t want you to take any of this the wrong way, Lo. I advocate for infertility just as I do for many diseases and causes, not because I feel like you’ll be a second best, or a second option. Never, ever mistake it: you are the first choice. Your Dad and I have no qualms about adopting. There will never be not for an instance of your existence a doubt that you’re our child. Genetics be damned, you’re our baby, Lo. Already, and we haven’t met you yet: you’re our family. You’re a part of us in such a beautiful way.

And just for that fact alone: adoption advocates for infertility, and the multitude of ways to build a family.

There are so many wonderful ways to build a family, sweet one. Our way is the way we’ve chosen. It’s what is in our hearts, what we feel is best for all of us. Other people turn to IVF, IUI, clomid, injectables, surrogates, donor eggs, FET, donor sperm, donor embryo’s, gestational carriers. That is their decision, and it should be honored and respected.

People take their families for granted every single day, and not all give a passing thought that there are others out there that don’t have that luxury. We can change things in this word, Lo. Don’t ever forget the amazing power you possess as an American and human being on this earth. We have to band together for each other, and fight for what is right for all American families.

Genetics, whose uterus you were carried in, how many rounds of medicines it took- that isn’t what matters. In the end, a family is a family is a family.

Our family is strong because of infertility. We have love in our hearts because of it.

And the best gift we’ll ever get out of this will be you, Lo.

Never giving up the fight,

Love,

Mom

This week, don’t ignore adoptive parents. Learn about the different ways to build a family, and educate others. To learn more about infertility and National Infertility Awareness Week, please visit: