I've been somewhat blue lately, and this evening I realized why. I'm coming up on the invisible anniversary. Why do I call it the invisible anniversary? Well, because it is. I lost something, it was early August when everything came crashing down...a few years ago. 2003, I think.
We'd done our home study and spent almost a year on tenterhooks. Every time the phone rang, my heart skipped a beat. But it was never that phone call. We wanted to adopt. We wanted to intentionally become a bi-racial family. Our hearts were open. Our wallet was open. Our family was open. We were going to name him Samuel. We'd done our homework, worked through stuff on special needs adoption. We'd heard the statistics: All these babies that "nobody wants" languishing in foster care. So, we wanted to give our lives and our love.
What a build up.
And there was the call from the social worker. A baby. A birth mother. A scheduled phone interview and a plane ride the next morning, and a baby for us. The social worker said it was a done deal. The birth mother was desperate to find someone and we were first in line. It was all good and we were IT.
At the appointed time, we called. She was in the shower, a relative said. We called back. And we got hung up on. We called the social worker...the one who said this was it. This was not it. Most definitely not it.
This was the third or fourth time we'd been down this dead-end. But this time it was worse, for some reason. I stopped believing that the statistics we'd heard were true. Nobody wanted us. There was always someone better, more "qualified"...richer.
So the next morning, when I started putting our clothes away, emptying the suitcase and putting it back in the attic, one of my kids asked me what I was doing. No Sammy. It didn't happen.
The children wailed. I have this memory of small children with heads tilted back, crying their guts out in disappointment and grief. We'd been praying for so long. And it just never happened.
Could we go on?
We decided to wait. Not pursue any out-of-state adoption possibilities, and wait on our local agency. After all, the director told us that most families got a placement within a year. So we waited.
January came and went. Time for us to renew our home study and no one contacted us to get that ball rolling. Nothing but silence. It was as though we'd never even been there. We decided that this was somehow a message to us.
Our kids could not take the roller coaster of anticipation and disappointment. We could not take it, either.
A year later, after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, we got a letter from the Adoption agency: they were trying to figure out why none of the birth mothers ever picked our file...but they were confident the right child for us was still out there somewhere.
We wrote back: Don't bother. I was too ill to even contemplate adoption. The dream was over.
And there is this very very very real sense of loss. I feel really sad about it. I always wanted to adopt, and God said "no".
But it's like all our friends just breathed a collective sigh of relief when things went sour with these hopes and dreams.
I can't talk about this loss when women compare miscarriage stories, or infant death stories. My grief is less specific, less defined. Less mine. There was never actually a child of mine that I lost. Just a child of someone else's that never was mine to begin with. Just a bit of my heart. Just a bit of openness that got dropped in the dirt and forgotten.
And people telling us that it's for the best, even though it's probably true, just hurts, and makes me feel like all kinds of a fool for putting myself out there. Like asking someone you have a crush on out, and getting publicly turned down and humiliated. That's what it feels like.
And even the knowing that it would have done me in, physically, if it had worked out does not comfort me, either. Just makes me think of all the dreams and plans and hopes that constantly go by the wayside in my life because of my illness.
I need space to grieve. This was real for me, and it still hurts. It's only been four years, and they say grief takes seven.