Saturday, February 27, 2010

...Because I need to write it down.

Be prepared for a long post. Most arguably the longest blog post in the history of long blog posts. You may want to just not read this. It's all about the craziness that led us to adopt Megan. I'm not offended if you stop here. I just have to write this down so I don't forget. And I am no elephant.

Dear Journal (or anyone else who is crazy enough to read this),

One year ago today- Feb 27, 2009- was a begninning for us. It was the real beginning of all the joy and pain of adoption. By this point, we already had our papers in with Agency #1 for one year (and we were told it would only take 3-5 months to have a baby in our arms), and hadn't heard from them in a while. The evening on Feb 27, we got an unexpected phone call from Agency #1, telling us we had been "chosen" to be birthparents. They told us a little about the birthmom. She was 18 and had just graduated high school and her parents didn't want to end up raising her baby, and they were encouraging her to make an adoption plan. We were her chosen couple and so we arranged to meet with her & her boyfriend (birthdad) that next week.

When we met with them, it seemed superficial. It didn't seem to us that they were convinced they were going to give up this baby (which wasn't due until September.... she was only 3 months along). Anyway, long story short, we met with them 3 more times through April, and they strung us along, until finally they stopped returning calls from the agency in May. Birthmom was going to keep the baby. We never even knew the gender. We were, of couse, upset and disappointed, though we never had really felt strongly that we would receive that child. It was just a chance, a hope, really. We didn't even tell anyone except immediate family. We had kept our wall up in order to stay unemotionally involved.

Come August, we've had our papers in with Agency #1 for 1.5 years and we're fed up. We call the Agency and they say we don't have enough money because the cost of adoptions has risen, and that's why we haven't been chosen. (side note: you don't even want to know how much money was already going into the adoption. To say it wasn't enough was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard). Even though Agency #1 was nationally ranked very high, our chances of ever getting a baby through them were slim. So, we looked elsewhere.

In August I started researching adoption agencies again. What a horrendous process. I had already done this once, and now I was starting all over again. For sure it would be another year at least before we could be parents. Oh well. You have to start or you'll never finish. After weeks of research and talking to people and praying, we settled on Heart & Soul Adoptions in Farmington, Utah. I called them on a Thursday, and the lady I talked to mentioned that they needed an adoptive family for a baby in Mississippi. It was amazing that it could happen so fast! We talked to the birthmom on Friday, and by Saturday we were all set to go. I spoke to the birthmom several times over the next couple weeks, and this baby boy was supposed to be born around August 24th. In those 3 short weeks we had to prepare, I was thrown 2 "baby boy" showers, and we even had a few names picked out for him. We planned which airline we would use, and which hotel we would stay in. We told everyone we knew. We felt so strongly that he was meant for us, and we were sure everything had led to this child. There were no doubts.

Until birthmother stopped returning calls, that is. It was really hard on us, and I cried so many hours of tears when we got the official call from Heart & Soul that we would not receive this child. I didn't want to go anywhere. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to bury my face in my pillow and cry. And that's precisely what I did. When I sent out thank-you cards for all the generous gifts we had received, I had to put a note inside that said we weren't getting the baby. It was heart-wrenching, and I wondered how the Lord could do this to us. This boy was meant for us. And that's all there was to it. And I knew it. And then he was taken away, and I could not deal with it.

But, deal I did. Because life goes on.

Well, 2 days after we received the dreadful news of Mississippi boy, Heart & Soul called us and told us they had a baby girl for us! (but this is not Megan... don't get excited). This baby girl was from Vegas, and she was already 4 months old, and we were going to receive her in 2 days! Her birthmother just couldn't handle having another child and needed to have someone else take care of her. So.... we emailed our families again and told them the exciting news. My mother-in-law helped me paint the baby's room, and we bought some baby girl clothes. Sigh. Life would change in 2 days. It was such a whirlwind. Well, 2 days came and went, and the birthmom really wanted to give us her baby, but she couldn't get the birthdad to sign. She could have, by law, given the baby up anyway, but she didn't feel comfortable unless the birthdad would sign (she wanted there to be NO chance that he could ever get the baby). But, alas, birthdad wouldn't sign, so we were left with no baby- for a third time.

We knew our Agency was working hard for us to receive a child, so we waited some more.

A few weeks later, on September 17 (a Thursday), we got yet another call from Heart & Soul. A baby boy had been born in Virginia on September 15 and they asked us if we wanted to fly out that day and get him. Apparently, H & S had an adoptive couple there already, but the couple was at the hospital and for some reason the adoptive mother freaked out and said she couldn't take the baby; that the baby wasn't hers. So, they left, and Jared & I flew out, because the birthmom "LaRae" absolutely needed to give up this baby boy. We spoke to her on the phone, and she was supposed to sign the papers before we even landed foot in Virginia. We took a red-eye flight and arrived around 8am on Friday. From the airport, we rented a car and drove 2 hours to the hospital, all sweaty and greasy in day-old clothes. We fixed ourselves up a bit and went inside to meet with LaRae. We held our baby boy and talked with LaRae, and she said we should go to lunch and then come back at 12:30 to sign papers with the lawyer. When we came back at 12:30, the nurses wouldn't let us back to see her. They said LaRae didn't want to see anyone; not the lawyer and not us. So we went into the waiting room and I was beside myself. I just couldn't believe it. We spoke with the lawyer and found out that, yes, LaRae had changed her mind. She was going to keep the baby. Her reason? If Jared & Harmony could find so much joy in my baby, why can't I find joy in him? If they can be happy, I want to be happy instead. Of course, I blamed myself. Did I act too happy? Was I too excited? What did I say that made her change her mind? She seemed so confident that she'd give him to us. She made us fly all the way out here- the second family to fly out here- because she couldn't take care of the baby! Anyway, we were both so exhausted mentally and physically, and I just sat in the waiting room and cried for... I don't know how long, while Jared held me. Finally, the laywer and social worker left the waiting room, but I wanted to stay in there, just in case she changed her mind. She didn't.

Jared & I went back to the hotel, took a nap, and then Jared held me as I cried for probably hours. I just couldn't believe what had happened. It was so horrible. More horrible than I can ever explain. We cancelled our hotel reservation for the next week and decided to go back and stay by the airport. This was a Friday, but I didn't want to go back home until Sunday, because I didn't want to go to church. I couldn't face everyone. (only a couple people knew we had gone, but I still just couldn't go to church and pretend everything was okay). So, we bummed around Raleigh, NC (the closest airport) and waited to go home on Sunday.

Well, Saturday, around 4:00 pm, we got a call from our social worker just as we were about to go into a movie. She told us to gather our things from the hotel and travel back the 2-hour trek to LaRae. She absolutely, positively, could not take care of this baby and her other son. She, with 100% certainty, was going to sign him over to us that night and she knew without a doubt that it was the right thing to do. So, we went back to the hotel, grabbed our luggage, and traveled 2 hours again to the small town LaRae was living in. The plan was to pick her up from her homeless shelter, and we'd travel 1 more hour to meet the lawyer who was going to handle all the paperwork. Well, before we even got out of the town, LaRae freaked out and made us pull over. She said she couldn't do it. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! After speaking with her counselor at the Agency, it was decided LaRae had a serious issue she needed to deal with before she could feel comfortable going through with the adoption.

We agreed that LaRae would have a few more sessions with the counselor, that we would spend as much time with her as possible over the next day or two, and we would try signing again on Monday. And, the Agency was sure they could get LaRae ready to sign these papers. (disclaimer: LaRae had many previous counseling sessions, but never told the Agency about her serious issue, until the night she freaked out in the car. Had the agency known about this issue, things would have been run differently).

So, on Sunday we spent several hours with LaRae & the baby, and her other son. We went to the park, took her out to lunch and dinner, and had some good visiting time. The whole idea was for her to feel comfortable with us, to make it easier for her to make the right decision. We hung out with her more on Monday as well. We were supposed to be a support system for her, and to let her see that we could provide the baby with everything he needed. Every day it seemed she was making progress, and every day she assured us she would sign the papers "tomorrow." Meanwhile, all this time we are spending with her brings us closer to our baby boy. We give him a name and he hold him, we feed him, we love him, and long for him to come home with us. I can't tell you hard this was.

Finally, on Tuesday night, we were told that for sure LaRae was going to keep her baby. Jared & I were numb by this time, and we weren't even surprised. We had to laugh it off. I still feel so bad for baby Jack, and I wonder how he is doing. LaRae had no job, had no place to live, had no family support, and had no money. It's so obvious that we could have given him all those things. I still think about baby Jack. In fact, I still think about Utah baby, Mississippi boy, & Vegas baby girl as well. All 4 of these babies were going to be ours. All 4 of them, it seemed at the time, were supposed to be ours, and yet they weren't. Instead, their lives are much different now. I am still getting over this loss, and even though we now have sweet Megan, I still feel pain for these babies. I feel pain for them for the lives they might lead, and I feel pain in my heat- residual pain from all the heartache that I felt through all these times.

Okay, back to the story. It's Tuesday, Sept 23rd. We're sitting in a mall parking lot in the small town, when we get the news that we're not bringing home baby Jack. However, they tell us they have another baby lined up for us (is this agency amazing or what?) and that this one should be a sure thing. This birthmom is already in Utah, which shows dedication to the adoption. This birthmom doesn't even want to know the gender of the baby, and this birthmom doesn't want to meet us. She is 38 years old and can't handle another baby in poverty. Nobody in her family knows she is pregnant, and she came out to Utah to have the baby, and then to leave. The Agency has been saving this particular birthmother for an adoptive couple who has had a failed adoption. (that's us... 4 so far)... While we're in Virginia, we find out the baby is a girl, and we have to chuckle a little bit. She's due in 3 weeks, and we only have boy clothes. Ha ha. The joke's on us.

Well, you probably know the rest of the story, or at least you know the fact that now we have that beautiful little girl and she's the joy of our life. Everything in me tells me that this is how it was meant to work out. From the moment of Utah baby, to the grueling days in Virginia, it all had to play out that way. If we didn't have all those failed adoptions, we never would have gotten Megan. And, if we never would have gotten Megan, then our friends never would have gotten their little girl (another amazing story you can read if you desire).

I still feel so much pain from the entire experience. I wish the pain were all gone, but it's not. Every time I think of our trip to Virginia, my heart wrenches and I have a tear in my eye. It was so painful. I know I've said that 5 times. But, it was. I never want anyone else to go through that. I wish I never had to think of it again. I wish the memories would just go away. It probably doesn't sound too horrible, but, trust me, it was. It was worse than any infertility treatment losses we ever had. All the memories, of all those babies. It's just too hard to think about it. I know we all have our trials, and everyone's trials are horrible in their own way. I just hope I never have to go through this trial again.

But, on the other hand, I try to think of it all as a blessing, because, obviously, it was. We never know what is in store for us. We just have to have faith that the Lord knows what He is doing, even when we think He must not care. And, most importantly, we must never give up. We love our little Megan more than words can tell. If you're a mother, then you know. All the love I had or all those babies is now directed at our sweet little spirit, and she has more love than anyone in the world. I hope she grows us knowing how much we wanted her, and how hard we worked to get her. There are many other things I hope for her, but that's for another post...

For now, I just have to end the post with a picture. Because I'm obsessed. And, if you got this far, I want to thank you by showing you a picture of the most beautiful baby in the world. Thanks for reading.


Jenny said...

I cried as I read this post, because even though I'd heard it all before, my heart hurt along with you as I remembered all the ups and downs that lead you to Megan. I'm so glad you have her now to help heal your heart. We love her SOO much!
p.s. What a great pic!

Jasmin said...

I second Jenny's comments and am just so happy that you have little Megan now. She is soooo darling and I can see your sweetness reflected in her. I can't wait to see her again.

Sarah said...

Every word you wrote resounds and smashes against my heart. Every failed, or even almost failed, adoption we went through is still there. I think about those kids, wonder where they are, how they are, if they are loved, if they know I love them. I don't even know some of their names. But they were mine, for a moment. I never went through quite what you did, never held a baby only to have it taken away, but I can imagine how awful it must have been.
I get a little thrill every time I see Megan because our stories are similar in many ways. I am thrilled for her and for you, and I am glad you wrote it all down even though it hurts.

Amy said...

I'm so glad it all worked out, but what a difficult process to have to go through!

A few months ago my sister (Sheila) was told they have a .0001% chance of ever getting pregnant on their own. They are still hoping for miracles, but adoption is something they are considering now. Such a rough process

J, C, and E said...

You're a much stronger woman than I am Harmony. If Jeff and I had gone through what you and Jared did, we probably would've given up completely. Your strength and positive attitude are such great examples for me!

Adam and Shari Crawford said...

Holy cow!!! I TOTALLY didn't know you guys had gone through so many failed adoptions to get little Megan! I'm SO glad you have her with you..... my heart aches too thinking about how rough of a life Jack might have.... But then how STINKING lucky Megan is and you and Jared.... Love you guys ;)

That Girl said...

I love a happy ending. And every other comment I have sounds very trite and stupid compared to your heart-wrenching experience. Truly, you'd have to live through it to really GET it.

I wish I had lived through it, just so we'd be able to cry together.

Robyn said...

Thanks for sharing, Harmony! It makes me want to go hug and kiss my kiddos. Megan is such a lucky little baby to have you for her mom. The best things in life definately do not come easy but she sure looks worth it!