I'm feeling incredibly sad today. Someone I consider a good friend (although, this is more because I read her blog religiously and less because I chat with her frequently. In fact, the chatting is rare and she has her comments turned off, so I'm not even sure if she realizes I visit) is going through quite a rough time. It may be that this situation turns out wonderfully for my friend; then again, it could mean that she experiences a kind of pain that is akin to losing a part of yourself. A kind of pain I am intimately familiar with, having gone through it earlier this year.
The pain of a failed adoption is unlike any other. It's not even something that is easy to describe to someone unless they have experienced it themselves. It's not like losing a child you already have, because this child is not yet your's and therefore the people surrounding you who are removed from the situation (i.e. not the friends and family who are standing by you and feel the loss themselves) are unwilling to allow you time to grieve. They do not see it as your right. In fact, it is almost as if they are threatened that you dare feel loss over a child who was "never yours".
The pain is also unlike that of a miscarriage. Although mother's who have suffered a miscarriage also find themselves the target of such ignorant people as those indicated above who expect them not to grieve or find offense that they do, a failed adoptive mother often herself feels she has no right to grieve the loss of the child. In this situation, the fact that the child still lives, albeit with someone other than the adoptive parent - the birth parent or another adoptive parent - limits the adoptive parents own acceptance of the need to grieve. We still feel the hurt and pain, but we feel as though we should be happy! After all, the baby is thriving! It's healthy and is surrounded by people who love it! How could I be so selfish as to feel pity for myself for not being the one to parent this child?
We often don't give ourselves enough of a break to understand that we have suffered a loss. We are allowed to grieve that loss. We are allowed to feel bitter and resentful that all the hopes and dreams we put into that tiny life have been revoked due to the choice of another human. Although it may not seem fair to the birthmother, we are allowed to privately feel an ounce of anger. I'm not advocating that we say or do anything to the birth mother, but simply that we do not have to feel guilty for feeling the anger. It's natural. Over time, yes, it's possible to come to an acceptance that God had other plans, that the birthmother was entitled to enjoy her right to raise her own child. But remember that we are also humans, we mothers-who-almost-were, and that we are entitled to feel our own grief and to nurture our own hurts. We can't always be the strong one or the one others turn to when things need smoothing over or feelings need soothing. Sometimes we need to flash that bit of selfishness and tend to ourselves; just back away from life like a damaged kitten and lick our wounds. It is okay.
To wind up this post, please join me in saying a prayer for Her Womb, Our Hearts. Pray that the right decision for everyone involved will be made and that God's Will will be done. That's all J is asking for. She's such a better human than me. She's thinking more of the birthmother than herself. I was so caught up in my bitterness that I never had time for that. Please think of her during this tough, tough time.
Cross-posted with Excuse Me While I Cry and BlogHer