Saturday, January 28, 2012

The One That Got Away: Memories of a failed adoption.





 
My little Isaac has been on my mind a lot lately.  I don’t know why.  It’s been just over four years since we lost him.  It’s not the anniversary of anything—not his birthday, or the day we took him home, or the day we lost him back to his biological father.  Maybe it’s because we have finally gotten back on the list to adopt our second child in the last couple of weeks.  Whatever it is, I’ve been thinking about him a lot more than normal.  Sometimes when people hear about our failed adoption, they make comments about how it’s good that we’d only had him five months or else it would have been even more difficult.  But the thing is, I always saw him as my child.  I bonded with him the first moment I heard about him over the phone, and by the time I held him for the first time at the foster mom’s house, I was done.  He was mine.  He was a low risk adoption—99% guaranteed to go through.  His mother relinquished rights and hand-picked us out of the pool of waiting couples.  She told us she didn’t know who the father was, and that she’d hidden her pregnancy from everyone, so nobody knew about this precious baby boy except herself and the social workers, and of course, us.  After years of failed fertility treatments, including two very difficult and unsuccessful runs at invitro, and then more than a year and a half getting through the process to get on the list for adoption, this amazing boy was ours.  I was elated.  I finally got to be the one at the baby shower on the receiving end, holding the cute little baby and telling my story.  It was a most wonderful time.  And then, the hammer fell.  To keep the story short, the birth mother had lied about everything, and after placing him with us, called the birth father to tell him he had a son, but that he couldn't have him because he’d been placed for adoption.  She looked us in the eye and told us she didn’t know who the father was and that she hadn’t told him, but she had.  It took a while for him to get the paternity test, and a few weeks before Christmas, he came to take his son.  That is all a story for another blog entry, but I just wanted to say that it didn’t matter that it was “only five months” (and it is still very painful to hear that comment from people).  We were devastated.  We had lost our long-awaited child.  We had a deep bond with him, and he had become a precious part of our lives.  I still have a hard time talking about it, and this is the first time I’ve written about it since just after it happened.  We still miss him.  I think about him every day, and I still shed tears every now and then when I look at photos and think of that difficult day when I put him in the car seat and kissed him good-bye, so afraid that he would feel I had abandoned him.  He is doing well now.  These pictures were taken two days before his father took him home.  I had been crying all week, and praying for strength.  I asked my friend to take some pictures of us so I could have some final shots of us together.  And in an answer to that prayer (although not the answer I REALLY wanted!) I woke up that Friday morning calm, and more prepared to face the impending weekend events.  
The strange thing was that I could not get him to smile, and that was very unusual.  I tried playing with him, as you can see in the photos, but no smile.  It was as if he knew a traumatic change was coming and he just wasn’t his normal self.  But, I’m happy with the way they turned out, and glad we were able to capture a sweet moment with him before he went away.I still consider him my first son, even though when people ask, I say that D is the first.  In my mind, D is our second, but I keep Isaac tucked in a special spot deep in my heart that I can only pull out in private.  D will never take his place, although he did fill a deep void when he came to us a year and a half later.  If you know someone who had a failed adoption, I hope you never say "well at least he was only ____ months old", and I hope you never assume the next child will ever take his place.  You would never think that if you lost a biological child.  It is such a painful experience, and it doesn't ever go away.  I know he is with his father who wanted him so deeply, and I know that’s where he needs to be, but my sweet little Isaac will always be the one that got away. 

11 comments:

  1. Made me cry. 5 minutes, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years. Doesn't matter. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Tiffeny. No, it doesn't matter. Even miscarriages are heartbreaking, and you never even get to hold that child normally. Loss is loss.

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  2. Susan, Thank you for sharing. Even though he was so young, you taught him what love is and that is something that will stay with him. I can't imagine how difficult this would be.

    Laura

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    1. It was rough, I ain't gonna lie! I do feel like we gave him a better start than if he'd stayed in foster care, though, and ultimately, that was better for him. And I know we learned some lessons, too, however difficult it was.

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  3. You and John are some of the bravest people I know--getting to watch Dylan's journey into Scharft-dom with you both has been beyond inspiring, and I feel I learn about what it takes to be a really great parent from seeing your guys raise him. Thanks for sharing your journey with Issac--he was extraordinarily lucky to have been in your care, regardless for how long.

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    1. Thanks Marnee! I know he would have been good with other parents, too, but I'm glad we were able to have him for those few months, and to get that taste of motherhood, even if it was heartbreaking to lose him. Thanks for your kind words. I don't mean it to sound like we're just the greatest people ever, but I did want to share at least a small part of the story.

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  4. Oh my gosh Susan my heart goes out to you! We had our daughter (now adopted and almost 6) for 6 months. We were fostering her and there was no contact with the b-family at all. Then at 6 mo the county called and said she had an older sister who was stepping forward to take custody. I felt like I wanted to run away with this baby, like she was absolutely mine and I felt like I wanted to die! Well things did turn out in our favor and the adoption was finalized at 21 months. I cannot say I know what you went/are going through but my heart absolutely aches for you. The 2 babies we have now, we are fostering. We've had them 5 months and b-dad just got increased visits while bmom is out of picture. Trying Hoping Praying to adopt them. Who knows what will happen. Adoption is a hard road, we've been fortunate enough to adopt 2 beautiful children. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Isaac is a beautiful boy.

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  5. I have a friend who just lost their adopted baby after having her from birth for 2 years. (long legal battle) It was their 6th child--4 biological and this was their 2nd adoption--and the pain is so heartbreaking! I can't imagine it being any worse if it was their first child or if they'd had her for only 5 months. Like you said, they thought it was THEIR child. I'm just the outside observer, of course, and just imagining their pain and it's hard to breathe through. You say what not to say---is there anything that is good to say other then I'm sorry and praying for you?

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  6. Oh my gosh--2 years is brutal! I can't imagine. 5 months old was so painful, and I know each passing day just adds to that. It's hard to say what you should say or do, because so many people feel differently and some are more sensitive than others. There were times I wanted to talk about it and times I didn't. What I did (and still do) appreciate was people remembering. I've had people comment to me on his birthday, or that acknowledge the anniversary of when it happened, and though it may sound painful to bring up that memory, for me I liked that people remembered. I also liked a heartfelt card just saying something sincere--sometimes it was a personal experience, sometimes it was admiration at how we had handled ourselves through the whole ordeal (those were really sweet thoughts), sometimes other things. I didn't like for people to constantly tell me how sorry they were. I don't know why, but I preferred more personal things. I had someone e-mail me about a month after it happened and told me how they wouldn't be surprised if it was harder now, because in the moment, you do what you have to do, but a few weeks later it really sinks in and the grief rolls over you harder. I broke down and cried because not only was it true, but someone had recognized it and made it okay for me to continue grieving. Just don't ever tell someone that they should be over it by now. It has been five years and I still have moments of grieving. I don't know if this answers your question, but it's just so individual, but I think mostly people like to be remembered and allowed to grieve.

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  7. I was married at 32 and immediately tried to get pregnant. When I was unable to conceive I had blood tests for fertility and was told that I had an FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) of 54 and would not be able to have children. Even though the doctors knew that I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis since age 25, no one bothered to check my thyroid levels. my TSH was measured at .001. My Synthroid dosage was lowered. a friend advise me to contact a spiritualist who help with fertility with his medicine, i collected his contact and explain my situation to him he prepared a herbal medicine which i took as describe I by him. i became pregnant very quickly, I had a successful pregnancy. I have my baby august 2014. to get pregnant at age 35 with my 2nd child in september 2016, thank you papa, email contact if you require his help mallamabuduspiritualhome@gmail.com Or whatsapp him on +2349055637784

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