Sunday, December 9, 2012

The One That Got Away: Memories of a Failed Adoption

NOTE:  This was originally posted in January of 2012.  I wanted to reference it and noticed it was gone from my blog, so am re-posting it.

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 Dylan is the first.  In my mind, Dylan is our second, but I keep Isaac tucked in a special spot deep in my heart that I can only pull out in private.  Dylan 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. 

***You can read more details about this in my latest post "Giving My Baby Back.  The Worst Day of My Life"

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