Baby Steps

It’s been a month and 2 days since she was born. It’s been a month and 2 days since her being was etched into our souls. Not a day has passed since, that we have not thought of her, loved her, missed her desperately, and even more desperately wished for her good health, safety, happiness, and love in her life. Every day for a month and 2 days. And although these are all aspects of thoughts that saturate any free thinking time I may have, there is one thought that is most persistent and prevalent for me: Hope.
The other day, my wife asked, “What now?” I thought to myself and responded, “Well, what do you mean?” (While thinking to myself, “We stay strong and we keep moving forward!”) But then she said, “About adopting. (Our adoption specialist) wants to know if we would want to be returned to the pool of adopting candidates.” It caught me off guard in a couple different ways. For one, I was assuming that the “What now?” question was in reference to Elise’s situation. For the last month and 2 days, everything had been about Elise. Our happiness, our love, our disappointment, our grief, had all revolved around Elise. I was resigned to assume it would also define our future. But this seemed like a 180 degree turn all of a sudden. Especially because I had assumed that Diane would not be ready to consider traveling the adoption road again this soon, if at all. I hadn’t given it much thought actually. I harbor no resentment or ill will or anger over the situation. I just miss my little girl. The chance to try adoption again wasn’t really at the forefront of my mind. I assumed I would be open to it, but I typically assume I’d be open to anything unless I am specifically opposed to something. I had no reason to think this would make me think differently. Secondly, it was a surprise to know how loose and vague my interpretation was in answering “What now?” In terms of what to do about Elise, I have maintained all along, that I would stay strong and not be broken by this. I would stay strong so that if she came back to us or needed us, I would be there, strong enough to pick her up, hold her, help her, and love her as much as I could. In terms of moving forward, in general…that’s where it gets cloudy. In that moment, I realized I hadn’t given much thought to moving forward or envisioned in the least, what was in my (our) future or how we would get there. What does “stay strong” mean? What does “keep moving forward” mean or even look like?
Over the past couple days I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Today, Diane told me that we were officially added back into the pool of possible adoptive parents. “Yes,” I confirmed to myself. And I was ready for it. Yes, our intent was to adopt a baby and give that baby a wonderful opportunity at a life he/she may not have had available to them at birth. Yes, we WERE chosen to adopt a little girl and fully intended to be her parents. Yes, the adoption did not come to full fruition. And yes, we were, and still are grieving losing the opportunity to have her in our home. But I have to look back at our initial intent for choosing adoption, and keep in mind that we wanted to give a baby a life of love and opportunity. Although we’ve lost the opportunity to give that to Elise (at least for now), I would hate to think I am allowing myself to be shut off from opening my heart to another child who deserves as much love and as many opportunities as we were ready to give to Elise.
So, what now? We stay strong. That means there will still be tears. There will still be a massive sense of loss. But we will hope. We will hope that Elise has love and happiness in and throughout her life. We will hope that Elise might somehow make her way back to us if she needs us and if God sees fit. We will move forward making sure that the scars Elise’s absence in our lives leaves behind, do not keep us from opening our hearts to a future child or children, whether through adoption or fostering or whatever. We’ll move forward with the intention of continued healing for Diane and myself. Healing that comes in baby steps. And hopefully one day, along with the healing, baby steps will come as well.

[I miss you Birdie and love you always- Dad]

3 thoughts on “Baby Steps”

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