Monday, October 26, 2009

Why (we don't) ask Why?

We've been home a couple days now, and the rather immediate traumatic jolt of disappointment is fading. We're left to take stock of our gains and losses of the last week (yes, there were gains) and incorporate these into the new reality of life and the adoption process.

Under losses we can file:
Naivete. Next time we get the call we will not feel the thrill of unadulterated excitement that we did when Liz called to tell us about Y. We will never again move forward with the sweet assurance that this couldn't happen to us and that everything will work out.

Trust in the process. This is related to the one above, but a little different. It will be a legitimate challenge to trust the process if we are again matched before birth and relinquishment. We probably won't travel before the next baby is legally free. This makes me sad. It would have been so sweet if it had worked out for us on the very first try.

Four weeks. All in all this is not so bad. I am so very grateful for WACAP's policy of not allowing matches to happen before the last trimester of pregnancy. I have read blogs of matches that fall through after literally months of being matched and cannot imagine what that must feel like.

About $1700. And we aren't getting it back. This is not a small amount of money for us. We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination and now we have spent almost half of what we had available to us for travel expenses. This is a big part of why we won't travel before the next baby is relinquished - it was iffy for us to risk this money this time. It absolutely cannot happen again without imperiling our nest egg of agency fee money. Of course, the longer it takes to re-match, the more we'll be able to rebuild that nest egg.

Under gains we can file:
Certainty of purpose. This is more true for Andrew than it is for me. He has been the perfect partner through all of this: on-board, honest, game for anything. But he would be the first to tell you that on a scale of 1-10 his desire for a child (completely independent of my 12+) was probably wavering around a 5 or 6. Like many men facing the prospect of planned fatherhood, he was pretty sure that this was the right time and the right age for him to become a dad and he loves me to pieces and I obviously really want it, but didn't think he would really know until he held a baby in his arms. Well, now he knows. It wasn't our baby he held, but she was close enough to ours for him to realize that he is indeed ready for this. That's right folks, my husband has baby fever. Finally.

A+A is stronger than ever. Andrew and I have always been thankful that the biggest challenges in our relationship and marriage have consistently been situational and not interpersonal. This was a big situation and we're still dealing with it. But we know that we're bigger than this situation, and that it's a situation that in the end was really not about us(which is both reassuring and sucky, actually). We've been through a lot together: separation while touring, unemployment, infertility, and now a failed match. The good news? We have yet to encounter something that even comes close to shaking our love and commitment to each other. So far each challenge has just made us more of a team. (Although, side note, I am ready to find happier way to become more of a team now. Thanks.)

The Why Question
I think it's natural in a situation like this one to attempt to find "the reason why" things happened the way they did. I am a person of faith, and I understand the desire to know "God's plan" or to attach some sort of meaning to negative experiences that will somehow make it okay that a "bad" thing happened. You might be tempted to read what I wrote up there and think "Aha! That is why they went through this, so Andrew could get baby fever for reals!" or "Aha! Y needed to face this choice in order to really love her baby that must be why this happened" and on and on and on.

We're not doing that. Andrew and I are on the same page here, but I'll go ahead and decouple from the "we" language and just tell you straight up - that's not how I look at the world. I feel that the "why" question is really and truly not the right question with which to approach the difficult, devastating, sad, and undecipherable parts of human life. There are no good answers to the why question. "Really? We had to travel hundreds of miles and spend that much money when Andrew could have just discovered his baby fever when we had an actual for-us baby??" or "Really? We are so disposable to God (or the universe or whatever you believe guides the plan for our lives) that we can get jerked around for someone else's parenting process?"

You see? Not helpful. I need a better question.

So here is my question, when I am faced with a situation like this one, a situation that has no easy pain-free solution, a situation in which I have tried everything I can think of and there is just no changing the reality of the way things are. My question becomes "How can I respond to this situation in a way that is true to my own best self?" This, for me, is where the God-stuff comes in to play. Not in the why, but in the how-I-survive-this. I, personally, do have faith that there is a bigger picture here. But I don't need to decipher it in order to move on and move on well through life. Trying to would just make me angry or tired. I have to believe that the why is bigger than what I can figure out or comprehend.

So, right now, we (coupling it up again, we are a team and what-not), are working on answering the question that is most helpful to us, the How do I respond question. Sometimes right now the answer to that is tears, sometimes it is yogurt covered pretzels and pumpkin pie, and sometimes it is long rambling blog posts that are more than a little preachy. (well that would be more "me" and less "we" obviously.)

We remain ridiculously loved and supported by all you who read here and by our friends, family, and co-workers. That doesn't hurt either, in fact it is so incredibly helpful that I don't have enough good words to emphasize it.

Thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you.


  1. Great post- I'm still praying for you guys and hoping that you get another call very soon.

  2. When our agency called and said, "Can you come in tomorrow morning to discuss a potential match?" I actually remember kind of heavy sighing as I checked the calendar. "Here we go again," I thought. After three matches and no baby, we were pretty jaded. The next morning, we learned that we were matched with a baby boy, already born, just waiting for us to come to the hospital. Although our previous disappointments did take away the excitement and optimism of the process, it didn't take away even one ounce of the excitement and absolute joy we felt when we met our son. I would also agree with you that, having survived the disappointments, my DH and I knew that we would stick by each other through anything. Hope that you continue to find answers to "How do I respond?" that help you during this time.

  3. I'm so sorry that this happened. I hope your little one finds you sooner rather than later.

  4. I'm so sorry, and I know how hard it is to imagine a good reason that this has happened...I really can't think of any. Except...when your baby does find you (soon!), somehow you'll have your answer. It's great that your DH is now fully in baby mode too. Mine wasn't really there until our adopted son came home. May the rest of your wait be short & smooth.

  5. We're waiting to be matched. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I'll be thinking of you in the days ahead. Your post is very touching, poignant, and healthy I think. Best wishes!

  6. I really appreciate your thoughts on the "Why" question. I'm glad you decided to include them in your long rambling blog entry.

  7. There are many thoughts running through my head as I read your post and think back to our own "lost match" which isn't the same as yours but of course has elements of similarity. I admire your steadfast faith, my own faltered during this time.

    But the thing that has struck me the most during the infertility and adoption process is the loss of innocence. that just plain sucks. I really hope that you might possibly be able to approach the next match in a similar way to this one. When we were matched for the second time we thought about waiting until baby was born and relinquishment signed as we too were out a lot of money. In the end we decided to try to treat this match (as much as we could) as if it were the first one. If it did go through then we wanted to be able to tell our child that we took that risk for them and wanted to experience everything possible about their birth/story etc. that we could. That said I do know that money and emotions will play a huge role the next time.

    Sorry for the long comment, this is just bringing up so many emotions for me, wish we could chat over a latte!

  8. Wow Alissa, I really, REALLY wish that you didn't have go through such difficulty on your journey to meet your child, but as you do, and as you share your thoughts, and the account of your actions, I am SO personally inspired to be a better, stronger, more loving person.....also, fantastic writing ;).
    So much admiration, love and hope to you!!!

  9. Love your discussion of "why" vs "how." Much more empowering to own how you respond to a situation than to try to figure out why something or someone "did this" to you.

    I too am learning so much from watching you go through your process. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you don't have to go through much more rollercoaster to get where you want to be.

  10. Just wanted to let you know you're in my thoughts.

  11. A, This whole journey reminds me of a night a hundred years ago, you & me on a roof top in the sky talking about who & when & where we would fall in love. There was faith in our conversation, faith that it would happen when it was meant to happen and aknowledgement that along the way we'd probably want someone to be the one and they wouldnt be. We know where that journey ended, and I know where this one will too. Full of love and one more initial, A & A & __. Mr Mister, Ms Alissa & Baby __. It will happen when we least expect it and we might think its happening when its not, but it will happen. And I can't wait to meet whoever it is thats out there for you guys.


  12. Thank you for the long discursive post, I appreciate the detail on how you're approaching this. I'm amazed that you can write with such clarity and perspective about this situation at this stage, it's no easy thing to write about how you think about and cope with difficult situations, I applaud you. I admire the clarity of your writing and your thoughtfulness and I am glad that you and A remain unshaken in your togetherness. Thanks for your post.

  13. i love the way you look at things.. the way you write makes me feel like i'm going through it with you. {hugs} to you both..

  14. Coming over from Deathstar's blog.

    I agree very much with not asking the "Why?" question. I am a science geek and very "Why?" person. I'm always asking why things happen, why people do the things they do. However, through the years of medical malady that my husband and I have been through, I have learned that in some cases there are no answers to be had. And so asking the question is just maddening. Sometimes life just happens. Nothing more, nothing less.

    My heart goes out to you for what you've just been through. I wish you strength and love and good luck as you continue down this path.

  15. Hi there. You are probably going to find this totally random, but this post really, really inspired me (and not in an adoption related way either.)
    What you said about how you're not going to question why... really, really inspiring.
    I could go on and on.
    Your graciousness is refreshing.