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.