We have closure, friends.
I think it has been clear for a while now that we have been bobbing and weaving through various shades of red flags. It was our first time going down this road and we didn’t know what a red flag looked like, exactly. We could only go with our gut, and hoped we would know when it was time to hold firm and when it was time to cut bait. We received awesome feedback from YOU, the caring people who follow our journey, and we are so grateful for that because it was affirming and validating as we slowly realized that this is not the way adoption is supposed to work.
In our minds, babies are treasures, not bargaining chips or other methods of currency. If we had been thinking differently, maybe we would have understood the game long before now.
As much as we had to fight to get information from our agency, our coordinator was facing the same fight to get information from the parents. It was a cyclical nightmare that none of us could allow to continue for our own emotional health. Fortunately, today, our coordinator was able to locate and touch base with Carrie’s social worker, who shared the following:
“Carrie shared her plan with me and the chance of this adoption going through is very slim. The parents are very invested in raising their child. I would warn that I would be very surprised if adoption was the route they chose, regardless of the paternity test results.”
She went on to share that Carrie’s husband, as well as friends and family, have been bringing gifts and clothes to the house on a regular basis. Our coordinator, hoping for the best, assumed that Carrie had maybe changed her mind in the past couple of weeks. The social worker said it was her impression that parenting had been the plan since at least the fall. The fall? You can’t get much earlier than that when you have a June due date for crying out loud on Sunday!
So, why the ruse? We can only be left to speculate about much of it. Maybe they really were considering adoption and wanted an agency and a plan in place in case they decided that was their only option. Maybe they knew they would need a paternity test and it costs a TON of money and an adoption agency would very likely pay for it. They were still pushing hard for the paternity test through their social worker even today, and as you know the hubs and I majorly advocated to get it for them before the birth. It was the right thing to do, you know the story. But sadly the story was not entirely true, and they wanted to know the paternity for their benefit, not ours. We lucked out that this was all discovered before we paid for half the test; it costs about 3K.
The next question: Why did they pick us? They had to choose a family to stay in the program, and they had plenty of profiles to choose from. Why did they pick us knowing they were going to parent the baby? There is no way to know. Maybe because we had a kid already, or because our profile shows we have a large, supportive network of family and friends? I mean, if you have to screw someone over, I guess you pick the people who look like they have the best chance of bouncing back? I don’t even begin to pretend I understand this mind set. I will say this though, and I’m not trying to sound like a martyr: I’m glad it was us rather than a childless couple. As painful as this has been, it would have been absolutely unendurable if we didn’t have our sweet miracle to love throughout the whole ordeal. Besides our faith in God’s plan, the hugs and kisses and silliness of our little boy were what made it possible for us to keep going and believe it was going to work out. It’s funny though, it didn’t work out, but we’re still here, bent but not broken somehow.
I should be angry at Carrie and her husband, but I’m not. They were running a scam, yes, and lying to people, yes, and these things are unacceptable. But I think it’s also the only way they know how to survive. It’s too bad, because Carrie is a very smart women, and poverty and abuse of government programs are not the only options available to her. She has the smarts to work herself out of her situation and she is only two years from being a nurse, which would provide a great living for her family. She could not keep the baby and do the nursing program though, so I guess she is giving up/delaying that dream. What I would want Carrie to know (but probably not her husband, because he didn’t seem like the type who would care much), is that her actions caused us great pain, even if it was unintentional. And I think that her day-to-day life was so deeply mired in crisis and chaos that she wasn’t even aware of how her choices left us reeling in anxiety and sorrow time and time again.
Since the day we were informed we were chosen to adopt, April 1st (over five weeks ago), Carrie provided just enough tidbits of information to the agency (and then them to us) periodically to let us believe she wanted this adoption no matter what, and we were the family she wanted. We believed her and the agency believed her. Our lunchtime adoption meeting on April 17 was magic to me; I believed her when she said we were just the couple she had hoped for. Apparently I’m too trusting/gullible and she’s a fantastic actress.
The past five weeks were some of the worst of my life. It was a constant struggle of emotions; should I be eagerly anticipating the birth of our son, or should I be an anxious mess because we haven’t heard from the expectant mother in a week? Should I be destroyed because I found their baby registries online, or should I believe Carrie when she said her mother did it? In five weeks, this adoption was on and off three times. That takes a serious toll on a person. Much is written about the emotional pain and suffering of birth mothers, but it is taboo to mention the emotional turmoil of adoptive parents. Adoption coordinators might tell you, “You don’t know what it’s like to lose a baby.” That, unfortunately, is some bullsh*t. The fact is, most adoptive parents know exactly what that’s like. We find ourselves at adoption agencies because we have lost babies. That’s not nothin’ and our losses should be acknowledged, too.
To summarize: There will be no bouncing baby boy joining our family in mid-June. We accept this and are dealing with it because it was never real. It certainly wasn’t the baby God has intended just for us, although we know he/she is out there somewhere. This journey is hard; even potential leads are difficult to get excited about or take seriously, because we’ve been there before so often that our instinct is to automatically assume the worst. We’re going to work on that though, because that’s no way to live, and the baby that is destined to be ours deserves better than that, and so do we.