Déjà Vu All Over Again

Last week, within an hour of learning that our first adoption situation was faux, I was independently contacted by an acquaintance from my adoption support group. Her daughter had decided to place her baby in an open adoption, and could I send her our portfolio to review? They were having lunch so it would be best to have in the next hour or so.

I would have moved freaking boulders with my bare hands  to make that happen. I bustled around my office at the speed of light, scrambling to scan each page of our adoption book into pdf files that could be emailed. The scanning app stalled, the printer kept malfunctioning. As I scanned, I practiced deep breathing techniques to stop freaking out, since I was convinced my printer’s ineptitude had doomed us to failure. I was near tears thinking I was going to miss our window of opportunity. When I got it done and realized the file was too large to email, I completely blanked on how to use Dropbox, the world’s easiest app,  in my frenzy; I sent an SOS to the hubs, and he came through from work, compressing the files and getting them sent. Go hubs! Cue the huge sigh of relief, crisis averted.

It absolutely MUST be noted that from being notified that the first adoption situation was a fraud, to the second adoption being initiated,  a mere 47 minutes had passed. The only way this neon sign from God could have been made clearer is if He had used sky-writing to spell it out over our house.

Within an hour of emailing the pdf adoption book, I received the message that her daughter loved our profile, and saying it reminded her of her own family. Could we meet in the next couple days to talk adoption specifics?

I couldn’t believe that something this amazing had happened to us!  We went from the very bottom of the adoption roller coaster, after being emotionally derailed by Carrie and her husband, to being offered the opportunity to adopt out of the clear blue sky. In my mind, the whole convulted puzzle finally fit together, and it was good. It was good, people. It seemed like this was what we had been preparing for, like all the heartache and pain had led us to THIS moment.

As confident as we were, we told no one but our parents while it was all unfolding, just to be on the safe side. Because, duh. Our track record was abysmal and it was all starting to feel a little bit too much like The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Family Addition Edition.  We kept the news to ourselves and felt like we were hiding the greatest surprise ever, which also felt kind of sneaky and fun, if I’m being honest.

The expectant mother went into labor a couple days ago and we hired a lawyer for her. The family asked nothing of us other than for prayers. There were/are factors in play that made/make it largely impossible for the birth mother to raise the baby. She knew this, and chose adoption.  It was a very brave, very self-aware thing to do and the hubs and I were impressed.  Her situation is the type where, if she chose to keep the baby, her parents would be the ones doing the raising.* Her parents are folks who have dedicated their lives to raising children, both biological and adopted. They are people who have relished the role of grandparents over the past few years and recently began enjoying a well-deserved retirement.  As you can imagine, raising a newborn is probably not at the top of their retirement bucket list.

*Note: I’m not being judgemental. The above statement was shared with me, I did not come to that conclusion “just because.”

The hubs and I, demonstrating our shared inability to sense a pattern, really believed we were going up to meet the baby today and begin the process of adoption. As you may have gleaned from my sarcasm, that did not happen.  I received a call this about mid-morning that the daughter had decided to parent her baby.

I sincerely wished her well, gracefully congratulated her on the new addition, and took it like a champ. That is not a humble brag folks; that is a straight-up, unabashed, honest to goodness BRAG, and I stand behind it.

We set a new record, folks!  Two failed adoptions in one week! I guess we all get to be famous for something at some point!  Hooray.

This time was easier because of the shorter time span, and also because my adoption group acquaintance is a really great person who kept us in the loop and up to date the whole time.  She is a neat lady and she is trying to handle this as best she can, too. I think she was as surprised as I was at the sudden change of heart, because, if you remember from a couple paragraphs up, she and her husband are going to be the people raising that baby, something they had not planned on.  That is easily as unfair as what keeps happening to the hubs and I.  I really do wish her and her husband the very best as they navigate this unexpected new challenge, and pray for health and joy for them, and baby girl, and their daughter.

As for the hubs and I, maybe it’s time to take a hint. We don’t know.  We’re evaluating our next steps. When you consider the years of infertility, the pregnancy losses, the failed adoption situations…I mean, if you called someone several times and left voicemails that weren’t returned, followed it up with a few text messages and emails that were ignored, and finally, showed up at that someone’s house and rang the doorbell to no answer, even though the lights were on and both cars were in the driveway, what would you surmise from the situation?  That’s where we are right now. We’re infertile adoption stalkers.

It sounds pitiful, but truly, each day brings us so much joy with our little silver lining, Mr. E.  Things sure aren’t going our way, but that one time, they did. We must never forget that, and treasure the gift we were given.


Movin’ On

Good afternoon, friends!

Not since I took John Travolta to task for being an icky, semi-closeted creeper who gropes women publicly in the hope of appearing straight, have I had so many views on my blog. Wow!  I look at my stats every now and again, ever since that one time I accidentally learned they were there. I figured it out because WordPress actually personally contacted me to see if I had a website breech, because my page views per day went from around 150 to almost 13,000. I assured them there must be a mistake of some kind. They walked me through how to see my stats and sure enough, they were popping. I guess a lot of people don’t like John Travolta and were interested in reading about my abject horror at his behavior. I personally never had a problem with the guy until his busy hands/close talker/deviant showmanship at the Oscars, but that was all that I needed to add him to…My List. 

Anyhoo, for the past couple of weeks there have been 500-600 people following the events of our bad soap opera-like life, and finding that out was a great way to start the day! It feels pretty amazing to know that many people care. Or, that it was like watching a huge train wreck in slow motion installments and you couldn’t turn away no matter how hard you tried. Either way, I totally get it, and I thank you.

I’ve heard from a lot of folks, many of them wondering why I’m not simmering with rage over Carrie and her husband and their less than honorable intentions. I will tell you that it was a very hard, very intentional decision to forgive them. 

My first instinct upon learning the whole story was not, “Aw shucks. Who among us hasn’t used our baby to emotionally torture and extort paternity tests and gifts from an innocent family and receive nine months of free swag from the government?

I was pissed. Then shocked. Then angry. Then feeling sorry for myself because I was sure the entire universe was conspiring against the hubs and I to make bad things happen to us over and over again until we gave up. Then, I took a deep breath, ditched the dreaded victim mentality, and made a decision.
The pursuit of adoption takes a lot of energy. A lot of energy, and time, and focus. It is a full time job at times. If I chose to harbor anger or frustration towards them, they were just receiving more of my resources. They already received five weeks worth, after all. So, I forgave them as I have been forgiven so many times (I’m talking ’bout you, JC!”), and put those two in my review mirror. Well, except for this post of course, but it doesn’t count. I’m trying to make a point here people!

We are moving forward. It’s hard to keep the hubs and I down for long. That doesn’t mean we are sadness-free, just that we are keeping the faith. We have been ready for a baby in our arms for a long time and E sometimes asks me at bedtime where “his baby” is.  We will stay the course, with hearts full of hope that somewhere out there is a baby that needs a devoted and loving daddy, a goofy mommy, and a sweet big brother who is ready to share his cars!

Until next time!  One of these days I’m going to have actual good news to share!


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.

I’m Back, and I’m Reclaiming My Joy

I took a little break last week on account of great sadness at the loss of this adoption. I was really grieving the loss of this baby I never even met because we thought we had made our way to The One. And when I heard we hadn’t, it was very hard to accept that. On Friday morning, I woke up and decided I was reclaiming my joy. I can’t live in this hypothetical “what if” world anymore. Anyone who has experienced similar issues knows what I’m talking about, whether it is infertility or the adoption wait, or even the adoption wait after you have allegedly been matched.

An example of the hypothetical world is where even though you need a new single stroller, you decide not to buy one; after all, why spend the money when you will need a double stroller any day now!

The sorrow I felt last week at yet another failure to grow our family was like a gray, gloomy stalker cloud that followed me around and made it very hard to remember to be grateful for every miraculous blessing in my life. And I’m an extremely happy person! I irritate the hubs with my optimism on a regular basis. It has been hard on him to see me suffer the past couple of weeks, but he has been my big strong rock to lean on during the worst of it, despite his own pain. Just another reason why I’m grateful to travel this oft-painful road with a man who (usually) knows just what to say or do to snap me back into annoying optimistic mode again!

It took three years to become Mama and Dada when we welcomed our son, E, into this great big world. Since he was 18 months old, we have been trying for #2. Over half his life, to put it into stark terms. The hubs and I both have been extremely careful to protect him from feeling any second-hand stress, and I think we did a good job despite having several incidents where stress and grief were certainly warranted. But I learned something sombering this week: My son, the sweet, deeply empathetic lovebug that I have tried to shield from my aching heart, told my mom while they were playing, “Mama still doesn’t feel well.” Well, I haven’t been sick. And that means that I haven’t been as clever about hiding my emotions from him as I thought I had. I was horrified, horrified. Hearing that he said those words was like getting punched in the ovaries. AND that’s the moment I decided enough was enough. It’s one thing for the hubs and I to struggle with our feelings about the fall-through, but I will not allow that to spill over into my son’s world. He’s three. Our problems are not his problems. I absolutely decided in that moment that he would never again have to worry that, “Mama isn’t feeling well,” along with the added burden of wondering why.

For those of you who have adopted, are in the adoption process, or are thinking about adopting, please take note: Our adoption situation has been atypical. I will be discussing that more in my next post. I know of many people who have adopted seamlessly, no muss no fuss, and the common denominator seems to be the quality of the agency you work with as well as the competence of your adoption coordinator.

I reclaimed my joy this weekend by spending time with family in the beautiful sunshine. I spent lots of cuddle time with my little man and taught him how to do Eskimo kisses. I worked on my “big” project, my pond and the waterfall; it’s just never quite the way I want it to look, so I took it apart and built it up once again, after looting all kinds of tips and ideas from Pinterest. It looks fab. I did not clean the house, because cleaning the house is not joy-giving.  It’s joy-thieving.

Most importantly, I asked God to carry this burden for me. I have prayed this before, but this time it was more of an impassioned plea. And wouldn’t you know it, before I even opened my eyes I felt like some of the weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and replaced with a feeling of calm that seemed to whisper, “Isn’t this better? Let’s stay in this emotional space, shall we?”

Thank you for following my journey, friends. Here’s to hoping the baby that’s meant for us makes an appearance soon!

To follow Borrowed Genes, keep scrolling down until you reach the email box!

How to Navigate Around Borrowed Genes

Hi friends!  

A few of you have asked how to know when a new post is up, especially as we get down to the exciting events ahead that will be here before we know it. I have NOT been posting on my personal Facebook page, because I wanted to give people who were truly interested in this journey an opportunity to follow along of their own free will, without me clogging their news feeds. Basically that means you need to be following the blog one way or another to get updates from my Borrowed Genes Facebook page or via email.   A couple friends had not heard we were chosen to adopt, and were a bit irritated that they heard the news two weeks later. And I was over here all protesting, “But, the blog!  The blog.” 

1) If you are viewing the site from a computer/laptop, there should be a very large widget in the top right of the screen that allows you to enter your email address to be notified when a new post is up. For some reason, that box does not appear if you are using a tablet or a smartphone. This has been frustrating to correct, but the good people at WordPress are trying to troubleshoot where that glitch is. In the meantime, computer!

2) Follow my website Facebook page, also called Borrowed Genes. When I publish a new post, it will show up there and then appear in your news feed so you can click on it if you choose. 

3) Comments: there is a place for you to leave comments all the way down at the end of the post. Please do, I enjoy reading them and it makes it a more interactive experience for all of us. All the way down at the bottom you also have the choice of liking the post, or even sharing it on social media if I was especially profound that day. I am occasionally profound; mostly I’m prolost. 

Time is winding down and anticipation is trending up!  My forecast for the next few days: interesting with a chance of exhilaration. 

Peace be with you, dear readers. Thanks for your continued support. 

Look down here ⬇️ for where to comment, like or share. Keep scrolling…you made it!