In going through the loss, adoption or infertility journey, did you ever feel like you needed to do or say something you weren’t quite comfortable with in the hopes that it would get you closer to the baby you wanted? We did. One time that stands out is in 2008, after our second loss, with our initial RE. After working with him to carefully craft a mindful and thorough step-by-step plan, I lost my job and he told us that we needed to do IVF because it was covered up to four tries on my outgoing insurance. Now, I didn’t know then what I know now (4 tries!?!), and at that point, we had gotten pregnant easily and we weren’t ready to make that jump. The doctor was not so kind in discussing that option, so we left him for a better fit. Do I look back at that time now and wonder if we should have tried it? Sure, but we weren’t ready at the time and stood our ground.
Going through the adoption process, there were many points that we asked ourselves if we should change or hide information about ourselves to make us more appealing to a potential woman or couple looking at creating an adoption plan for their child. I’m not talking about anything major here: Should we leave off our ages? Should we not mention we’re Cubs fans or that we like Notre Dame? And then the big one: Should we not mention that we’re Jewish? But we are. We are all of these things. We’d go back and forth on the religion factor, but in the end realized that we needed to be true to us, and just hope that it would mesh with someone out there. As time went on, we’d question that decision, and waiver, but stuck with it anyway.
Fast forward to when we met Baby Boy’s birth parents. While I won’t share details here because it isn’t my story to tell, I will share that they asked us about being Jewish. We took a deep breath, glancing at one another and said yes. But the shoe didn’t drop. Rather, just the curiosity of what it meant in relation to Christmas. We talked about Hanukkah, and explained the traditions of the religion and our families. Of how Double A and I collect menorahs and how we’ve long looked forward to lighting them with our children. Of how we gather with family and friends to celebrate and spend time together. Of the foods we eat and the eight nights of presents. And it became clear why they were asking, and what was important: Family. Tradition. Presents. Shared experiences that they could relate to, and wanted for their child.
The night before BB was born, the social worker told us that his birth parents had something for us that they wanted to give us at the hospital. Of course in our minds, we thought, a baby, right? But when we saw them, they presented us with a box, and in that box, was a beautiful menorah. We were floored. We’re still floored. I choke up each time I think of this, or share this story. In all likelihood, they didn’t know from Hanukkah, and yet they wanted to be a part of that tradition. They wanted to share in that experience with their child, and create memories. We are beyond grateful for this incredible physical and spiritual gift, and lit BB’s menorah every night this past Hanukkah with such pride and joy. Hiding who we are would have taken something away from BB.
The challenges of loss often make it so that you can’t see straight. At least I found it to be. What can I do/say/give to get me to have a living baby? The more losses we experienced, and the longer our adoption wait went on, it was easy to get caught up in the “maybe I should…” or “what if I…” rather than stick to our well-thought out plans. I questioned everything. And then I questioned it again. Some of those questions still linger. The thing is, questions are good when they force you to look at all sides of a situation, ensuring you’re being your best advocate. It’s when they come from a place of panic and uncertainty that can cause the most harm.
When I really think about it, I realize that Double A and I made the best decisions we could at the time. And as we are about to celebrate Baby Boy’s first birthday this week, I’m grateful we made the decision to stay true to ourselves.
How do you handle staying true to yourself in your journey?