Tonight we had our 2nd class as part of our adoption certification. The topic was "Infertility Grief and Loss in Adoption- Coming to terms with infertility and assessing your readiness to adopt". Oh wow.
Aaaaand- I did not know that was going to be the topic for the class.
I just breezed on in to the classroom and sat down and was feeling all excited for learning more and being in the process. Then the teacher announced the topic for the class AND that we all were going to be sharing our stories and I literally instantly got sweaty palms and my stomach flipped a little. If I had known all that ahead of time I would have been a ball of nerves all day and been dreading the whole thing. It was totally better to be blindsided by it in this situation.
The class started out with this totally bodacious clip from a mid-80's Oprah episode. Yes- Oprah in the 80's- and her hair was so awesome! (Our teacher even prefaced it by saying not to be distracted by Oprah's hair- which was a good warning because it was HUGE!) It was an episode about couples dealing with infertility and apparently there's no other resource out there like this little gem because the agency is still hanging on to it. And it was definitely on a VHS ;) Glad this wasn't my first exposure to the agency or I might question their cultural and technological savviness. Anyway, the Oprah interviews from the 80's proved that the grief, stress and loss of infertility is timeless. We all were shaking our heads in agreement and laughing at how we related to what they were saying.
Then the teacher just dove right in "Who wants to share their story first?" Gulp. One girl raised her hand and out came a story that could break your heart. Then I went (and Ryan shared some too). (But I didn't cry, despite the lump in my throat.) Then another and another until all 9 couples had spilled their heartaches, disappointments, and brokenness. The kleenex box was passed around. 8 couples who have all experienced infertility (and some who have suffered miscarriage(s)) and one couple with 2 living children who have experienced miscarriages. Grief and loss. Yes the room was full of it. Journeys of great pain had brought all of us there. There were no easy roads.
But- we already know that the stories don't end there. The stories don't end with just grief and loss. The very fact that we were sitting in that room gives away the end of at least one chapter of all of our stories. The clouds part and the sun comes blasting through and new life sprouts up and hearts are healed and hope is restored and God works his miracles and.....our babies will come! God will show us the other side of the story he has been writing. Where there has been only bareness, constant disappointment, babies lost too soon, and prayers seemingly unanswered- soon will come these little heart beats proclaiming new life from a Creator who loves and moves and sustains.
The pain and grief won't be erased, but our Comforter will come with tiny fingers reaching out for our faces in the night, soft breaths against our necks, growing feet kicking in delight and some of this anguish will be redeemed. Our children will not be our Saviors from pain, but oh how they will be the Balm of Gilead for our aching hearts. And we will cry and laugh and hold them tight against our chests and whisper in their fuzzy ears "We've been waiting for you."
It's what we're all waiting for, and this class specifically addressed some of the issues that could possibly prevent us from walking in to that beautiful day as the most healthy, whole parent we can possibly be. We need to grieve well in order to parent well, and we need to process the losses of infertility and adoption well so that we can walk in to parenthood without rose-colored glasses.
Once our agency knows that you have dealt with infertility and/or loss they assess how you are grieving, mourning and processing that. They understand grief and what infertility means, so they're not looking for you to be "over it", but to be progressing in moving through the stages of grief and when it does flare up again here and there to be processing that in a healthy way as well. So if you're exhibiting signs of pent up grief and an inability to process through those losses, they'll put you on the slow track and help you work through that to get you to a healthier place. And I really appreciate that.
The goal they say is "To help you explore the impact of infertility and move beyond it in order to have a healthy attachment and bond in adoption". We cannot fully embrace our child as ours and allow our hearts to receive this new one in to our lives if we are clinging to our ideal of our biological child. We will not fully bond with our baby and foster their attachment to us if we are holding out hope for a baby that's "really ours" one day.
While it still may be in the realm of a miracle that God could do that one day, we are not focused on overcoming infertility and trying to conceive a child of our own. We are allowing that desire to pass in order for a greater desire for the child God will place in our family through adoption to develop. We have to let that death (of a dream) occur and mourn those losses in order to fully embrace the child God will bring to us through adoption.
So- it was a really heavy night as we heard everyone's stories and were moved as we related to their experiences and mourned the suffering they've endured. But it was really healthy feeling for me too. The Lord has done so much to heal me and carry me through this process and allow my heart to be free to release those dreams and embrace His perfect plan. What grace! What patience! What beauty! Jesus you are so amazing and I love you even more!
Thanks for tracking with us :)