By an Adopt4Life Community Parent
As I walked down the snow-covered street, still reeling from the holidays and dealing with three young kids at home for two weeks, I felt my anxiety grow with each step I took closer to the mailbox.
This year, a big resolution that my husband and I made was to stop putting off making those big, scary decisions we had been avoiding for the past couple of years. The biggest one on our list was to finally decide what we were going to do with our frozen embryos, which had been sitting at the fertility clinic for the past six years. The choices we had were to donate our embryos to a known recipient, donate them to research, or discard them.
I thought I was over feeling emotional about this, and yet still we stalled. I felt that adopting three children and going to years of therapy should have been enough to make closing this chapter painless. But still, it was hard. We knew we didn’t want to try again—or adopt again for that matter. But as I got closer to mailing that form and letting the clinic know we’d decided to donate our embryos to research, it became clear to me that this grief never really goes away.
So with my best friend on the phone, giving me support and encouragement, I pushed that envelope thorough the slot and turned back to face our beautiful home, on our amazing street. I held my breath for a moment and said a little prayer for all our babies lost. Then I walked back towards my three rambunctious and loving children, still home from the school holidays, and silently gave thanks for everything I had.
As I sit here at home now, with the children in bed, and let it all sink in, I’m realizing that life has a funny way of giving you everything you didn’t know you wanted or needed. I didn’t know getting pregnant would be so hard for our family, that I would go into cardiac arrest during my last pregnancy at 18 weeks, losing our baby and nearly my life. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with a 3-year-old girl with highly complex needs, learn she has a baby brother—also with special needs—and become an instant family of four. If someone had told me that two years after that we would get a call from our youngest’s first family to let us know her birth mother was in labour and that we should come right away to the hospital, I would have laughed. But here we are.
My life isn’t what I thought it would be, and that’s OK. A new year always brings a little spark of “what if?”—and this year is no different. Part of being a parent means making really tough decisions, and that’s what I finally pushed through and did today. It won’t be the last time. But as I give myself permission to grieve the past, I can’t help but become excited for what the coming 12 months may bring. And I’m wishing for all of us—however we got here—in this community we’ve built around adoption, a year of growth, hope and family.
The opinions expressed in blogs posted reflect their author and do not represent any official stance of Adopt4Life. We respect the diversity of opinions within the adoption, kinship and customary care community and hope that these blog posts will stimulate meaningful conversations.
We're ramping up our #timetoattach campaign until April 2019, for 15 more weeks of parental leave for adoptive parents and kin and customary caregivers. To really make an impact on our mission to Ottawa, we'd like to share your experiences of what it was like helping your child to settle in and bond. Find out how to share your story.