Feeling Helpless, But Not Hopeless (Updated)

by Kathy on December 3, 2011 · 8 comments

in Adoption, Background, Coping, Decisions, Family, Godparents, Grief, Hope, Love, Molly, Pain, Peace, The Future

*I’ve added an update at the end of this post.*

This week I have gotten a taste of what it feels like to be on “the other side.” The other side being a place where loved ones wait for news and do their best to show their love and support for those they care deeply for who are going through a difficult and uncertain time in their life.

It’s not like I haven’t ever been there for a close friend or family member during a rough patch before. But somehow this time has felt different. This may be because of just how close I am with those involved in this situation.

All the years we struggled through secondary infertility and loss I tried to be patient and understanding with those who were trying to show their love and support for us. But at times I was also quick to judge, especially when it came to receiving what I felt to be careless and insensitive comments.

During that time in our life I know that I was very self-involved and saw my world and everything that happened in it through the eyes of our inability to conceive and sustain another pregnancy long enough to bring another child home to love and care for.

The further out we get from that time, the more I am able to see and appreciate what it must have been like for those who love and care about us and were trying to help and support us during those years that we struggled to expand our family.

I have tried to keep all of this in mind in my efforts to “be there” for those in my life that are struggling right now. I have done my best choose my words wisely when I communicate with them, as I want them to know how much I care and not in any way contribute to the stress and pain they are experiencing.

This week a beautiful baby girl was born. My sister and brother-in-law, Molly’s Godparents, got to be there to witness her delivery. This was because they had been matched with the birth parents to adopt their baby girl and were invited to be there to witness and celebrate the birth.

However, after holding her baby girl in her arms for the first time, the birth mother began to reconsider the adoption plan that they had developed in recent months. Everyone involved understands that this is not unusual, but that doesn’t mean it is any less painful or bittersweet for all of us who love and care about this little girl, especially my sister, brother-in-law and the birth parents.

A lot has happened this week as the birth parents and my sister and brother-in-law have navigated the post-partum pre-adoption experience together. Long before the baby’s birth this week the two couples grew to have a genuine relationship and really care about each other, which makes this even harder in some ways and easier in other ways.

There have been some indications that today the birth parents will decide and let my sister and brother-in-law know whether or not they are *keeping* the baby. I can only imagine what a heart-wrenching choice that is to make.

Selfishly I want so much for my sister and brother-in-law to get to parent this baby and for my niece/Goddaughter to get to be a big sister. But if the birth parents choose to parent their daughter, I get it and respect that. I also understand that there is a chance that if they decide to parent that at some point in the coming weeks or months they could still change their minds and ask my sister and brother-in-law to adopt their baby girl.

I just feel so helpless right now and know I am not alone. As is common with grief filled times in our lives, there are so many different emotions going through my mind and so many layers to my feelings.

This baby girl was born into two families that have so much love they feel for and want to give her. This was *supposed* to be an open adoption and we were all excited to know that the baby’s birth parents would still have a significant role in her life after they signed “the papers” this week, as they had intended to do when the 72 hour mandatory waiting period was over. However, I appreciate that until you meet your child after birth and get to know them, you can’t truly make a choice of that magnitude.

So now we wait. We hope. We pray. We wonder. We wish for the best for everyone involved. We prepare for whatever choice is made. We know we will survive whatever that may be.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. 
The courage to change the things I can.  
And the wisdom to know the difference.

The picture in the post is of a charm that my sister bought yesterday and is wearing on a chain during this time of waiting. She says that doing so has brought her some peace and represents the hope she feels right now. She has expressed that she doesn’t see the “hope” as being directed at the birth parents’ decision whether or not to parent their baby girl, as much as it encompasses her gratitude for the love, care and relationships in their lives that are helping all of them through this difficult and uncertain time, whatever the outcome may be.

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all those touched by adoption on this bittersweet day for everyone involved in the new life of this precious baby girl. I ask for your thoughts and prayers as well during this time. Thank you.


I was waiting to hear of her birth, knowing the birth mother was in labor at the hospital, while I happened to be at the grocery store with Abby. I must have been spacing out considering the items on our shopping list when all of a sudden I tuned into the song that was playing on the store’s speaker system. I heard the lyrics (my favorite from the song), “repeat the sounding joy” and thought about how joyful it would be this holiday season if this baby girl gets to join our family.

Joy is a very special word to my sister and brother-in-law as it was the theme of their wedding three years ago and they chose it to be their daughter’s middle name when they adopted her a year and a half ago.

So though it may not *mean* anything, I choose to also find hope, peace and comfort in hearing “Joy to the World” and think about “repeating the sounding joy” this holiday season with our loved ones, even if this very special baby girl doesn’t get to join our family.


Update (Monday, December 5): For those who have been following my sister and brother-in-law’s journey trying to adopt another child, they found out yesterday (Sunday) afternoon that the birth parents, who they had been matched with in September and had chosen them to adopt their baby girl, have decided to parent their daughter.

Thank you so much for your kindness, thoughts, prayers, love and support during this difficult time for our family. 

I am adapting a comment that I wrote on my sister’s Facebook status update about this news to share here:

I am so proud of my sister and brother-in-law. I know this experience has been very hard for them both and they have handled every up, down, twist and turn with strength, mindfulness and grace.

My sister has talked about finding relief in finally knowing the birth parents’ decision. I too find some relief in this situation being resolved, even though things didn’t turn out the way many of us hoped/wanted them to. I also feel disappointment and sadness that this child will not be a part of our family. As my sister has said and I agree, this precious baby girl is so very loved and will be raised by parents who do really care about her. All three of them are blessed to have had my sister and brother-in-law in their lives.

I hope and pray that the birth parents will pay forward the kindness my sister and brother-in-law have shown them someday, if nothing else by being the best parents to their daughter they can be. My sister and brother-in-law did everything they could have to assure she entered this world knowing only how much she was wanted and loved.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg December 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm

This is beautiful, Kathleeney. I know I wouldn't be doing this "well" without Mom, Dad, and you as well as our Minnesota family's support. I love you. ♥


2 Jewels December 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Hope is one of my favorite words.


3 HereWeGoAJen December 3, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Thinking about all of you.


4 booker December 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Nice to meet you! New around here, plan to read a little more as this is good!


5 loribeth December 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

So hard, & the waiting is the hardest part of all. Thinking of you & your family, and hoping for a good outcome for all.


6 Deborah December 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I thought I had commented on this already! How sad for your sister and BIL that they don't have a baby, but how wonderful that this baby girl has so many people who love her, and that your sister has your support. I hope she gets matched with another family soon, and I hope this girl has a wonderful childhood with her bio-parents.


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