Thursday, November 17, 2011

National Adoption Month - Stacey

Throughout November I will be sharing stories of families touched by adoption.

This is the story of Stacey who blogs at Is There Any Mommy Out There.

Perspective is a funny thing. There is no way to predict how the pain of now will translate into joy in the future.

When Matt and I lost our first baby to a late first trimester miscarriage, it was - by far - the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I didn't know where to turn or what to think. I had no markers or guideposts to cling to in such grief. The pain was so constant and overwhelming that it seemed certain that others could look at me and see the hole left by the end of my pregnancy. Lost expectations choked me daily and clinging to the fragile hope of a second pregnancy did nothing to ease the drag of days.

Matt tried to help me. He held me as I sobbed. He drove me to the surgery and held my hand through the IV and the cramps and the pain. He let me talk and talk and talk about our disappointment and my grief and my fears that I would never be able to have a baby. That this would be my experience of motherhood.

I have a strong belief in doing. I don't sit passively and let anything happen to me and I refused to let grief happen to me. If nothing else, I would be an active participant in distracting my own thoughts. I researched miscarriages and fertility. I comforted myself with the statistics that said that miscarriage was common and a couple able to conceive so easily had a high chance of eventually carrying a baby to term. I applied for a new job overseas because - dammit - if I couldn't be a mother, I would have the dream career that I wanted. I wouldn't sit still and hope for something out of my control to change my life. And, I researched adoption. Matt and I had talked about adopting often before we decided to try and have a baby. We had always felt open to different ways of building a family. I applied to volunteer at a small orphanage in the mountains outside of Port au Prince, Haiti. Just to see, I told Matt, for information and so that we can start to understand the process.

Months past. I got the job and we began the arduous process of relocating our lives overseas for the second time in our marriage, but I didn't get the baby. Despite our best efforts, the pregnancy tests I took so hopefully "three days before the start of my period!" stayed resolutely negative. Each one took its own little chip out of my hopes. At Christmas time, I heard final word that they had room for me to travel to Haiti and work at the orphanage for four weeks in January.

I kissed Matt, promised, futilely, not to give my heart and soul away to orphaned children half a hemisphere away and left ridiculously early on a freezing cold January morning. After a long night on the gritty airport floor in Miami, I arrived in the oppressive, tropical heat of Haiti, drove the rutted, mountain rode to the orphanage compound and promptly gave my slightly battered heart and soul away to orphaned children who now sat in my lap, clamored for my attention, slept in my arms and filled my days and my thoughts. Grief lost the battle for my consciousness to industry and giggles and dirty diapers and an exhausting routine with "my" eight children to love.

It was a life-altering month in a life-altering year. I flew home changed. I wanted to be a mother through adoption. I was already a mother a second time. I missed my period in Haiti.

Eighteen months, reams of paperwork, several ultrasounds, an endless labor, endless waiting and hoping and filing and an exhausting series of flights across the country later, I held my fourteen-month-old daughter and my twelve-month-old son together in my arms for the first time.

I thought it that day and still think it now when I watch my six-year-old "twins" play and laugh and fight and giggle.

Just maybe, losing a baby was the best thing that ever happened to me.


Issa said...

I knew S's story already and I still cried.

Debra said...

I'm in tears, this is a such a beautiful story. I'm so sorry for your loss but congratulations on creating the family you always wanted.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

It's so common to find others - find love - through loss. Why not find our children - our greatest loves - that way? You have enough love for ALL of them.

Beautiful story.

Amelia said...

<3 Beautiful story. Gives me hope.

Step-parent's Cove said...

Great story Stacey!

Erin said...

I never knew her story, but I always wondered how you came to have twins. It's so perfect, Stacey. Thank you so much for sharing.

Galit Breen said...

I knew that this would be stunning, and that it would make me cry. But you slated me anyway.

Beautifully told. Truly. xo

April said...

you always make me do the ugly cry. xoxo

Me said...

Beautiful and well said. As always!
We lost what would have been our 4th baby to miscarriage and while I did grieve for my unborn baby I can´t help but think that if I hadn´t lost that pregnancy we wouldn´t have our beautiful 6 year old daughter with us today. She was conceived a month after our loss. said...

We can't regret that which we can't change. Our lives keep moving forward and each step we take alters our course. I cannot imagine if some of the horrible things that happened to me had NOT happened. Where would I be now? Who would be beside me?

Anonymous said...

I feel too as though my loss was converted into joy through some greater providence. I had several years of fertility treatments, some completely unsuccessful, some resulting in miscarriage. Then I received a positive pregnancy test; the numbers doubled and tripled and went up and up. Okay, but could I please, please have an ultrasound, I begged the doctor's receptionist. Only after the first trimester, I was told. I begged harder. After all, I was taking mighty doses of hormones with huge needles twice daily; was there really a baby in there? But the receptionist refused. So, for twelve weeks I had to believe that I was pregnant. My husband and I went for the ultrasound finally. They searched: No Baby. "Your policy of no ultrasound borders on cruel," I said to the doctor. "I am sorry," she said. "You should have insisted." "I did insist." "You should have insisted harder." "Believe me I insisted as hard as I could without forcing you to call in security." Walking home with the heaviness of an empty womb. Throwing a well-thumbed What to Expect when you are expecting into the trash. But within a week our friends called us to say that there was a particularly beautiful baby waiting for us in X. country, where we had submitted papers; the officials wanted to know whether we were interested in a boy. I bled every day for the two months we were abroad waiting for the documents to be processed, but what a bounty of joy we received. An extraordinary child in every way. Every night I give a prayer of thanks for this divine gift and to the divinity who had the prescience to give me what I could never have known was the right thing for me.

The Mommy Therapy said...

I love it! What a great story.

Thanks for having her share it here!

Mel said...

What a beautiful story it is. Part of the story, this part, is just as valuable as the whole. Just as true. Just as real.

mosey (kim) said...

Thanks my friend, for sharing this personal and AMAZING story with us. x

The Beaver Bunch said...


I know you don't believe in God in the same ways that I do but this story so beautifully reflects how He brings such marvelous beauty from our ashes of ruin and grief.

I love how families get knit together through so many different ways, places, countries and times.

Beautifully written. As always.

I love the way words pour out of you.

Anna Lefler said...

This is truly beautiful...and so very humbling.

Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

beautiful, stacey.

Kaycee said...

Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing it.