Sunday, May 20, 2012
Adopting Grace and Hope
Through my websites, and this blog, I have shared my life with you - my triumphs and tragedies, my rises and my falls. Not all of them are fitness/nutrition related, but I've chosen to be transparent in the hopes that others might benefit from the lessons I've learned (or, haha, not learned). This is the case, also, in the crisis my family has been experiencing. I will say, though, that criticism will not be accepted in this. I am sharing now because that's who I am, and because I have been given permission to do so based up on the outpouring of love and support I have received from all of you over the years. I do not anticipate harsh words from you, but we all know there are those who love to pop onto blogs and such and spread their personal misery. To those I warn, I will delete you.
So... what's been going on?
Three months ago, our oldest daughter discovered she was pregnant. This was not a planned pregnancy, and there were aspects to her lifestyle that gave us all cause for concern. You and I know how difficult it is to make a lifestyle change - for my daughter, this change literally took place overnight. And she held to it. Though nearly 20 years old, she moved back home and dedicated herself to caring for her changing body and developing baby. She also made one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make. She chose to allow her baby to be adopted.
The day we went for her first OBGYN appointment, the doctor did an ultrasound to determine the age of the baby, and we saw for the first time the beautiful little girl our daughter was carrying. It was incredibly traumatic for all three of us - my daughter, my husband and myself. The doctor was wonderful - gentle and kind. As we pulled ourselves together a nurse came in and whispered to the doctor. There was a couple who were patients of another doctor there, who very much wanted to make a family but were denied the ability to do so themselves.
Our daughter connected with this couple through her attorney, and over the next months, met with them regularly. As the relationship developed, her confidence in them grew, and we were all assured that they would be wonderful parents to this tiny new life. We met together in group, our daughter spent time with them one on one, we all attended the birthing classes, doctor's appointments and ultrasounds. As the birth approached, our daughter remained true to the course she had set, standing tall and facing what would be more painful than words can convey.
Very early Wednesday morning, we checked in to the hospital. Our daughter had a very clear plan on how the birth was to go... who was to be there, who would hold the baby and when, and the doctor and nurses were all aware. Not only were they aware, but they were incredibly supportive. Our birthing nurse, in particular, was a godsend. In the delivery room were my husband and myself and the adoptive parents. Per our daughter's plan, the adoptive mother held the baby first, then our daughter, then the adoptive father, then my husband, then me. It was wonderful. It was painful. It was bittersweet.
After a bit, the birth father joined us, then the rest of our family... my husband's father and grandmother, our other children, our daughter's boyfriend and her best friend. We have the most amazing photos and videos. Including a five generation photo. We have photos of our family, and the baby's adoptive family, and every combination you can imagine. As I went through the photos yesterday, there is one I don't even remember taking, when the adoptive mother first held baby Lauren - the look on her face is amazing - the joy, the surprise, the 'oh-my-god, here she is!'.
The stay in the hospital was dedicated to our family spending time with Lauren - and we all did. We all held her, played with her, fed her, changed her, cried over her, and laughed over her expressions. On Friday, when it came time to leave, our daughter bundled her into their carseat, and we followed them home, where she took the baby from the seat, carried her to her room and laid her in her crib. Today, she signed the papers. It is done.
There is no part of this experience that has been easy. We have agonized, as parents, over the choice our daughter made, and the pain we know it causes her. Both she and the baby's birth father are shattered by this, yet have chosen to allow this sweet baby girl an opportunity of love and grace. Our daughter hand-picked this couple, and they are wonderful. We have no doubts that they love little Lauren, and will make an amazing family. We have no doubts that they will do everything in their power to protect her and allow her to reach her full potential. We are grateful to and for them. And we are so incredibly proud of our daughter - not for the decision she made, but for being a woman who could make such a choice - for the well-being of her daughter.
As I watched my family this week, through this, I was struck by how blessed I am. I am proud of each and every one of our children. They are amazing people.
We are moving forward. Our daughter is recovering from birth, and we're all settling back into a normal we no longer recognize. And we are grieving. But in our grief, we know hope. In that hope, we hold tight to each other as we face a changed future. We will stand strong. We may bow, but we will not break.
Allow me to share with you my beloved granddaughter... Lauren Ann.