Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In Limbo: Loss

Adoption loss is not unlike a miscarriage, emotionally.  You feel the same excitement when you know the baby is coming.  You prepare for the baby in the same ways.  When the adoption fails (or when the miscarriage happens), it’s just heartbreaking.  You grieve the loss of your child. 
Eventually, you pick up and move forward again.  You never forget that child—he/she is always a part of you.  In your heart, they will always remain.  It’s something we as adoptive parents know is a possibility from day one.  We gladly risk having our heart broken in order to know the love.  And it’s amazing how healing that love is once it happens.

We received the phone call about “Savannah” on a Wednesday night at 10:00pm.  My friend’s sister had a friend that was pregnant and placing the baby for adoption.  She was due in one month and wanted to speak with us.  The baby most likely was going to be addicted. 

My husband, Corey and I talked about everything in depth that night.  What would we do, how would we do it, what it would entail—all of the questions and answers that go through your head when you consider adopting an addicted child.  We decided to move forward.  We sent a text back to my friend with one simple word, “yes”.  She was to let the expectant mother know that we were “in”.

The phone rang unexpectedly at 6:00am the next morning.  “Savannah’s” mother had gone into labor at 1:00am that morning.  We made the decisions to go ahead and send Logan (our son who we previously adopted from birth just over two years ago at that time) to daycare and proceed to our jobs to tie up any loose ends there and let them know of the situation.  I headed home that morning at 9:00am and started packing for the trip.

Corey retrieved Logan and was home shortly thereafter.  We literally threw everything into our car and were on our way to Savannah, Georgia (this is approximately a 6 hour trip via car for us).  The entire trip I was texting the mother.  She had actually given birth at 8:00 that morning. 

The nurses on the shift knew we were coming and were holding off on any drug testing (they knew she was addicted) to avoid DFCS from stepping in since the mother was naming us as the adoptive family.  We got there as fast as we could.

We arrived to Savannah and ran into the hospital.  We took the elevator up to the floor in which she was waiting.  The nurse’s station rang us in and we asked for the birth mother by name. 

“She left the hospital an hour ago when we told her that we had to call in child services.  The child is still here in NICU.”

Stunned.  We stood there looking at her just stunned.  How could this have happened?  They knew we were coming?  Our attorney was faxing over the paperwork to the hospital now?  We went back into the waiting room and wept.  Not again.

There was a shift change at the hospital about two hours before we arrived.  The nurse that was taking care of the mother failed to let the new shift nurse know of the situation.  The testing was done and DFCS was called.  They proceeded to go into the mother’s room and tell her that they notified the authorities.  She ran.

We left the hospital and started making phone calls.  If we could get the mother back to the hospital, everything would be fine.  If we could get her to sign, the baby would still be ours. 

But we could not get her to come back.  Her fear of being arrested was too much for us to combat.  We tried and tried to explain the “Safe Haven” laws in Georgia—she wouldn’t be arrested for abandonment.  She just needed to come back to be sure she was okay (she had just given birth) and to take care of the signing for her daughter.

She just would not believe anyone.  Within that hour, she was high.  There was no reasoning that could be done. 

We met with the hospital the next morning to discuss our options.  They were cautious, but helpful…at first.  Thirty minutes into our meeting, we were interrupted.  They pulled everyone outside aside from us.  Ten minutes they returned and asked us to leave.  The hospital attorney had advised that they not speak to us at all. 

I spoke to the worker at DFCS the next morning and she seemed sincere with wanting to move forward with everything.  She took our information and said she would be back with us that day.  We waited.  We took Logan to the beach and stood by for that phone call.
It never came.

We called and called but no one ever responded.  We headed home that Sunday morning. As we drove away, we passed the hospital, knowing that our daughter was in that NICU room without a mommy or a daddy to comfort her.  It broke our heart into pieces.

Once home, we continued to contact the state to see if there was anything we could do, but to no avail.  The mother was still interested in adoption and wanted her to be placed with us.  It didn’t matter.  Unless we could get her to go to DFCS to discuss options, our hands were tied.  There was no way she was doing that.  When the state did call back, they basically told us that we had no options at all for two months when the state gained actual custody. 

Two months passed.  We called and left many messages.  We never received a call back from anyone and no one would speak with us.  We had no legal rights.  The child was now in foster care.

We hadn’t known about her for that long and we never held her in our arms, yet we felt as though she were ours.  It doesn’t take long for someone to fall in love with the idea of a child.  We drove to Savannah that day hoping to be coming home at some point with our family complete.  Instead, we came home and unpacked an empty car seat. 

Adoption loss wasn’t new to us—this was our forth-failed adoption since we had started this journey.  We had lost one baby when the mother decided to go with an agency, a sibling set when grandma and grandpa chose to parent, another son six days before his birth when his mother decided to parent (ironically this little boy is Logan’s biological cousin).  I held that baby in my arms ten days later.  He still carries the name we chose for him. 

But those were all pre-Logan.  This time we had him to think about.  He was old enough to know that we were taking a baby seat and that there should have been a baby in there at some point.  We did not explain it to him.  We just told him that the baby stayed with his mama.  That’s all he would have understood.  Yet, he was disappointed as well because he had caught on to the conversations here and there at home.  He knew we were trying to bring home a baby.  He knew that the baby didn’t come home.

To this day he still asks where the baby is that we speak about now and then.  He knows she is coming.  He asks about “Ruby” at the strangest times.  It’s usually unexpected and not when we are talking about adoption-related things.  I look at is as a reminder to not give up. 

She’s out there somewhere, or she will be.  We hold close to our faith and we know that someday it will happen.  God knows the wishes of our heart.  I never for one minute think that he does not know this.

Failed adoptions are hard.  They are also something that you prepare yourself for (as best you can) when you walk into adoption.  I don’t think you are ever fully ready for it when it happens, but you accept it and move on.  It’s all you can do, really.  You have to look at it as a stepping-stone that puts you just one step closer to the path that really takes you to your child.

If it were not for our first three failed adoptions, we wouldn’t have Logan.  Of course, we would have another child/children, but when I look at Logan every day…I can’t imagine my life without HIM in it.  I thank God each and every day for those failed adoptions, as crazy as that may seem. 
We would not have met his amazing first mom and we would not have his birth family in our lives.  And although we didn’t even know most of them three years ago, they are very much a part of our family.

We are still waiting to find the path that leads us to our Ruby Grace.  We pray every day that we find her.  I know that someday it will happen.  She is either out there waiting on us now, or she is about to be.  I just know this.  I have the upmost faith that we will find her.  

@wematchhearts (Instagram)


  1. Oh wow, what a heartbreaking experience. I am so sorry for how the situation turned out and that there has to be a baby still in need of a family when you were right there. Praying for the hearts of all of you as you wait and hope to be reunited.

  2. Thank you so much, Kristen. <3 I don't think reunification will be possible at this point, but we have moved forward since this and are hoping for further situations. We received one just recently, so we are praying that it works out best for everyone! You can follow at the facebook link above. Your kind words and well wishes are so much appreciated! <3