We received the call yesterday morning that our match has failed. Our birthmother decided out of the blue that she wanted the family who adopted her son a year or two ago to also adopt this baby she is carrying, so she no longer wished to be matched with us or to work with our agency. It caught the caseworker off guard and definitely shocked us.
I was very hurt and very angry and disappointed. I wish that she had considered this before deciding to work with our agency and match with us. I went through a ton of emotions yesterday. First was shock and denial. I thought maybe she’d change her mind again and decide to come back to our agency and work with us again. That thought did not last long, because I realized that even if she came back to our agency we would never work with her again. There’s no way we’d put ourselves in that position with her again.
I called my friend Meghan to let her know, not only because I needed someone to talk to but also because I knew that I could ask her to spread the word about it at our church so I wouldn’t have to tell people. It’s Vacation Bible School week and I’ve been teaching 4th graders with a friend all week, so I didn’t want to go back up there tonight and have everyone asking me about nursery colors and names. We talked and vented for about two hours, and then the reality of it hit me and I was just sad. It’s almost funny how quickly I went through the emotions associated with loss, disappointment, and grief. So I cried for a while and then realized that I needed to do something or I wouldn’t be able to do anything all day. Meghan offered to come get Little and take him to her house. He spent the day with her kiddos, and she made sure he had lunch, dinner, and got to church for VBS last night. I’m so grateful that she took him because a day alone with my thoughts and hurt is exactly what I needed. I could cry, yell, pray, and pack up all of the baby’s things alone without having to worry about him getting caught in the fray of my emotions.
Travis was pretty much heart broken. He’s working this week as a teacher at a local college band camp, so he wasn’t home. Thankfully though, many of his colleagues are believers and when he told one fellow band director about the failed match, she stopped everything and prayed for him right there in Burger King during lunch. I was so grateful that while I was being ministered to here at home by our amazing church family, he was being ministered to by his colleagues. I got the day alone I needed so badly and he was able to be around people who lift him up and encourage him just like his personality needed. It’s amazing how God works those things out.
I packed up all of her things and slowly felt more and more in control of the situation as I closed the lid on each box. Packing everything away didn’t feel as final or devastating as I thought it would. I would stop and pray and cry when I needed to, and it truly felt like I was just putting her things away for a little while. They will come back down out of the attic, but I don’t need to see them all the time right now. It’s good to have them put away and out of sight.
I honestly kind of felt this coming on. From the moment we heard about our match, I kept telling Travis that it just didn’t feel right in my heart. When our agency director called us to tell us we were matched, I was not excited like I thought I would be. I immediately had a feeling in my heart that this just wasn’t our baby. But what can you do when there is no obvious sign of a problem? You can only work with the facts that are in front of you and what we knew for sure was that a woman wanted to match with us to parent her unborn baby, and we wanted a baby. I tried so hard to shake the feeling I had, but even when I prayed, it didn’t feel right. Something in my spirit knew this wasn’t ours. I told Travis on Saturday that if we even made it to July 11th, I believed she would place the baby with us, but I wasn’t sure this match would make it to the baby’s due date. He thought I was just being anxious, but there was something nagging about that feeling in my heart that kept me awake at night. I even confessed to a friend that I was afraid to pray about the situation because I was certain God’s answer was no. There’s something to those feelings of discernment.
When I finally got the call that she had changed her mind and no longer wanted to work with us or our agency, my very first feeling was relief. Not relief that we’d lost a match and were not getting this baby, but relief because suddenly all those pressing feelings I’d been wrestling with over the past two weeks made sense. It is certainly hard to explain, because at the same time I felt relief to have that nagging feeling resolved, I felt disappointment and sadness about the resolution. I praise God though, because it’s obvious to me the Holy Spirit was preparing my heart for this time, and by preparing my heart he guarded my heart. My heart is not broken, and my spirit is not discouraged.
Unfortunately failed matches are kind of part of the process of adoption. It is very common, and our failed match could have been much worse. I have a dear friend whose match failed just days before her baby was due. She waited patiently in a five-month long match, so when it fell apart, she and her husband were devastated. I was heart broken for them, and many tears were shed on their behalf. Fortunately though, she’s now matched again and feels much better in this situation than the one that fell through. I’m hoping that this will bring them their baby!
While we can all hope we never have to go through a failed match, I think it needs to be said that this is something adoptive families should prepare for. I do not regret one bit having bought baby clothes and baby items. Travis and I had a wonderful day together that day getting excited and prepared for a new baby. I got to nest in ways I never was able to when I was pregnant with Little, and now we are prepared for the baby that is ours. After being a waiting family for ten months, it felt really good to go shopping for a baby and have a week or two of pure excitement. To all prospective adoptive couples out there, I say that once you’re matched, go nuts. Have fun, prepare, enjoy, and do not have any regrets.
As I said before, packing up the boxes of baby clothes gave me something to do and gave me a bit of control over this out of control situation. It was exactly what I needed. As I packed away the things that held very little sentimental value, I could work through my feelings as I got deeper into the items that held more sentimental significance for me. By the time I reached the baby doll I’d ordered for her from etsy.com and the coming home outfit Travis and I had picked out just the night before, I was ready to let them go in the box and let go of this baby. She wasn’t ours. In my heart I kind of always knew this, but I was scared that feeling would result in the birthmother changing her mind at the hospital. I’m relieved to know that wasn’t the case.
All day I received calls and texts from friends and family members sending their support. I have no idea what we would do without our church family. They truly are amazing. Our Sunday School teacher showed up teary eyed with a delicious dinner for us last night. Our pastor came and prayed with us. I just can’t imagine going through this without them. God showered us with love through these incredible people, and Travis and I were brought to tears by their compassion and empathy. I feel so humbled, I just couldn’t understand why people would love on us so much.
I praise God for our friends’ love, compassion, and care, for their prayers, for a meal when we needed one, for the calls and texts of encouragement and sympathy, and for Meghan taking Little and giving him a fun day away from a very emotional mommy. I praise God for guarding my heart and gently whispering to my spirit that this was not the baby he has prepared for us. I praise him that Little’s heart was guarded and he did not understand what all of this preparation was for. He came home last night and the baby stuff was put away and he didn’t even notice. I’m so thankful that he is not confused or sad or disappointed. I praise God because we didn’t get deeper into this adoption with this birthmother. He protected us from the deep heartache of having a match fail at the hospital.
I also praise God because yesterday while I was packing up baby items and praying through my hurt, I had an overwhelming sense that God was speaking to me. I felt as though he was saying, “This just wasn’t your baby. But your baby is out there. Do not give up hope. You are so close.” Anytime I have felt sad today, I think back on that feeling of certainty that I’m positive came from the Lord, and I feel encouraged again. I truly do feel like we are right on the edge of our baby. He or she is just right around the corner.
For some reason, when adoption matches fail, those families often match quickly again within just a few months. I’m hoping this is our case as well. Travis doesn’t even want to think about adoption for a couple of weeks, but I really needed to hear from our agency director last night that there are situations coming up that we might match with. In respect for my husband’s needs and desires, I’m agreeing to stay out of the game for a couple of weeks, but I did tell her if a situation comes up that just has our name written all over it, please do not let us miss the boat. She knows us well enough to know if a situation would be good for us to consider. She told me of several in particular that sound very hopeful for us. They may end up going no where, but they gave me hope to hold onto for right now, and that is exactly what I need.
Overall, if you ask me how I’m doing, the answer is mixed. It really changes from moment to moment, but there certainly is a peace in my heart. I know God has protected us from something we may never fully understand, but I’m grateful for his provisions. Quite honestly, underneath the disappointment and sense of loss, I’m excited because I can see God so clearly working in this situation that I can’t help but feel energized about what he is doing behind the scenes. The Lord is working on something remarkable and exciting for us, and that gives me hope. This entire situation has oddly renewed my faith and determination. Our baby is out there, and I believe in my heart that they are very very close. It will happen, and it will happen soon. We just need to be diligent in prayer and strong in our faith.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for our adoption journey. As always, I will keep you updated.