On our Caribbean cruise this past November Hubby & I couldn’t help but notice all the small children on board. I suppose it was only natural, given that it was the week of Thanksgiving and there were quite a few family reunions planned on this cruise. One particular child caught our eye. It was this adorable little Asian girl (I’ll call her “Gracie”), most likely only 2 or 3 years old, who was wandering around the ship’s library flipping through some picture books. I was particularly fascinated by her because this black-haired brown eyed child would have been the type of physicial attributes that Hubby & I, as Filipino Americans, would have produced. And of course, I started to feel those imaginary apron strings pulling again.
At first, we only saw the dad towards the back, looking around at different books to read. He looked a bit older in age than most of the parents with young children on the ship. And he was also Caucasian. No big deal, I remember thinking, “Gracie” could possibly be mestiza (Tagalog for “mixed ancestry”), like our nephew Tyler is. But then shortly afterwards, I saw “Gracie” run across the library towards her mom … who was clearly not Asian and who was also clearly a bit older. Wow, I remember thinking, here’s an actual family created by adoption right in front of me. I couldn’t help but smile and think how lucky they were.
Apparently “Gracie’s” dad saw my smile and smiled back at me. “She’s adorable,” I told him and both mom & dad smiled back and said their thanks. Their eyes were gleaming with pride as they walked out of the library together. I turned to Hubby and he, in turn, grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze as if to say, “I know.”
When we returned home from this trip, I relayed this story to the Stephens Minister (SM) that I’ve been meeting with regularly and who know that adoption is our next step. She is an absolute wonderful person who has this incredible ability to see the good in every situation and give the encouragement and strength to keep the faith even when things go awry. Anyway … after telling this story to SM, she turned to me and said, “See! It’s a sign!” meaning that this little encounter was God’s way of “nudging” us to take the next step towards adoption.
In turn, I told her something that I didn’t even tell my husband back there on the ship. That I wanted to talk to the couple and ask them about the path they took to get here. And ask them if this was the best decision they ever made. And ask them how difficult it was to go through all the paperwork. And how long it took. And the list could go on and on and on.
But I didn’t ask those questions because I thought it would be intrusive and embarrassing. I mean, it’s one thing to go to adoption seminars and ask these questions in front of a crowd who is also at these seminars for the same reason. It’s another thing to ask these questions face-to-face with someone else on a personal level. I guess it’s the fear in me that I might say or ask something stupid or get too personal with my own IF issues that it might make the other person uncomfortable. My past experiences, even with support groups or even other non-IF related groups, has taught me to feel uncomfortable in doing this. Or hey, it may even be the Asian American in me (who is supposed to keep these issues private) that makes me feel uncomfortable in those type of situations. In any case, I truly did regret that I never got my chance to ask “Gracie’s” parents about their experiences.
A couple weeks ago, as I was in pursuit of doing some adoption research, I approached my one co-worker who’s son and DIL just adopted domestically, about which agency that they had used. In the past, she had shared with me their “Dear Birth Mom” letter and I remember not only being pretty impressed but pretty overwhelmed with what they had done. In any case, my coworker told her she wasn’t quite sure about those details but that she would ask her DIL about it and get back with me. “Better yet,” she said, “why don’t I have her call you?” I was a little hesitant at first, but then thought the chances of receiving that call were slim to none.
Imagine my surprise this past week when K (co-worker’s DIL) called me. I just happened to be at work when the call came through my cell phone. Lucky for me, I was able to find a small conference room to duck into while K and I chatted. I won’t go into the details of our conversation, but I can tell you that I was able to ask her those questions that I wasn’t able to ask “Gracie’s” parents. And ultimately what I got out of it was a sense of relief. That we shared similar disappointments and heartaches (as many of us IF’ers do here online). That we internalized many of the same feelings of failures towards our body and of letting down our spouses and other family members. While it’s been very therapeutic to voice these same feelings on my blog or even reading and commenting on other IF’ers blogs, being able to say these things out loud and to a live person was simply incredible. Especially because in the ten-plus years of trying to start a family, I’ve never been able to completely let my guard down with someone regarding these feelings to any one else other than Hubby. (No, not even my SM. Okay, maybe with my incredible therapist …) And to be able to do that within a 30 minute conversation with K … during work hours, nonetheless … was so refreshing.
At home later that evening, I was reflecting on my conversation with K and I finally felt a sense of … not peace, per se. Not even relief, because that’s what I was feeling earlier in the day. I think it was a feeling of content. Meaning that I’m finally at a place where I know Hubby & I are making the right decision by not giving up our dream to be parents. And that by taking the adoption route, our dreams will come true.
0 Replies to “One Baby Step for Em … One Giant Leap for Em-kind”
this is a lovely post emily. I’m glad you got to talk to someone IRL — it’s such a different experience and can be very affirming. wishing you good fortune as you proceed, in whatever direction that may be… ~luna
Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! I read your back posts and you seem pretty groovy yourself – I’ll add you to my kick-ass list if you don’t mind.
There have totally been times when I just want to grab random people and quiz them on their life experiences, but can’t because, well, they would probably back away slowly. I am *so* happy to have this amazing online community, but it makes me sad I don’t really have anyone IRL that I can discuss IF with.
Yay, Emily! Great post….
I’ve got to tell you one thing I ‘ve really come to find comfort in is that dreams do change. Or rather, they might not change so much as turn a different direction. I still wish Jason and I could get pregnant together- but now my actual dreams have twirled around to getting our child from Ethiopia.
In fact, the other day I actually realized that I no longer dream of being pregnant (in the “I’m actually asleep and dreaming-dream” way)- but they usually take place in what I believe is Ethiopia, where we’re meeting our little one for the first time. And I’m as happy as can be. Truly, 100% happy.
I loved your post. I had a similar moment as you had with Gracie when I visited the orphanage my sister who passed away worked at. It just made me realize how much kids out there need parents who love them.
That’s interesting that you’re talking with a SM. I had never even heard of them before I read your post. I went to your link that talked about the special mass at the National Cathedral. M and I totally went to that in 2006. We didn’t go last year or else we would have been in the same place at the same time…crazy! It was very nice when we went but I didn’t have it in me to go again this past year. I didn’t think I would ever have the need to go again…ya know!
Hi Em. New to your blog, but this post really struck me. Last fall, my husband and I were face with the Big Decision. It was either major surgery or adoption. I eventually went with the surgery, but I’m really glad I spent some time learning about adoption.
My moment of hope this summer, like yours, came from someone who I barely knew. But I was up in her office discussing a work matter, and I asked her about the baby she had recently adopted from Ethiopia, and suddenly she was telling me about her four miscarriages and I was telling her I was in my last IVF cycle before I would have to have surgery. And I’ll never forget her telling me, “you will be a mommy, no matter what happens.” She hooked me up with info on her adoption agency. She gave me hope that there was another way. I bumped into her when I was at an all-time low, and she gave me a measure of peace.
We’re not ready to turn to adoption yet, but I was blown away by the calm and comfort I got from just hour in the office of a woman who, once upon a time, was where I am now, who has made it through to the other side.
Do you ever wonder if these people know the impact they’ve had on our lives? Do you ever wish you could do that for someone in need?
I’m so glad for you! It’s so nice to be able to talk to and connect with someone on these issues, especially someone you don’t really know and right off the bat. And, if you want to ask any questions of one of your “internet buddies” – I’m here!
Hi Emily, I really enjoy your blog. I can relate to so many things. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck in your journey to parenthood. I still struggle with the thought that my husband and I may never experience what it feels like to go through all the joys and pains of pregnancy, but at the same time it brings me great satisfaction and peace knowing that we will become parents through adoption.
Fantastic post. I cried and got goosebumps. Bravo. You left me inspired and energized.