Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Unspoken Sadness

November is National Adoption Month! Which means there are thousands and thousands of touching stories like Teach Your Children About Adoption Before Releasing Them on the Playground and awesome memes like this one:

My social media feed is full of wonderful stories and pictures of families that have come together through adoption. And all during the same month as Thanksgiving. Indeed, we have much to be thankful for. 

And yet, in the midst of this month of celebration, there are moments that appear without warning and hit me like a ton of bricks. As I'm scrolling through my social media, I see birth announcement after birth announcement. Fuzzy black and white sonogram pictures.  Smiling women with growing pregnant bellies.  Proud toddlers cuddling newborn siblings. And tears come to my eyes.

Randy and I chose adoption to create our family. Pregnancy was a road we deliberately chose not to travel. We also agreed that we would only adopt one child. And I honestly never gave it all much thought over the last 5+ years.... until now. Over those years, I've attended countless baby showers and bought baby gifts for dear friends and special co-workers without incident. I've lamented (to myself and out loud) about how difficult parenting one child is and how I cannot. even. fathom. doing it all over again! So why now? Maybe it's because I'm the same age as so many of the mamas-to-be? Maybe it's because some of them started down the adoption road but ultimately were able to get pregnant? Maybe it's because many of them have children close to Emily's age and I know that she will never have the experience of a younger sibling? Maybe it's me finally accepting something I knew in my head but not completely in my heart? Maybe it's all of those reasons and more. 

It hurts. It stings. It's tough to process. It's not a feeling or an experience that I know many of my close friends share. But I know I'm not the only one struggling with these very strong, mixed feelings (that make me feel horribly guilty). 

So to those reading this who are also working through this internal battle: we can do this. Deep within ourselves, deeper than the pain, is joy. It's a beautiful thing. We can put aside the unspoken sadness, jealousy and even resentfulness to give these moms-to-be a genuine "Congratulations!"  Because they deserve every happiness and celebration during this exciting time. All babies are a blessing regardless of how they come into our lives. Until we are able to come to terms with it all, you have understanding, acceptance and solidarity here.