Dear Me of March, 2006:
You are about to get the call that says your son is being born. I know you did the best you could with everything at the time, but looking back, things could have been done differently. When you get that call, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and honestly, take a nap, because the next few days will be so frought with sleeplessness and emotion, and you really do need your wits about you for what’s to come. And when its time to pack your bag, by all means, feel free to pack clothes and shoes that are comfy–nobody really cares all that much about what you’re wearing, and eventually the baby’s gonna pee on it anyway.
Don’t be snappish with B. about how slow he is in getting packed and getting ready to leave town. He’s a little scared and hasn’t put in all the same time and energy into researching how all this is supposed to work, who we’re supposed to talk to, and he certainly doesn’t know what to do with a baby or how to be a daddy…its no wonder he will be dragging his feet a little.
When you get the call at the hotel early in the morning that FINALLY labor is progressing, take a moment and pray for N., that she feels some relief soon. You know now that she’s been in pain all night and is just plain worn out. Say a prayer of thanks that she’s had family with her through it all–not everyone does.
And when you’re sitting in the waiting room and you get a call on your cellphone from G. letting you actually hear your new son’s FIRST CRY after being delivered (!!), savor that brief moment. You didn’t have much time to register what was happening then, and by the time you realized what it was, it was over. He and L will come down to meet you soon. Try so hard not to be guarded, nervous and stiff–HUG THEM!! They are the ones who are hurting over the impeding loss of their grandson, the first boy in the family for years and years. Right now their hearts are breaking not just for N., but for themselves. They are just as nervous about meeting you as you are them.
As you’ve been told hundreds of times before through this adoption journey–be patient, even though you think your heart might explode. Don’t be childish and hurt because N.’s not ready to meet you yet. She’s exhausted above all. She just bore a child she will not keep. Give her the time to heal physically so she has the strength to deal with all the emotional stuff. Just go back to the hotel, see a movie, do ANYTHING but sit and stew over the timing of things. You will have the rest of your life to touch, hold and love this baby. Another few hours will not kill you.
Later that evening, when you’re called back to the hospital to meet N. and your new baby, try to loosen up, even a little. Your agency has put fear in your heart and it so limits you from living in the moment. And people can tell, they can see the fear and the resulting wall you’ve built, and that just adds to the stress of the moment for everyone. They need to see who you really are so trust can develop. Who knows? That trust could’ve meant more openness between you and N. today. You’ll never get that first few minutes back.
So many things to consider over the next day or two when we’re all sharing the same spaces, both taking part in the care of this new precious boy. First, just back off. Remember all this is a privelege, not a right. There is such a thing as BOUNDARIES, and N. isn’t in a position to feel like she can openly defend hers at the moment. Ask her, listen to her, talk to her a little bit more. Find a way to hear what she wants even if she’s not saying it out loud.
On that last morning at the hospital. let N. have the whole morning with her son. She needs more time to say goodbye and all too soon she will be checking out. She has already signed the papers and doesn’t realize she can ask for this time. Don’t make her even think she has to ask…just offer.
You will do many things right in that time, too, don’t get me wrong. But the one thing I really wish you’d consider that you’ll not get the opportunity for in the future, don’t forget to send her some flowers.
Love, E. of Feb., 2007