Thursday, January 31, 2013

January's Quiet Chaos

A bit of wintry landscape in Montague, Massachusetts

We didn’t intend for so much time to pass before we posted here again, but January has been a tough month for us.

We knew there was going to be one big project this month; we are redesigning the letter about us that our agency shows to women who are considering placing a child for adoption. We’ve had the same one in play since we went live almost 2 years ago, and this was an opportunity to refresh the text, the photos, and the layout to better reflect who we are and what we are like. Obviously, this would take lots of time and effort to get just right, but with so much riding on it, we knew it would be worth it.

Susan took the lead in laying out the pages. We both looked at photos and went over the text, making changes where we found better ways of saying things. We submitted drafts of the letter to the staff at the agency, and Susan had a Skype conference with an advisor at America Adopts who had looked over the latest draft of the letter and had some suggestions.

Then, while all this was going on, we got a phone call. It was from our coordinator at our agency. There was a young woman a few hours from where we live who had just given birth to a little boy. She intended to place her child for adoption, but had not made an adoption plan or matched with anyone yet. Our coordinator wanted to know if we would we be interested in having our information shared with this young woman. Of course we said yes. The initial call came on a Saturday evening. The decision would be made, and the child placed in the arms of his adoptive parents, the next day, Sunday.

We spent that night hoping we would be chosen (there were several other couples who were also being shown to this young woman) and nervous that we would be. There was a chance that we would wake up as waiting prospective parents and go to bed as the parents of a little boy. We were told that we would get a call either way in the late morning or early afternoon.

Susan had a bead class that day, and Mitch had the day off. The call came at noon, to Susan’s cell phone. The birthmother had chosen another couple who lived closed to her. We would have to continue to wait for a match.

At almost the same time, a call came in to the house phone. Mitch answered, thinking it was the agency. Instead, it was his mom in Massachusetts. His grandmother had fallen ill, and had been admitted to the hospital. Her condition was serious, but no one knew what was going to happen. She could recover, as she had before, or she might not.

That was a very tough week to get through. We were not bringing home a child, as we hoped we would, and a beloved member of our family was in the hospital. We talked about what we were feeling and comforted each other.

We continued to work on the adoption letter that week while we waited for updates from Massachusetts. Some days Mitch’s grandma seemed to rally. Other days, she didn’t. We hoped for the best, even as two of Mitch’s aunts traveled to be with his mom at the hospital and to spend time with their mother.

The following Saturday morning, a week after we learned that we hadn’t been picked to be the adoptive parents of that little boy, we got a call from Mitch’s mom. His grandmother had passed away in the hospital the night before.  Susan immediately started making travel arrangements, booking flights, a rental car, and a hotel. We flew on a red-eye from Los Angeles to Hartford by way of Chicago that Tuesday night.

The wake was on Wednesday. It was hard for both of us. We loved Gram so much, and we took comfort in knowing that she loved us too. Other relatives flew and drove in for the wake, and we met many of the people Gram had known and made a positive impact on. She was surrounded by beautiful flowers, and she looked like she was at peace.

The funeral was on Thursday. It was a beautiful service, conducted by a new, young priest who had just come to know Gram and a seasoned priest who had known her for over 50 years. He delivered a wonderful, moving eulogy as we said our goodbyes.

We spent the next couple of days in Massachusetts visiting some of the places Mitch and Gram had enjoyed when he was growing up. We were able to create some nice memories to take with us, and to relive some of the good times we both remembered.

And so here we are, at the end of a busy, difficult January. We’re still working on the letter rewrite, although we hope to have that finished, approved and printed before too long. We’re saddened by the passing of Mitch’s grandmother, but we’re usually able to think of the happy times instead of the sad ones. We wish we could have adopted by now so that Gram was here to meet our little one. Gram's heart was full of love and we know she would have been delighted to welcome a new baby into the family. 

We’re trying to stay positive that we will be chosen to be parents soon. Even in the worst of times, there is a little glimmer of hope that keeps us going. We're looking forward to starting a new month tomorrow. May it bring some new opportunities!