"It must have been so much easier for you, having Emily's birthom related to you. You knew she wouldn't change her mind so you didn't have to worry."
This is a statement we heard a lot before Emily was born, and still hear all the time. There are a few things I'd like to clear up when it comes to family member adoption.
One, adoption is never easy, whether family member adoption or not. Worth it, yes, Easy, no.
Two, we didn't know that Kristina wouldn't change her mind. The worry was still there. Adoption is a choice. Kristina had her choice with whether to place Emily for adoption or not. She had a choice on whether to place her with us or not. She, like everyone who is making an adoption plan, had the right to change her mind at any time, before and after Emily was born.
Three, just because Kristina is related to us, the wait between when we found out Kristina chose us, and the time she signed relinquishement allowing us to adopt Emily, was not, contary to popular beleif, "easier" then it would have been if Kristina was not related to us. I can't speak for others who have been through a family adoption, but for us, it was definately not easier.
Imagine if you will, waiting, hoping, praying to be chosen. Praying that someone will trust you enough to be the parents of their child. Now imagine getting "the call" saying that a birthmom has chosen you. You go through 5 months of the pregnancy, you prepare and get everything ready. Wash all the clothes, decorate the nursery, pack for the hospital, and tell everyone you know, (and even some you don't) that your baby is finally coming, through the miracle of adoption.
Now, imagine getting "the call" that the time has come. Your baby is on her way. You frantically pack the car, make all your phone calls, and drive to the hospital. You sit next to this brave young woman who is bringing new life into this world. Life that she is intrusting into your hands and heart. Finally the moment is here. You see that precious baby for the very first time. You hold her, love her, kiss her, feel her little hand wrapped around your finger, hear her cries, sooth her, you are her mother.
Now, imagine, this young woman, has made the decision to parent her child. You love her, support her, but your heart is breaking. You leave the hospital empty handed. You return home to find the nursery you were supposed to bring a baby home to, now sits empty. Every moment of every day you wonder how that sweet precious baby is doing, what she looks like now. You go to a family function and you see her. The little one who you thought would be yours. You watch her grow, you see someone else who is her mother. And you wonder, how will you ever go on, knowing that little one, was supposed to be yours. It is this scenerio that we feared, every single day for the entire duration of Kristina's pregnancy. We feared it not only then, but more so during the week Emily was in the nicu after she was born. Kristina had not yet signed her relinquishment and consent. We spent up to 18 hours a day in the nicu with Emily, yet, at any time Kristina could have made a different decision.
Please, do not think that by writting this post I am discounting what those who have gone through a failed adoption have faced and felt. I can't even begin to imagine the pain they have gone through. I have several friends who have gone through a failed adoption. I have seen their worst nightmares come true. What I am saying is, a failed adoption is something I think every hopeful couple fears. It may not be this way for everyone, but for us, it was magnified because we are related to Kristina. Because we knew, if she "changed her mind", we would either have to cut ourselves off from everyone in that part of our family, or we would have to see Emily grow up with someone else as her parents, knowing that this was the baby we had waited and hoped and prayed for all those years. And we would never be the ones she called mom and dad. We would never be the ones she came to when she scraped her knee, or when she did well in a dance recital. We would not be the ones to help her with her homework, or teach her to ride a bike.
How did we get through that fear. The answer is simple, yet it is the hardest to accept at times. Faith... We had faith, not that Emily would be ours, although we did have faith in that. But the faith that we relied on, was the faith that everything would be o.k. It would turn out according to Heavenly Father's plan.
As I sat in church today and sang the closing hymn in Sacrament, my heart was filled with gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father and for Kristina. The closing hymn was my favorite hymn. Because I Have Been Given Much. It sums up perfectly how adoption makes me feel.