Losing My Cool

Turns out, I’m not as cool in real life as I am in theory.

I’m talking about the kind of cool that stays calm and collected in the face of a challenge. The serene, unflappable cool that takes life as it comes and assumes that God is in control and everything is going to work out.

If you’ve read this blog before, I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise.

But it’s caught me off guard this week. You see, I was sure I knew how I felt about my son’s birth family. I was adamant that they are an important part of my child’s life and therefore, important to me. I was compassionate about their struggles and their losses. I was encouraged by every indication they gave of love and interest in S. I was cautiously optimistic about openness and a continuing relationship with them; regular updates, pictures, and biannual meetings on neutral ground did not seem much to ask. I was secure enough and mature enough to face their angst and anger without taking it personally.

Until we actually set the time for the meeting. Suddenly my high-minded ideals seem naive and impossible. Though my mind continues to believe the truth of it, my heart revolts. I am sad. I am threatened. I am afraid. And I am, inexplicably, angry.

This week I will finally meet the mother of my son.

That sentence doesn’t even make sense. It is unnatural and strange. I share this incredibly intimate bond with a woman I have never met. I know heartbreaking details of her most difficult struggles. I know as much about her medical history as any doctor. And her child is now my child.

She carried him in her body. She felt his first kicks. Her voice was one of the first sounds his ears heard. She held him in the NICU. But she was young and broken and overwhelmed. She could not be what he needed.

Unlike many adoptions nowadays, she did not choose us. Nor did she choose adoption for her child, though she agreed not to fight the ministry on it. So far.

Our adoption is not finalized yet.

After 6 months in our custody, the government will apply to make it permanent (this takes another 2-3 months). It is extremely unlikely that anything should threaten this, but not impossible. Someone could petition the court to overturn the placement. Someone could try to take our boy.

Friends of ours recently lost the child they are desperate to adopt, abruptly taken and returned to his birth mom. Their grief and very real concern about his safety is palpable. Legal or not, he is their son. And they are devastated.

My cool, rational brain recognizes that this is not a realistic worry for us. But my heart isn’t always rational. And I won’t breathe easy until we hold the final papers in our hands.

Birth family is not our enemy.

This is the family that brought our beautiful boy into the world. They gave him a name. They dreamed dreams for him.

We have a plastic-covered book of pictures which we call “Everyone Loves S.” The first page is a picture of our family, the next section contains pictures of foster family and the last pages are pictures of Birth Mommy and brothers and grandparents. As we look through it with him, we name each face and tell him “Nana loves S, Poppa loves S… Everyone loves S.”

It’s true. They really do. As best they can. And we know enough of their story to understand where things have fallen apart for them. They are not evil, heartless villains, just flesh and blood people who are in over their heads.

And some part of me is glad, because now I have the son I wanted so badly. This competitive streak is alarming. I examine their shortcomings and am reassured that we can do a better job as parents. Mine! I see their dark hair and eyes, noticing that S looks more like my children than theirs. Mine! And I know it is ridiculous to be this petty and insecure, but he is mine, mine, mine…

I guess I’m not as mature and confident as I thought.

But I can play it cool.

I will let my mind and not my heart guide me. I will set aside my fear and insecurity. I will keep mama bear in check. I will protect, but not attack. I will pray when I want to obsess and forgive when I want to judge and trust when I am overwhelmed.

Adoption has enough losses already. This week we will try to build something positive and redeem some connection with his past. Because that is what my son deserves.

So here’s me, and I know it’s not a competition. I read “Percival the Plain Little Cattepillar” 7 times a day. I catch him when he leaps off the monkey bars. I wipe his nose and change his diaper. I teach him to sign “please” when he wants ANOTHER handful of blueberries. I rock him to sleep every night. I’m his Mom.

About So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

I'm a bookworm, nature lover, kick-boxer, candy fiend, sci fi geek, home body, progressive Christian and part-time student. I love my crazy life and the messy, fun, stubborn, silly, brilliant people who populate it. View all posts by So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

9 responses to “Losing My Cool

  • Janis

    Praying for you this week! In my limited experience with tough meetings, I know that this part is far harder than the actual meeting part. It’s the mind-game ahead of time. This first meeting will probably relieve much of the pressure and the unknowns.
    When it comes, I know you’ll be gracious and understanding because that’s who you are and that’s what you do! Much of your own emotions will fade and you’ll just do it-you’ll think more of the horribly terrifying meeting for her: where she meets the Mom who has it all together. She’s surely comparing, just like you, but that will leave her feeling very differently than you because the ministry chose you over her. You’ll be gentle and accepting and will make it easier for her. You’ll make her feel more peaceful knowing you’re not taking her son away but giving him what he needs while allowing her to have dignity and be able to see him and know that he’s doing well. You won’t be judgemental. You’ll be nice. You’ll be real and open because you can’t help it. She’ll have her struggles with the whole thing about you-but you’re in it together and you’re both terrified and threatened. You’ll understand each other in some unnatural way-not perfectly, but enough for now. You’ll both feel better after this first meeting-so try not to over-think it too much. There is a time and a place for distracting movies and I think this is it. Just don’t pick anything Hallmark-ish or sappy or family-related.

    • So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

      Awesome pep talk cuz! I’ll probably read it over right before, because that is a lot of good advice. I think the best part is to get my focus off of me and how I feel. I remember hearing that “Love your neighbour” refers to anyone God puts in your path. They are definitely in my path.


      • Janis

        Well, you know how I just like to tell you what to do and feel older and wiser, when I really don’t have a clue what I’m talking about! Praying for you…

      • So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

        Those extra 364 days have to count for something! 😉

        We had a really good talk with the social worker and have a better feel for where birth family is at. Definitely made us feel better – they are not interested in contesting and determined to get along. I think we’re all on the same page. So… even though it got postponed we are more optimistic today.

  • Ruth Jarvie

    I will continue to pray for you Christie – and especially this week! What day/time?

  • becomingcliche

    Praying for you. I could never handle the not-knowing, either. At least not gracefully.

  • First Contact: Birth Family « So Here's Us…

    […] doesn’t feel so little as I slog through traffic and construction on my way to The Meeting. I’m preoccupied by the width and breadth of it. I suppose it is to be expected, from a […]

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