Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by IAC’s waiting adoptive parent, Miriam Wolk, on staying positive regardless of the obstacles thrown in front of you.
The past two months have brought my husband and I two tough situations in our adoption journey. In June, we were matched with an expectant mother. We met her in person in July and all signs seemed to be pointing towards placing with us. However, a week later she delivered three weeks early and notified us by text that she had chosen to parent.
A week after this happened, we were surprised to discover that I was pregnant. This was something our doctors had said was most likely impossible without medical intervention. When I was approximately ten weeks along, the pregnancy ceased to be viable, and my doctors suggested I wait to see if I would miscarry naturally. Ultimately, I would need surgery. While we were waiting out the miscarriage, we received another contact from someone who had come across our adoption profile, but it was quickly discovered to be the beginning of a possible emotional scam and cut off contact.
Dealing with these disappointments in such a short amount of time has been a huge test for us on our adoption journey, but we have also learned quite a bit.
Build Your Support Army
While we didn’t feel comfortable publicly announcing our match, we did tell a few trusted friends and family. As part of the conversation, we were very open with them about different possibilities that could occur, including the expectant mother’s potential for choosing to parent. Having a core group of people in our lives that understood the potential outcomes, both positive and challenging on our end, was very helpful when our match fell through and we needed support.
We also had a strong base of support through our adoption Facebook page. While the main goal of our Facebook page was originally intended to get interest from potential expectant parents, it has also become great moral support for us to see how many of our friends and family are following our adoption journey and sharing our story with their networks. We didn’t discuss either the failed adoption or my miscarriage on our adoption page, but when I shared on my personal page that we had dealt with some challenges on our adoption journey (without getting into too many details) our friends and family’s comments and show of support were just what we needed.
Allow Time to Grieve and Recover
After both our failed adoption and miscarriage, my husband and I cocooned in our house. We ordered takeout and binge watched movies on Netflix. Having time with just the two of us together helped us work through our shock and sadness. We explained to our friends and family that we needed time with just the two of us and they were very understanding. I also found that journaling helped me to process my feelings. After our match fell through, I did a private writing exercise about the experience of our match from our first contact to the days after we found out the adoption wasn’t going through. Going through that writing exercise helped me process my feelings in a space where I felt emotionally safe.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
One situation that was particularly challenging for me emotionally was a recent family wedding. This would be the first time we were seeing a large part of my husband’s family since my miscarriage, including our new nephew who was born the same week we learned my pregnancy had failed. Knowing that I would likely be overwhelmed at times, I confided my feelings to one of our cousins and she reassured me when I needed it. With a few baby showers and other family/child focused events on the horizon, I know I’ll likely have mixed emotions, and that it’s okay to share I’m feeling sad and that I might need someone to help me process these feelings.
While there was a part of me that would have been content to watch “Breaking Bad” on an endless loop while eating lots of ice cream, getting back to our normal life routine and looking for fun activities has helped us heal when I was ready. My husband has been playing guitar and jamming with his band, and I’ve been working on knitting projects and seeing movies with friends. We also went to my 20th high school reunion and have lots of plans to celebrate Halloween, including volunteering with our neighborhood parade and festivities, and attending some costume parties. This winter, we’ll volunteer to make meals for DC Central Kitchen and put together toiletry kits for shelters, something we’ve done together every year since we first met. Having fun things to look forward to is helping us focus on the future and positive things to come.
Take Small Steps
A failed adoption and miscarriage in such a short period of time left me feeling overwhelmed and powerless about our adoption hopes. For me, taking small, proactive steps on our adoption activities has helped me feel as if I’m regaining some control over the process. My husband and I reviewed the paperwork we needed to update our home study and made plans to renew our clearances. We also renewed our social media outreach efforts, including our first try with a paid Facebook ad to raise awareness about our profile. While we know that there’s no magic formula to make another match happen, these proactive steps are helping me feel excited about the future of our journey.
Recognize Our Strength
While the past few months have been very, very hard, my husband and I feel very fortunate for a number of reasons. We have each other, as well as wonderful family and friends who have been immensely supportive. We know that what we’ve been through will strengthen our marriage and make us better parents when the time comes.
To learn more about Miriam and her husband, Michael, visit their profile at: http://www.iheartadoption.org/users/thewolks