For those that have followed for awhile they may have read that we had a failed adoption. We have had 2 in fact. Each was difficult in its own way. The first one was a baby boy that was only every ours in our hearts. We were chosen to be his forever family until his mother was 5 months along. At that time she chose to go through an agency instead of a private adoption. I have only ever seen photos of this little one and never got to hold him. Though my heart broke when she changed her mind it was nothing like the second situation. Abbie was different. Abbie I held. Abbie I fed. Abbie I sat up with on several sleepless night. Abbie I kissed. Abbie I hugged. Abbie I loved. Today is Abbie's 8th birthday and my heart still longs for her. She was my firstborn, my first loved.
The story of Abbie is a very long one but I will give you the short version. In 2004 we were contacted about situation. There was a woman in prison for statutory rape (she was in mid 30's and her 'boyfriend' was 14) and she was pregnant. This was her 8th child. The first 6 were her husband's and the last 2 were from this boy. The boy took custody of their first child but he denied paternity of the last one. She had no family to take the baby that she was carrying and the state was going to take her and most likely put her up for adoption. She wanted someone to take her and care for her until she was released in 7 years. Yes, 7 years of 'foster' care. We told her no, that there is no way we could even consider it. Shortly after she asked us to adopt instead. There was nothing to consider, we were certain that we would. We met with a lawyer, filled out the paperwork for the home study, gathered documents, and scheduled a meeting between the social worker and the mother. Then things started to unravel.
The mother was told that she was up for parole in late January, just weeks after Abbie's due date. In late November she 'needed more time' and 'wasn't sure' is she should go through with the adoption. We knew that this was mainly due to her hoping to be released and we understood that, but knew that she would not be out that soon. She waited until a week before the baby was born to finally make a decision and asked us to take her until she was released. We knew she was thinking it would be in just few weeks and that if she was, okay, we could keep her for a few weeks. And if she was not released that she would reconsider adoption. It was a risk. A big risk. But we took it. What other option did we have? If we said no and some other family adopted her I would be devastated. To be so close and then walk away? No, I couldn't do it.
To sum it up she was not released then (and not until Abbie was 2 1/2 years old) and she would not allow us to adopt. She wanted to play games with us and we were not going to allow it. In April of 2005 she found another family to take her. They did foster care through their church for the prisoners as did many families, but no one wanted that kind of a commitment. But one family did and we set the date to let her go, April 16th. We had 2 weeks left with her. I don't remember a lot about that time. We got family photos taken. We took video of her. I cut a lock of her hair. And I cried. A lot. I would lay next to her crib and weep. My hubby finally told me that I had to stop. I needed to enjoy this time, that there was time to cry when she was gone. He was right and I tried, but it was hard. Then came the day we had to say goodbye.
We had to drive 2 hours away to meet the family. While we were gone I had someone from church come to take down the nursery and get rid of everything in it. I had another person come to take the clothes and things that we were not sending with her (the family was strict Mennonite and would not use the clothes) and some of the other furniture to give to a needy family. We met at a McDs and they had a separate party room and we sat in there. I held that baby like my life depended on it! But I had to let go. I had to say goodbye. I let the man and hubby gather her stuff and then at the last possible moment I kissed her and handed her over and walked away. I just..........walked away. How do you walk away from a baby that you love like your own? How to survive that? I don't know, but you do. In all honesty I was better once it was over. The weeks leading up to it were killing me. I aged during that time. My hair started to turn gray at that time. It was awful. But to have it over was cleansing in a way.
About 4 months later the foster family was gracious enough to allow us to see Abbie when they traveled through our area. It was wonderful! She came to me immediately! She hugged me and kissed me and laughed and clapped. It did my heart good to see her. I emailed them about 3-4 months after that and they asked that I not contact them again. Abbie's mother did not want me to contact them anymore. Now, about once a year, I check on the sex offender registry to see where they live and I take time to pray for her. I may never know why things went the way they did. But i no longer need those answers. I do know that regardless of the reasons I am to pray for her. That is my role in her life. And maybe one day God will allow me to meet her, if not here then in heaven. Until then, I pray.
**I have a blog with the full story. It is too raw and painful for me to read but it is there if anyone would like to read it: Losing Abbie.