Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I still miss her....(losing Abbie)

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.


  1. HUGS to you.

    As an adoptive mom, I know first hand that adoption is NEVER, "Just adopt!" like so many tend to believe. This very situation is EXACTLY why a good deal of prospective adoptive families shy away from domestic adoption. It can be so very scary and it's absolutely devastating when it doesn't work out. Though you will forever carry the loss of Abbie in your heart, perhaps her loss was a crucial step on your journey to Maddie.

    Much of the time, things do work out. I hope it might lift your spirit to read about two very inspiring families. My two favorite domestic adoption blogs are:

    (Maggie just blogged about a potentially devastating situation that ended in good news!) Maggie is awesome and she has an equally amazing relationship with her daughter's birth family.

    Amber just added another adopted baby to her family and both of her kids are as precious as they can be. She also has a very special relationship with her son's birth family.

    I am so very sorry that you have experienced every adoptive family's worst nightmare. I wish things like this didn't happen.



  2. PS. On the flip side, embryo adoption was a devastating loss for me. I had more failed cycles than I care to count and the loss of the twins I was carrying was a blow to my spirit like I've never before experienced. We all, somehow find our way on the unique path to motherhood that those of us who struggle with infertility have to navigate.

    I wish that so many of our paths weren't littered with loss and disappointment. I like to thinks that our losses have made us stronger and help us be the amazing moms that we are.

  3. I've read the other blog and oh man did I cry... I still do. But I'm so glad that she got to experience your love in that short time that she was with you. There are so many children that are not so fortunate. Happy Birthday Baby Girl! She will be in my prayers tonight.

  4. Prayers for you! And for Abbie... I can't imagine the pain of such a loss.

  5. Big hugs to you. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for you to go through this. The world is so incredibly unfair sometimes.

  6. I can't even imagine how difficult this must have been. I am so aorry that you experienced it. Sending you a big hug!

  7. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I can't imagine how difficult it would be. Praying for your heart today and for Abbie.

  8. Your story is heartbreaking and enough to cripple a person. God helps strengthen us in a way we could never have imagined. We have had 3 failed adoptions ourselves. We did not have any if them as long as you. The first two we cared for in the hospital and then had to say goodbye before we took them home. The most recent failed the day he was born and we were told to not even go to the hospital. Remember that with God as our companion we can forge the roughest seas in our lives.

  9. I have so much respect for you. What a journey. Yet you still carry yoursf with such grace... I wish I knew your secret. Hugs to you. Xoxo

  10. Jess, my heart broke reading this. I cannot imagine the pain. I cannot imagine walking away. I will pray for you and Abbie both. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  11. This makes me cry. I had forgotten this part of your story. I remember reading it when we started our EA journey 2 years ago when I found your blog and read through it. I don't know why God has allowed you this much heartache. I'm so glad that you're blessed with Maddie and I can't wait to hear about the next one......


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