Yesterday, seventeen days after celebrating the news of our sibling referral, Geoff and I made the agonizing decision to decline our referral, a decision that our province would likely have made, had we not. The joy of our August 23 referral seems like a distant memory.
Three days after receiving our referral, we learned that one of our children might have some medical issues. Though shocked, we were ultimately ok with the news - we were not expecting perfect children. However, over the next couple of weeks, further medical tests were completed and lengthy conversations were had with doctors, and it became evident that the issues were far more serious than anyone had anticipated...and the ramifications far more significant. As more and more information came together, we gradually concluded that these were not issues that we were equipped to handle. Ultimately, we were led to yesterday's decision.
It matters to us that we honour the children's dignity and privacy as much as possible. For that reason, we have decided that we are not going to talk further about the medical issues involved; our preference, in fact, is that we not even name which of the children is so affected.
It's been hard, dealing with all of the emotions and decisions of the past couple of weeks, and I'm not off the roller coaster yet. I am still working through the anger and pain and sadness of it all...the loss. I don't understand why we're on this fork in the road, after already accumulating so many battle scars along the journey towards creating and trying to complete our family. We told only a few people what's been happening these days, needing support but simultaneously not wanting to talk a lot about it. I felt curled up on the inside and wanted to live in that place for a while.
I cannot comprehend God's plan for our lives, though I hope someday to be able to look back on this time and say ahhh, yes, now I understand why we needed to go through that. Or, perhaps we will never, in this lifetime, have that hindsight perspective. And that needs to be ok, too. What came to me one sleepless night was that life isn't about where we arrive at, or the dreams that we achieve; it's not even about whether Geoff and I are able to have one child or three. Life is so very much about how we live the journey we're on. I've really sucked at how I've lived life at times. But this time, I want to do it differently, better. I figure that the God who is big enough to handle my questions and my pain and my screams of rage is also big enough to know what the best plan is for my life. So I'm choosing, we're choosing, to let the dream of these two children go, and to believe in a God who knows the desires of our hearts and will honour them.
Over the past couple of weeks, so many people have noticed my absence from various aspects of life, and have contacted me; I've been very moved by this, and by the support of those few who know more of the details. Thank you all so much. Also, Bonnie, at our local adoption agency, Adoption Options, has been such a support and encouragement to me. And, not even knowing if any Imagine Adoption staff read my blog, I need to make a comment about the people there, because I cannot speak highly enough about them...particularly Val and Melissa, who we worked directly with. They were incredible over the past couple of weeks: crying with us; praying for us; showing us great compassion; and acting quickly and efficiently in every respect to obtain the necessary information and medical tests. They supported us in every possible and practical way; despite the circumstances, I cannot find one flaw in how they handled the situation or dealt with us. We are very grateful.
And so, somehow, life continues and things move on. And we will be ok. We're better today than we were yesterday, and I hope that tomorrow is better than today. We are officially back on the wait list for another referral, and hope some day to welcome two other children into our family. In so hoping, I also cling to the knowledge that our first two, beautiful, Ethiopian-born children will be referred to a family in the United States, where children with significant medical needs can be adopted by experienced families who are waiting for them.
Last week, we received an additional picture of the children; it is the only picture we have of them together, and the only one we have of them looking happy. I'm so glad we have that to remember them by. In it, a smiling pre-school boy is looking down at his impish little sister, and written all over his face are love and pride. It is an incredible picture. Though we have to let go of the dream of their becoming part of our family, the faces of those children are burned forever onto my heart.