Monday, April 6, 2009

The bitter and the sweet

It was General Conference weekend, which meant my staying inside for some time listening to talks on the Internet. The weather was glorious here (unlike the grey skies in Salt Lake) and I walked each day. There were many messages of hope and encouragement from our leaders, which we all need at this time.
I am not a Luddite, but I choose what technology comes into my life, lest I get overwhelmed. I do have a cell phone, but I don't text, and I am working on building a website, taking the easiest way possible to put it together.
I love Skype. I use it to to talk to my dear friend Pat, who is currently serving with her husband in the Asuncion Paraguay temple as missionaries. Pat and I lived five minutes away from each other for seven years and dropped in and out of each others lives as needed. We are just comfortable with each other. I stayed with them when I sold my townhouse and was homeless for two weeks. They are such great friends.

Their time is three hours ahead of me, and Pat is a night owl. We talked late last night, catching up and sharing with each other. Doug slept through it all, and we chatted away after midnight her time. Congratulations on your new calling, Doug. It is so very cool.

We can't do much about what is going on with our children far away, but we can be there to comfort each other.

That's the sweet part. Now for the bitter. Fourteen years ago my daughter gave a baby girl up for adoption. It was supposed to be open, but we have not seen her since she was three. This points up a truth that we have had to face. People and circumstances change, and life does not always happen the way we want it to. Adoptions are messy. For every set of joyful parents receiving a newborn into their empty arms, there is a confused and hurting young woman who has made one of the most agonizing decisions in her life.

I have lived it from both sides. We had contact for several years and got to see her. For their own reasons, her adoptive parents have chosen to not have contact with us for the past nine years. I have to respect their wishes. We have never regretted our decision, but I ache because I am not a part of Kayla's life. I wish I could know about how she is doing and how life is treating her. The picture above is one that was taken one of the last times we saw Kayla. She is such a lovely little girl, and I am sure at the age of fourteen, she is a beautiful young woman.

Heather kept Kayla with her for a week before surrendering her. During that time we talked about the possibility of keeping her and raising her ourselves. But neither Heather nor I were in a place where we could do this. That Sunday night when we gave her over was wrenching and agonizing, and I never want to go through it again. Looking back, I realize that this must have been one of the longest weeks in the life of the adoptive parents. I am sure they feared that Heather would change her mind and they would be left alone with their lives and hopes destroyed. But we never doubted the wisdom of this decision and even today, after all that has happened, it was the best decision for Kayla.

That's my side of the story.

I have some good friends back in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. They are a gay couple, devoted to each other and sharing their lives together. They have wanted with all their beings to become parents. Three times they have tried to adopt, and three times the baby has been sent to another home. The first time, the birth mother selected another family. The second mother, decided to parent her child herself. This decision was made quickly without much preparation and my friends understood.

But this last time was different. They met the birth mother well in advance. She made her decision. They spent five months with her, taking her to doctor visits, making plans, even sharing in the birth with her. And then, bowing to pressure from wherever, she decided to keep this beautiful baby girl. I have to question the wisdom of this decision. She is not in a good place and the enviroment her littlle girl may not be the safest. I worry for her and her child.

There isn't an answer that wraps everything up in a nice bow. The nursery in Boyd and Harald's home is empty. There is so much pain there.

Old wounds have been opened here. I feel the pain on both sides. I wish there were an answer where everything would work out for the best for everyone.

It hasn't in this case.


Connie said...

It is interesting to me to hear both sides of the adoption issue. I hope someday Kayla will want to meet you.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Your story really does parallel with B. and H's story. Your granddaughter is such a beautiful little girl and probably a beautiful young woman.

I'm using Skype now, too, Anne.