saul spencer, 2

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Connecting with other women.parents.hopeful-parents.families means so much. I have missed you.

I guess I’m not sure where to go from there in the story. Maybe it doesn’t feel done; maybe I’m still waiting to get him back so it will have a different ending. I am still waiting to get him back so it will have a different ending. I haven’t put away any of his things, which is just not like me. But for whatever reason, I can’t give up hope that he’ll come home soon. That he isn’t home now. That I’ll see him again, and be allowed to know him as mine.

We put so much thought into how to be good parents of Irish twins. We held Saul in our arms while feeding Bram at the dinner table. We sang. We danced with both boys: Bram at our feet, Saul in our arms. We wondered if we sang as much as with Bram. We wondered all the classic second kid stuff. We almost never slept. We were the most exhausted we’ve ever been. We felt wrecked. We felt absolute joy. We went for family walks, Saul’s tiny body held close to mine. We lived day by day, like you do with a newborn. We fell in love day by day, like you do with a newborn. Friends came bringing food. They peered at him in our arms. They held him and called him a bird. A tiny, delicate bird. Which he was, though he was already filling in when he left. Filling in on J’s milk. Getting strong from her body.

L never let on that she was considering changing her mind. We texted every few days, and she always said she was reassured that he was in such good hands. That she loved us. That she was hurting but healing. She had said she’d want a few weeks of no contact, but we heard from her all the time. That was hard because we were trying to bond, but we wanted to follow her cues, to start the open adoption off right. At the beginning of last week, she called our social worker and said she wanted a meeting, that she needed to see that we loved him “with our hearts.” We set up a meeting for last Thursday: we drove almost 2 hours each way with two little babies; the social worker drove L over an hour. We met somewhere that Bram could play while we visited. L told the social worker on the way there that she thought she might have made a mistake, but she asked her not to tell us. At the meeting, L was open and calm. She said we’d meet again in the spring so her daughters could meet Sauly. She even called him Saul for the first time. She said we should hibernate for the winter so that he wasn’t on dangerous roads. She said she loved us. She played with Bram. She told me about a program she’d gotten into, and I told her how (genuinely) happy I was for her. We hugged. Everything was great. Then she got into the car and told the social worker she was taking him back, that it was “non-negotiable.” She refuted all of our social worker’s concerns. Then she got home and texted me about how great the meeting was. She said it was too bad we had forgotten to take a family photo. When I said we could do it next time, she said we’d probably just start talking and forget again. She said that after affirming her decision to take him back. For no reason at all, she just lied.  For no reason at all, she pretended things were fine. Why lie? The sense of betrayal is huge.

We got the call Friday morning, so we’ve known for a week now. I can’t really write much about the days between the call and saying goodbye. And I can’t write about letting him go. Maybe J can write about that. What I will say is that since the call, we’ve learned a lot that makes it clear that L planned this, or at the very least was on the fence (despite pretending to be extremely sure). We’ve learned some other things, too, that I can’t talk about yet. I wish I could because I don’t do well just sitting with big things that need to be processed, but for now, silence seems like the only way to handle this. More on everything soon, I hope.

I think I’ve been shut down since he left. Though I didn’t know I could do shut down, I guess I can. I’ve cried very little. I can’t possibly process this – at least not while being a good, present mama to Bram – so I sort of just don’t. I wait for Saul to come home. I try not to imagine what his days are like. I try not to remember the thousand good reasons L said she couldn’t keep him, the reasons that mean he’s not safe, the things I know. J is engorged from working so hard to get her milk supply up to feed two. That pain is a constant reminder. Sauly will never feed at the breast again. He will probably never be worn again. I sent my K’Tan with him (the first thing I ever wore Bram in), but she probably won’t use it. We have reason to worry about him, reasons I can’t talk about here, but that make me deeply sorrowful. We spent about a third of my inheritance from my dad, which was the only money we’ll probably ever have for adoption. My dad cried when I told him. My eighty-two year old adopted dad. He had to hang up the phone. He will never meet Saul.

If I close my eyes, I can remember what he felt like in my arms, the slight weight of his, his warm skin, his milky smell. So like and yet so unlike Bram’s newborn smell. He is a subtle baby. Where Bram is aggressive and gregarious, Sauly is cautious and complex. I wonder: what will his life be like now? His needs are different from other people’s needs; will they ever be met? I sense that he needs subtly and lots of careful attention. I sense that I know how to parent him, but I’m reminded by so many people that no one knows how to do that as well as his birth mom. But how is that just universally true???

There are other narratives to tell. To come are stories about community in all of this. Blessed, blessed community, and blessed, blessed friendship. To come are questions about the politics of adoption, and my mother’s saying that 180 degrees from sick is still sick. And photos, which I look at constantly, but which I’m not quite ready to post here. And details about what we know now, and what can be done with that knowledge. To come are plans for how to move forward, not towards happiness with this situation, but towards peace.

And to come are stories about our now eleven-month-old boy. And our third wedding anniversary. Life does go on.

He really loves to be sung to. He didn’t care how bad my singing was, he just wanted my voice. I pray that she’s singing to him.

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11 thoughts on “saul spencer, 2

  1. Oh R and J, how hard this must all be. Even under ordinary circumstances it hurts when we find out that someone we connected with do not share our basic values. In extraordinary circumstances like yours the hurt runs deep and wide.

    I need to say something about the comment that a child’s biological mother will know better how to parent him. What utter drivel. Any idiot can (and often do) produce a child and manage to “raise” him. It takes a thinking, deliberate parent to really nurture and bring out the best in each child. You are that kind of parent. Don’t let people who don’t understand make you doubt yourself. At the same time I know that this makes the hurt worse as you worry about Saul. I have no answers for you. I hope you will find peace and acceptance as time goes by. Sauly, and this month you had with him, will always live in your hearts.

    • ^^^ THIS. As an adoptee myself, I completely agree with this statement refuting that a biological mother knows better how to parent a child.

      My heart and mind are with you all. I am wishing you, willing you, peace.

  2. As I sit here, myself and my wife also on a waiting list to adopt, my heart just breaks for what you have been through. But I have to tell you that your strength and your bravery give me such hope that we, as potential adoptive mothers, can make it through these things. I write to you with tears in my eyes, and I am so deeply sorry for all you have had to go through, but if there is any good thing from this is the inspiration that you have to give to all of us out here. Yes, it ended in a way that breaks my heart, but you and your family go on and you are filled with as much, if not more, love for each other and for others through it all. Thank you for that in such a deep deep way.

  3. …continuing to send strength and love as you make your way through these days. Never doubt your abilities as a parent — biology has nothing on careful, thoughtful, intentional, deliberate, informed choices.

  4. It was our third wedding anniversary this month as well. I’m happy to share that with you two, and beyond overjoyed that you found one another to make the contributions you make to the universe.

    I’ve been searching for days for the right words to say to you, and I cannot come up with them. The whole of this just makes me feel sick. Asa’s new favorite word this week to use and misuse is “complicated”, which seems so apropos. The facets are SO complicated that you will be processing indefinitely. And you ARE processing – I can tell. You may feel you’ve shut down, but that is quite relative to the rest of the dumb, numb human race. Most of us wouldn’t be able to organize our thoughts into the written word, much less handle ourselves with the grace that you both seem to effortlessly employ, much less communicate so entirely beautifully.

    To harp on a tiny detail, because this is my way, I can’t cope with the money part. I don’t know why I’m so hung up on that when the unfairness of this situation is so complete, but WHAT? How is that right/legal/happening? Shouldn’t whatever funds you put forth either be returned or put back into the pool for “waiting parents” or whatever they call it? It’s completely none of my business, but the thought of it just riles me up so that I can hardly stand myself.

    I’m so very sad and sorry, and, like you, having a hard time not holding out hope that this will turn out differently. Much love to all of you.

    • I agree, you are processing otherwise you wouldn’t be able to write here about. Sometimes a hurt is so bad that we can only deal with it little bits at a time while still holding it together enough to care for our children. I think it’s important though for children to see that parents also have strong emotions, and how they deal with it.

  5. As a daughter of 2 Mums I send you all my love. I can not seem to find the right words, or reassure you enough that this was not in your control, and I am so sure this was never about you…there were so many variables at play here, not least your reliance on the word and I guess “good” parenting choices of someone who is clearly not able to go through with letting her baby go, even tho that may be the best decision, the right decision for her to make, at the end of the day its her decision, and thats not fair……..its just not fair…..xx

  6. I’m so very sorry to hear this. All I can say really is ‘Ka Aroha’ which is a Maori way of saying sorry – meaning sorry with love and compassion for you. There is no way to understand how painful this must be. The fear for his safety and wellbeing must be a hard, hard thing to face and work through. The sense of betrayal, complete. Keep writing if you can and if it continues to comfort you. Keep breathing in and sending out love to all of your family, those with you and to the little one that isn’t. I’m so sorry. Ka aroha ki a koutou.

  7. I read these two posts in little bits today because I can barely take the metallic taste the details leave in my mouth. I feel so sad that your son can’t be with you and raised by your beautiful family. And I feel so angry that you were both so open and were taken advantage of. I’m so sorry for this terrible heartbreak.

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