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.