It's been such an emotional several weeks. Matthew has been able to meet his godmother, his aunt, uncle and cousins, and we have enjoyed spending time with so many loved ones.
Tomorrow, Beau and Sheila, Matthew's genetic parents, arrive here in our home to spend a few hours meeting Matthew. As much as I strongly support and am committed to open adoption (for my thoughts on why, click here), this is hard. Harder than I thought it would be.
Sheila first wrote and asked shortly after Matthew was born if they could come meet him. We always knew and agreed that they WOULD meet, so her question was about timing, not overall permission. At that time, I was so tired and hormonal that I really wanted to say no. I knew that my fatigue and hormones were talking so I told her I needed time, and she agreed.
Even though Beau and Sheila have never, ever, once given me reason to feel territorial, there was a part of me that when they asked screamed out, "No! He's my baby!!" Truthfully, a little part of me still does. And I guess that surprised me, because I know there's absolutely no threat or danger with them that they would have an inappropriate connection or response to him. But my blog has always been about showing the truth of Embryo Adoption, even the hard stuff, so there it is.
Once in a while I even have a nightmare-if they kidnapped him and the police did a DNA test, he would match them! How would I prove that he's really my son?? (I don't think Beau and Sheila are kidnappers-this just demonstrates the hold fear can so easily take on my heart!)
Plus, they're coming to our home. So I sort of feel like I'll be under inspection, and since I'm a pretty mediocre homemaker, that sends my stress level very high. Again, they've never given me reason to feel threatened, and the only reason that we're meeting in our home is that it's just the most practical place since they're traveling from far and anywhere public wouldn't permit us to stay more than an hour or two, and even if they would, Matthew wouldn't tolerate it.
Nightlight recently changed their contract to say that genetic parents can revoke the rights of the adoptive parents to any remaining untransferred embryos, so long as they provide 30 days notice. This really bothered DH and I on a lot of levels. Again, let me be so clear in saying that Beau and Sheila have NEVER given us reason to feel threatened, and we don't have any concern that they actually will revoke our rights and "reclaim" the remaining 6 embryos. But just the knowledge that they COULD, if we signed this contract, bothered us. We told Nightlight our concerns, and they agreed to let us sign a different document that eliminates that provision. I do hope they'll eliminate it for all clients. I think it undermines the treatment of this whole arrangement as an adoption. You can't just "reclaim" a born child years later (barring extreme, unusual circumstances that usually involve fraud or duress) so it bothers me that embryos are treated differently. But, I digress. This isn't meant to be a public criticism of Nightlight (whom we LOVE, for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they heard our concerns and are allowing us to sign a different document), but I did want to post some since it's part of our current feelings.
I guess I just wonder if I'll ever stop feeling like I have to prove myself or please someone. As an adoptive parent in an open adoption, it's hard to know that the biological parents are out there, and have the potential to evaluate your choices for your child. What if we disappoint them? What if we do something that would make them regret their choice? What if they think that they could do better at raising him than we could? It's just a lot of pressure, even if it's all hypothetical.
I do stress that regardless of my own insecurities, we still believe that an open adoption is best for Matthew which is why we are resolved to always continue, regardless of how we feel. The only thing that could ever put the brakes on this is if for some reason, it ever became unhealthy for him. And Beau and Sheila are committed to that, too, so we can always reevaluate how well he handles it, etc.
So, I'm just a ball of nerves today. I'm nervous that they'll be pleased with us and with him and with how we've parented him so far. I'm nervous that they'll observe something that will make them go, "Boy! What were we thinking??" I know that it's very unlikely that those things will actually happen, but I still feel it and have to continually surrender this in prayer. I wish Mike was still here. He was such a strong advocate of open adoption and he knew me well enough to say exactly what I'd need to hear. He could always help me get out of my head when we'd talk about it. He taught me so much, on this issue in particular. And man, that sweet Skyler-boy is such a testament. Mike and Krista definitely have it right on this issue! Krista just texted me, "Just focus on loving them. Matthew will steal the show." I needed to hear that. They both were always so good about realizing that adoption is as much a ministry as it is a blessing.
I know Beau and Sheila have a ton of emotions of their own surrounding this meeting. I can't imagine that when they meet him, that they won't miss him. I know that I would. He's such a precious, precious boy. My heart catches in my chest when I think about him. Parenthood is the only time in your life when you don't have to learn to love someone. It's just automatic from the moment you say, "hello." There's no way to describe it.
I was thinking last night about our infertility. I was thinking about how if we'd never heard those words in November 2007 that we'd never have a biological child, that we'd never have had our precious little Matthew. I can't imagine loving any child more. I can't imagine missing out on him. It actually makes me glad for our infertility, because I would not like my life without him. How wonderful are the ways of the Lord, even if we don't always understand them! When we first got that diagnosis, we'd already been trying to have a child for almost 4 years. When we started our adoption in 2008, it seemed like we'd already waited forever, and that we'd have forever more to wait. And yet, it all culminated in this precious baby boy, who I believe was always intended to be ours (Beau and Sheila concur). We started trying to conceive in January of 2004. Matthew didn't even exist yet (he was created later that year). If we'd have been successful with things according to our timeline and our plan, we'd never have this sweet little guy. I'm teary just thinking about it.
I know I sound sappy and sentimental and even a little cliche, but I really have come full circle with our wait and our journey. That little boy was worth all the wait in the world. In the 7 years that it took us to have him, Beau and Sheila gave him life, they had their own children, and they came to a place where they could make the difficult decision to relinquish him and his 11 siblings. When I think about it that way, 7 years seems sort of short for all of that to have happened. So I guess I will take this opportunity to encourage those of you still waiting that even though waiting is hard, and loss is even harder, God's timing is wonderful. It may take us a while to understand it, but I believe in time, He often reveals His reasons. Bless you who still wait. We worship with you and claim with confidence that His plan for you is perfect.
I know tomorrow will probably hold a lot of tears, but I also pray that it will hold a lot of joy. At the end of the day, it's not a bad thing for more people to love my son. I pray that he blesses them. I pray that their spirits (and ours!) will be lifted by this meeting, rather than pained. And I pray that God would continue to teach us how to best knit our families together for Matthew's own good. I'd covet your companionship in these prayers.
Love to you all.