Friday, June 17, 2011

The Countdown - Mine and Hers

Today is Day 6 of the countdown till we travel to China. I will be holding Veronica in 10 days.

Everyone keeps asking how I can control my excitement. How could I possibly stand to know that the end of the journey is so near? But in reality, my journey with my new daughter is just starting, but there is another journey ending. And it is causing me to feel incredibly sad.

Unlike most children waiting for families in China, my daughter is not in an orphanage. She has been placed with a foster family since she was 2 weeks old. For over a year and a half, another mother has been comforting her when she is hurt, holding her hand, giving her baths, feeding her, reading to her, loving her.

And while I have a countdown going of eager anticipation, I know that she also has a countdown going and it is not nearly so joyful. Thinking about her makes my heart ache.

I asked a friend who has been a foster mother for many, many children about this. She told me, "If you're doing it right, it always hurts when they leave."

Judging by the progress Veronica has made, from the medical and developmental information we have, her foster mother is "doing it right".

It is so difficult to know that my joy is tied up in another person's pain. Of course my thoughts have been heavy for her birth family. I have been praying for this unknown mother and father since I knew I was going to adopt, so for nearly a decade. I knew that there was some woman, somewhere in the world who would have to make a gut-wrenching decision and place her child for adoption.

But, I didn't feel any responsibility for having caused that situation.

I know that my decision to accept Veronica's referral has shortened her foster family's time with her. It feels like much more of a direct correlation. The logical part of me understands that this was the plan all along. The foster family knew they would have a relatively short time to care for this child, in preparation for adoption. That knowledge still won't stop their love for her or their pain when she is gone.

Unfortunately, the current policy holds that we can't have contact with the foster family. I am not technically allowed to give the foster family updates or pictures. I can't take away the worry and wondering the foster family may have, even if we would both wish for such a relationship. I can't tell them just how incredibly grateful I am for all they have done for my child and promise them that I will continue on with what they started.

I know I have mumbled and grumbled through some of the adoption - paperwork, delays, inane procedures and redundancies. But, the bittersweet reality of the countdown, my joy tempered by her foster family's sadness, has been the most difficult part so far.

2 comments:

Football and Fried Rice said...

Kristin,

We felt the same way when we brought home our first daughter. For some reason, I had (have) so many more emotions attached to Mya's foster family. Of course! This woman held her and fed her and changed her and made her laugh......for three years! What a blessing! She didn't "choose life" for her like her birth mother did - but she lovingly cared for her (did it right) in my absence. When no one else could be a mama to our little girl - her foster mom stepped up.

Yes, our countdowns must be s drastically different.

Well, I can't wait to see you meet Veronica! I hope you will be posting. I am excited to see if you get to meet the foster family too and what you get from Grace and Hope! Please keep me posted! We hope to travel to get or Hepu girl by December!

Blessings and God speed!
Sara

Jennifer said...

A wise woman told me once there is "No gain without some loss." When people congratulate my kids on being adopted, a look flashes across their face that usually only I see. Yes, they are happy but still sad at some level. Hopefully these foster parents in China will know that they made a difference in someone's life that is eternal (giving love and security). From a foster parent who has "given back" quite a few, it is the happiest saddest time but oh so worth it. The VERY BEST thing for the child would be to see you and the foster mom together to know that all is right with the world.