Huffington Post are currently doing a series called Portrait Of Adoption, with the intention of “giving a voice to people with widely varying experiences, including birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, foster parents, waiting adoptive parents and others touched by adoption.”
It has been a fascinating series to follow, revealing the complexities of adoption and all the emotions and pitfalls from all the different angles. I have found myself identifying with so many of the varying opinions and experiences.
But one story in particular really stuck out for me – Saying Goodbye To The Foster Child I Fell In Love With. I identified with Jiyer on a deep emotional level and read her story with tears streaming down my face and a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.
Throughout our 7+ year struggle to the ever elusive place of parenthood, Walter and I were presented with opportunities to parent a child. On a number of occasions were approached to adopt privately and on one particular occasion we were invited to participate in a foster program through a welfare organisation in Pretoria. We spoke at length with one of their foster mom’s making the decision to not pursue this option. She had 4 children with her, all of them had been with her since babies, all of them removed from their bio parents but with the bio parents refusing to sing consent for adoption, essentially leaving the foster family to live in limbo, free to love and care for these children with all their hearts but always living under the threat that they could loose one of their precious children.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put my heart out there and run the risk of having it crushed. By the time this opportunity had presented itself, we’d already just barely survived 7 miscarriages, my heart was broken, my soul was broken and I could not take another moment of hurt. I couldn’t bring myself to put myself out there for the greater good of offering this little children some stability and love, I couldn’t do it. I knew that if we took a child in, I’d love it unconditionally as if it was my own and what would happen if/when they were reunified with their bio parents? Because for all intents and purposes, rehabilitation of their bio parents was the plan, then what, where would that leave us? Where would that leave my poor, broken, bleeding soul?
I couldn’t do it.
This is for me just another example of how I’m not an adoption hero, just a woman who wanted to be a mom, because I wasn’t prepared to take motherhood at any cost, because I still wanted a little safety net and to protect my heart.
When I read this I knew that Jiyer, her husband and all foster parents, are the true hero’s in adoption stories:
August 22, 2008: a hard day for our family, a day of joy for Rayna. Nina was distressed, so distressed, when she saw all her belongings in luggage and boxes (I packed them late the previous night, while she slept, because my earlier attempt was so traumatic to her). Dropping Nina off at a county center that morning was heart-wrenching. This child whom we loved with all our hearts, we so hoped to entrust directly to her mother, Rayna, with whom we had built a good relationship over the past thirteen months. Yet the social worker said they could not permit this and risk drama. When we arrived at the center, we were told to leave Nina in the playroom, all by herself, and depart. Rayna would come by later to pick her up. I will never forget Nina sitting by the wall, patting the space next to her and saying to me, “It, Mama, It.” (she could not say S’s back then, so “Sit” became “It”). I held her very, very close, hoping that the lifetime of love within me would work its way into her little body. “I love you, Nina,” I said fiercely. “I will always love you, OK?” “Be happy, Stay happy,” said Dyl as he followed with a hug for the daughter of his heart. As we headed toward our truck, our empty truck devoid of Nina’s things, we held each other and cried -– huge, broken sobs, mourning the loss in our lives.
Read the full story here, it’s well worth the read –