Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Hospital

We had the great privilege of being up at the hospital shortly after Ava was born and spent the next two days visiting with K, her birthmom, and taking care of our sweet baby girl. A couple of weeks prior, I had begun gearing up for this. It's rough. It's emotional. And it's hard to explain why. I almost feel ridiculous trying to explain how it all people will think I am making it more dramatic than it actually is even though I know that I'm not. I think that because people say things like, "It must be nice to not have to go through labor and just get to go pick up a baby." And, I guess there's some truth to that. I AM thankful that I don't have to go through labor. But, it is most definitely NOT just "going and picking up a baby." It's just not.

K was great. She wanted us super involved at the hospital which was really special. I got to do almost all the feedings and changing the diapers. And it really meant a lot to me. But there is also this underlying reality that this time in the hospital is quickly coming to an end and for K that means saying goodbye to her precious baby. So, in the middle of all of this functional stuff like bottle and diapers and the precious stuff like sitting in awe of this perfect creature, there is all this grief. And it would just hit at times like a Mack Truck. Gut wrenching sadness. I would ask if she wanted me to step out and spend some time with Ava by herself. "No," she would say, "I like it when you're here." So I would sit and watch her cry and put my arm around her and wonder if it caused more pain than it did good.

You can't get away from the bittersweetness of adoption. And here is a bold statement. I'm not sure you can be a good adoptive parent if you can't embrace the grief. Cause here's the thing about the grief. It is a gift to your child. As hard as it is, it tells a precious story about incredible love.

Right before we left the hospital, K was holding Ava and just soaking her little face with tears. She handed her to me and hugged me at the same time saying, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you" over and over as I said, "No, thank you. Thank you." Our tears were all mixed together and covering sweet Ava's body. And I can't help now but think that this is one of the most perfect pictures of adoption. Two mothers, covering this precious baby with tears from grief all mixed up with gratefulness for the gifts they can't provide for themselves. And it's all just a tad overwheming.


Lisa said...

There isn't a birthday, or major event in our sons life that goes by, that we don't stop and think about the young girl who gave so much, so that we might know joy.

Congratulations on your special gift!
Blessings ~ Lisa

The Coopers said...

Wow! I love this and I love you and what a great mom you are. I still say write a book!!

Darci said...

"I'm not sure you can be a good adoptive parent if you can't embrace the grief. Cause here's the thing about the grief. It is a gift to your child. As hard as it is, it tells a precious story about incredible love."

Can I just say. . . . . I love your heart!

Daysha said...

Amanda, I'm one of Melodie's friends here in Oklahoma (yes she left me). But I wanted to say well done girl. The words you wrote here are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Erin said...

I'm always amazed at your ability to share so beautifully about these most complex scenarios. You have a wonderful heart and the rest of us are so blessed to get a glimpse in to it. Thank you so, so much for sharing. Seriously, a blessing.

P.S. Your little Ava is so beautiful it makes me want to weep. Congratulations again and again!!

Jess said...

Hey. . .your post made me cry. You so perfectly put into words what so many people go through.

Molly said...

Wow. So I am just now reading this. It's a perfect picture of those days at the hospital that are oh so hard. Your statement could not be more true that as an adoptive parent you must experience that greif with your child. Over the years you will have to experience again and again with your child. Why not be able to tell this of this day when both their moms greived over their sweet baby and the loss that was happening.

Amanda, this is when I get upset about being judged by anti-adoption groups. Adoption is so different now. It's so much healthier. It is sticky and full of pain and loss, but we've learned how ignoring that loss only leads to deeper pain and no healing.

I may have to high-jack part of this post if not all of it if that's okay!

Hope those sweet girls are having fun!

Micha said...


I want you to know that I've never read any description of adoption like this. It's beautiful and so powerful. You are a gifted writer and I think you should think about writing a book about adoption...or at least an article. Seriously.

You have incredible things to say...

Love, Elaine