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 feels...like 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.