How We Are Approaching a Match After a Failed Placement

We could have had a placement ceremony already and just be waiting for the baby to come home, but we didn't.  After the excruciating experience of packing a baby's things and driving them back to the agency 3 days after placement, we can't just dive in again.  When we were matched and placed with Baby A last summer we chose to believe his mom and the agency that it was going to be successful.  We tossed all the eggs into the basket so to speak, and drove away happily on a Friday afternoon.  The following Monday afternoon, it all came crashing down in spectacular fashion.

Fuck no, I am not putting myself through that again.

So, there's been no placement.  Why, when there's no question that his mother will be terminating rights?  Because there's the other half of the equation, the baby's father.  Normally, this would have gone much differently.  The prospective adoptive parents would have thought nothing of going through with placement immediately in this case.  It really seems like a slam dunk given the circumstances, to any other prospective adoptive family.  But we've been there.  To the ultimate dark side for an adoptive parent.  We have struggled to build our family for so long, have been caring and compassionate towards the mothers who feel that they have to place their babies, have opened the door wide to including them in our family, because after all, they are the families of our children too. To have what we thought was the end of the journey yanked away was devastating.  We felt broken and numb and grieved for months over it.  And, even though we felt broken, we realized that Baby A and his mom needed to be together.  Even though she thought that it was the right decision at the time, once she was separated from him she couldn't bear to be away from him and she realized that she could make it work.

Bringing me to this baby's father.  Normally, the father is brushed off, not a potential roadblock, they probably won't contest the adoption.  This father is being presented as that type of guy, and he may well be, but what if he's not?  He has the right to parent.  If he is in a place of his life where a light bulb may have gone on and he realized that he should take responsibility, then he should be granted that right.  This baby is his child.  We don't know exactly what he knows and doesn't know, so until he is handed those papers, we don't know how this will turn out.  Unfortunately, he wasn't handed papers when we thought he was, and we are still in limbo.

It's hard to keep that thought in my head though, "this is his child and if he can parent and he wants to parent, he should be able to" when I'm in the NICU holding his baby, promoting attachment between me and his baby, and giving the love and affection that nurses don't.  (Nurses are great, they just have to have some detachment to do this job, because well, emotions will get you every time).  My day to day life is melding into one - taking X to daycare, going to the hospital, hanging out for several hours, feeling guilty about going home, worrying whether this is my baby or not, attempting to figure out dinner with S, staring a sinkful of dishes then saying fuck it and having another glass of wine.

I'm currently signed out of work under "family emergency".  I haven't told my parents, but I told a brother out of state and swore him to secrecy.  I haven't told any friends.  I'm trying to pretend like it's business as usual, except that its not.  S has told his family, although he has kept details minimal.

I want so bad to be able to tell everyone that this is my baby, that my family building days are finally over, but I can't.  People don't know what to do when a match fails.  They don't understand the devastation it wreaks on our psyche, and they seem to assume that you'll get over it because you didn't have the baby that long.  Is it perhaps, similar to a miscarriage?  I would guess it is, but I've never had a miscarriage so I don't know.  Anyway, because people don't understand it, we just can't let them be privy to the information before it happens.  I want help because damn it, the baby is in a NICU and it isn't exactly close to my house!  I have some romantic notion that when a baby is in the NICU that the parents get all kinds of love and support and home cooked meals, and house cleaning, and babysitting....delusional, right?  But it's there, that ridiculous romanticized notion of a village helping each other.  I want to scream to everyone that this is hard, the hospital is hard (and old, and ugly) and kangaroo care in a common room is slightly embarrassing even if I'm wearing a sports bra, and I hate wearing sports bras unless I'm working out, and I don't have any fucking button down shirts so now I have to go shopping.....well, you get the picture.

But, I'm not screaming, yet.  I'm too scared that this match might fall through after I've spent multiple days in a hospital caring for a baby who is not yet mine.