I sent F another short note yesterday. It’s a pretty easy habit I’m falling into; I write a short little update toward the end of the week, sometimes skipping a week, but it’s never more than two weeks between mail. And every 3-4 weeks, I mail both her and J a card with letters.

I decided to start photocopying the letters I write her, so this one felt a little odd, like I was writing it for both her and Rainbow. I found myself being critical with my words again, agonizing like I did with the very first letters: Must I REALLY begin every single letter with, “I hope you are doing well”? Must I ALWAYS make some bland comments about weather here and how I imagine it might be where she is? Am I being too pushy when I say (every few letters) that we’d love to hear from her anytime? Is it annoying and way too repetitive to end every letter with, “I’ll write soon”? Which, in hindsight, seems ridiculous; I send her frequent, short notes that may sometimes be worded goofily or redundantly, but taken as a whole the correspondence is Good, I think.


I wonder what she and J thought, as they compared parent profiles, about the fact that one of our children is no longer alive. I wonder how that figured in to their discussions. I agonized over that, too, HOLY COW did I agonize over whether and how to include that information. I was afraid that potential birthparents would think we were a sad, grieving house, or else that we were people who were careless with their children.

As my good friend K (who has adopted twice domestically) pointed out, so many adoptive parents come from places of loss and don’t have cheery-bright and pain-free histories. “Perfect” adoptive parents don’t exist. And, I wouldn’t want to keep anything from the birthparents that would come up later and make them wish they’d known it before they relinquished their parental rights.

So, in it went: succinctly worded but quite clear.

I have wondered, as someone has suggested to me, if a birthmother might feel like an adoptive mother who has lost a child would better understand the loss of relinquishing a child for adoption. They are certainly different, but they are both losses nonetheless. Would that sense of connection be something she might consider is a good thing? I have never had the chance to ask a birthmother that question; it seems too delicate to ask F, at least at this point.


I had a nightmare night before last. It’s a fairly common theme in my dream canon: threatening things in the water. Daddy J and I had put a in a backyard pool that had two sections, a fairly shallow one and a deeper one, with a narrow swim-through in between. The shallow end had just a couple of small fish in it, but the deeper end was a saltwater coral reef that had gone bananas. The idea was that the big fish wouldn’t leave the deeper end, but there was no screen to keep them out. There were all sorts of writhing things in the deep end, with a twisty dark reef full of hiding holes in the middle. Eels, sharks, rays, and heavy, slimy, poisonous things that bumped against my legs when I ventured in. I was terrified and got out of the pool and told Daddy J that I didn’t care how cool it was, and yes it’s cool that we got a coral reef to grow and thrive in our backyard, we’re draining that thing and getting rid of the fish. We can let the aquariums and fish lovers know and they can come save them if they want to, but otherwise we can just let the fish die and scoop them out and clean out the pool, because I just don’t want that thing in my backyard.

Which is a straightforward enough dream, I suppose (DANGER IN THE WATER!!!), but still very scary to have. Things bumping into me in the water have always given me the creeps, even before Ward’s accident.


Anyway: was musing on how his accident has changed us, what with the Fear thing. The Fear of Something Awful Happening Again is just part of me now, although the real gut-punching fears that keep me up at night are few and far between. We have the sickening knowledge that Yes, indeed, awful stuff DOES happen and we are not immune, so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GOD KEEP THIS BOY HEALTHY AND SAFE AND HELP ME PROTECT HIM FROM ALL HARM.

So, yes, there’s that side of it, the Fear.

But I realized that there’s the flip side to that, too: the Amazement and the Gratitude. That every day we are aware of the miracle that he’s here, in a way that we weren’t four years ago. This wonderful boy is HERE and we get to love him and parent him and HALLELUJAH it’s magnificent that it’s TODAY and I get to love on this child RIGHT NOW and what a WONDERFUL THING it is to have another child in our family to teach things to and laugh and sing and dance with.

Hmm. Is it too trite to say that joy is deepened, enhanced, appreciated more after sorrow?

I don’t know if that’s really how I feel, but it’s interesting to consider, I think.


Your thoughts…?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa
    Oct 09, 2009 @ 17:49:26

    Mama J,
    I know EXACTLY how you feel with the Fear thing. I have struggled with this mightly since Camden was conceived. After he was born, it only intensified. I was super paranoid that something would be wrong with him, even though genetic testing confirmed that he is perfect. I worried about disease, autism, ACCIDENTS, SIDS, you name it. When he turned a year old, it eased up a lot. Then I started worrying about Brad and accidents.

    The simple fact is this: once something BAD happens to you, you know it can happen AGAIN, and that sucks. I worry every single day that I won’t get to see Camden grow up. It’s not rational, I know.

    I do think that losing Carsyn has helped me appreciate Camden more. I am so grateful for him every day, and enjoy every minute with him. Sure, he tries my patience every once in a while, but I am still always grateful. I think it is very easy for parents who have never experienced any kind of scare or loss to take their children for granted, even if they don’t mean to.

    So yes, I do believe that fear is intensified and that joy is greater after loss.
    I really love the traditions and memorials you have set up for Wardie. That is so special.
    Much Love,

  2. Trackback: big chicken « love, loss, and rainbows

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