Skip to main content

The Journey Continues

With so much going on this time of year, sometimes it's easy to forget about upcoming days that can send my emotions into a tailspin. Then it hits me in the oddest ways.  I have felt the impending gloom regarding Charlotte's July 9 birthday creeping in slowly and stealthily.  I'm totally fine. And then I'm not.  

Losing our daughter would have been challenging regardless of the circumstances but sometimes I think I feel the loss even more profoundly because she almost didn't exist.  I'm not sure how many people know the details of how Charlotte came to find our family.  Don't worry. This isn't some salacious tale of where babies come from

Our journey to parenthood started with challenges.  Back in 2001, after marriage, grad school, and achieving a sense of stability in our lives, we abandoned the birth control and examined our fertility.  Unfortunately, my body didn't want to cooperate.  By early 2004, I was seeing specialists who delivered multiple options.  My body didn't like some of them. Our pocketbook didn't like others.  It was at that time that Roger and I decided that adoption might be the best way to become parents.  

Again, we were flooded with options.  If you have never explored the idea of adoption for your family, you might be surprised by the choices that are available...infant adoption, older child adoption, fostering-to-adopt, foreign adoption, open adoption, closed adoption, domestic adoption, special needs adoption...

There are pros and cons to each option and with each comes varying degrees of stress to your emotions and  your finances.  There are timelines, deadlines, and (oh, yes) mounds of paperwork. We finally settled on a local agency and began a 9 week training course that was the precursor to a home study.   We still had our hearts open to many options but leaned heavily on international adoption.  Then, quite by surprise, as we finished the 9 week course, I found myself pregnant.  My body somehow defeated the odds that were set forth and the game changed.


Image by Jokkeboss
Most of you know how the story goes from there.  As Charlotte got older, we still talked about going back to adoption for another child.  We would wait until she was a little bit older.  There was time.  

After Charlotte died in 2010, my heart was torn in two.  For the longest time, even the idea of bringing another child into our family made my heart hurt.  To make matters worse, people often brought up the subject as a point of conversation.  Here's a Pro Tip: NEVER ask a grieving parent about his or her plans for future children unless they bring up the topic first.  it's just not a good idea. 

In the last year, though, Roger and I have had many discussions.  At first, it was very generic talks about the concept of parenting again.  Then we started talking specifics.  Then we went to meetings with agencies, exploring our options.  I started going to counseling again, needing to work out some of these feelings for myself.  

All of this to say that Saturday, Roger and I attended our first of 3 official training sessions that will make us "Resource Parents" for United Methodist Family Services (UMFS).  At the conclusion of this journey, we hope to have a child (or maybe 2 siblings) placed in our family.  The placement may start as foster care but will hopefully end in adoption.  We could have a child in our home by December or the journey may take a few years.

Yes. This is HUGE. It goes without saying that certain things in our lives will start to shift.  In fact, the shift has already started.  We know that this journey will be far from easy, especially since we will be opening our home to older children who have seen their share of grief and loss in their very short lives.  


As Charlotte's birthday approaches this year, I realize that she would be eight years old. She spent about four years with us here.  After this year, she will have spent more time away from us than with us. That is a pretty major demarcation in our grief journey.  I know that in learning to parent another child, I am not replacing Charlotte but honoring her memory. 

I honor the lessons I learned in becoming her mother and sharing the love I have to give with other children as well. Thanks, kiddo.  I will always be proud to be your mama.    


Popular posts from this blog

The Edge of Seventeen

It's that time of year when the blog musings center on my grief journey. Every year, it seems like we are busy with end-of-the-year school activities and the start of summer, planning vacations, and then (kablam)...it's almost July 9.  Grief is funny. Grief is weird. I remember very early after Charlotte died, I watched the movie Rabbit Hole.  There's an amazingly poignant scene where Nicole Kidman's character is talking with another woman who lost a child over 10 years before (played by Dianne Wiest). She talks about grief being like a brick in your pocket. It never goes away. Sometimes you can even forget it's there. But it comes back and makes its presence known from time to time. And (she says) "it's what you have of them."    I probably did not fully realize then what a powerful and true analogy that is. As time goes on, our grief changes. Yet, it is always there on the edge of things. It sits in that pocket and sometimes makes itself known.  This

The Stages of Grief: COVID Edition

It's 2020. It's almost Christmas. We're still in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, we are experiencing what appears to be an incredible surge that is exerting tremendous pressure on our healthcare and social service system. The headlines are clear: we're not done with this madness and December 31, 2020 will not magically be the "end of it".  Earlier in the year, our family thought about whether we might be able to travel at this time. We thought that maybe the curve would be flat enough that we could take a few days away from home during the Christmas holidays. We realized that the pandemic would still be happening, but with the right protections and with prolific mask usage, we could get a much-needed change of scenery. During what is now (clearly) a delusional thought process, we booked a stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for the week of December 19th. Spoiler alert: we canceled the trip almost two weeks ago.  Canceling this trip was not a tragedy. In fact, I

Bittersweet Sixteen

I think about Charlotte every single day. However, this time of year, I'm flooded with all kinds of memories as we commemorate the anniversary of her birth. This year feels like a bit of a milestone. Sixteen.  If cancer had not taken her life back in 2010, I have a feeling I would be planning a massive birthday celebration this year. 16 always feels like a landmark year in someone's life.  I have been thinking a great deal about the last birthday party we had for Charlotte in 2009. We didn't know it at the time, but we were halfway through her treatment journey. We had been through three major brain surgeries and a few rounds of inpatient chemotherapy. Treatments were not going well. In fact, right after her birthday, we would make the trip to Houston, Texas where we would settle in for about 10 weeks of proton beam radiation treatments and a new customized chemotherapy protocol. This was the unspoken "last chance option" to beat that aggressive brain tumor into