My first look at my daughter, Cora

October 7 – today marks four years to the day a sweet baby boy was born, a baby I thought was mine. This day still makes me a little sad and nostalgic, even though I would not have taken home my daughter Cora two months later had we adopted this little guy.

When he was born, I was so overjoyed! We had been matched with this boy’s expectant mother for two months. It was a very tumultuous two months, for many different reasons, but primarily due to how bad this expectant mother’s circumstances were. Amazingly, we had been matched only a few days after we were home study approved and were still pretty green to adoption. I hadn’t yet learned from the amazing adoption community I would later discover online.

Both Ray and I were in the delivery room when he was born and Ray had tears in his eyes as he cut the cord. I probably took about 150 photos of this little guy with us and with his first mama over the next few days. Both of our parents came to the hospital and held him and met his first mama, we called him “RJ” the name we had picked out for him and talked about with his first mama, and dressed him in the boys clothes I had purchased for him. I can still picture clearly this little guy in the football beanie I bought that showed my love for college football, a beanie I could only recently bear to give away.

Three days after his birth, after snuggling this guy in our arms for days, our adoption disrupted. I won’t share many details to protect the parties involved, but we were heartbroken and so shell-shocked when we left the hospital with our empty blue car seat. We had prepared for an expectant mom changing her mind and deciding to parent, and I always expected that would be sad for us as hopeful adoptive parents but positive for the first mama. But I hadn’t prepared for these circumstances, circumstances where it wasn’t safe for us or this little boy if our adoption continued, sad that a boy I already loved couldn’t be mine but also wouldn’t be with his first mom either. I hadn’t prepared for sharing all those newborn photos I had taken with the agency to pass along to the adoptive family who ultimately took him home in what had to become a much more closed adoption. I hadn’t prepared for our parents to also be heartbroken, to grieve for the child they thought was their grandchild and had snuggled tight in the hospital.

I spoke about the emotions I felt about this loss in another post, which also shares some strategies for surviving a disrupted adoption. That experience taught me a lot, and it helped my husband and I grow even closer. We acted differently in our next adoption experience, we were more cautious, but more prepared. In those two months that followed. I dove into the amazing adoption community online, and that experience and education likely spurred what would ultimately lead to my formation of Purl Adoptions. Ultimately that loss led me to our daughter, the most amazing little girl I had ever set eyes on. It all makes sense now, and it all made sense a short two months later as I did skin to skin with her in the hospital only minutes after she was born. If you are a hopeful adoptive parent that has felt some type of loss in their adoption journey but haven’t yet taken home your child, I just want you to know that it will make sense at some time. Maybe in two months, or maybe not for two more years. But when you’re holding your child, that loss will be worth it. You will likely only feel a twinge of sadness like I do when you see that date on the calendar.

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