Five years ago this very day, a nine-year pregnancy and a year of labor and delivery ended, and the birth of a daughter into our family began.
Her physical birth did not begin that day, but six years earlier. For my husband and our sons and me that day was a day of excitement and anticipation. For our daughter it was a day of sadness and good-byes. As I tell in my book Nine Year Pregnancy that night 5 years ago today, my daughter and I both cried ourselves to sleep.
Why then does it continue to surprise me how difficult this day of “celebration” continues to be? Why then does it surprise me that Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays and other holidays are also difficult days.
I can say that I handled myself somewhat better this morning then in previous years. I understand better what is behind the “storm” that rages particularly on these occasions. Understanding is half the battle.
Recently, my first grandchild was born prematurely and remains in Neonatal ICU. He has been there nearly 2 months now, first on life support and now receiving care while he struggles to develop his heart and lungs. In many ways, adoption (particularly adopting older children) reminds me of the needs faced by preemies in NICU. The years our daughter has been in our home are like the months a premature infant spends in NICU. Older adopted children and their families need support that goes beyond what the non-adoptive family needs.
Here are some articles that are helpful reads:
Before love and family can be celebrated, grief and loss must be expressed and acknowledged.
Year for Year (the time it takes for adjustment and attachment)