I never could have imagined so much time going by between letters. I never could have foreseen everything that would unfold between May 3 and June 6.
On May 25, your mom was scheduled to see a doctor. I was so hopeful that she would get an induction date so we would be able to prepare to travel to California to meet you. I waited, in excited anticipation, to hear something. She never checked in with the adoption coordinator that day. Our coordinator told me not to worry, It was normal for her to not check in, she was 100% committed to the adoption, and there were no red flags. Still, as that evening faded into night, I was sure. In those moments, I just knew she had changed her mind. And I began to grieve the loss of you. I had loved you for so long, I simply didn't know how a day would go by where I didn't think about you and wonder who you were and what you were becoming.
Thursday passed without word.
And then Friday.
I dreamed that you were gone from me forever. I woke up crying.
On Saturday, May 28, I took your brothers for a walk and it was then that I received confirmation. She had changed her mind. I was devastated. Your brothers knew nothing of what I was processing so I quietly reeled. I fought back the stinging tears. I praised God that He had placed it on our hearts not to tell them, so grateful that we were able to spare them shrapnel to the soul.
As that day continued, grief came and each stage fired through me. I landed--stuck in a swirling spiral of anger. I can't say who or what I was even angry with. Ultimately, I was just so furious that I had let myself hope. I had always said that I would never, ever fault a mother for choosing to parent. But that knowledge didn't stop the pain I felt from mourning another child gone or the anguish at knowing I'd lost both Kate and her brother.
That night I bagged up all the stuff I'd bought for you. Emotionally and financially, we were exhausted. I held your brothers a little tighter and decided that the past year and a half were just a lesson in being content with what I had. I told our coordinator we were finished. Adios. Farewell. Arrivederci. I asked for only one thing, a picture of you. I never got to see your sister's face. I was desperate to see yours.
On Tuesday, May 31, I spent the day returning clothes, sheets, and diapers. I fielded questions like, "Do you need a bigger size for your baby?" and, "Aren't you excited to have Gymboree store credit?" I cried alone in my car. It was miserable. I had loved you for so long. I had tried not to think of the future with you and had tried to guard my heart. It was still so hard to hand over all the things I thought you would wear, knowing that you would never actually be a part of this family.
The week dragged on. I cried and grieved and prayed and tried to move on. I thought about all the things I would get to do because I didn't have a newborn. Things like sleeping through the night. Everything I came up with was ridiculously superficial but I clung to them as a means to get me through each day. Silver linings, I called them. They weren't really silver linings but, in actuality, metallic paint slapped over a masterpiece I no longer had the privilege of looking at.
We told your brothers we were finished. It was time to stop waiting for a match. It was time to move on. They sobbed. Matthew clung to me in his bed, in the dark, and begged me to reconsider. "I'll do anything," he cried. "Please don't take our name out!" I blurted that I'd take him to Disneyland instead. Please understand what a ridiculously awful consolation prize that was. Still, that was how I got the brothers to stop crying. Disneyland. "Am I tall enough to ride Indiana Jones?" the younger one asked through sorrowful hiccups. Don't take it personally. Someday you'll understand the pull that Disney has on a young boy.
On Friday, June 3, at 7:31 pm PST (8:31 Utah time), I chatted with friends at Dad's softball game. I remember the concrete bench beneath me and the sounds of your brothers' laughter. I remember the sun in my eyes as it set over the mountains. I remember that Dad's team lost, a lot to a little. I don't remember the details of your birth. I had no idea that, at that precise moment, in a hospital room in Riverside, CA, you had just come into the world...