vent sesh: personal update about adoption

June 4, 2013


The baby that we thought was destined to be ours was due four days ago. Since late November 2012 we secretly had been planning to welcome home a baby boy to our family. Just recently, we finally started telling more friends and extended family, and even shared the news with our three-year old daughter. We nearly settled on a name, and I even emailed a handful of blogger friends to ask if they’d guest post for me while on “maternity leave.” But as we’ve learned when you’re adopting, sometimes the baby you finally let into your heart isn’t destined to be yours at all.

Three weeks ago my husband got a call that the birth mother changed her mind, for reasons not worth getting into here. When I got home from an all-day seminar that night I saw two vases full of flowers… and an awful look on his face. I swear “I have news,” or “I need to tell you something” is never a good thing. I had just purchased the baby bedding the night before — the cutest little alligator set — and was considering paint colors. I was even planning something fun with Target, and just spent time picking out registry items. The baby I was protecting from my heart for months finally wormed its way in and I couldn’t stop thinking that any day we’d be snuggling. For so long we hardly talked about it, just inquired about doctor appointments and I’d sneak a look at the sonogram saved to my phone. But just a few weeks before the bad news my motherly emotions took over, and I began a major nesting phase, starting planning with my office how I’d manage a small break and work a modified summer schedule with the baby at home. I longed to hold this little guy. Being candid, I didn’t expect to feel that way.

….. to back track: when we did our home study a year ago I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d ever be ready to adopt. I felt guilt over not being able to get pregnant again; well more that I actually can get pregnant, but my neurologist strongly suggested otherwise since there’s a chance the reason I got transverse myelitis (my story), which included temporarily paralysis and I now some random health crap, which could be related to pregnancy. It happened just four months after giving birth. Hormone changes after another pregnancy could yield who knows what. I mean what if I become paralyzed and meds can’t reverse it again?? Not worth rolling the dice yet I feel like I’m inundated with pregnant bellies and newborn images. I’m so thrilled for all of my friends but slightly more miserable for me.I mean is Facebook one rolling baby and preg belly newsfeed, or what?

While my health issue is more unique, I know other women can relate to my struggles; infertility and other issues plague way more woman than anyone talks about. It’s devastating to face each month. I can’t imagine women who have been putting on a brave face dealing with IVF and other procedures.

So, when we got a call last November that a birth mother selected us, I broke down in tears that were a mix of many emotions. Along the way we saw signs that this situation felt so right. It was nearly impossible to keep the secret in as three friends here were pregnant, too… due April, May and June. I watched their bellies grow, getting a little more emotional each month thinking that soon enough all of our little babes would play together. I could picture it, and sadly, still can. It’s hard to quickly change the mindset.

As someone who’s been pregnant once before I know the feeling of preparing for a baby that you know undoubtedly is yours, that is coming home with you. With adoption, it’s just the opposite: you relinquish all of all that because until that birth mother delivers the baby and signs away her parental rights, she can change her mind at any time (at least in Florida). That’s exactly why we didn’t tell the world, and why I hope you’ll understand why I haven’t shared it here until now.

I’m sharing this because if you’re a woman dealing with this that I want you to know I get it, and you’re not alone. And I’m sharing it because I’m doing everything in my being to keep moving forward while I’m hurting pretty bad. I haven’t had the time needed to process this, to be sad and to be hurt. I’ve had tons of work meetings (which ps, I never planned to attend), blog posts, kid’s birthday parties, you name it. And, I don’t want to continually cry in front of our daughter, who luckily hasn’t asked where “her brother is because she is going to be a big sister.”

Last Wednesday we met with our adoption attorney (different than the one for this case; long story), and I broke down. It’s easy to put up a brave front and typically say what will almost comfort others — well at least easy for me at times, I am in the PR business after all — yet talking about it in a way that was clear we lost this baby that was never even ours, felt like a knife in my chest. I cried. I did drive-thru ice cream at McD’s, told work I was done for the day and got into my pajamas. It felt good to give into myself. A lot of tears were shed this day. Just as that day was about healing so is me sharing this here, to put it out there.

As much as this sucks, I’m confident everything happens for a reason and one day, if it’s meant to be, we’ll have our second baby. I know the process works, and I’ve seen beautiful stories of adoption. Just, one thing…. please don’t tell me to be grateful for the one daughter we do have. I get this a lot. As anyone who has lost a child, had a miscarriage or anything similar knows, yes, there’s major thanks for other children, but it doesn’t diminish or take the other pain away. For now, it feels like I’ve lost my son.

{thanks for listening} Have you dealt with adoption, or challenges in the baby front? Comment here, and know you can always email me confidentially, too. I also highly recommend talking to a counselor, in addition to any required medical treatment. One of my best gifts to myself is speaking to my ‘secret bff.’


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  • thepearshape

    I’m SO SO sorry to read this. It is completely heartbreaking but I always take comfort in the adage “Everything happens for a reason.” If this baby didn’t happen, perhaps it wasn’t meant to be. xo

    • shellipsm

      That is the absolute, worst thing to say to someone. NO. There is no reason other than the birthmother changed her mind. Who the hell are YOU to hold all the powers of the universe in your hand and say: “perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.” Fuck that.

      The only thing you should ever say to a person in grief is: “wow, that sucks. I’m sorry.” And then ZIP IT, sister.

  • Natasha

    You are so brave to have gone through this. I wish all the best for you and your family, and your family-to-be. :)

  • GLR

    I don’t know you well but you strike me as such a caring person with so much love to give!

    Rest assured that you are not alone in this, you will heal from this pain (it may take long) and you have a big community of people here to support you :)

    Best wishes

  • PennyPincherFashion

    Even though I have walked through this journey with you, hearing you share it all here in detail made me cry all over again & grieve your loss. So proud of you for sharing your story and I know that there are countless women who will be comforted by this post. You are such an amazingly brave & strong woman - can’t wait to read that book someday! xo

  • Kim Jackson

    I am so very sorry to hear about your loss Alyson. While I’ve never experienced this kind of loss, I have had the pleasure of experiencing those last few moments of baby preparation, and I can’t imagine having that snatched away at the last moment. You are totally entitled to take your time to heal. But as you mentioned in closing, there are lots of beautiful adoption stories out there-I am one of them. My parents adopted me as soon as I was born, after other failed attempts to conceive and adopt. Just keep visualizing and working towards it and it will happen. Best of luck to you and your family.

  • Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie

    Thank you for sharing with us. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling, and I’m not going to give you some cliche to try to make you feel a little better. My heart breaks for you and what almost was. Take care of yourself, friend.

  • Kristin Swenson

    I’m so sorry. Clearly when your forever baby is in your arms he or she will be the lucky recipient of a ton of love. Hugs!

  • Samantha Tananbaum

    You are one of those people who gets thrown way more curve balls and challenges than she deserves. And yet, I am always amazed by your strength, courage and honesty. As hokey and canned as it may sound, I have truly come to believe that everything works out in the end somehow. If it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not over. Some of the toughest times in my life have been the ones that have taught me the most about myself and made me appreciate every moment. I’ve also learned that you have to let yourself be sad about the sad things. Really feel your feelings for a while, and then use them as fuel to keep on going. Anyway, so proud of you for sharing this story. Sending you so many digital hugs!! xo

  • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    Oh Alyson, you’re so brave to share this. My heart goes out to you and your family, and you already know I’m here for you. Much love to you xxxxxx <3 <3

  • cevenson

    I want to come to Florida and hug you. So, so sorry.

  • Tiffany M

    Oh Alyson, I’m so sorry for your loss. My heart truly aches for you and your husband. That feeling of wanting something so badly and having it so close within reach only to have it taken away is devastating and heart wrenching. I just want to give you a big hug and a shoulder for your tears. I don’t think I could have ever been brave enough to talk about it the way you have. Your strength and bravery is truly inspiring. Stay strong and always remember that there is a plan for each of us. We might not know where our paths will take us but in the end we will get to where we need and want to be. Everything happens for a reason. Sending you all my love!

  • Jen

    I am so terribly, utterly heartbroken for you. Consider yourself, and your little girl hugged from us.

  • Leah Yablong

    Alyson, I’m sorry for your loss. I genuinely appreciate you sharing this candid story. You’re a strong and confident women and as you said, things have a way of working out. Perhaps this wasn’t beshert just yet. (to throw in a little Yiddish)

  • Sara S.

    Alyson, we met at Heather and Darron’s Florida wedding reception, I sat across from you. I have been following your blog every since and I absolutely love it, recommending it as a good read to all my friends since we last met. I suffered a miscarriage 2 years ago, and I can only imagine how painful it must have been to be so close to your newborn, yet so far away. How utterly helpless you must feel and how devastating the news must have been to process. I had tears streaming down my face as I was reading this. I will say that time heals the pain and when the time is right your baby will be delivered to you. But of course, for now, it is a very painful process and your candidness in sharing your story shows what a strong and brave woman you are. Big hugs to you and your family…xoxo.


    Sending hugs and good thoughts your way. I blogged once on a mom’s website about grief, and included this quote from NY Times Motherlode editor, “Some things in life have to be lived through instead of conquered.” Give yourself time and permission to cry it out.

    • disqus_f1QaywdEX4

      That’s a great quote. thanks for sharing!

  • Amie

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your family will be in my prayers.

  • Crystal Emory

    Sending lots of love from Seattle. Your story is heartbreaking - I appreciate that you share these intimate details to help others and let us know that we are not alone and we have this amazing support system out there. You are amazing!

  • Dacy Gillespie

    Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve always wanted to adopt and my husband is reluctant to, one of his reasons being your exact situation. I can’t imagine how hard this is and of course you were going to start to nest. Please take some time and some care for yourself…

  • hithaonthego

    This post brought me to tears. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through, Alyson. We’re thinking and praying for your and your family.

  • sandyalamode

    oh my!! i had no idea. so sorry for your loss, sweetie.

    Sandy a la Mode

  • graceatwood

    oh my gosh Alyson I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine, I had no idea. Sending you a big hug from New York!

  • FashionableLena

    I’ve never written on your blog, and I am sorry for your loss. Like you said, everything happens for a reason. Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way.
    This reminds me of the show, The Little Couple. They had been trying for years to have a child and went for adoption. Within a few days, they were able to get to adopt two children from two different countries. I’m glad to see that you, like them, haven’t given up on expanding your family.

  • Grit & Glamour™

    Oh, sweetie, my heart just breaks for you. I’m so sorry that all that you were looking forward to and planning for is not happening. I can’t imagine how devastating this must be; I can only hope, as you wrote, that one day the right baby will find its way to you and your loving family.

    I applaud you for sharing this deeply personal experience…and I pray that you will find peace and happiness again very soon.


    • Grit & Glamour™

      PS: I remember the Instagram of the ice cream cone…realizing now that you were so sad when you posted it. Makes me feel even worse because you must have felt so alone.I wish only good things would happen to good people like you.

  • Cheryl Baldwin

    Alyson, thank you for sharing your story. You are right on when you just never know what people are going through. Your family is truly experiencing a heartbreak, and I hope you find a bit of comfort in knowing that your community is here for you. Sending strength, hugs and prayers to you!

  • Shannon Burke

    So sorry for the loss - I can’t imagine. You deserve all the time in the world to heal and hopefully life will allow you to do that. In lieu of that - keep in mind that God only gives you what you can handle, apparently God just things you’re a badass.

  • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

    You’re such a brave woman and so strong. My heart is breaking for you. I think any mother who has lost a child, by whatever means, knows how you feel at least a little bit. And the moment your heart let your baby in, he became yours, so don’t please don’t feel like he was never yours to begin with. While I can’t understand what was going through the birth mother’s mind, I’m sure it was a small part of what you’ve already been feeling for quite some time now. For this reason, I’m more inclined to think you had more claim on him than birth mom did.

    Eventually, you will recover. Don’t force it. Let yourself grieve. Eventually, you will move on. God doesn’t have this baby in your plan. There’s another one waiting for you. Maybe even via surrogate! That’s what my intuition is telling me.

  • Tara

    Alyson, just wanted to say again how sorry I am. I admire you so much for having the courage to post this.

  • A

    I’m so sorry. What an emotional journey. Please know that you are not less of a woman for having one daughter. Not at all. Many people have only one child. Everyone has their own little life with their own little story…never compare yourself to others or what expectations you think they have.

    So many people would want your life as is. I know I would. I will probably never have a child of my own at all. I can’t think about that, though. I have to realize that not everything in life was meant for me to have. I have to find the things that WERE meant for me.

    Things like this probably do happen for a reason. No matter what, it will be ok.

  • A

    I’m sorry to have typed so much about myself. I don’t want to be insensitive. Despite everything, I think you are just so fortunate, and I hope that little baby boy also ends up being fortunate as well.

  • Andi Perullo

    Oh my heart is broken for your loss! :(

  • A

    As an adoptive parent, I’m going to say the thing that will make you want scream “what do you know about it”, but that wasn’t your baby - your baby is still out there.

    I heard that repeatedly during the ups and downs of our adoption process and it made me crazy because what could anyone else know about this - it felt like my baby and the pain and disappointment was real. Then we got our son and there is no baby in the world that is more perfect for us - in fact I question if there is a more perfect child anywhere, but I’m biased. He was our baby (the right baby) and worth the wait, frustration and anxiety of the process. When you get on the other side of this and hold “your baby” in your arms all of this will melt away and you will be overwhelmed with the wonderful gift you have been given.

    I hope that this helps you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and the process may take a little longer, but there are wonderful things waiting for you when you finally get your baby. Take joy in your daughter and don’t lose hope - your baby’s out there waiting for you.

  • Morgann

    Omg I’m so sorry to hear it. This has to be just like having a late term miscarriage only w/o the public sympathy since no one knew you were expecting. My thoughts are with you to stay strong, happy, & optimistic!

  • Lynzy

    I am so sorry for your loss! I had commented earlier on your Instagram regarding adoption and my husband and I have others wanted to adopt (from other countries) as well as have our own if God chooses this path for us. I cant even imagine what it must feel like to have your hopes up and know that you had this beautiful baby boy coming your way and to have it all ripped away from you. My heart goes out to you and I hope that you find comfort in knowing that everything does happen for a reason and that you will grieve and find your way to the baby who is supposed to be in your arms sooner than you even know. Keep your heart open <3

    xx Lynzy

  • Rebecca

    So sorry. I have recently had a miscarriage and you summed it up perfectly with, “I’m so thrilled for all of my friends but slightly more miserable for me.I mean is Facebook one rolling baby and preg belly newsfeed, or what?” My thoughts are with you.

  • Jess

    I understand completely! My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for almost 2 years now, with no luck, due to various issues. I can’t stand to hear one more person say “There’s always adoption.” As if it’s that easy!

    Keep your head up and have faith, the right baby will come to you.

  • Alice @ What I Really Wear

    My heart goes out to you and your husband.

  • Lauren Kramer Goldvasser

    Heartbreaking, Alyson. So sorry……..I just heard a woman on NPR who unfortunately had the same situation happen to her several times :( She wrote a book about her situations, but she does now have a beautiful baby…..I tried to find the name on NPR’s website, but I couldn’t locate it. I thought the name of the book was “Mothers”. Might be worth looking for it………..sorry again.

  • Erika Batista

    Alyson, my heart is heavy as I read this. You are such a brave person for sharing this with us. I nearly have no words but just wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my prayers. I trust that good people always get their blessings sent their way, and I trust that you will be blessed with a son one day.

  • Rose

    Reading your story made my heart break for you! It’s hard not to get your hopes up, and realistically you had to start planning when it seemed like it was going to happen so soon. You sound like you are doing the best you can under the circumstances and not letting yourself get bitter, which is the important thing. Having already gone through a pregnancy yourself, I’m sure you can imagine the emotions the other woman was feeling, too. This just means it wasn’t your time, but it will be soon, I’m sure! You’re a wonderful person and you deserve the best.

  • Diana

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can relate to you. In my case, I’ve been trying to get pregnant for about 3 years now and no luck for me. About 2 years ago my husband and I decided to do infertility treatments, but unfortunately after only one treatment things backfired on me and my situation went from bad to worse. I had to get an emergency surgery and everything and today, God knows if I will ever get pregnant. I have so many mixed feelings that I can’t really share with anyone because it seems like getting pregnant is the easiest thing in the world for other people and for me it is such a hassle. I’ve been married for 5 years and 2 years ago my husband and I bought this beautiful big house with four bedrooms and a lot of space for children to run and play… children that now we are not sure if we will have. Anyway, I just felt like letting my feelings out for a moment. I guess we just need to be strong and hope for the best. We need to put our faith in God because He knows all things. May God be with you and give you strength!!

  • Carly

    I haven’t been by in a while…and got chills just about everywhere reading this…I can’t even imagine your disappointment and the struggle that you are going through. How vulnerable and courageous of you to share your journey…I know so many women who must be reading this and it is helping THEM heal and recover….very selfless of you…when the time is right you will have that second baby and he/she will be loved extra special for sure:) C

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  • Stylish Housewife

    I am so sorry Alyson. I can not even imagine the disappointment and heartbreak you must be going through. Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you.

  • PinQue

    Alyson, I am so so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story and know that all of your blog readers are thinking about you!

  • Nicole

    I am so sorry for your loss. Loss is loss it doesnt matter the origin. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Anne-Marie

    Thanks for sharing…we just recently adopted after many years of infertility…our birth mother was certain in her decision, but the knowledge they can change their mind is always there. I understand loss through infertility…and I will be praying for your strength and for peace to fill in the spaces where all of your hurt is.

  • Shelli Aderman

    Our seven year old daughter was our ninth “situation.” Our son was our third. This shit ain’t easy.

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  • lace1010

    I’m so sorry Alyson, I missed this post last summer. I don’t know how. But the timing in my life to read this now couldn’t be more appropriate. I too recently lost a son (18 weeks gestation) due to a severe form of Spina Bifida, which appears to be hereditary (my brother also was born with spina bifida and died at 7 months old). I’m heart broken. It’s hard to communicate the pain without divulging all the details, but know that it was the hardest most difficult time of my life and I don’t know that I will ever get over it. But, as I sit here and write this it occurred to me just now that a mother would never be able to get over the loss of a child whether its 8 weeks gestation, 18 weeks gestation, 2 months old, days from adoption or 10 years old. Not ever. So perhaps having this expectation of forgetting and moving on is truly unrealistic of me and unfair to put on myself. Being a mom is amazing, but having the heart of a mother is so much more complicated and scary than I ever could have imagined.

    Having dealt with my fair share of infertility it has always been so mazing to me how babies just happen naturally, it truly is a miracle. And now more amazing how they happen naturally and are healthy.

    Thanks for this post Alyson, I needed it tonight and I’m so very sorry I didn’t respond last June. I’m glad your family is complete now, just 10 months later. Sometimes things are just not meant to be and sometimes things are. We both have learned this lesson this year. XOXO

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