Fallen through appears to be the accepted term.
Last week I had commented in my reply to an email with the foster mom (we’d been in constant two-day email contact for weeks), that after speaking with H’s therapist I still felt that I was trying to piece together three different jigsaw puzzles of the one child.
“There seems to be something missing because none of the pieces fit to make a whole?” I’d said.
I had also asked her some direct questions about some of the things the therapist mentioned a week ago that I’d believed to be no longer an issue.
The email response from the foster mom came as I was just getting into bed, eager to learn more about my future daughter I opened the email and read it on my phone.
My heart stopped beating for a few moments, and a sick feeling began in the pit of my stomach as I read her words…
The missing pieces, the pieces that did make this mish-mashed puzzle come together as one were all there in black and white.
Some of the behaviours that I had been told were old behaviours “she’s a different kid now” were still present, and new information that was not reported anywhere at all was listed.
I couldn’t sleep, all night I tossed and turned, questioning myself.
- Had I missed these messages in the rest of the information I had received?
- Were they there between the lines?
- Had I just wished that these issues were no longer present or did I really get that impression from the information I had been given?
- Was I deluding myself into thinking I could be H’s mom because I wanted it so much?
- Could I still be her mom?
- Could I make all of these things work?
- Could I give her everything she needed and keep both H and her sister safe, loved, protected, and nurtured?
And… finally… after a full sleepless night going over all I’d learned, all I knew, all the documents (yes, I did eventually get up out of bed and go through every piece of paper, every email, every thing I’d learned so far)…
The understanding sunk in that I was not equipped to be H’s mom.
She needed someone who would be available to her 24 hours a day, every day, for the foreseeable future. She needed a stay at home mom with a large support network, preferably with another parent in the home. Before and after school care was not going to work for her needs, and my full-time job would not be a match.
I sent a text message to my SW, “Can we talk as soon as possible, it’s important.”
Then I went to work, exhausted, drained, and sad.
All morning I thought “please don’t ask me anything about the adoption…” because everyone I work with now knew I was adopting H & B, I had announced it after signing the paperwork and being “confirmed”. Thankfully no one did.
My SW texted me back mid-morning and said to call her during my lunch break.
When I called I told her about the things I’d learned the night before from the foster mom.
She agreed with me that H’s needs were beyond what I could provide, and apologized that she didn’t know these things beforehand. “If I’d known this in the beginning I would never have matched her with you, I’m so sorry.”
My SW had also received an urgent message from H’s SW that same morning with different news… someone in B’s family had come forward and wanted to adopt her (alone).
While I felt relief that my SW was supportive and agreed completely with this decision to step back from adopting H, I felt a bit lost after our conversation and sent a follow up email…
“Is that it then? Do I tell people it’s fallen through? Do I cancel the vacation time I’d booked to meet H?”
They were all questions to which I knew the answer, and my SW didn’t reply – perhaps out of experience, knowing that I knew the answers already and knowing this was part of the grieving process. And perhaps because she didn’t have the words to say any more than she’d already spoken… I’m sorry.
She did send me an email invitation to a matching event, which happens to be the same weekend that was going to be my first meeting with H & B.
I accepted the invitation.
Later that evening I sat down and wrote a heartfelt email to H’s foster mom, thanking her for her support, thanking her for providing me with the information needed to make a decision that was best for H and her care. I told her I would miss the updates, miss hearing about H and all of her progress, and miss the stories of what she had done that made the foster mom smile that day. I was sad I wouldn’t get to meet her, see her grow, love her, and nurture her.
She replied, she understood and was sorry too that this wouldn’t be going ahead, but also thankful that we didn’t go ahead anyway if it wasn’t the right fit.
I felt the same way.
H is in a good foster placement right now and while it isn’t permanent, it is loving, it is supportive, and nurturing, they love her unconditionally – and they are both retired and able to devote all of their time to her one-on-one. She is in a good place right now with them, and I hope that perhaps she can stay there long-term.
It took me 48 hours to tell the people around me (other than my family who I told the day it happened).
I am sad but I believe this was the right decision for us all.
I am not equipped to provide the kind of support H needs and she is in a good place right now with people who are able to provide. And B is going to be adopted by relatives.
For the girls, it is going to work out just fine. And neither one of them ever knew I existed; we hadn’t got to that part yet, so they are none-the-wiser.
Only my heart is sad for this loss.
The loss of a dream… the loss of an image of a family I had created with the knowledge I had at the time. But a dream it was, not at all an accurate picture of how our life would have played out.
I learn from this experience, I take away valuable growth and new understanding.
Now I know that I would consider a child as young as 18 months and was eagerly looking forward to getting the opportunity. Because of this, I have lowered my range with the Ministry to incorporate that age group.
Now I know more clearly my limitations; I know that I am capable of taking a step back if I feel that I am not equipped. I am able to make the hard choices that are the best for all involved.
Until this experience, I was closed off to children under 4, and I was uncertain if I could step back from something that wasn’t a good fit.
These are good things to know, and I am grateful for the knowledge.
Now I look to the future and the children who are waiting there for me.
Whoever they are I am ready to be their mom. I am clearer, I am stronger, I am more ready than I was before this experience.
Perhaps they needed a little more time where they were before I found them.
Perhaps I needed the time to be open to the younger age group in order to accept them.
Only time will tell.
Time is what I have…
And… perhaps all of life is playing out in perfectly orchestrated harmony.
Warm smiles and Love,
Ali Jayne 🙂