Certainly it started 'simply' enough, with the decision that it was time to start a family. We were ready emotionally and financially, and secure enough in our marriage and our love to have plenty of space to share - our hearts and our lives.
Nonetheless, we had much to learn... like how to -
- Remain patient as the endless, painful months passed by with no result
- Stay optimistic, month after unsuccessful month, as hopes were dashed, time and time again
- Retain sanity when the mind tricks the body into a 'mock' pregnancy for a brief period (for days... and now and then, even several weeks)
- Continue to knit and crochet all the tiny, intricately patterned and detailed baby clothes and rugs, with no precious bundle to wrap inside.
- Cope with the interminable testing and experimentation that were medically required to answer potentially problematic questions.
- Answer civilly (and cheerfully) the insensitive questions asked many times -
"aren't you two ever going to start a family?", and
"don't you want to have children?", and
"there are more important things in life than making lots of money... you
know?", etc. etc.
AND decisions to make -
- Continuing even more intensive and intrusive investigation of our failure? We chose not.
- Artificial Insemination? Tricky, in those days. We chose not.
- IVF was not yet even a viable option - still firmly in the 'experimental' stage - and rarely successful. We did not see ourselves as 'guinea pigs'.
- Remain childless? We chose not.
- Regulated and prescribed sex because 'the time is ideal... NOW' Well-ll-ll... Nope! (without spontaneity, what is Love?)
- Adoption? Yes - because that felt fair to both of us.
And now it was time for acceptance... of further -
- Questions and more paperwork and investigation and more questions... and waiting.
- Waiting... and proof of health and wealth - of marriage - of living standards.
- Waiting... and proving over and over why we wanted children/how we would function as a family/how we would face problems as they would arise/why we had chosen not to make any of the other choices - and all of this repeated over and over many times to different 'experts'.
- Waiting... for a new-born baby for several years and then finally and painfully making a different choice.
We carefully and thoroughly investigated the ramifications of adopting a 'special needs' child. This 'category' encompassed children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities. Being farmers and living far from specialized medical expertise, we discounted the first two and concentrated on 'emotional' disability. We believed we could cope - and we were reassured by the Government adoption authority that advice, support and direction would be fully available to us.
Over the next 3½ years, we adopted three 'special needs' children - all emotionally damaged from being placed 'into care' by their genetic mothers - months (even more than 4 years) after their respective births. Oh yes... and the promised Government support, etc... well-ll-ll... it was like most of their promises, wasn't it? Nothing there when the needs presented - and we were left to battle on alone. And all those precious little 'hand-knits'? All given away to family, friends, charity.
Despite the odds, we had supreme belief that Love and security could conquer all... that the emotional pain of our 'babes in the woods' would slowly ease, like a fading scar. For many years, that's how our little family seemed to be unfolding - and like a butterfly - emerging and developing.
I wish I could tell you about a fairy-tale ending - but Life rarely 'pans out' like that, unfortunately. What I can tell you is that three adults are alive today - partners and parents themselves now - and all believed to be as happy and successful as they choose to be. We know first-hand that this is true of the one we still share our lives with - and one precious and beautiful grandchild - both gracious recipients of our continuing love and devotion.
The pain of this loss has been intense - but finally, these two who are missing from our lives have brought us to our greatest and most important acceptance - that others come into your Life -
"... For a reason,
We believe the reason was their need, the season was their 'growing up', and the forever is in our hearts and memories... maybe theirs, too... sometimes.