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Getting Through The Grief: Family Loss


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From Christian author Laura Christianson's blog comes this heartwrenching account of one birthgrandmother's experience as she struggles to come to terms with her daughter's unexpected decision to place. It is a sad reminder of how semi-closed adoptions serve to further compound losses in the lives of not just birthparents but their extended families, as well:

On June 2, 2007, I received a phone call from my adult daughter, 27, announcing that she had given birth to a baby boy. She had not told anyone she was pregnant.

She is not married and she has had some problems with alcohol so I was understandably concerned. I jumped on a plane and flew to her city. There, I discovered that her boyfriend did not want to marry her or to keep the child.

Over the next two weeks as I struggled to cope with the shock of the unexpected birth, my daughter told me it was too emotionally draining for her to stay with the baby, so I became his sole caregiver. My grandson and I bonded instantly; I was in love after only a few hours. I loved every minute of the feeding, bathing, singing—and yes—even diaper changing. We spent many long nights awake together, me promising him that I would protect him at all costs.

After 10 days my daughter and her boyfriend decided they would place him for adoption. They began reviewing prospective parents and selected a couple. I was told I would be packing his little things and delivering him the following day to his new mommy and daddy.

I lovingly complied, although ever fiber in my body told me to run away and keep him with me. That last night together I never closed my eyes, but stayed awake holding him all night—desperately trying to memorize every feature in his face, as well as his smell, his personality—knowing I would probably never see him again. I cried uncontrollably and prayed non-stop that God would find a way to give me the strength to do what was required of me.

I washed and packed all his clothes and toys and they were taken to a hotel room for safekeeping until the hour of “surrender.” When it was time to surrender this precious angel, I dressed him in the organdy daygown I had bought for him and lovingly wrapped him in an heirloom blanket. I was determined that this little boy would get the proper sendoff.

As I walked the three blocks to the hotel with this precious baby in my arms, I felt as if I was headed to death row and the seconds were ticking off the clock. It was the most surreal experience of my 55 years and I had never felt more alone.

When I met with the adoptive parents for that short hour, we were accompanied by the case worker from their adoption agency. We were instructed prior to meeting that our last names and contact information were not to be shared. I was even asked to redact the baby's name on a prescription he had been prescribed for the treatment of thrush.

I shared with his new parents the details of his eating and sleeping patterns and the notes I had taken to help them stay on his schedule. The adoptive parents were open and loving toward me and obviously felt great empathy for my loss. They both cried (a lot) when they heard the circumstances of the adoption and realized I was in such pain. They knew I didn't want to let go and that I had no power to make any decisions which had led to this moment.

They hugged and thanked me so many times. They agreed to give him the book I had bought and inscribed prior to meeting him as well as the little stuffed lamb which played “Jesus Loves Me.” I gave them a heartfelt letter I had written to him so that one day he will know how much I love him and how much I miss him. And I gave them the most precious gift of all: my beautiful grandson.

They promised he would one day know how much his “Mimi” loves him and how a part of me went with him. They also allowed me to take a photo of them as I handed the little man off to them for safekeeping.

Although I cannot imagine him having a more loving family to grow in, my sorrow and sense of loss has deepened with every passing month. I only have pictures and the few little outfits he wore during our last few hours together to sustain me. They are in a plastic bag and still hold his sweet baby smell.

Although I adore my three other grandchildren (ages 4, 2, and 10 months), sometimes being with them emphasizes the depth of my loss of this little boy, for I am reminded of the reality that I will never hear him call my name or see him reach his little arms up to hug me. Some days I cry all day and others I can handle it without crying. Most nights I cry when I go to the privacy of my bathroom.

I recently learned that I will be allowed to communicate with the family (through the adoption agency) and that the update letters and pictures his parents have sent to the agency are on their way to me. I am so excited to have this connection after five months of being totally cut off from my grandson.

I will have the opportunity to send him something special to go under his Christmas tree this year and something to commemorate his first birthday. After that, I will not be allowed to send letters, pictures, or gifts. I am praying that the family will find a way to allow the gifts to continue past the agency's cut off date and that I am able to gain their trust and confidence.

I only want to be another person available to love him, not to interfere in their lives. I am praying that they will invite me into their lives at some point, and I trust God to take care of that as He sees fit.

My biggest concern is that I may not still be alive when my grandson is old enough to make these decisions for himself. God knows best and I know His plan will unfold for me and for my grandson. For now I am so thankful for His abundance in getting us to this point.

I always will love my grandson, who is 5 months old now, and hope that someday, my opportunity will come to tell him in person.

--- "MARIE"
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Very touching...praying that these (and all) parents through adoption will see that their child deserves to know all those who love him/her, and that is a gift they give not only their child, but themselves.

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Oh, that is a heart wrenching story. I do hope that these adoptive parents will let the contact continue beyond the agency cut off, for all their sakes.

Very touching...praying that these (and all) parents through adoption will see that their child deserves to know all those who love him/her, and that is a gift they give not only their child, but themselves.

So true, Susan.

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Just reading the letter makes your heart hurt for this grandmother. I pray the doors will open for the grandmother. God is Good!

Tracey

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Just reading the letter makes your heart hurt for this grandmother. I pray the doors will open for the grandmother. God is Good!

Tracey

Wow, reading this makes my heart hurt for Nico's grandparents, who don't even know he exists ??......and if they knew, would the outcome of us now having him be different ?? I know grandparents really love their grandchildren......I know my parents and J.C.'s Dad love Nico......That makes me sad.....when I think that M hid her pregnancy from her parents......?? Only God knows what he does........

Saint

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