Grieving the loss of a child that was never ours

This is probably not the most “up beat” post, but likely the most transparent one.  I have been putting off writing this for several days, but I woke up this morning with so many of these thoughts on my mind.

About 2 months ago, Phil and I received an exciting phone call from our agency.  There was a birth mom who had reviewed our profile and wanted to meet us.  We were excited and very much looking forward to this match meeting.  It was 8 days before we could coordinate  everyone’s schedule, but we made the 2 hour drive north on a Wednesday afternoon to meet this birth mom.  Unfortunately, she never showed up for the meeting.  Our agency said that had never happened before, which was not exactly comforting at the time.  We were devastated!  The possibility never occurred to us that she would not show up.  We had a long and emotional drive home.  I cried a lot and thought “why?”.  Why would God even present this opportunity to us.  Why did we have to endure this?  In the midst of many questions, we went back to our normal routine the next day.  As I was leaving work that Thursday, I received a phone call from the agency saying that the birth mom called and still wanted to meet us.  I got excited again and Phil remained very cautious.  We made plans to schedule a Skype session so we would not have to take more time off work and make the 2-hour drive again.  However, the week following that conversation, the birth mom’s phone got disconnected.  We remained hopeful that this was temporary and we could still Skype with her.  This did not happen and the emotional roller coaster continued.  Our emotions were even more heightened since she was due to give birth July 25, just 6 weeks after our first phone call from the agency.  Since we just had a few weeks before the due date, I went into super “get prepared” mode.  I was so hopeful and confident that this was our son.  I packed our “to go” bags the first week of July.  I talked with friends and made a list of the essentials that we would need to survive until we could have our first baby shower.  I finished our Target baby registry and even had Phil install the car seat.  We were hopeful, excited, and ready!  We shared what was happening with our family and some close friends.  In the weeks leading up to the due date, we made few plans.  We wanted to be ready with a moment’s notice to head to the hospital.  Wherever I went, I made sure I could hear my phone ring.  Even though the agency was still unable to get in touch with the birth mom, we felt confident that she would make contact once she went to the hospital for the delivery.  The week of the due date came and went with no phone calls.  It has now been 10 days since the due date and we have heard nothing.

This has been one of the most emotional weeks of my life.  I have told several people that I do not know what to think or feel.  How do we grieve the loss of a child that was never ours?  Is it even appropriate to grieve?  Not only have I been grieving, but also embarrassed.  My pride took a major hit.  I was so confident and so ready – I KNEW this was our son.  I even wrote a letter to our son on July 6.  I was so excited to share with him our journey in the weeks leading up to his birth.  I wanted him to know what I was thinking and feeling.  This is a portion of that letter: “God created you and He created you to be a part of our family.  You are named Ethan Ryan Horn.  Ethan means strong and firm!  It is our prayer that you will be strong and firm in your faith, love, and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is our source of strength and our firm foundation.  Ryan is your Daddy’s middle name.  You share this name to symbolize that you are your Daddy’s son.  Ryan means “little king”.  Daddy is the leader of our home under the rule of Jesus, our King.  He will teach you what it means to be a godly husband and father in the hopes of seeing you as a leader in your home one day.  Horn is your last name.  This shows what bigger family you are a part of.  When you get married, your wife will take Horn as her last name, just like I did when Daddy and I were married.  This means that you and your wife will form a new family.  You will be another generation of Horns, but still part of our heritage. ”

How could I be so confident and at peace and yet be so wrong?  We have known that adoption is God’s plan for our family and we still believe that.  But this baby boy was not to be our son.  How do I process that?  How do I express emotion without letting myself be led by my emotions?  I have cried and cried and cried.  I have felt sorry for myself.  I have been angry.  And I have harbored bitterness and resentment towards others.  And in many ways, I am still struggling with all of those emotions.  This is how I feel.  But, what do I know to be true?

I know that I should “count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance”.  As followers of Christ, we are called to a life of faith.  And without faith, it is impossible to please God.  We are not called to be happy, but joyful.  In Christ, we can be joyful even in some of the darkest moments of life.  I know that we are called to be parents and in God’s perfect timing and manner, He will make that happen for Phil and I.  It is certainly not on our time table or how we want it to happen.  I know that we serve a great, might, holy, and majestic God!  He is the one who parts seas, causes the blind to see, raises the dead to life, and even blesses the barren woman with children.  He knows the number of hairs of my head and the number of days I will live on this earth.  He knows the name of our children.  As I continue to grieve and mourn over the loss of this adoption opportunity, I have to remind myself of these great Biblical truths.

Friends, we so value and appreciate your prayers.  Thank you for your steadfastness with us in this journey.  We have now entered 20 months since we started.  Yes, there are moments when I think I can not endure the race any longer.  I wonder how I will be emotionally ready for the next adoption opportunity.  But, I know that it is not in my strength, but in the power of the One who created me.


About theresoundinghorns

Our journey to parenthood and beyond!
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2 Responses to Grieving the loss of a child that was never ours

  1. Andrea B. says:

    I love your transparency and you. My prayers continue….

  2. Angela W says:

    Your journey has been full of so many emotions that I can’t even begin to understand, but please know that I’m here for you and Phil for whatever you need to make things easier. I don’t know what that entails, but just know that I would do whatever it takes to lighten the load. Love you both.

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