How to Prepare for an Adoption Plan After Grieving the Loss of A Child
By Lauren Madsen // Adoptive Mom
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. I love the feeling of the crisp air on my skin, the smell of harvest in the air, the crunch of leaves beneath my boots and the vibrant hues of orange, red and yellow. The entire season seems to breathe life into my soul. Little did I know my husband and I would welcome our first son, Hunter, into our family on a beautiful day in October. The view from our hospital window revealed an overcast day with a light breeze rustling the brightly colored leaves. It should have been the perfect day to bring a baby into this world; except it wasn’t. I wasn’t due for another four months and we had just been told that our little boy was no longer alive.
Grieving After Infant Loss & Taking Steps Toward Adoption
A week after Hunter passed, my husband and I found ourselves being guided into a room to say our final goodbyes to our son before the funeral. Tears poured silently down my cheeks as I scooped Hunter into my arms one last time, wrapped him in the blanket I had made him, laid him in the casket and then we watched as our son was lowered into the earth. We went home with empty arms and broken hearts. I looked into the room with the unassembled crib and baby clothes and sat in the suffocating silence of the empty nursery, holding the teddy bear with a recording of Hunter’s heartbeat.
Years passed and the nursery stayed empty, even after being pregnant four times. I could never carry full term. I ended up being diagnosed with a condition that made full term pregnancy extremely unlikely. Six surgeries later and after losing our little girl, Hazel, my husband and I weren’t sure what to do. We knew we wanted a family more than anything, but we were so heartbroken from our losses. We had looked into adoption years before, but had put it off because of how expensive adoption seemed, not to mention how emotional we knew the process would be. We finally took the little strength we had left and our small savings and began our adoption journey.
Getting Matched in the Turn of Seasons
Last November, on a beautiful autumn day, we received a message from an expectant mother who was twenty weeks pregnant with a little boy. She wanted to get to know us and shortly after we began speaking, she chose us to be the parents of this little boy. Thanks to this woman, were blessed with our son, Keegan. After years of silence, our home was filled with the sweet sounds of a child. He has warm brown eyes and a smile that can light up the whole room. His laughter is brighter than the color of the red, orange and yellow leaves that once again dance on the trees outside my window.
Continuing the Grieving Process and Finding Joy in Sacrifice
Having another child whether biologically or through adoption does not take away the pain of child lost. I found that the adoption process brought up a lot of my own grief as I thought about the sacrifice a birth mother makes when placing her child for adoption. I constantly had to remind myself that loving another child did not mean I was abandoning the children I had lost. My heart’s capacity for love grew with each pregnancy and the same was true for adoption. My heart and our family grew yet again when Keegan joined our family. The logistics of how our children came to our family is not what matters; the only thing that matters is that we are a family. As Autumn is upon us again, we celebrated Hunter’s third birthday with his younger brother at the pumpkin patch. It was a day filled with tears, laughter, goat kisses, apple cider, and sunflowers. This year our hearts are fuller than ever and our arms are no longer empty.