with identical twin girls.
However, five months in I developed Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and subsequently, an incompetent cervix, followed by Preeclampsia. I struggled for a time period in the hospital but June 3, Iris and Ivy were born and died 20 minutes and 1 hour after birth.
I took the summer off of teaching and sat for hours on my sun porch, sometimes doing nothing more than listening to neighborhood church chimes ring in each half hour as I lay on my couch feeling numb. One day I found myself searching on the internet for jobs. I didn’t want a different job. I loved my job teaching English to adult refugees. But I realized I was searching for a job as a Mom. Not really, of course. I wasn’t typing in “MOM jobs” on Google. But there was a longing.
While at the orphanage, Chris and I spent every day playing with children and holding babies. I loved on those kiddos with everything stored up in me.
There is always enough, no need to save it for “MY” baby. I listened to African women share their stories of loss. It is a common part of life there to experience great and reoccurring suffering, including death of many children. Yet the women didn’t downplay my grief, they shared in mine, and I in theirs. And every day, they go to work in the orphanage to love on those children as if they are their own.
We had a room almost all painted but that was it. We left the meeting and went shopping at Target. Bought a crib and a pink dress. We didn’t even buy bottles or formula because we were advised to wait until we knew what she took. At noon on Saturday the social worker brought her to our house. Five minutes after the worker left, Aliyah was crying and Chris was racing to the store to get bottles and formula as she was quickly downing the only 4 ounces she came with!
“Well, it’s only been a week. You can’t be that attached, can you Anna?” Let me ask you how long it took for you to be protective and bonded to YOUR child?
We knew what we signed up for. We knew our first job was to mentor and support the birth parents and send Aliyah back to them or if the situation turned, to be willing to adopt. But it wasn’t possible to find a way to love her only a portion while holding some back.
And as I sat crying with a social worker, frustrated over my own struggle, she reassured me I was doing everything right. “You can’t hold anything back. She needs you to attach to her so she can attach back.” As our situation progressed, Aliyah was officially adopted into our family 1 year and 3 months after joining our family.
I was pregnant again during this time period but had another miscarriage. I want the babies I’ve lost. I don’t understand. I want them AND her. But I wouldn’t trade her for 10 biological babies.
And so we continue, currently with another placement, in all of its mix of exciting and scary unknowns. But not as our plan B. If God blesses us with bio children, great. But we will still continue to do foster care and adoption in some capacity. Because children are crying for love and stability and because we want to share in the sufferings of others. Won’t you also consider it?