To tell my story, I have to go back one day.... to yesterday. Yesterday on facebook, I put on my profile
Charity Roach is... "wondering when we will get the referral for our little girl... if anyone on Facebook knows, please clue me in" (Monday)
If someone would have said "tomorrow" I would have laughed. Loudly. Hysterically. Probably for a really long time. We have been waiting on this adoption for FOREVER, it would not happen tomorrow (today).
Fast forward to today. My profile comment was:
Charity Roach....is thinking that it sure feels like a Monday!!! Bad start to my work day.... it feels like I just sat down and the day is half over! (Tuesday - today)
It only got better from there. I logged into my work computer at about 7:40 today. At 7:49 I got an e-mail from global quality. A complaint. The e-mail simply said "Charity, please take care of this complaint". Sure, no problem... I had nothing else to do today. Nothing else planned. And ok, it's my job... I'll take care of it. I read the details. It was a complaint from a batch that was manufactured TEN years ago. Seriously TEN YEARS AGO??? In 2000! Cameron was barely born. He wasn't eating solid food... and I'm getting a complaint about this? I won't go into the details, but let's just say that it won't be an easy complaint investigation. The people who worked on the batch are no longer at the company. The management is, so they have some information, but the process techs - they have moved on. I had to get the batch book out of warehouse storage to even start the investigation. We don't send them to long term storage for usually five years. After five years we figure we won't need to access them. Wrong. This batch from 10 years ago is going to impact our metrics TODAY! I get bothered by complaints that are for batches that happened on something other than my watch... and seriously... ten years ago??? Oh well, the nature of the business, I guess. So, I dropped everything that I had planned for today and started a complaint investigation. I actually enjoy these investigations but don't like the time pressure you are under to resolve them. I always find them a bit fascinating... kinda sick, I know, but I guess that's why I'm in Quality. Many of my colleagues would agree that it takes a very "special" person to love my job... and I do love it.
So, I spent the day investigating. I managed to make it to ONE meeting that I had previously scheduled for today. It was scheduled for 1/2 hour. I was back at my office 2 hours later... nice. The meeting was for 1:30... back at my desk at 3:30. Complaint days are never good days... thankfully we don't have many!
Before I left for my meeting I had sent some e-mails to individuals regarding the complaint, hoping they could provide me with some additional information. I had requested that some materials be returned to us from the formulation site to help facilite the investigation - I was hoping I would have gotten some answers and confirmations that materials would be returned. So, I hop on my e-mail real quick... no responses but there was an interesting e-mail there.....and this is where my day gets worse:
To: Charity Roach.... From: Jane Doe (not her real name :) Re: Referral
Had I sent the agency an e-mail lately asking some silly question about a referral and they were responding.???? I couldn't remember. Maybe they read my Facebook profile comment yesterday and they COULD actually tell me when I was getting a referral. I didn't remember adding them as a "friend" on facebook though. How about I just OPEN it (heart pounding at about 200 beats per minute).
It was a referral. A real referral. I read a little - and then my heart sank. It was a referral for a child we could not accept. My breath was taken away, then given back to me quickly as my heart sank. The little girl has probable special needs. This is the second time this has happened to us. We are NOT expecting a perfect child, but due to my physical limitations due to my vision, it is not feasable for us to accept the referral of a special needs child. I contacted the agency and asked them why we were getting this... this is actually the second time this has happened to us, and it really is not fair. You can't imagine how my heart skipped a beat and did a backflip when I saw the subject of the message.... WAS THIS REALLY IT? OUR REFERRAL???? No, it was not! We had requested a non-special needs child. However, as part of our homestudy, we were asked to include in it that we would accept a child with minor medical needs on a case by case basis just in case there was a situation in which there was a condition that the US embassy thought would be considered "special needs" but could be cleared up with minimal effort. The agency promised me they would clarify this with the staff in Ethiopia. From what I understand it is standard in all of the home studies that my agency provides, so she was not sure why the confusion. She was clear in her e-mail that she understood that we requested non special needs but since the child was presented, she had to present her to us.
It is heartbreaking to say "no" to a child. How do you look into the face (even if it is just a picture) and say NO? It is very hard, but we had to do it. Call me self-centered, call me selfish, call me whatever you want, but as a family, Tim and I have decided that this is not something that we can manage. It would not be fair to our other children, and it wouldn't be fair to the child who would need extra attention and medical care that I would have a difficult time providing while not being able to drive. If something happened to one of our children, we would deal with it... but to go into something knowingly taking on more than you can handle is wrong. So we had to say no. It's the same reason Tim and I have decided not to have a biological child... because that is not what is best for our family (and because I desperately want to adopt). When I had Cameron I lost 50% of what remaining vision I had, the year after his birth. I was told that while it can't be proven, the stress of pregnancy likely contributed to my vision loss. I can't aford to take that risk again. I have about 10 Degrees of vision left - take away 50% of that and I have 5 degrees left. A biological child is not worth the extra burden it would put on my family, and it is not worth the years I would take from myself of enjoying the sight of my children. God can take it away... but I can't choose to. I would love another biological child... don't get me wrong, but there are many other children in the world to love.
So, for a day that started out bad, it went to worse. I cried - not really crying, but the "eyes filling up with tears" sort of thing. Just silent hurt. Adoption is not easy... it is full of emotion. I'm telling you, from my perspective, a pregnancy was MUCH easier....all 41 weeks and three days worth of it. All 22 hours of hard labor of it... All 2 1/2 hours of pushing... all winding up in a c-section... add on top of that the pain of recovery. Much easier than an adoption. People don't adopt to avoid the pain of pregnancy. Not this mom anyway. It's a calling. It's a desire so strong in your heart it almost hurts - well, not almost, it DOES hurt. It's how this family is meant to add to our family.
So, today I pray that tomorrow will be better. Today I pray that we did the right thing. Today I pray that the baby girl offered to us will find a perfect home. Today I thank God for the right to adopt, and thank God for the seed he planted in my heart so long ago. The seed that brought me Anna. The pain of the process is worth the child I will someday call daughter. And today I pray that the next time I see the words "referral" it will be for our daughter - who we can accept.