When Mourning Comes

This week has been rough. It has been one in which we were packing baby clothes, mentally and emotionally preparing to head out to Arizona, and getting more and more excited to meet the little girl that we have been dreaming about and loving for the past two months, when I got a call from our social worker saying that plans had changed and that sweet Little Girl would not be joining our family.

In that moment, it was like the world stopped. For reasons that I will not explain here, this adoption was one that wasn't supposed to be interrupted, there seemed to be only one route that it could take. Every person involved seemed to be in shock over the progression of events, and knowing that there was absolutely nothing we could do has been one of the most difficult things to have to face the last few days. What we do know is that she was born early Wednesday morning and, despite the medical diagnoses, was doing better than expected in the NICU. That was the last piece of news that we got and will ever get about the baby who has made her home in our hearts without us ever having seen her face.

It is weird to process the grief we currently feel. On one hand, I didn't carry her in my body, so the loss is different than one that I would physically be processing, but we loved (and always will love) her like she was ours. V was a woman who we prayed for, supported from afar, and mourned with as she mourned and wrestled with the medical diagnoses that she continued to be faced with. Baby Girl, who we had planned to name Louisa Elliot, was a little girl who we had dreams for. I would spend time imagining meeting her and V in the hospital for the first time, looking down into that little cradle and seeing her head of brown hair. I imagined giving V the gifts that we had for her, wanting so badly for her to tangibly feel and know how much we loved and supported her, to know how brave we thought that she was. I had dreams of our flight home as a family of four, Louisa's head resting against my chest as she was snuggled in the baby sling. We had little clothes picked out just for her, a "lovey" that Ellie picked out herself, and two identical stuffed animals, one for Louisa and one for V so that they would always have a reminder that they were connected to each other. What do we do with the dreams and love that we have held onto so tightly, the hopes we have harbored, the family (including V) that we have envisioned being ours going forward? And how do you allow others to share in your grief when it is a kind of mourning that only a few can understand?

I don't have any answers right now, and I really wish that I did. What I do know is that there will never be another Louisa in our hearts but her. The name "Louisa" means warrior, and with her health issues, we already looked at her as our little warrior, having so much to overcome. "Elliot" means Yahweh is God and is a homage to Elisabeth Elliot, a profound protector of the faith and missionary to a part of the world where I have been and love very much.

The lovey and stuffed animal, even her name will only belong to her in our hearts. We will continue to pray for her and V every day: for her health, for her safety, and that every decision made going forward is made with the health and safety of Louisa in mind. We will pray for V, that she will continue to grow and find a support system who will help her every step of the way as she navigates the path that she has chosen. It is important to note that, while we are heartbroken about how this has played out, we are not angry with V. While we won't ever know or understand why certain decisions were made, we know that she wants to do everything that she can to be the best mother to her daughter. She may never know it, but she became part of our family the moment she chose us and she always will be.

Thursday found us still devastated by the news but so thankful for Ellie and her kind heart. She told me that it was okay to be sad and that we could still pray for "Baby UWeesa (Louisa)."

One thing that has been humbling and amazing during the last few days is how our community has wrapped their arms around us and loved us so well. Only moments after we shared with those dear to us, friends were over bringing flowers and dinner. On Friday, a friend spontaneously brought us all lunch and flowers, going to the park with us to take our mind off things. Later that same afternoon, I heard a knock on the door and opened it to find a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a heart-felt card. These are the friends that came over at a moment's notice to pray with and over us in January when we thought we were going to adopt a little boy, and again when we heard that Louisa was going to have health issues. They have wept for us, encouraged us, supported us and loved us unconditionally. We have never had a community like this one before and we are so, so grateful for them.

Going forward, we will start the waiting process over again, praying for another family who may want to become part of ours. We will also be taking the grieving process step-by-step and day-by-day. We would appreciate prayers and any words of encouragement you might have.



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