Life Can Change on a Dime: Are You Ready?
Recently, I have been feeling a little stuck. There seemed to be too many fires going at once and too little water to put them all out. The result was quite a long break from writing and several knots in my shoulders. This certainly was not the worst period of feeling overwhelmed by life and having no idea how I would ever get unstuck. Still, it reminded me to take a step back and remember another time in my life when infertility felt like a suffocating roadblock that would never resolve, and how ultimately it did resolve through adoption. I started to think about the day I met our daughter’s birth mother–the day my life changed forever. It was the day I met the person who would make me a mom.
At the time, I did not know that this was the moment that would spin my life off into a new direction. I hoped and prayed it was, but was also trying very hard to limit my expectations and curb my hopes. We had invited E. to our home for dinner to meet. This is something that a lot of potential adoptive parents choose not to do because it is more revealing and vulnerable than meeting at, say, a restaurant or a park. But my husband and I felt our home truly reflected what we are about. We love to cook and entertain, and we wanted to share that part of ourselves with someone who was considering placing her child with us. We figured, go big or go home. So, on the day of, I was a mess of nerves. I had cleaned the house from top to bottom. With the smells of homemade pasta and chicken parmesan coming from the kitchen, I paced back and forth peeking out the curtains and trying to remind myself over and over that there were no guarantees. There seemed so many what ifs; it was a little overwhelming to think about.
With my head swimming and my nerves on edge, I finally heard the knock, opened up the door and saw a tiny teenage girl with the cutest little baby bump ever and a smile that lit up our entryway. I was so excited. There were no guarantees that E would like us or we would like her or that her little belly bump (from which I could not pry my eyes) was holding my first-born child. So, I focused on welcoming her in and feeding her some of my husband’s excellent cooking and hoping against hope that she would choose us.
The evening went by in a blur as most life-changing moments do. There was an instant rapport, and we seemed to be on the same page with a lot of things. E had even considered the same and similar baby names as us. She was expressive and intelligent, but a little quiet that night. Her mother, however, grilled us with some very pointed questions, and we seemed to be answering in ways that resonated with them. I remember laughing and trying hard to be very honest and open about ourselves—about our story. Things seemed to be clicking, but could we trust it? Could this bright, beautiful young lady want us to parent her child? It just seemed too good to be true.
Eventually, she did choose us. Today, I listened to my daughter excitedly telling me about the floor-mopping robot she wants to build. I watched her face light up as she explained about how she was going to do it and watched as her brows scrunched in concentration as she worked through some challenge with choosing which supplies she would need. I saw her break into a smile and saw her nose crinkle just like E’s. I turned from my daughter and looked at E, who is visiting for a few days, and saw that same crinkle in her nose. I thought to myself about how I once questioned if I would ever be a mom. It still feels like a miracle that E chose us—that she could bear to make this decision out of love for our daughter and out of respect for herself and out of overwhelming generosity to us.
Looking back on that day now, it is surprising how ordinary a day it was. We opened the door, welcomed in a new friend, and had dinner. And yet, that day changed my life and the lives of everyone in my family and hers forever. I like to pull out this memory when I am feeling stuck now. When it feels like something will never happen or I am having a conflict with someone that feels impossible to unravel, I remember that it only takes one moment—one person—to shift your life in huge ways. This gives me hope.
To all of you who are struggling with infertility, waiting for a diagnosis, or struggling with a conflict that feels overwhelming and hopeless, I hope that you to never give up and to keep opening up the door to your new beginnings. Life can, and does, change. Sometimes the most common and routine activities, like cooking and sharing a home-cooked meal, can lead to the biggest moments of your life. Our job is simply to show up and be open to whatever life is bringing our way even if we won’t know until much later whether this moment was the life changer or just a stepping stone in the process.
If you have a life-changing moment you would like to share, I would love to hear it! We all need to hold on tightly to our moments of change, and to remember them during our moments of doubt. Sharing them is one way to keep them fresh. Thanks! Traci W. Pirri