When I Hit Bottom

When I Hit Bottom December 2, 2013

My husband and I were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to adopt since I am a Unitarian Universalist Pagan. All of our books went under the bed, and I put simple scented candles and a large seashell on my altar. We filled out initial state papers saying I was a UU and he was Spiritual. I wondered about the legality of this, and after nine weeks of foster/adoption classes we found out we didn’t have to include that information. We were honest about my PTSD and our depression.

Everything was going spectacularly. The home inspector said we passed, she liked our class homework, and she even thought we’d have a child in the home by October to begin our six-month trial period toward adoption. I can’t explain how excited Michael and I were. I was dancing around the house, so happy. We moved our bedroom furniture into the office where he works from home. The empty room would eventually belong to a young child new to our lives. I’d peek in and dream of how it would be decorated based on their age and gender. I upgraded my simple altar to one celebrating the Goddess. It had a statue I made of Her with honeybees on her dress.

The final step was a fitness examination, so we visited our primary physician. The only concern he has was our depression. Suddenly Family Services told us we had to have psychological evaluations because of our doctor’s concern. No one had mentioned this before. Why hadn’t they said something in the beginning? I got an exam with a psychiatric nurse which cost me over $1000 dollars, by the way. Diagnosis: PTSD. DUH!

No one in the department had handled a case where the applicant had a mental illness, plus our personal worker was new in general. The matter would have to go to a higher supervisor. In a couple of weeks we got a call. It was about the first week of October. The person working our case, their supervisor, and the top supervisor wanted to meet with us. Mike and I knew this was going to be it: the yes or no answer on if we would be allowed to adopt.

Our worker arrived first. She looked nervous. Not a good sign, I thought. Not a good sign at all. The rest of the group arrived, and we were told that we could not adopt. I had been hospitalized for PTSD too recently. I lost it. Hot tears rolled down my face, and I held Mike. I couldn’t look at any of them, and I barely could talk. I asked, was anything else we could do? One said no, not at this time, but we could try again in a few years. That would risk opening up our hearts again just to face another no. We could drop out and try again or dispute the decision.

If I disputed the decision and failed, there would be a permanent mark on my background check. I wouldn’t be able to substitute teach if that were checked by a potential employer. I love working with kids and didn’t want to give that up.

My life hit bottom and I went through the stages of grief.

No no this isn’t happening. This isn’t happening. My womb doesn’t work and now I’ll never have a child in my life.

Anger: The Family Services people are stupid. They are denying because I was clumsy and set up my Pagan altar! It was discrimination. I was discriminated against because of my disability! Why didn’t the Goddess help me!

Bargaining: I don’t think I went through this stage of feeling I could do anything to make the situation better.

Depression: I didn’t get out of bed except to use the restroom or eat. I cried all of the time. I stopped writing. I just could bare to put the pain on the page. I stopped offering news on Twitter and Google+. I would stare into the empty room with the rocker feeling like my child had died. Then felt guilt and selfish because I was baron and unable to adopt but hadn’t lost a child. Who was I to understand a mother’s pain?

I hope this explains my silence and long retreat.

Acceptance: Michael and I are taking our time. I’m taking time to heal, finish up a writing project, and basically do what I want. My sister has returned to work so I watch her toddler and infant during the day along with her three school aged children in the afternoon. That keeps my hands busy! I’m learning a lot about raising a child while having PTSD and my sister is there to guide me. This is something I wouldn’t have had if the adoption process had moved forward.

Maybe a child we adopt in the future, if we do, will need someone with lots of experience raising a child. After all, children from broken homes often have PTSD or other emotional disorders or develop them.

We can’t see as much as the Gods see.

That’s about all I can write on the topic. Too much more and I get sad again. I am doing a lot better and hope to return to writing here at the Staff of Asclepius.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • kadiera

    That sucks. I’m so sorry.

  • So sorry to hear. Peace to you and Mike.

  • Cat lover

    I’m so sorry for your pain.

  • Sarah Whedon

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Thank you everyone.

  • I’m so sorry to read this. I’m also really surprised, and disappointed by, their decision. I teach Child Welfare at the college level and one of the things that becomes clear over and over again is how very broken the whole system is. It is a terrible shame that they would discriminate against you like this while at the same time there are children who are spending their entire lives in the system. 🙁

  • Tara, I know it’s been a while since you wrote this, but I’ll offer you this story:

    I have never had a child from my own body. I have a stepson whom I love very much and who I have raised since he was three. I feel very much that he is my son and I never correct anyone on the biology. I just don’t care, and I don’t think he does either. But about twelve years ago my husband and I finally decided that we were ready and we tried to have a baby.

    For two years – nothing. Our doctor was less than helpful. “Just keep trying,” he said. I asked about fertility treatments and he urged me to wait because they are expensive. I studied herbalism and took False Unicorn Root and then did a Beltane fertility spell around the maypole and it worked! I was pregnant!

    I was so happy. I made sure I did everything right; I ate right, I started prenatal yoga, I worked out, I got enough sleep. Then three months in, I miscarried.

    It almost destroyed our marriage because it almost destroyed our sex life. Friends said thoughtless things to me. No one seemed to understand my grief. At the time, it absolutely flattened me. I was devastated.

    Three years later, I was at my friend’s house in Vancouver waiting for my husband to live or die in a 14 hour surgery. He’d been in a terrible car accident and they didn’t know if he was going to make it. And I thought to myself, “You know, if I’d had the baby, she would be two right about now.” And I thought about how much harder it would have been to do all of this with a two-year-old in tow! And I thanked the Lady and the Lord that They had more foresight than I did.

    My husband required a long period of recovery and is permanently disabled. I was barely able to finish raising my teenage son and my two nephews. I would not have been capable of handling a small child in all of that. Now, my son and my nephews have all left home, I am 39; and my husband no longer needs as much assistance and we and our partner probably *could* handle a child; but my writing career is just starting to take off and I no longer want to do the baby thing. I now have other gifts to give.

    Perhaps the Goddess has insight that you do not. I don’t believe that “everything happens for a reason”; that undermines genuine, real, and passionate grief. I feel your pain. But I am sure that the gods know that you have other gifts to give.

    Incidentally, I buried the bloodied pads of my miscarriage in my backyard with a plaque with the name I would have given her. I keep a few other things – a photo of me while pregnant, some letters, some baby things, etc. – in a govi box on my altar. And I talk to her all the time.

    Hugs to you.