Nine Months of Emotional Labor
I have been told that during the Iron Age parents would not name their child until it was a year old. The infant mortality rate was so high during ancient times that parents protected their hearts by simply not naming their son or daughter. It was a defense mechanism, a practical survival ploy for the parents, whereby they could shield their heart from attaching to a nameless child that was likely to die.
Today – with the incredibly low infant mortality rate that science and medicine have provided us — we simply don’t have such a problem.
Except, for those of us who adopt, there is a great risk that we could lose our child in the first couple months of our child’s life. And we could be tempted to distance ourselves from the child we’ve fought so hard to bring into our home. We could be tempted to hold back our love so as to protect ourselves from the possibility that he or she could be given back to the birth father or birth mother.
Over the next nine months, Nicki and I will love, care for and attach ourselves to a child that wouldn’t legally be ours. Although it’s unlikely that we will lose Jeremiah, it’s possible. Not probable, but possible.
In our specific situation, the birth father isn’t a part of the picture, but he does seem willing to fight the birth mother’s decision. And although the birthmother is honestly our hero, the birthfather could take away this little gift. If the birth father decides that he wants Jeremiah, if he hires a lawyer, and if he is deemed competent, Jeremiah is his to parent.
Part of me wants to see the birth father as MY enemy. An enemy of my dreams, of my hopes for a family, and enemy of Jeremiah. But then I realize that he’s unintentionally gifted me this little guy that’s tucked into my chest even as I write. No, I want God to bless the birth dad. And I pray for him. I pray for him because I can’t help but love the birth dad. I pray for him, asking God to love on him something awesome.
If he doesn’t sign off his rights, according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, they will terminate in roughly five months. After those five months, Jeremiah will legally be in the custody of our adoption agency for four months. And after those four months are over, we meet with a judge and Jeremiah legally becomes our son.
Its nine months of emotional labor, with these first four to five months being extra taxing on Nicki and I.
We’re jumping all in, though. We’re NOT going to be the parents of the Iron Age and attempt to distance ourselves so as to avoid being hurt by loss. We’re going to love as much as we can, the best we can, with as much of ourselves as we can give. We are going to love Jeremiah Michael Wilde (that is his legal name … a gracious gesture given to us by the birth mother when she filled out the birth certificate). And if we lose Jeremiah, we might have intense pain, but we’ll have no regret.
In the meantime, we’ll love and live and … we’ll fundraise (more on that later).
We SO don’t want to lose him. It’s amazing how much your heart can love in just one week. So, please pray for us. Pray that we’d be “all in” and love without worry. Pray for the birthfather. Pray that God would bless him. And pray that we’d be blessed to have the privilege to legally adopt Jeremiah.
And if you’re not the praying type, send us your love and hope.