May 31, 2020
Everything about Little Girl A is big. Her EYES are vibrant blue pools that literally sparkle in the sunlight. They are framed by lashes that, should she ever need glasses, may be problematic because they are so long. Her SMILE is a cliché in that it lights up a room. It is her constant companion and her most important accessory. She knows how to use it to her advantage too. She is the consummate charmer. But it’s genuine. She is happy almost ALL the time and loves everyone. I often wonder if her jaws ever hurt because of the perpetual position her face finds itself. Her PERSONALITY enters the room before she does. You know she is coming. She is not necessarily loud, but she’s definitely enthusiastic. She likes to be in the middle of the excitement because she most likely helped create it. She gives it her all. Her messy disaster of a bedroom is a testament to her going through life like a miniature tornado. She has things to do and no time to deal with unimportant nonsense like making her bed! Little Girl A is also a bit of a drama queen on the rare occasion when she’s not having a good day. Everything is a major production and the tears can flow on command when needed with this one. She’s a bit of a manipulator. Other endearing traits that make her who she is are her love of girly accoutrements like anything pink or purple, wearing a dress, just because, even if she’s bike riding with her buddies, ribbons in her hair, purses, jewelry and the like. She loves nail polish on her toes, but of course, it must be purple. She’s also been known to change her outfit several times a day and unceremoniously deposit the rejected item in the hamper even though it’s been worn for a nano-second. Her older siblings, especially her big brothers, adore her and are very protective of this little one. I am guessing between her daddy and their watchful eyes she and her older sister will never date.
This is the Cliff Notes version of my granddaughter, Little Girl A. (Parents, please explain Cliff Notes to those uninitiated youngsters) She, like all my grandchildren, is the love of my life. She is five years old. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and a smile that goes on forever. But, the biggest thing about her is a HEART that holds abundant and limitless love. She is just kind, caring and empathetic. She has never met a stranger. She and her cousin of the same age are best friends. She gives the best hugs. She loves to cuddle, always has. She hears my car in the driveway and runs out yelling my name because she is so excited to see me. She will be in another room and suddenly decide she wants to find me to give me one of her famous hugs and proclaim, “I love you, Grandma.” She melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.
So, do I plan to devote a blog to each of my grandchildren? I try to never say “never,” but not likely. Let’s face it: all of us with grandchildren are similarly enamored by these wonderful reminders of why we raise our own children. They give us joy without the responsibilities and they allow us to not so secretly chuckle while watching them drive their parents crazy. I have a specific reason for writing this particular blog and its timing is no accident. You see, this sweet little girl is special on many levels, but one in particular and the focus of this blog. My granddaughter, Little Girl A, is adopted. And this will be the first and last time I write about it, because to me, the circumstances of her birth are not what make her special. What matters to me most is that this little girl is one of my grandchildren and I love her with every ounce of my being. A certain perspective and backstory will provide the needed history as to how she came to us. It also underscores a profound sadness coupled with an incredible feeling of joy at her arrival. It is a conundrum I struggle with frequently.
A little background. My daughter and son-in-law had often discussed adopting a child even after having one, two, even three of their own. They are compassionate, giving people and had felt the pull to provide a home to an unwanted baby. But life and frankly finances got in the way. Private adoptions are not cheap, given legal fees, medical bills, sometimes transportation costs, etc. And, like I said, they had no trouble “making babies.” I also believe, on some level, they knew there were so many couples who were not so fortunate and that they should not potentially take their place in the queue of prospective adoptive parents. And, happily, they realized that they would soon welcome sweet Baby J., their fourth child. Their lives were pretty happy and content and all the grandparents were ecstatic at the birth of their newest little one to spoil. And then the unthinkable happened. https://widowspique.blog/2019/09/18/the-worst-day/ I have said this before: it does not get easier and I expect it never will. I will NEVER EVER understand WHY. But this blog is not about that day. If you haven’t read about that day, connect to the link above to better understand and gain a better perspective.
Several months after that most painful day, my daughter and son-in-law made the decision to revisit the idea of adoption. Those who didn’t know them as well as their close loved ones would possibly attribute this to their blinding grief and perhaps a misguided attempt to soften their sadness by “replacing” their son. Not so. They discussed their plans and feelings at length and truly felt that their family was not complete and they, kids included, had so much love to share and wanted to honor their son in heaven by bringing a new brother or sister into the family.
The process began. Lawyers, home inspections, social workers, writing a family statement, providing financial information, taking photos of the family, the dog, the home, answering personal questions on religion, their view of the world, what type of homelife they have, etc., were all part of a long and arduous process. And there were no guarantees. Because this was through a private agency, essentially all prospective parents are placed in a data base to which birth parents are given access. It is from here that the birth parents ultimately choose their soon-to-be-born children’s adoptive parents.
There were missteps and frustration along the way. Months, almost a year had passed since Baby J’s death. Finally, my daughter and son-in-law were matched with a birth mom who had chosen them. They were ecstatic that she was set to give birth in a few short months. They planned to be there (a city in the mid-west) for the birth and after a required several days stay, bring home their new son or daughter. Sadly, it was not meant to be. In hindsight, there were many red flags – missed doctor appointments, lack of communication, calls not returned, unsafe behavior, and other troubling circumstances and poor choices that ultimately led to the adoption not occurring. I know I think of that child often and hope that he/she is living a good life with loving parents. This was a setback that left my daughter and son-in-law very discouraged. Their attorney, however, wisely, and I think, prophetically, comforted them by telling them that these things happen often and that their child had not yet been born.
From my vantage point, I felt extremely helpless. My husband was beginning his downward spiral of what would ultimately be the final year of his life. I offered up prayers and encouragement from afar, but my primary attention and all my energies would need to be devoted to my spouse. We hadn’t seen our grandchildren since the early fall, when we joyfully drove to NC to welcome our younger daughter’s first child, and here it was February 2015. One evening, I was with my husband in a rehabilitation facility where he was recovering from his stroke. When I answered my cell phone, it was my daughter saying “Mom, when it rains, it pours.” I guessed right away that there was a baby. And this baby was due in less than two weeks! Everything fell into place. She was born in North Carolina, a few hours from where my daughter lives and because she was born in-state, she was able to go home with Mommy and Daddy the next day. My granddaughter had arrived! Little Girl A was here! She was perfect and the love we all felt for her was instantaneous.
I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on our sweet little girl but had to wait until she was about six weeks old when the whole family drove to Delaware over Easter break. By then, Grandpa was home from the hospital. I will be forever grateful for that visit. We cannot get that time back. It was precious time that possibly foreshadowed his passing in September 2015.
So that is the story of Little Girl A. Make no mistake, she is a much-loved child, as are all my grandchildren, but sometimes when I look at her, as happy as she makes me, I sometimes experience a tinge of sadness. Perhaps what I struggle with the most is that I cannot, under any scenario, imagine my life without her. I love her so much it hurts. I love all my munchkins so much it hurts. What is most painful for me is knowing that Baby J died. I would give anything to have him back in our lives. I will never get over it. But the stark realization is that if Baby J were still with us today, a happy, active, seven-year-old boy, we would never have our sweet little five-year-old girl who has my heart. It is a cruel dilemma that I face every day of my life. As the seventh anniversary of Baby J entering into God’s arms approaches on June 10, the one thing I do hang onto is a feeling of immense gratitude mixed with profound sadness. I will miss Baby J forever, but I am so very grateful to the young woman, who chose to give us the sweetest little girl with blonde hair, big blue eyes, a smile as welcoming as can be, an open heart, who likes to dress up and wear purple nail polish, and who runs into my arms and says “I love you, Grandma.” I can’t thank her enough.