When opportunity knocks and you don’t answer
posted by: Lori Holden
In January of 2003 I took a crash course on bi-polar disorder in children.
In a weekly email, our adoption agency told us and other waiting families about a situation. Normally it doesn’t happen this way. Normally, a couple waiting to adopt eagerly awaits The Call announcing they’d been chosen to parent a newborn.
But when circumstances are less than ideal, rather than show an expectant mother The Book of waiting couples, the agency instead asks waiting couples to opt in. This way, the expectant parents face less risk of being rejected by the couple they choose.
This was one of those situations. Meaghan was considering adoption for her unborn child, due in two weeks. Both Meaghan and the baby’s father seemed iffy on relinquishing. In addition, both parents had bipolar disorder. And some grandparents had it, too.
Should we opt in?
I visited Dr Google and found out there are varying types of bipolar disorder. I talked with a friend who struggles with the least disruptive type, and a friend of a friend who raised a severely bipolar child.
These conversations portrayed a harrowing picture. But in the back of my head, I continued to assert that nurture can triumph over nature, and that being raised in a loving and prepared home could mitigate this devastating (in its severe form) condition.
After much soul searching, Roger and I decided not to place our adoption profile in front of Meaghan. If this had been our first child, we might be able to parent this baby, whom I had already begun to love. But with Tessa to consider, we decided that this baby was not meant for us.
When I told the agency, our counselor let me know that no one else has opted in and that Meaghan was becoming more resolute about placing. Suddenly, the decision had to be made all over again. Was this a sign for us? Was this “our” baby after all? How in the world should we access the wisdom to know what to do?
We’d been waiting nearly five months. What if this was our one chance? Would we be “punished” for turning away from this situation by never being chosen again?
Ultimately we stuck with our original decision. I cried many tears during and after, praying that Meaghan and the baby would end up well taken care of.
What might you have done and why?