Sunday, December 31, 2006

The "D" update

Friends and family,

It has been a month since Roe was given to another family. I have decided to again enlist the informal technology of email to update you on the past months events. The last email worked out vastly better than I could have imagined.

Dates:
Nov. 5th 2006 – Lara notified me she was leaving me.
Nov. 20th 2006 – Lara left for Oregon, where she will be living.
Dec. 1st 2006 – Roe was given to another family.

After deciding that honesty was the best route in regards to Roe’s adoption and it’s relation to our disintegrating marriage, I began to have second thoughts. Lara, deciding that it would be easier for her to say goodbye to Roe knowing he would be with me then to leave him with two strangers, left as soon as she had made arrangements. Roe and I were able to spend some time alone together. As I mentioned earlier, I was doubting whether, honesty in this matter was the best decision. I struggled with this for several days, because, had we not been honest we would have been able to keep Roe. He would have been raised by both of us, sharing holidays, traveling on the weekends. In the end I decided that was selfishness, and that Roe definitely deserved a better up bringing then one split between two worlds.
A couple of days after Lara left though, I started to think. What if I just raised him? What if I adopted him as a single father? I undoubtedly would be married again in a few years, and financially I was better equipped then most single parents. Legally it would be possible, Lara left the state, I could take care of him in a “Foster” capacity, and then once the divorce was final I could simply adopt Roe. The only problem was the policy‘s of the adoption agency, LDS Family services, which I explained in my first letter. I found myself up at night thinking, “Have I done everything I can here.” Not being able to answer “yes” I called my social worker and told her, “I am not satisfied with this decision, I want to talk to the top guy. The guy who actually makes the final decision. I want to be able to make my case to him as to why I think Roe should remain with me, and then have him tell me no.” My social worker told me that there would be no chance for a different outcome but that she would do what she could. She called me back that day and told me that, to her surprise I would be granted an audience with the Assistant Commissioner the following day.
I arrived ready to sell myself as a single father, with my Parents and Bishop in tow to support me. We sat down in a big conference room and the Assistant Commissioner informed me that the actual Commissioner wanted to join us and hear my case. I was thrilled, as this truly was the top guy. We met for about an hour, and had a tearful and sincere exchange. In the end, the Commissioner, moved by my peculiar situation, tearfully said that “he would need a few days to do some research, to fast and to pray, and that he would ask the Lord to guide him in what was best for Roe.” I had a peaceful feeling come over me for the first time since Lara broke the terrible news to me weeks ago. I felt confident that this man would seek the Lords guidance in this matter, I felt that I could accept the Lords decision, and for the next few days I prayed daily and fasted more than is healthy that I would be able to have faith that the Lords hand was in this. The next few days with Roe were terrific. We had such an opportunity to bond and, I swear that little 6 month old knew far better what was going on than I gave him credit for. He did a great job of making our time together very happy.
We met with the Commissioner to hear the final decision… he stated that he felt strongly that Roe should be placed with another family. I was crushed, with only a faint feeling in my heart that this was the right thing. I didn’t like it, I still don’t. I didn’t agree with the decision, and I still don’t. I do however trust in God, I trust that he loves Roe more than I do. I trust that his hand was in this decision and that this is what he wants. I suppose that if I agreed with the Lord I wouldn’t have to trust him.
The Agency wanted the solution to be swift, and gave me 24 hours. I spent one final night with my son, it was hard. The next day I met Roe’s new parents, they are very nice. We spoke briefly about Roe’s likes, dislikes, schedule, etc. The agency was very sympathetic and granted me whatever time I felt I needed to say goodbye. I said my goodbyes and left. It was awful. I was not prepared. I took the next three days and locked myself in my house; I didn’t answer the phone, the door or anything.

Since my original email, I have purposely been avoiding you my friends and family. I have not answered the phone or the door. I have not responded to your emails, voicemails, or text messages. I would apologize, but I am not really sorry. I do however appreciate those many of you who have tried in spite of my lack of effort. I needed some time to collect my thoughts on the matter. I am happy to inform you that I am finished with that phase of this situation. I’m completely comfortable talking about what happened and expressing what my feelings are… however I would like to take this opportunity to cover most of the main points to cut down on repeated individual conversations. Here are some of my specific thoughts and some conclusions I have thus far come to.

I am having a difficult time composing this portion of the letter –my thoughts and feelings– I can’t seem to figure out how to make it flow properly and I apologize that it may seem bunched and choppy.

About Lara:
I miss Lara desperately. She has become the subject of nearly every sad love song I have ever heard. The rejection I feel has probably hit me harder than anything about this. She is the love of my life, “the one.” It feels pathetic, but in spite of all that happened I still love her. Every time the doorbell rings my hearts skips in hopes that maybe she was back. Regardless of what has happened, and what the future brings I cannot abandon the fact that Lara, up till now has been the focal point of the best 4 years of my life. I have no regrets and if I could go back to the day I proposed to her, knowing what I know now I would change very little, even if I was certain the end result would be the same.
I know what some of you are thinking, especially those close to the situation. I must maintain however that Lara and I cannot be together - ever again… I know that sounds contradictory to what I just wrote, but if Lara were to suddenly change her mind again, and try to come back in to my life now, I could not accept it. I will not allow it. This event has caused a rift that I have thus far decided can not be overcome. With the terrible things that have been said, and the loss of our son, there is no way we could be together again in this life. I do not hate Lara, I am not angry with her. In fact I kind of wish I was it would be much easier to deal with, but because of what I know, I cannot be… I would ask of you, that you trust me when I ask you to bare no malice or distain for Lara. Fault is something to easily thrown around, and though I will not illuminate you as to the reasons she can’t be blamed, believe me when I say this isn’t Lara’s fault. She needs your prayers even more than I do.

About Roe:
This subject is so painful I debate even writing anything. Roe was taken from me against my will. Lara chose to end our marriage, and in effect our family. The only choice I had to make was whether or not to be honest. I will probably struggle with regret over that decision for the rest of my life. After all as a result of that decision, Roe was taken away. I am tired of people comparing me to those noble people like birth mothers who selflessly give their sons up for adoption, or even Abraham from the Old Testament who was willing to sacrifice his son upon the Lords command. I did no such thing. I fought to the last minute to keep Roe. The only other thing I could have done was run to Mexico or something. Obviously I didn’t, but I made it to Spanish Fork one day. As I explained earlier I do not agree with the decision that was made. I feel like my son has died. It is such a painful thought that I can’t even type this sentence without crying. I spend a good 10 to 30 minutes each day just looking a photo’s of him and getting a good cry out, so that it doesn’t catch me off guard later in the day. His adoptive parents and I pretty much have zero in common. He will not become the person he would have with me. His name will be changed and he will be molded by the environment he is raised in like we all are. The boy that would have been will not be, and in that respect he has passed away. It feels worse than a death, it’s more like a never was…
Once again, even with the pain, if I could go back to that fateful two months where we fought against all odds to adopt Roe I would do it without hesitation. I cannot even articulate the immense joy and happiness that he brought into my life. If I could be his father for six months knowing he would be taken, I would do it 1000 times over. It has been the greatest experience in my life

About the future:
Now that I have been completely honest with the way I am feeling… it sounds pretty grim huh? It’s not so bad. I am glad this has happened so close to Christmas and Thanksgiving. For two reasons… the first is simply that it would be rough for this to happen in say May, and then after having six months to put things behind me having to deal with the first Holidays without them. It was nice to get all of that out of the way in the first month of mourning. The second reason is because it has given me an opportunity to reflect on the fact that in spite of all that is happening to me, there are many many people on this planet less fortunate than I. Probably a larger percentage of people than we like to admit, deal with things that make even my current problems pale in comparison.
I am sad to say that I am not extremely confident that things will get better, that I will be happy, and find love again. Everyone says I will though, and I know a lot of people who have been divorced or lost a child that have. Even though I can’t see it happening, it probably will. So I am happy to pretend that that is the truth. In fact I am going to pretend that this whole business happened six months ago. I have already spent two months in misery; it has to be over… I am not getting any younger and have come to truly value time. Time definitely won’t wait for me to feel better. When you and I speak, I will be pretending and hope you can respect that. You will say “How you doing?” I won’t say “Depressed, heartbroken, and lonely.” I will say “good!” I implore you not to press me there and say something like “No, John, really how are you?” After all I think I laid it out pretty clearly in this letter. Just pretend with me, I am not talking about hiding it away and never discussing it, but just acting like it is old news, like it happened six months or a year ago. I think that will make things much less awkward for the both of us.
One other request I have, please, please, please don’t feel like you have to walk on eggshells around me. Example: You have a young son, we are hanging out, and you say “Yesterday boy was so cute, I am so glad to be a father— then you go and apologize, thinking that you have just stuck your foot in your mouth. I’m not kidding this is the most irritating sort of thing. I am not a 2-dimensional character in some bad movie that is going to furrow my brow and never forgive you for surfacing such unbearable pain. You cannot hurt my feelings, say the wrong thing, offend, or make me feel bad for myself. In fact, as I mentioned before humor is just the medicine I respond most effectively too.
I am done being alone. Please call me, come over. I am going to move on, ready or not, and realize I can’t do it alone. Just be aware that I am not quite ready to be set up with your attractive-independently wealthy-culinary minded-happy to clean up after me-witty-single (female) friends just yet. I would suggest you not want to be the first in line anyway, undoubtedly the first two or three girls I go out with wont stand a chance and will only help to enable me to get over my marriage. Just good solid friendship will do for now.

One final point I would like to mention. Today is the last day of the year 2006. As I review my 2006, obviously it has been the worst year of my life… but I can’t let that over shadow the fact that it has also absolutely been the best year of my life. I was happily married, became a father, bonded with my son, and was living the dream. If I count the good days and the bad, I am at 307 good 58 bad. That’s 84% good! as I mentioned before that’s probably better than most people can say. That’s definitely better than I did in High School. I am a very lucky man, lucky to have all of you there for me and not to have to go through this alone. I apologize for keeping you all at arms length. I feel a little selfish because I know that Lara and Roe were a big part of many of your lives’. I know that this is a big loss for you too, and that maybe you are having a hard time coping… If there is anything I can do, don’t hesitate, I want you to know that if you need to talk about it I am all ears, I can’t imagine what you are going through and want you to know that I am praying for you… seriously, if you need anything… seriously…

Again pass this on, the more people that read it the less I have to repeat it.

Tomorrow is a new year, a new beginning. I intend to make the most of it.

love

JOHN

PS: My home is incredibly messy, I have not made a single effort to clean since losing Roe… if you are planning on just stopping by and have a high opinion at all about me and my cleanliness, you may want to rethink coming over… cleaning up is part of the new beginning so give me a few days if that matters to you. If not, I won’t be embarrassed so consider yourself welcome and warned.

4 comments:

Laura Lee said...

Thanks for including this on your blog, John. Of course I’ve been curious about this story and of course I’ve been hesitant to ask, unsure as to what would be appropriate. If you remember, one of my favorite things about you is that you are candid, yet well-spoken and that is manifested in these entries. I admire your ability to be so open and like I’ve said before, you’re a great story teller and I can hear your voice when I read your writing.

I’m reading your chronicles thinking, “Is this for real?” I mean, I know so many things can go wrong with adoption, but I’m impressed by your calm and composure when answering and dealing with difficult questions during the adoption process. I think you’re a great person and I hope you know that even when I give you what you interpret as “judging” looks. That’s a whole lot of stress for 2007. I’m hope you’re feeling good about your 2008.

As heartbreaking as this is, I can come away with a bit of information that makes me smile, and that is knowing you crochet.

Emily said...

If there ever were a right way to handle a divorce... you did the best out of anyone I have ever seen.

Cameron's Corner said...

I know we've talked about this before, but after reading Laura's comment, you two should seriously hook up.

Actually, I just thought that she might have checked the "email follow-up comments" box and will actually read this.

But maybe she didn't check the box and this will forever go unnoticed by her. Either way... my opinion is the same.

Pet Giraffe said...

I want you to know, that I don't know you personally, however I must type to you the following.

I am not a very good christian. I believe in God, and I occasionally thank him for..ya know... stuff. Being alive, inspiring people to invent things, like my blackberry and Wi-Fi, salsa with heavy cilantro, competitive sports, stuff I shouldn't probably even bother thanking him for.

But your steadfast belief that Gods will is the best one, has moved me in a place I don't think I've ever felt movement before. I have a daughter that is six months old, and her mother and I are not together, despite my valiant efforts. I didn't start praying to pull us together as a single family until recently, and it hasn't changed much. When it doesn't work, I spat at God. Why would he let me love someone, and have a perfect darling daughter, if his will is to not let us be together.

Then I pray for forgiveness for feeling that way, and before I know it, her and I and our daughter are making trips to the zoo, having the time of our lives. I've started coming to a realization that I enjoy my life better whan I DO submit to his will. If we get married, I'd love it. But if we don't, the trust I place in God guides me through it. Sure its not easy sailing sometimes, but my patience and faith actually heals me as I'm being hurt.

I wish I were your best friend, because you are truly someone I would support. I am about to donate to help you save your house. The world needs more christians like you, who are willing to sing Gods praises despite your suffering. It is all too rare that you exist. You are like a Holy Anomaly of this time. I truly believe your faith will pay off 10,000 fold. You are currently my hero.