Just this past week, a potential adoption fell through. This one was particularly hard because it was pretty damn close to happening. A month of meetings and planning and talking about it a lot. It felt so for sure that I even did what my counselor told me not to do…buy a crib. I know, I know. But Restoration Hardware was having a sale! And you know, I thought it would be cool if the baby had somewhere to sleep.
Not sure we need to dive into all the emotions here, because as I am sure you can imagine, it felt pretty bad. Disappointment (in letting myself get attached), empathy (I couldn’t stop thinking about the birth parents’ hard decision), and regret (for buying stuff) come to mind. I also felt pretty angry. I was mad at the time that was lost. I felt angry that I invested so much emotional energy in something that didn’t even happen. And if I’m being totally real, I’m angry (and a little nervous) that I have to go through this process again. But that’s not really what I want to talk about. I want to talk about how other people reacted to the news.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this experience is how people react to difficult situations like these. Your friends and family want to be supportive and say the right thing, but sometimes you don’t want them waxing philosophical or giving you the standard “everything happens for a reason” or “this will pass” or “the universe has a plan for you.” Some people like to hear these things. And maybe I’m a total dick for saying this – but I don’t. I’m so grateful for all of the people in my life that care about me, and maybe most people have no idea what to say – so they stick to the standards. But in that moment, a response like that feels like it minimizes what I’m actually feeling. It feels like putting a little Hello Kitty Band-aid on my big ugly wound. And if this is the plan from the universe, let’s just acknowledge that the plan doesn’t feel all that cool right now.
In a perfect world, people close to me would respond with “F*CK, what can I do?” or “Damn. Ok. You ok?” or “Want to go drink tequila?” or “Let’s go to Hawaii, my treat” (ok, that one is a stretch). Or simply, “I’m here. And I love you.” And there were definitely a few that did. Which was really nice.
It also made me think about how I react to other people’s shit-hits-the-fan situations – losing a job, a breakup, an illness. What do people actually want to hear? Maybe not what I think they want to hear. Maybe it’s just letting them know we can talk (or not talk) and that I love them. Or that I’m not sure what to say, but that I’m here when they need me. At least that’s what I want right now.
And all of this today reminded me of this awesome Brene Brown video I found last year. It goes through the six types of friend reactions to your shit-hits-the-fan stories. It’s real. It’s touching. And for some reason, it just felt so perfect for today. Watching this again made me really think about the peeps I like to share with and how special they are. And how I might be a better friend on the receiving end next time. Please click on over, watch it for me, and then share with someone else.
Love you guys.
Read part one of my adoption journey: My Decision To Adopt.