Wednesday, March 7, 2012

broken hearted.

i've started to write this post about 20 times. and erased it. and started again.
there is no pretty way to say that we lost our son...

Emerson Grey Casteel was born on february 9th, 2012.
because his incredible birth mom allowed us to be present for the birth; I watched him enter the world and take his first breath and cry his first beautiful cry.
for a few hours they would not let me hold or disturb him because he had some fluid on his lungs. i could only hold his tiny hand.
when they finally lay him on my bare chest, i wept with joy i had not known. Steve and i spent the next few days in the hospital falling in love with our beautiful son. holding him skin to skin, which is so good for all babies, but especially good for adopted babies who need to bond with their new parents.



i had induced lactation, so i even got to breast-feed my son, which was so intimate and wonderful. He was a champ at nursing and it was his favorite activity.
After a few days, we found out that Emerson's birth father was interested in raising him. after 2.5 weeks of life with him, we found out that Emerson would not be coming home with us after all.
 (we spent the 2.5 weeks in foster care because in our county you cannot take your baby home until after court proceedings).

its good right, a biological dad wanting to raise his child? of course it is. i don't want to speak poorly of Emerson's birth dad. He was fighting for his son, just like we were fighting for ours.
what's hard, is falling in love with your son, believing with everything within you that he is your son, and then having to say goodbye to him...
its INCREDIBLE how much steve and i loved that boy (still love him) after only 2 weeks with him, in fact after only 2 hours with him, we would have both jumped in front of a bus to save him.

and so, our first adoption...failed. that's what they call it. steve and i have come to hate the words "failed adoption." they sound like we did something wrong. i hope we didn't.

many of you found out through emails and instagrams and twitter, about emerson, and also that i believe in God. though He didn't answer my prayers the way i wanted him to this time, i still believe that he is good. and that he loves me. That he is holding emerson in the palm of his hands. I haven't known how to "out" myself as a god believer-in-er on this blog. it bothers me when people are all Churchy McChurcherson on some blogs, but are not genuine. i don't want to shove stuff in your face, but i also want to be who i really am, someone who loves Jesus.

This grief feels at least TEN times worse than the loss of my father. the loss of a child is just...nearly unbearable. i didn't realize that one person could cry so much. everything in our house reminds us of emerson...the vitamins on my counter to help me produce milk, the couch where i watched "Downton Abbey" and pumped every 3 hours for 2 months. Even our dumb car we bought so we could get him around safely. His room feels like a graveyard of forgotten dreams, i can hardly ever muster the courage to go in there. all the things i thought i had made and prepared for emerson...that he will never see.
  Its hard to know what to even do with myself. because so much of my life was preparing for this little bean. The days are long without emerson on my chest, every moment i wish he was near.

i don't tell you this to receive pity. i just know that many of you knew he was supposed to be born in february and here i was silent. for a month. i thought i should explain.

our friends both near and far have been incredible to us this past month. praying, sending notes, bringing meals and visiting. all of Emerson's grandparents came to meet him, from illinois. and my brother and sister came as well. Everyone LOVED him. you would have loved him too. he was literally the best.

emerson's birth parents have been kind, they've said we can visit him and be a part of his life. i don't know exactly what this will look like, but we do know we'd like to do it. somehow.

steve and i are still as close, no closer than ever. we LOVED being parents together. steve realized how much he loved being dad to a newborn. we will start again, soon. well, maybe not soon, but someday...

the bible says that God is near to the broken hearted. that he works for the good in our lives. and loves us more than we know or could even imagine.  As i cry, and life seems unbearable, i hold on to those things, because i have known them to be true...even when they don't feel true.

well, that's my heart out there for all to see; broken and confused as it is, but trying to hope.
thanks for reading,
m

these pictures were taken by an amazing woman named erica short

46 comments:

  1. The way you wrote this and broke the news here was so graceful, and I'm so sorry for your loss. Glad the baby is alive and hopefully well, but still a great loss to you nonetheless. I'm sure others will mention this to you as well if you don't already know, since the blog world is small, but something similar happened not long ago to Alicia of Posie Gets Cozy. I'm sad that you two are not alone in this.

    http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/2011/11/well-things-fell-apart.html

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  2. It breaks my heart that this happened to you. I have never had a child, so I can't even imagine how it must feel. Some close friends of mine have recently lost a child as well (he unfortunately died before he was born), so I've seen the grief first hand, and it's heart-wrenching. Your attitude about the whole thing is so healthy. You're right, God has a plan, and this was in it. Your lives were greatly enriched by Emerson, even if only for a couple of weeks.

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  3. Maria, my heart goes out to you. Words cannot express.

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  4. I'm so sorry. My heart sank when I read the title of this post. I can't even imagine what you must be feeling right now.

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  5. I wish you both strength and courage to get through this together. I cannot imagine the hole he has left in your lives, but I hope you can find the silver lining eventually. You sound like you're such a strong couple, it's inspirational. x

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  6. Oh my gosh, my heart goes out to you. I'm sitting here at work not trying to cry, but I can't even imagine how this would feel. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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  7. Oh no I am so so sorry. My heart breaks for you. This is one of the main things our adoption center warned us could happen and it's brutal. I'm sorry you have to go through this. I'm glad you have each other and I wish you the very best. I hope you are able to find another little one that you can share your lives with forever. I know the pain probably will never leave with the loss of this little guy but I know you will eventually feel better. xoxo

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  8. i'm a birthmother of an almost-12-year-old (so old, omg) son, and his adoption was the third try for his parents - and involved a lot of last minute screaming and fighting on my part with the birthfather to let the plan go through. reading your blog, my heart ached as i read about your excitement and anticipation of the adoption, knowing so many end up falling apart at the last minute. i don't know if you read the posie gets cozy blog (http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/) but she had the same experience as you, late last fall. i was loathe to comment through your process, not wanting to dampen the joy and anticipation that come as part of the process - but scared for you just the same. i'm so sorry that you've had your hearts broken, but please do know that the future will bring you the family you've been dreaming of, and that this experience might bring you a sense of family in a way you'd never planned. best of luck in healing your hearts right now and keeping them open and tender for what comes next.

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  9. I'm so sorry Maria. I don't have children so can't begin to understand the pain you must be going through but my thoughts are with you.

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  10. Wow, what a beautiful post. You really have handled this difficult situation with so much grace. I really hope that where one door has closed another will open...soon!

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  11. I'm so sorry Maria. I'm so glad you shared with us. I'll be praying for you.

    xo,
    Em

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  12. oh, maria. i am sitting on my couch and crying so hard. i bought a dress from you and found your blog and somehow connected with you on a whole other level. i am so sorry for your heartbreak. i truly believe that God will honor your desire to adopt and to take care of one of His own and i pray that you feel comfort and grace and healing in this process. adoption is so special and complicated and i'm terrified of our own future adoption some day. thank you so much for sharing your story - your joy and your pain. lots and lots and lots of love to you and steve and your families and i pray for emerson and his father. may emerson know how loved he is as he grows up.

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  13. I'm always the type to wish I had something of help to say. But only He can whisper peace to our souls, and it is your soul that aches. and i will pray that for you, those whispers of peace.

    With sincere prayers and heartfelt sadness,

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  14. Oh, Maria. I am just so sad for you. You obviously have so much love to give, and I am sure that one day you will get to be an amazing mom. Sending you lots of love and warm feelings. xoxox

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  15. I am so heartbroken for you right now. There are no words that fix this. Sending you lots of positive energy, hugs and love. You obviously have a very huge heart and I am sure a child will come to you in time. Let yourself mourn as much as you need. It is an important process and in time, peace will come to you.

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  16. As a mother myself, this had to have been the hardest thing to do because you were seeking to care for the orphan, which is beautiful and filled with love. Emerson seemed to have been a joy in your life, and that fact that you nursed him gave you even more of a connection to him. I'm extremely sorry for the loss in your life. May He comfort you and your tears and loss each day and fill your heart with more joy in the future with another child, although you'll always mourn the loss of the child you thought would be yours for all his life. I can't fathom your pain but I completely would feel broken hearted as you do. God bless you both. I pray that Emerson's father will raise him up with love and devotion.

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  17. My heartbreaks for you. I can imagine the pain you are going through.You are a brave woman to share your story. Be strong and trust your faith.

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  18. I honestly don't know what to say to you, it must be so heartbreaking, I hope that one day you will get your family and as they say every cloud has a silver lining so I do hope this is true for you. I wish you and steve all the luck and happiness i''m sure it will find you soon.

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  19. My dearest Maria, I've been waiting for news, worrying for you both. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I can't imagine what this must feel like, but know that you two have crossed paths with Emerson for a reason. My parents fostered a child for months and were in the process of adopting him when his mother took him back. They went on to adopt two sons and had me biologically, but still there's an absence where he should be. David is as much a part of my life as any sibling lost early and I believe, truly believe, that he came into their lives to teach them lessons of love and devotion.

    Stay strong and though you may not know just yet how your lives will fit with his now, know that it will become clearer in some way and that your love for him will carry weight and meaning for the rest of your lives and his.

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  20. Thanks for sharing this with us- it is only fitting that we try and share your grief and sorrow at this turn of events, as we shared your overwhelming joy when you found out you would be parents. all our best wishes, y'know?

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  21. I wish I could think of something meaningful to say but just know that my thoughts are with you and I truthfully hope that as soon as you are ready again, that your potential is fulfilled.

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  22. Oh Maria, I cannot fathom what you can be feeling right now. My son was also born Feb 9th, he also had fluid in his lungs. I could not even imagine having him taken away after 2 weeks. It doesn't seem fair to you, you prepared for this baby, loved it, fed him and cared for him for his first two weeks of life. I feel just so angry that they can put up their baby for adoption and then just decide that they want the baby back and you had to give him back. It just isn't fair. My heart goes out to you two. <3

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  23. I am so very sorry to hear that you had to go through this. As an adopted child myself, stories like yours are so very close to my heart, knowing what my mother went through before she was finally able to bring me home, and thinking about what my birth mother must have gone through to give me up. There will be a baby for you; trust in your faith to guide you through this difficult journey. I will keep you in my prayers.
    xo, Anita

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  24. My eyes are filled with tears. I could barely get through this posting. The pictures said it all, you loved that little boy. And you will have the chance to love again. xo Joanne

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  25. It is too hard to contemplate. Jizo is the Boddhisatva who looks after babies and travelers and your son is both. I know that Jizo is looking after him and so are you.

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  26. What a terrible time you are going through right now.My prayers are for you and your husband my friend.
    Loredana
    www.loredana61.blogspot.com

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  27. I can only imagine the anguish you are feeling right now. Praying for you, Emerson, and his birth family.

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  28. First of all, I am so, so sorry. It's heartbreaking. I was rooting for you. Last November I read an almost identical post on Posie Gets Cozy. She also lost her daughter to the birth father (http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/page/6/). I don't know if you read her blog or not, but I've been following both of yours for a long time, and I'm sorry that this happened to both of you. I also wonder if perhaps this is something that happens a lot, where the birth father makes an unexpected entrance, or if it's just an unhappy coincidence. I can only imagine how hard this must be for you, and I send you my best wishes.

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  29. I know this may seem trite but I am sure that in the grand scheme of things there is a reason why this happened.It might not become apparent for many years yet but one day I am sure that there will be an understanding and acceptance of what has passed although I am sure that the pain deep down never will
    Thank you for sharing what is an extremely distressing time in your lives in such a gracious way.Your writing reveals true strength of character and love for all of those involved.

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  30. I am so glad you wrote this post, it took courage. What you write is true. I have loss 7 babies, I didn't hold them, they died before I could. I didn't understand how God could allow this, especially because I loved Him with all my heart. Coming from that, I now see that those "Job moments" helped me to really know him, to go to a place with Him that I could have never gone before. He is washing, refining, and loving you even though you feel like you could break. My prayer is that as you yield, that God will have it all and that you will know how deep, wide His love is for you. You are His beloved even in the storm. peace.

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  31. This post actually made me cry. I do not have children of my own nor do I know what it's like to lose a child but I sympathize nonetheless.

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  32. your story touched me deeply: as an infertile woman, I have dreamed of adoption, but am afraid of having my heart broken. God is with the broken-hearted, I do know this, but it can seem hard to believe sometimes. I echo Vintage Girl, above - she said it all so well. May merciful God bless you, give you strength, and comfort you.

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  33. maria~

    this is late in coming...but i'm so saddened to read this. my eyes are filled with tears as i write this; i can feel the pain and heartbreak in your words and i want to throw my arms around you and cry with you. the abundance of love that you have in your heart even after such tragedy, however, gives me pause to look at my own life and try to face lose with grace and compassion as you did. you're an incredible, inspiring woman!

    hugs and much love,
    andi

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  34. It is incredible how your life change beyond imaginaion when you hold them in your arms. I know by experience that God works in odd ways (believe me I had my share of frustations and tears) and we dont always understand but we only have a glance of a situation while he sees the whole picture. When the moment is right you will look back and see that everything happens when they are supposed to and things start to make sense again. He Does have plans to Prosper us, not to harm us and you are much loved. All my love xx

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  35. Maria,

    My heart is so heavy for you and Steve. I pray that God would hold you securely in his comforting arms and that your grief would be bearable and lightened. I'm so sorry you lost Emerson; I hope you are able to rest and grieve with loving friends and family surrounding you. Much love to you.

    Teresa

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  36. This is a great posting I have read. I like your article.

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  37. I stumbled on to your blog and this is the first time I have read it. I have to say my heart hurts for you. I am so sorry and I pray that your hearts will heal. God will bless you both. Sincerely.

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  38. Well, I was just thinking about you today while I walked my dog and I hope that you are doing okay

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  39. I have always enjoyed reading your blog but never before felt compelled to comment (I'm more of a lurker). This is a horrible hurt you have had to go through and please know that people everywhere are thinking and praying for you. The bible says God never gives us more than we can bear, so know that you will get through this and it is all a part of a bigger plan. Small comfort right now I know, but I am wishing you all the best.

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  40. I just found your blog today, and I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you are going through.

    Have you heard of Alicia Paulson's (blog Posie Gets Cozy) experience? http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/baby-things/ I don't know if it helps or hurts to share this, but it seems like a similar type of situation.

    Again, I am so sorry and keeping you in my thoughts.

    C

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  41. I imagine you are a busy mamma at this point. I loved reading your journey with Emerson and Asher. Congratulations to you and your family. God is good and he His plan is the best plan. admirably, dawn suitcase vignettes xo

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  42. thank you for sharing this. my husband and i are on our adoption journey and we're trusting God for each step! It's such an adventure and I'm learning to let my heart go fully in (I've been hesitating for fear of loss like this...) but He has a good plan! So happy for you that you have your son Asher with you now...an amazing story.

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  43. Just hold on to prayers. God never fails to alleviate us in times of being down. Just hold on to your faith. Just trust HIM and you and husband would easily move on.

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  46. I just came upon your blog and I was so touched by your honesty and willingness to open up about the pain of losing your son. I hope that, by now, you have found peace and joy…we have friends that have gone through this three times and still are not parents. Hope you come back to your blog and share with the world.

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