I’ve done a lot of difficult things in my life.
Most people do. Life is a series of hard choices and important decisions that shape and mold you from that point forward.
Take that job or pass on it.
Stay in that relationship or bail.
Buy an Xbox or purchase a PlayStation.
Okay, maybe that last one isn’t so monumental (tell that to the geek in me, though).
The decision to adopt wasn’t an easy one, either. There was always some part of me that felt that instinctive drive for a biological child. I guess that’s evolution at work.
When my wife, Dahn, and I were struggling to conceive, we held out hope for a biological offspring. When she became pregnant, we were ecstatic.
When we found out five weeks later that the fetus had stopped developing, we were devastated.
The loss was profound. Not only had our child been lost, but it also seemed the hope of a biological child had been lost with it.
We tried again, unsuccessfully. There were a lot of nights spent with eyes open, staring into the darkness, wondering what to do next? There were options. In Vetro Fertilization was one of them and we pondered that possibility.
Adoption, though, seemed like the best option.
And it wasn’t just because of the expense – it’s not cheap to adopt. In fact, it’s somewhat appalling the cost of adopting an infant (something we were adamant about doing).
We decided to adopt because of one notion.
We were meant to give a child a better life. We were meant to bring Emma into our hearts and raise her with the love and caring that she may not have received otherwise.
Emma was meant for us and we were meant for her.
When I look at her, I don’t see an adopted daughter. I see a daughter.
There is family by blood and family of the heart. Either is just as strong. I’m well aware that family by blood sometimes falls woefully short of family of the heart.
I knew this for certain Friday night when I had to leave Emma and Dahn for the first time to go to work.
I knew this because leaving them, even for eight hours, was the hardest thing I have done.
Harder that passing on a job.
Harder than breaking off a relationship.
And certainly harder than choosing a gaming system.
I’m not going to lie. I cried. Bawled, really, as I was driving to Slippery Rock to cover a football game. Tears snaked down my cheeks and my lips quivered. My heart was flayed in my chest.
I missed them as soon as I walked out the door. I missed them at one block and at one mile. I missed them at two miles and at 20.
I missed them in the first quarter and in the fourth.
But I knew they were OK. I knew everything was going to be OK.
I knew that because Emma was meant for us and we were meant for Emma.