By: Chris Coyne
One could say we had no right to feel anything for those girls. We did not carry them in our bodies for nine long months. We never felt them kick and we were not there when they took their first precious breaths. We did everything in our power to do right by them and I know I would have done a few things different if I had the chance. We were in a fragile state. Everything that could go wrong had and there was nothing anyone could say or do to make us feel better.
Walking through the front door of our home our dogs welcomed us with love. We had been gone for some time and they had missed us. The house seemed empty and dark. We closed off the doors to the nursery and unpacked our bags. All things “baby” were tossed in the nursery, roomed in by a door that would not be opened for a while. Everywhere we looked we saw the girls. A few things popped out here and there to haunt us. The constant reminders were killing us. We had to get out. We had to flee and deal with the fact that the future we had dreamed of was dead.
We packed up a few days worth of clothes and a tent and whatever else we would need to go off the grid for a while. We packed up the huge, overpriced SUV and hit the road. We headed north. We drove until we hit Yosemite. We camped and hiked with the dogs. We swam in the ice cold rivers but we did not talk much. We refused to talk about the failed adoption until our last night. We sat by the fire and cried. We were so grateful our moms were there but it was so hard on them too. They were so excited and it hurt us to see their pain. We vowed to not consider adoption for some time and we drove back. We did not take the direct route but we eventually landed back at home.
The day we returned we had to go into the nursery for something. I am sure we were putting the suitcases back or something like that. I looked over at this mound of stuff piled up everywhere and I broke down. Jon came in the room and he too was overtaken by emotion. Piece by piece we looked at this or that item. Most of the things were gifts. We found the appropriate box and packed it up. The next morning we returned it all to the stores. It was just stuff. It was stuff that reminded us of the worst experience of our lives. Some tiny part inside me resisted the idea of returning the baby crap. Some part of me wanted to feel bad but we got rid of it all. The cribs were not returnable so we donated them.
We filled the room with our stuff again. It was returned to us. It was our man-den before the girls and now it had returned to its former glory. We were not the same but it felt good to erase this from our line of sight.
But we had a gap in our hearts. Heather and Tere had us over so we could talk about all that happened. They shared too –their challenges to get pregnant, a miscarriage, and the huge difficulties of carrying twins. We vented about this and that experience in our failure to adopt, and at the end of the night we all felt a bit better. I still recall sending text messages to Tere and Heather while we were at the hospital or dealing with baby mama. They played a major role in our ability to deal with the day-to-day in New Jersey.
We grew angry over time, having left New Jersey with nothing but questions. With a bit of effort we began to realize a few things. Like the stuff in baby mama’s hospital room the day the babies were born –baby clothes scattered around, a digital camera. Weird? Our attorney had released a large check to her a few days before the birth so she could move out of her current apartment and into a larger place. Our caseworker told us to never speak to our birthmother about money so we didn’t. But we found out baby mama was constantly asking our attorney for more. Our minds filled in the blanks.
We are almost sure she did it for the money. She must have been desperate in order to hurt two people as bad as she did. She had no intention of ever placing the girls with us. She saw us as the rich gay guys who were paying her bills. We vowed to never find ourselves in a situation like this again. We also felt the agency could have done better to shield its clients from such heartbreak. We were told that ten percent of the time the birthmother changes her mind. We were sure to have a great match, quickly. But it took well over two years for a match that resulted in us feeling used, abused, and un-represented.
There was no way we were going to adopt a baby after this huge failure. Our savings was gone as was our hope of becoming fathers. Our life would be forever altered from this failed adoption. We had lost hope and we were in a darker place. We were mourning the loss of the girls. Until one day when my dry cleaner stopped me to ask where our babies were…