Life Stopped – Her Side

Earlier this week I wrote up a blog post to try to explain the emotions I’ve felt thus far since we received a referral for our sweet baby boy. I was going to try to explain how you can inexplicably fall so headfirst for a child and yet at the same time feel overwhelmed over things to do, forms to have notarized, court processes to prepare for, etc etc. I had Jeff proof read my post and I was going to post my thoughts this past Thursday or Friday.

Then life stopped.

Thursdays are usually a day when we receive new pictures of our sweet baby boy with his beautiful, big eyes and adorable smile. Last week I posted on my personal Facebook page, “My new favorite day of the week. Thursdays. We get new pictures of our adorable baby boy every Thursday. God is good.”

Two days ago, Thursday, September 13th, I stalked my email waiting for new pictures. If you are or have adopted internationally, you know that pictures get you through the waiting period between now and when you get to bring your child home. Well, this Thursday, the pictures never came. I went to Bible study at Panera. Still waiting for those pictures, and since Bible study was just about to start, I decided to be rude and check my emails on my phone. I had an email from the director of our agency waiting for me. I opened it and life stopped. I don’t remember much of what I did or said. I do remember not finishing the food that I was eating and I do remember going to the car to call Jeff. I don’t remember much more. I remember driving cautiously home and I remember bawling the whole way.

The email from our director did not include new pictures for us to print out and plaster on our refrigerator with all of our sweet baby’s other pictures. Instead, the email said that Kiya (the name of our baby boy) had passed away. He had died two days prior on September 11th. He had gotten very sick with an upper respiratory infection and he never recovered. Our boy was approximately 2 and a half months old. My brother said, “He never had a chance.” And you know what, living where he did with the medical accessibility the way it is there, he didn’t have a chance.

I still haven’t processed all of my emotions. I still question if this has really happened to us. Denial is a form of grief and it comes and goes right now. Within the past 2 months and 4 days, we had our domestic adoption fall through as our birth mother conned us and then we had our international adoption fall through because our child passed away. I can’t explain the highs and the lows we have experienced. I can’t explain the feeling of loss and of grief I feel right now.

I can say a few things though.

I would have given anything to have been there with him when he passed away. Anything. If I could have, I would have knowingly gone through the adoption and finished paying all of our fees just to be able to hold him while he passed. I don’t know how Ethiopian hospitals work. I don’t know if the nurses there are caring. I tell myself that he had a kind nurse who held him as he passed. But truthfully, I have no idea. I pray he passed knowing he was loved, he was accepted and that Jeff and I were willing to fight for him.

A friend of mine who has been through hell and back and then hell again, emailed me these words, “you be sure to grieve this child, as the loss of your first son. He will always be that. And someday in heaven you will see him and he will know you as his mother and you will know him as your son.” Her words brought comfort to me as I want to believe this. I want to know that this is true. I am praying for the faith that I will know this to be true.

I also feel somewhat ashamed of how I have spent my time the past couple of weeks. I’ve been focusing so much on the process of adoption and on the intricacies of passing court and clearing embassy, that I haven’t focused on our child. I assumed he would be there through these processes. And he isn’t. Now I am left with knowledge on international adoption and no child to adopt. I can’t explain how empty I feel.

I also find myself questioning God. I don’t know why He would have put this situation in our life. There are details to our Ethiopian adoption story that none of you know and that I will never publicly share. But for God to give us such an amazingly unique story that we were planning on someday sharing with little Kiya to then rip it away from us.. I don’t get it. I believe God is good. I believe God allows bad things to happen. I just can’t wrap my brain around why he would introduce Kiya to us and yet then take him away from us.

I have also seen why Jeff and I originally felt so passionate about International adoption. There are naysayers about international adoption. There are people who say you should only adopt in the states. There are people who say you should not adopt in Ethiopia. Through all of their negativity, the only ones that are hurt are the orphans. The orphans are overlooked and they are left alone. Children in third world countries DO NOT have a chance if they become sick. We have now seen this first hand. If Kiya was here in the states, there is a very low probability that he would have passed away. And that is why we felt passionate about International adoption.

I also feel some weird form of embarrassment. I am a very private person. And I feel embarrassed to have now publicly shown such excitement over two adoptions and to then also show such public forms of grief as both of them crumbled apart. And yet at the same time, I feel a bit empowered because we are showing you real life feelings and emotions. I’m not leaving much out for you all. If we just showed you the picture perfect moments of adoption, you wouldn’t see honesty.

Where does this leave us? I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about adoption and I don’t want to think about it. We still have to put in a call to our agency director. She has told us that we are their top priority. And yet, I don’t want to talk to her. I don’t want to think about the future. My future included Kiya and I can’t picture and don’t want to picture anything else right now. I also don’t want to set myself up for more heartache. Jeff told me last night that he doesn’t want me to give up hope. And yet, as I’m going through this grief, I don’t feel one ounce of hope for our future.  A few months ago, I overheard two mothers talking about when they planned to have their next child.  That is a luxury I don’t know that I will ever experience.

When we started this process of adoption, we knew that it would involve a roller coaster of emotions. We knew it would have a lot of ups and downs. But truthfully, thus far, adoption has caused much more heartache than I would have ever imagined. If I had known we would go through this, right now as I’m dealing with this grief, I don’t know that I can say I would have ventured into the world of adoption.

I do believe and trust that God knows exactly what He is doing. I also believe and know that Kiya is with God right now. And while I am so sad that we never had the opportunity to welcome him into our home and love on him, Kiya is actually in a place thousands of times better than he would have been with us. He is there with my dad (who I know is loving him to pieces) and my grandparents and with Jeff’s grandfathers. And I bet that he is there with some of his own biological relatives who have deceased. I know that Kiya is smiling that sweet smile right now with his amazingly beautiful eyes and that he isn’t experiencing any pain or feeling any feelings of abandonment as he is basking in God’s love. And in that knowledge, I actually feel God’s love for me.

If you are someone who prays, we would appreciate your prayers. We will of course continue to blog as our future unfolds.

13 Responses to “Life Stopped – Her Side”

  1. Jessica

    I think my heart just stopped with grief for you. My poor husband sat straight up at my reaction to this post. I can not begin to tell you how grieved I am for your loss…I am utterly devastated for you. I have to admit that as I read through this post in complete shock…I am in incredible awe of the strength of the Lord God Almighty…in you. Your candor, your open heart and your unwavering convictions are this extraordinary testimony that continues to unfold as you journey this road of adoption. I would never want these two major blows to have happened to you as they have. Yet I can’t help but see how beautifully you manage each crushing disappointment with surprising grace and strength. Liza…I have no more words. Only prayers to lift you up constantly and for God to tuck you under His wing until you are ready for what is next. I adore you and your beautiful heart…even if it’s broken right now. Much love to you, friend.

  2. Jerry

    Liza, I so appreciate your transparency here. I do know how difficult this is for someone who is private. Please know that we are not only praying for you & Jeff, but we are also helping you cry.

    Go ahead and question God about this. He’s a big person; He can handle it. Grieve this loss however you need to. Hold on to your friends as tightly as you can. You and Jeff will make it through. I, and we, are here to help with anything that you need.

    Just a phone call or email away…

    Jerry & Ellen

  3. Lavonna

    Dearest Jeff and Liza, I can’t believe what I’m reading. I had no idea….

    Many years ago I was pregnant with our third child. We had been through this twice before without any complications so we naively took the two children we had with us to the Dr. to share in the excitement of the first ultra sound. Everyone lined up, the youngest safely tethered in the stroller, straining to see the small screen. In an instant we knew that something was wrong and our joy turned to shock, then sorrow when we learned that there was no life….

    Six years later, now with 3 sons in our quiver, we again all piled into the small examination room, again all strained to see the screen, and again were told that there was no life….

    Those were very dark days and many loving souls tried so hard to console us but there was only one note that truly helped, it included 2 Timothy 1:12….I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

    I pray it will offer you the assurance it offered me.

    Much love and prayers,
    Lavonna and Scott

  4. Mom (as in Jeff's mom)

    Well… I thought I was done crying, but I was wrong :-) As I read your blog and the responses, the tears began once again to flow. I mourn the loss of our grandchild, even as I ache for you and Jeff. I have known the Lord a lot longer than you, yet I also ask Him, “Why?” I don’t know why, that is for sure… I read in a book today that while saying “yes” to God brings blessing, it sometimes brings pain… it’s hard. But many are praying for you even tonight that the “God of all comfort” will wrap His loving arms around you. I love you both!

  5. Kristen J

    Wow. :( I don’t know what to say. Please don’t be embarrassed about sharing with us. We are all thinking of you two and sending positive thoughts your way. I don’t know who originally said this, but it seems relevant: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” *hugs*

  6. Kendra

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” James 1:2. This is my go to verse for everything! Though I have not dealt with the loss of a child, and I pray I never do, as a mother I can only imagine the pain. Also as a mother consider yourself blessed to have the opportunity to love on two babies in possibly less than 9 months (not all of us get to do this). You are now a top priority. Kiya needed a family, a home, before passing- you gave this to him. He is well. You and Jeff now have the opportunity to open your arms, home, and heart to another child. Yes, you run the risk of heartbreak, but we all do. Nothing in life is certain. Pregnancies fail, adoptions fail, and tragedies happen, but everyday is a new beginning- WHEN YOU ARE READY be strong! Until then get yourself a great Veggie Tales DVD, your favorite snack, and a box of tissues then turn off Addictedtosaving (we will survive) and take a day or two to just grieve. You will be in my prayers.


  7. Mary

    Prayers for you both. My heart breaks for you. We lost our third child at 38 weeks gestation and a friend sent me the book “Empty Cradle, Broken Heart”. I still pick it up and read sections and our loss was 8yrs ago. Of course the only thing that really carried us through the loss, devastation, and grief was our faith and strong relationship with our God. Years after the loss, as with all of the trials in our life, our relationship with each other and God was so much stronger and we actually realized a few things that we believe God was teaching / showing us through our “storm”. ((hugs))

  8. Jenny Dunlap

    Liza & Jeff, I’m so sorry that we had no idea what was going on and what you’ve been going through. I just visited your blog last night and just couldn’t even read through your post in one sitting. It was too much. I can’t imagine what it’s been like for you two. I have no words… only prayers. Trusting God that it’s enough to offer right now.
    All our love,
    Jenny & David

  9. Kathy

    Liza and Jeff,
    My heart breaks for you May you find strength from God and from support from family and friends.

  10. Yasmina

    I know we don’t share the same faith but when I fist started to experience death, I was told something “to God we belong and to God we will return too” Kiya is now an Angel and is smiling down on you and Jeff knowing your intentions and of your love. Adoption in my faith also means that you will be in Heaven together with Kiya. Im am so truly sorry for your loss..

  11. Carissa

    Liza & Jeff,
    This sucks. (I do not say that flippantly.) I am so sorry and will be praying for you both. Thank you for sharing your grief and your journey.

  12. Katy

    Dear Liza and Jeff,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your trials through the adoption process. My husband and I are in the middle of the adoption process for Ghana. You have literally lived my biggest fear, and my heart aches for you. We will certainly be praying for you and your families. Please, for what it’s worth from a stranger, please don’t give up on your adoption journey. Take time and greive, but there is a child that God has waiting for you, and I pray you continue to move forward. When you finally get your child home, it will be all the sweeter. It seems like you have a wonderful support system around you, which is such a blessing. You are an inspiration to us all, and you will still do great things. Hang in there, and this will all make sense somewhere down the road.


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