I don't post often on this forum, since my children are so much older, but I saw your thread about losing your sweet Ethiopian daughter. I wanted to send my condolences, even months later.
You would be surpised to know that a handful of adoptive families experience this. Many children who are available for adoption are ill or in fragile condition. My daughter Kuheli was one such baby. She was 28 days when referred to me from India. She was tiny, and we didn't get alot of information about her over time, except that she was gaining, and about 6 weeks before she died, a hand full of photos of her in her crib, being weighed ect. The circumference of her arms were the size of her caregivers thumbs. She was VERY small. During the wait for her adoption, I decided I would breastfed her when I got her. I was expecting to pick her up when she was 4 months old, and so I followed one of the older lactation programs from 1999 - 2000. I ordered the Lact-Aid units to use while breastfeeding, and I even used a professional breast pump 8 - 10 times a day to help with lactation. I was getting 1/2 ounce every day, which i was freezing, not much in lactation history, but something. I kept her photo on the breast pump table, and I bonded with this tiny but beautiful Indian baby. I was out of town one week, and I got a phone call and knew instantaneously that there was something wrong. It was too soon for me to travel, and too late for documents. The agency staff (Dillon International) called to tell me that my dear baby daughter died on July 5th, 2000, at only 3 1/2 months old.
I was in shock. I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe it. I'd sleep, but wake up thinking it was all a bad dream. My agency offer another child immediately (same day of the bad news) and I reluctantly accepted it. I was so sad, and I couldn't bond with this child at all. I didn't have a photo (it was sitting on my fax machine at home, 8 hours away). I had this deep feeling that she would die too. Don't know why. Meanwhile my family had a memorial service for my baby girl, and that brought about alot of closure. Shortly after that I went on a camping trip with my son and while he played with the tadpoles, I sat on the creek bank crying. I picked a very large tear shaped leaf from a tree, and put my dd's photo copied photo on that. I put the leaf in the water, and let the leaf carry away my hope, my wish, my dreams. I began to feel better. About two weeks later I got a call from the agency and they told me that they were recinding this referral for the second baby. I was devastated. At this point I told them to please give me some time before sending another referral. This was the end of July. On August 10th they called with a new referral (a 3rd one) and of course I was terrified. I didn't know how to respond to the referral or photo. I basically dutifully put the photo in a new frame (tiny 2X2 black and white photo) and I put it on the dresser in the nursery. I couldn't look at her face. She looked strong..I remember that, cuz she was crying hard in the photo.
On September 10th (day before my birthday) her adoption was approved in India, and we got the call a few days later. When it was time for me to fly to India (Alone again) I was very upset. I didn't want to go, and possibly face another loss. I called my agency and matter of factly told them that I could not handle another loss, and asked them point blank questions like, "What will you do if she dies while I am flying to India?" ect. I told my sister I couldn't do it. She told me to go (!) and get that baby for her if I couldn't take her. In route to India, I was so affraid. I checked email in Singapore for the email I thought would come...but it wasn't there. When I got to India, I had to sleep overnight (was too hard to do) before I could call the orphanage and arrange to meet my daughter. I went to another hotel to meet other adoptive families and to of course meet my daughter. When the orphanage director brought the first two babies into the room, I didn't recognize them. I thought perhaps she was not going to be able to bring her that day. My heart was so hurt. And then another person came in with another very tiny bundle, and walked to ME. She reached out and handed the baby to me. It was my daughter. I was crying like crazy because I had finally reached the end of my nightmare. My daughter made eye contact with me immediately. The experience of finally getting my daughter, was incredible. I still do remember Kuheli, and she is my daughter. Why? Because she didn't have a Mommy. She died alone. I felt so sad for that, and I feel that she did connect with me through the astral fields somehow, and I also connected with her. I have four beautiful children, and my kids know her as their sister.
It is so hard to lose a child when you are already aching to have a child. I have had several miscarriages, and they never felt as bad as losing my already alive and breathing baby.
Each family handles adoption loss differently. Most important thing is finding a way to move forward and move on. Every year, I put Kuheli's photo up and light a candle on her birthday, and death day. She will forever be in my heart, and I am thankful that I was able to love her, even if from such a far away place.
Hugs to you, and I think I can say I understand. If you ever need to talk, just PM and I will give you my phone number.
Vegetarian Hindu, mother to L,P and R.