accidental existence

Life, one sentence at a time

“…their hearts say ‘move along,’ their minds say ‘gotcha heart’…” October 4, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 9:30 am

Today is the day.
Today is THE day.
Today was the day.
Today still is the day.
If only in my mind.

The baby formerly known as Letterbaby is due today.
Was due today.
Might still be due today.
Might be gazing up at his mother already.
I don’t know.

That’s the thing.
I don’t know anything.

It was my world.
And now I don’t know anything.

I know today was the day.
And I know I don’t know how to feel about it.

I’m curious.
I’m incredibly sad.
I’m trying not to wallow.
I’m trying not to think.

But today was the day and it’s all I can think about.

Now, today is another Thursday.

It’s not.
And it never will be.

I’ll never know.



“…too many hours in this midnight…” July 11, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 2:55 pm

It’s hard to believe we’re over halfway through the year.

Think about that.
What have you done so far?
What was your news year’s resolution?
What where your hopes?
Your dreams?

I thought I’d be farther along by now.

“This will be the year we become parents.”
I said to Adam on Jan. 1.
“I can feel it.”
“By next Christmas, everything will be different.”

I’ve said that before.
I’ve said that every year for nearly six years now.
I really believed it every time.

But this year felt especially different.

I don’t want to move on.

Not yet.

What if tomorrow never comes?





“…I’m right here and I’m right now…” June 19, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 3:03 pm

It’s been two weeks.
Things are better.
Things are different.
Things will never be the same.

Following a month of daily, sometimes hourly emails from the agency, we haven’t heard a peep.
It feels off.
It feels wrong.
And the silence only reminds me of the void.

The day-to-day is just that.
Life goes on.
You ease back into the world.
You become a functioning person again.

You begin to open your heart.

You wait for the other shoe to drop.

I’ve heard from so many of you.
Your texts, messages, handwritten letters, flowers, cookies, calls and love.
Your love.
It’s everything.

I write because it helps.
I write because it clears my mind.
It heals my heart.
It’s a release of energy.
It’s how I cope.
I write about myself because I’m not really that creative.
I write what I know.
I write the personal.

It didn’t occur to me I’m an anomaly.

People don’t bare their pain, their love, their heartache, their souls.

It doesn’t feel like that when it’s happening.
It feels natural.
It feels like me.

A painter paints.
A musician plays.
A writer writes.

But so many of you have thanked me.
You’ve expressed true surprise.

For that I am thankful.
To know that my words have touched even one of you.
Have helped even one person.
To have made someone feel love, joy, sorrow with my mind and the tap of keys.
That’s powerful.

A writer is nothing without a reader.

The day will come when we receive another match.
I know it will.
But I also know it will be different.
I’ll be hesitant.
My heart will be guarded.
And I hate her for that.
For taking that joy from me.
For taking a moment of pure love and making it gray.

I’ll never forgive her for that.
And she’ll never know.
Never care.
Who am I to her?
It’s ironic, because she could have given me the world.

Two more weeks will go by.
Then four.
Then six.

Somedays, your husband surprises you with a lunch picnic.
Somedays you take him tomahawk throwing.

The pain will fade.
But today is not that day.



“…we had love, but we still said goodbye…” June 5, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 8:23 pm

I am now one of those people.
Those people in TV shows I hate.
Where everything reminds them of their ex-boyfriend.
He drank out of this cup once.
He had brown eyes.
He sat on that stool.

Everything reminds me of Letterbaby.

My life changed yesterday.

Our lives changed.

Our family changed yesterday.

One minute I was sitting in a meeting a few seats away from the hospital president.
Then I got a text.
My mind went blank.
It took everything I had to sit there.
The only other option was to burst out in sobs.
With a few words, the dream was over.

Because I know you’re wondering.
And because we have been so open about this process so far.
No, there is no reason.
The birth mother texted the agency.
She didn’t want to move forward; please don’t contact her anymore.

That’s it.
That’s all we know.
That’s all we will ever know.

And I hate her.
But I can’t.
But I can.

She has given up nine children for adoption.
Why was this one any different?

I can’t ask her.
And it kills me.

What happens to a dream deferred?
It cries.
A lot.
It rushes out of the room.
Sits a a hot car.
And uncontrollably sobs.
It fights back tears while on the drive home.
It sits and stares at the wall.

It is blank.
It is numb.

Does it dry up, like a raisin in the sun?
No, because it has a rock.
Dear sweet Adam.
He’s hurting, too.
But he’s ever so optimistic.
An unusual quality in him.
But the very thing we both need right now.
It’s the only thing keeping him going.
And he’s the only thing I look forward to.

“This was not our baby,” he said.
“Letterbaby is still out there. Our baby will find us.”

Dear sweet Adam.

Or fester like a sore, and then run.

I didn’t go to work today.
I told my boss I was taking a mental health day.
To be honest, I can’t face people right now.
I don’t want to explain it.
I don’t want hugs and sympathy.
It’s lovely.
And all meant well.
But my heart is raw.
It’s tender.
It’s exposed.

I’ll find that protective layer again.
But today is not that day.

I watched 9 hours of The Great Interior Design Challenge.
Their British accents are oddly soothing.

Adam is at the ball field tonight.
Working his second job to fund out dream.
He’s a rock.
I’ll probably watch a couple more episodes.

I had an article interview slated with a doctor today.
I forced myself to call her.
Her time is precious.
It’s hard to reschedule.
So I sat on my couch in my PJs, with uncombed hair and I pretended to smile.
Every word felt fake.
It was dripping with happiness.
I was dying inside.

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or curst and sugar over, syrupy sweet?

I deleted our due date from the family calendar.
I deleted the baby shower.
And the reminder to register for gifts this weekend.
I deleted the reminders for what to pack.
And the address of our rental house in Kansas.
I took the sonogram pictures out of the frame.
And closed the door on the nursery.

I deleted it all.
But everything still reminds me of Letterbaby.

Instead I read “How to survive a failed adoption.”
The writer said the closest equation is a miscarriage.
But it’s not.
There’s still a baby out there.
There is a women happy and healthy.
With a little bundle of joy inside her.
The baby didn’t die.
It’s just not mine anymore.

It’s not a miscarriage.
It’s a theft.
The theft of a a dream.
Of hope.
Of life.

Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load.

Adam is full steam ahead.
We’re already back on the waitlist.
He has to be.
I need him to be.
Our family needs him to be.

My head is heavy.
And my heart feels hollow.

It will heal.
But not today.

Today is not the day I’m OK.

I didn’t want to tell anybody.
Too painful.
Too much.
Adam called our family, our friends, my boss.
Dear sweet Adam.

I didn’t even want to post on FB.
But after I woke to a message about baby gear, it had to be done.
You’ve been kind.
Oh, so kind.
And I’m sorry I haven’t responded to any of you.
But today is not that day.

Tomorrow will be better.
And the day after that.
And the day after that.
Until it only hurts a little to think about.

It will never go away.
Time heals most wounds.
But not this one.

Or does it explode?


Because friends.


“…so maybe I try too hard, but it’s all because of this desire…” May 23, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 3:55 pm

I was recently reminded everyone looks at the world differently.
Then I felt the full weight of it.

It came from the most unlikely of places.
Are you team Yanny or team Laurel?

FTR, I’m a Yanny.

The debate circled me all day on social.
But it was an All Things Considered story that made me think.
The guest explained the science — high pitch vs. low pitch.
It was fascinating.
Two people can hear the same clip and yet interpret it completely differently.
Two people can look at the same dress and see something different.
Two people should sense the same thing.
But they don’t.

“That’s why eyewitnesses are so unreliable. People see things differently,” Adam said.

It’s true.
I know it’s true.
It’s in the back of my mind somewhere.
But who really stops to think about that?

How can you see differently?
What else am I hearing differently?
What am I seeing that you’re not?

The debate coincided with more baby mama drama.
No, she didn’t got to the doctor yet.
Despite having an appointment Monday.
And yes, she wants more money for everything.

I still want to scream.
It feels like we are being punished for someone else’s bad life decisions.

What if she is team Laurel?
She didn’t make poor life decisions.
She entered into a contract with a couple for a service.
She has rights to make demands on that contact.

Yanny wants to say get a job.
Buy your own food.
Hell, sign up for some government assistance.
But things look different when you’re Laurel.

It’s not even two sides to the same coin.
Or walking a mile in someone’s shoes.
It’s two wildly different world views through the same set of eyes.

I’m fixated on one thing.
So is she.
It’s the same thing.
But not.
It’s a baby.
It’s a paycheck.

Maybe I’m just blind.

That damn dress is white and gold.

My filter is me.
I don’t understand her filter.
But I’m working on it.

134 days and counting.


Is this a pug or a duck?



“…and there are times, I lose my worried mind…” May 18, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 9:21 am

Today is a weird day.
It’s been a weird week.

Today, a co-worker and friend announced her pregnancy.
I’m beyond excited for her.
She is going to be a wonderful mom.
Baby is due in October.
Just after #letterbaby.
We’ll be moms together.

We hugged, we laughed, we shared stories so far.
She looks adorable with her little bump.

Then I went back to my desk.
And there is a pit in my stomach I can’t explain.

It’s not jealousy.
But it is.
It’s not sadness.
But it is.
It’s not anything.
But it is.

I came to terms with the facts a long time ago.
It took me months.
But I did.
And I was happy.
I am happy.

I think it’s the sudden shock of it all.
Someone getting everything I ever wanted in the blink of an eye.
The blink of my eye.

It’s not fair to compare.
Everybody becomes a parent in a different way.
Some conceive naturally.
Some use donor sperm.
Or surrogates.
Or adopt.
Or become a step-mother.

Each one is perfect.
Each one is beautiful in it’s own way.
And the outcome is the same.
A child receives love.

When I logic it out, there is no reason for this pit.
But there it is in my stomach just the same.

It’s been a week of challenges.
#letterbaby’s birthmom isn’t going to the doctor.
She last went at 12 weeks.
That was 8 weeks ago.
I want her to go.
I need her to go.
But I can’t force her.
I want to force her.
But I can’t force her.

This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me.
That will ever happen to me.
I want to know everything.
I want to triple check everything.
But I can’t.
It’s beyond frustrating.

I make lists.
I plan.
I like to be in control of every situation.
I have no control.
At all.
I want to force her.

Every time she asks for more money I want to scream.
I want to scream.
I want to force her.

Then Adam talks me off the ledge.
Like the rock he is.
He calms me in a way nobody else can.

So today has been a weird day.
And this has been a weird week.
And so it will go on until October.
When I hold that little baby.
Cry all the tears.
And know it has all been worth it.

Until then.


We wait.


“…love turns the whole thing around…” May 4, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 1:47 pm

These last two weeks.

After all of our hoping.
All of our dreaming.
The long tearful nights.
Stressful doctor’s appointments.

We’re finally matched with a birth mom.

I just typed that.
For real.
It’s surreal.

We can’t stop smiling.

It’s been seven days since we found out we were matched.
I can think of nothing else.
We were sitting at a Sam’s Club gas station in Evansville, Indiana, on the way to Lincoln’s Boyhood Home when we got the news.
I’ll never forget it.

It’s been two weeks since we learned of the possibility.
I was in the hospital cafeteria with my boss, grabbing a bite between meetings.
My phone buzzed.
It was the agency.
I picked up and asked if I could call her back in 5 minutes as I returned to my office.
Sitting here in my fifth-floor office I had my first glimmer of hope.
I birth mom fit our criteria, were we interested?

We’d made it this far in the process before.
We’ve been shown to multiple birth moms.
But nobody ever picked us.

This one felt different.
I don’t know what it was, but from the moment I hung up that phone I knew.
This was it.
Letterbaby had found us.

We waited anxiously for over a week.
She’s just taking her time, we said.
This is a big decision, we said.
Let’s go on vacation and try not to worry about it, we said.

Then in an instant your life changes.
Her life changes.
A baby’s life changes.

As we drove through Indiana we barely spoke.
Shock, mostly.

I was incredibly overcome with happiness and sadness in that moment.
This unbeilable joy for me is a great sadness for another.

There’s also the practical side nobody talks about.
Like how you have to wire funds within 72 hours of a match.
A downpayment on a baby.
Or how wire transfers can only be done in person.
There are no Great Southern Banks in Cincinnati.
So we cut our trip short and landed at the first branch we could in STL.

Since going social yesterday, I’ve been amazed by you.
Your outpouring of love and support has meant so much on this journey.
You squealed with joy at our news.
You hugged.
You congratulated.
And you cried.

So many of you cried.

It made me cry all over again.

For five years, our friends and family have been by our side.
You’re invested in this.
And it means the world.

Many have asked for details.
And I don’t blame you, I would be curious, too.
We’ve been extremely open throughout this process.
Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of.
It happens to 1 in 8 families.
And adoption should be celebrated.
However, the law is the law and there are many details we just can’t share right now.

For those wondering, no we do not know the gender yet.
Our birth mom is only 12 weeks along.
Yes, we do have a sonogram picture.
We already treasure it.
Birth parents live in Kansas, so we won’t have too far to travel.
Everyone is healthy and well.

Adam has already had a conversation with the kids about their new human sibling.
Eddie seems excited.
Chuck was indifferent.

I’ve already begun work on the nursery.

We continue to fundraise. 
Adam continues to work his second job.
I’m still baking.
Don’t forget July 14 at 1984. 
Get your game on.

Our second homestudy visit is this week.
The paperwork never ends.

But, for the first time, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
And that makes all the difference.


a lifetime of feelings