A few weeks back I saw a blog on my mom's computer. She told me the author was adopting a baby and hadn't posted in a week, so Mom assumed the baby had arrived. Being that babies are in the forefront of my mind these days (go figure) and that the site came with my mom's recommendation, I copied down the address to look up later.
The bustle of Thanksgiving got in my way, so I didn't check again until the weekend after Thanksgiving. And when I did, it broke my heart.
The author and her husband had arranged to adopt a baby girl at birth, but the day after she was born a father came out of the woodwork, wanting to claim custody. They had the baby for eight days before the DNA test came back confirming the relation, so they had to surrender the baby. There are a lot of details in the post that I won't relate here, but suffice it to say that it made me cry.
My initial reaction was to think how cruel it was for the father to let a couple get emotionally involved with his daughter--letting them believe that she would be their daughter and loving her already--only to take her away. It would have been far gentler and much less of a loss if he'd declared his intentions before the baby's arrival. Before they had a chance to hold her in their arms and fall in love with her. Perhaps it's just the fact that I have a baby right now, but I hurt for them.
When I summarized this for my husband he, being a father himself and liking to think well of fathers, pointed out that hopefully this means the baby will be in a loving home. After all, if he didn't want a baby, what better way to be absolved of all responsibility--no one would ever come after him for child support or anything else. So hopefully that means that the baby will at least be wanted and loved.
The more I think about it, the more I also realize that the guy might not have intended to hurt anybody. I'm aware of the emotional involvement of adopting from the various parenting resources I've consulted in the past three years--but if he'd never put any thought into adoption he might not have any idea of how much of an emotional roller coaster it can be for hopeful parents. He might not have been callous at all--just oblivious. We can hope, and hope that he's being a good father.
All this introspection isn't necessarily worthy of a blog post by me, but the thing is, I haven't been able to get this out of my head. We hear bad news all the time in our society--it's on the news every day. We note some things more than others, but since we get so inundated with it, and since there's so much of it, we tend to dismiss bad news as our minds move on to other things. But this woman's plight has been in the forefront of my mind for almost two weeks now.
Could it just be that having my own children (and a vivid imagination) makes this speak more truly to me? This isn't the first time the story of a newborn baby has gripped me. The Safe Haven laws, in particular, grip my mind and my imagination.
*As a side note, in case saying this does someone a service someday, the Safe Haven laws make it legal to give up a newborn infant anonymously and without fear of prosecution provided the infant is unharmed and given to the proper authorities. Laws vary in the maximum age of the child and suitable locations, but hospitals are pretty much standard--and every state has a Safe Haven law.*
Or is there another reason I can't get this failed adoption out of my mind? Is it the impact of how beautifully she wrote her sad story? (It is beautiful and full of grace rather than anger.) Is there some other connection the universe has in store for me, that I have yet to realize? Perhaps it's all three, but whatever it is, my mind has worried at it to nearly the point of obsession.
The only thing I can sanely do when something like this grips my mind is focus the energy into my writing. This, combined with a few other elements that have been floating around in my head for months, may be the ingredients necessary to save a story I wrote several months ago but set aside because it was a great premise with no real plot. I've worked on it for a few days, anyway, and it already feels more promising than it did before. I also began one other story inspired by this, but it may never see the light of day or even get finished, depending on whether I can develop it into something more than raw feelings.
I never expected, when checking out this blog, that I would spend so much time and energy focused on the plight of a stranger--but it spoke to me, and perhaps it will speak to others, the more it is shared.
Posie Gets Cozy