We had a daughter

I drove my son and his friend to the park on Monday. It was a rare sunny day in this spring of never-ending stormy showers and we were happy to get out of the house. During the drive I listened to their simple, disjointed conversation in the backseat. I overheard my son say as he stared out the window:

“We don’t have a baby anymore. One day we had a baby. That was all.”

He said it so matter of fact, I admired him. Maybe I’m even a bit jealous of the distance with which he can say those words. Its been almost two months since I placed the baby I called my daughter back in her mother’s arms and I still struggle to say the facts. One day we had a baby. Now we don’t. That’s all.

Four year-olds are resilient. His nightmares stopped the week after she went home, I think. Or at least he stopped crying in the night “I don’t want them to take my baby sister.” I would hug and kiss him and tell him that neither did we, and I’d stay long after he fell asleep again, feeling the breath of this much larger and longer child than the one I just relinquished.

When the morning would break we’d explain to him that this was a good thing. Her mom needed us when she couldn’t parent. She had asked us to be a family for the little girl she couldn’t give that too, and we’d said yes. We’d ohhed and ahhed over ultrasound pictures and been there during labor, when no one else was. “And you were such a good big brother! But the great news is that now she can be a mom to her, so we had to give her back.” I’d grit that last part out, hoping to believe it more and more myself, each time I said it. And that answer seemed to make sense to him.

It is great news, now that she can parent.

I had a conversation years ago, before we had started our homestudy, before we’d officially decided to pursue adoption, about priorities in adoption. It is one of the most paradoxical arrangements, that something could be so tragically mutually beneficial for the parties involved. Mercy for all, a second chance at life for her, and second chance at parenting for us. But that in an ideal world, something so redeeming wouldn’t be necessary. That as adoptive parents, our desire beyond all else should be that the child could be placed with their biological parents.

It is a thought almost impossible to hold in my head. And it’s a reality we have to face daily now. Ten days after she was born, our daughter’s birth mom revoked her consent. Adoption, her plan b, was not necessary after all.

“The great news, is that now she can parent.”

Yes, this is great news, I repeat, as tears stream down my cheeks.

9 thoughts on “We had a daughter

  1. Oh Allison, I had no idea. I am so sorry. Prayers for you and your family. So, so, so hard. What a gift you gave you her, that you gave both of them (a heart wrenching, sacrificial gift – the hardest of gifts for sure). Your daughter always knew love and without you to step into that gap, she may not have known so much love during that time. ((Hugs))

  2. Oh, my dear friend. The tears. The disbelief. Without Christ, the despair. But we have Christ. You have Christ and He has you and your whole family, and that sweet little one. Thank you for your powerful, unthinkable witness. My love and my prayers are yours.

  3. I am so sorry, A. Nothing is ever easy when it comes to adoption. Hugs and prayers to you and your family. Please let me know if you need to talk.

  4. I’m so sorry. I just wanted to share that I was reading this (and crying) that I kept thinking what an amazing mother you are.

  5. Oh, I am sooooo sorry. I am facing an impending miscarriage of a long-awaited second baby, and it’s a different way of getting ready to give him/her back. Heartwrenching, unspeakably painful – your loss and mine. Thank you for sharing your story, it helps a little with mine. I will pray today for God to give both our families another baby in his time.

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