|Our Beautiful Baby by Carol Graham|
A year had passed since we adopted Seth at three days old. When the phone rang that morning, I had no reason to suspect anything unusual. My husband, Paul, answered; and as I watched the expression on his face change rapidly, I did not like what I was observing. He called me over to him to share the receiver.
“I am getting pressure from my parents to raise my son and so I am going to have to get him back. We are prepared to hire an attorney if we need to and you know you will not win.” The words had been rehearsed and seemed so easy for her to say. A couple sentences, that's all it was -- a couple sentences that tore our hearts out.
“I'm afraid you don't really have a choice,” our lawyer informed us. The law was clear. If we chose to fight it, there would only be more pain and great expense. “I will set it up for you so that you can return the child as soon as possible”.
RETURN THE CHILD as soon as possible. I screamed on the inside. I cried on the outside. No, this just can't be happening. We loved Seth. He was ours. Again, the bottom of my world dropped out from under me. I loved him and cared for him. He was part of our family for a whole year. I could not imagine life without him. I was his mommy. How could she do this to us? How could she possibly love him like we did? What about Seth? He would be torn from his parents, his home. Surely he would feel the rejection.
We considered all our options and realized we had no choice – short of running away to a foreign country and hiding. He had to go back. Paul reluctantly dialed her number and made the arrangements to meet us at the airport. I methodically packed our son’s things; his favorite toys, his clothes, his blankie. Tears dripped on everything as I placed them gently into a small bag. The hole in my heart was getting bigger by the second. I didn’t know I could hurt this much. Even past hurts had not prepared me for the pain of relinquishing my son to someone who had not wanted him! But we had no choice. Return the child. Give him back.
I watched from a distance as Paul handed him to her. It was in slow motion. I watched his hands leave the child as he lifted our son into her arms. He was handing my son to a stranger. I wanted to run and grab him but I was glued to the floor. I felt petrified. I thought I was either going to faint or throw up. My hand fluttered to my mouth for a moment fearing I might scream out. How could I go on? Where would I get the strength? This just could not be happening. It had to be a dream and tomorrow I would wake up and everything would be normal again.
I could only imagine how empty Paul felt. He had loved his son deeply. We didn't speak about this much over the years as it was just too painful. To this day, Paul carries Seth's picture in his wallet even though we have never seen him since the day he placed our little boy in the mother's arms.
It does not matter how you lose a child, the impact and grief are similar. When someone says it feels like their heart was in their throat, that is accurate. My heart became so heavy it felt like there wasn't room in my chest cavity to hold it. The heaviness moved to my throat and even my extremities, weakening my entire body. I was fearful that my heart would implode, exploding on the inside from pressure, and yet wondered if that would bring some relief to the overwhelming state of heartbreak.
My loss consumed my thoughts. Even when I was not thinking about it specifically, something would trigger a memory and the initial impact was felt once again. In the months that followed, every time I saw a new baby or watched a child playing, I would cry. I could not go down the aisle in the grocery store that sold baby food without breaking down. Every time the telephone rang, I was hoping it was her saying she had changed her mind. Days turned into weeks, then months, then years. I’ll never forget our little boy.
God knows the beginning and ending and gives us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. Only God can heal the hurt and restore what has been stolen from us. A few years later we adopted another baby who has since given us three grandchildren.
Carol Graham is an award-winning author of "Battered Hope," talk show host for her bi-weekly show “Never Ever Give Up Hope,” international keynote speaker, jewelry store owner and a certified health coach. Carol has five grandchildren and has rescued over 30 dogs. Her goal is to share hope and encouragement.
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