Some stories are so tender, they’re meant for only a few eyes. This story reveals hard things, and hopes long-guarded. I’ve covered the heroes so you can see their goodness, but they won’t feel the world’s glare in their faces. I trust you to do the same.
Can a young, single, entrepreneurial girl be almost full-term—and not know it?
Let’s call her Larkin: Girl-on-the-move, literally and figuratively, traveling across country with a new boyfriend. Unexplained pain prompts their detour to our city’s Emergency Room.
“You’re pregnant,” the doctor says.
I imagine her speechless, momentarily blank as the forms on his clipboard.
Up until now, no nausea. No telltale kicks. Snug waistbands and t-shirts, yes, but shoestring travel means fast food. Scant exercise.
And now, a due date: mere weeks.
Larkin’s boyfriend loves her, but he’s not the baby’s father.
Could there be a more shattering decision?
Larkin visits a local adoption agency, pores over one-of-a-kind books created by prospective parents. Stories and photos describe their lives and family backgrounds. Each book probably vibrates in her hands: Pick me. Pick me. As if profound longing can be contained. Packaged.
Larkin chooses the book made by a young couple we know. Let’s call them the Ryans. For months, they’ve been raising funds. They have a small son who exuberantly empties his piggy bank for the baby sister-to-be.
Like every enterprise love undertakes, adoption is costly. Risky. This agency seeks the best match-up, regardless of gender preference.
Then, the long-awaited call comes: Larkin wants to meet them. Both couples hit it off right away.
“When I saw your picture,” Larkin confides, “I knew you’d love having a girl!”
“You’re having a girl?” Perhaps our friends grab hands, under the table.
The birth mother nods, beaming. “I read your story and already love you guys. So what do we do next?”
Together, the two women see the doctor. Together, they hear the hidden heartbeat. I imagine ripples of laughter, shining eyes, the bemused technician. Yes, this is really happening.
And now Larkin’s tummy finally pops out and the baby starts turning, kicking—as if God has kept her a secret until the exact geography meshed with these people, this moment.
Meanwhile: no layette, no nursery.
Frantic paperwork. Painting. Borrowing. Shopping.
Labor commences—3 weeks early. No one’s prepared. The Ryans are out making music with friends when they get the call. Wide eyes, shrieks, hugs all around, hurried prayers and high fives.
We head to the hospital, too, where Sue Ryan keeps Larkin company, later steps out for a break.
When it’s time to push, Larkin panics and calls for her return.
“You’re strong. You can do this,” our friend says.
“Okay,” Larkin says through tears. “Let’s have this baby.”
And she does.
All evening as we wait for news, bustling nurses, surprised by the rare bond between birth mother and mother-to-be, repeatedly comment, “This is so beautiful,” and “It’s never like this. This just doesn’t happen.”
To adopt is to apprentice the heart to the unknown.
The baby arrives safely. Her name—which means “a fresh green shoot”—was chosen over a decade ago, prayerfully cherished all these years.
Time exhales, stilled for now. Trembling, a new family cradles the future.
Soon, the two couples will share a meal. They’ve known each other two weeks. They’ve shared unforgettable hours: love, profoundly extravagant. Bittersweet. Sacrificial.
And some say there’s nothing but bad news these days.