Tuesday, September 23, 2008


My parents settled in a small farming community in Iowa which has a population of about 3,000. Most of my siblings and I still live nearby. I consider being part of a large family to be a precious gift. We are always getting together, sharing tons of laughter and some sorrows. On my side of the family I have 38 nieces and nephews, including the greats, with at least two more babies expected and also one wedding in the works. We have experienced tragedy twice as we have lost two nieces.

All of my family members are special people and have great stories, but today I would like to talk about my oldest brother's second child. I will call her Blondie. That is Blondie pictured below in color.

Our entire family gathers for all the major holidays and most minor ones, it is rare for a sibling to be absent at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Since we are a large group we try to rent a local community center with a gym and a kitchen. Kids (and adults) can run wild there, playing whatever games they can interest others in; basketball, volleyball, tag, hide and seek, cards or other table games. And we do all the expected holiday food of course. Holidays are a big deal for us.

My oldest brother Don lives the furthest away, about a 2 1/2 hour drive, but they make the trip 'back home' often. So, we were surprised in Dec. of '98 when Don and his family decided to stay at home and not travel down for Christmas. They explained that their lives had been too busy and they just wanted a quiet Christmas at home. My sister-in-law Josie had had a tubal pregnancy earlier in the year and along with that pregnancy had lost any chance to bear children. They were still saddened and reconciling themselves to the fact that their first child, Sarah,would be an only child.

Don is an electrician, Josie works as an RN at a hospital nearby. They both had the holiday weekend off from work. That Christmas Eve., the gifts had been wrapped and they had gone to bed, when for some reason Sarah brought a cordless phone and placed it near Josie in bed. Don and Josie are both notoriously deep sleepers. We have all heard their alarm sounding for what seems like hours, while they sleep on peacefully next to it.

Meanwhile, at the hospital where Josie worked, a woman had driven herself in, given birth to a healthy baby girl during the early morning hours and wanted to drive the 2 hours it took to get back home, before her family knew she was gone. She had kept her pregnancy a secret from everyone. She was divorced and a mom to three children from that marriage and didn't feel she could take care of another child. She asked the nurses to please help find a good home for her baby.

At that time, a baby left at a hospital was considered abandoned and she would be considered a criminal if she left without securing a home for this baby. She couldn't go through the courts and the child welfare system, as this could take weeks or months and would involve lots of paper work and contacts to her home. She was desperate to give the baby to a good family and get back to her life. The nurses immediately thought of Josie and how much she and Don wanted another child.

Social workers were contacted, the hospital attorney was consulted, then finally a nurse was granted permission to call Don and Josie, to see if they would be interested in adopting this precious baby!

When the phone rang at 4:00 AM, it was a miracle they were at home and that Josie woke up to answer the call. Don, Josie and Sarah were in shock, they were overjoyed! Of course they wanted the baby! An attorney who specialized in adoptions was needed to get the paperwork done immediately. Keep in mind this was 4:00 AM on Christmas morning! Josie left at least 20 messages on the answering machines of local attorneys, no reply. The hospital attorney could not help them as it would be considered a conflict of interest, but, he gave Josie the name of a friend who might be willing to help.

This attorney did answer his phone, but turned them down as he was leaving to join his family on vacation. 15 minutes later he called back and said he just couldn't get them off his mind and had to do his part to help with their Christmas miracle. He came to the hospital a couple of hours later with the papers required.

Don, Josie and Sarah were given a small room on the OB floor to get to know their tiny new family member who they named Hannah. The hospital and soon the entire city were buzzing with the story of the Miracle Christmas Baby, the story was told in the local newspapers. Baby gifts, many from complete strangers, were recieved. Most parents have 9 months to prepare themselves and their home for a baby. My brother and his wife needed everything; crib, clothing, diapers, formula, bottles and blankets.

The birth mom returned home and we assume her family never knew that she had given, on that early Christmas morning, the greatest gift that one human can give another. The gift of a child.

(I know I should have saved this story for Christmas, but if you'll remember, I have no self-control.)


Anonymous said...

WOW! That's a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

~ Reenie ~

cbanks said...

Hey Slug-A-Bed!
That's a great story for any time. I had forgotten the details. It's amazing how things can work out sometimes.

Michelle said...

Wow.. that very nearly brought me to tears. Amazing story.