All I ever wanted was for her to be safe.
From the day I left her mother sitting in an attorney's office and clutching the hand of the man she loved, I never knew if she was. I had no chance.
Just 19 days before she might have become ours to care for, her mother returned to her father, the man who had abandoned her, who left his partner and his unborn child to fend for themselves in a strange town, with strangers. It was left to us to care for them, as best we could, making sure they had a home and food and clothing and proper medical care.
But when he came back with promises of love and forever, we were lost. And so was the baby girl we would have named Elle and had already started to love.
We spent the next 12 years not knowing. Anything. How she was, where she was. Were they taking care of her? Was she safe? Was she happy?
Until one day last year when, on a whim, I typed a name into a search engine and found her mother. And her. Not Elle, but Samantha. Blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful, about to turn 12 just like our daughter. But most important, safe. And seemingly happy.
My mind and my heart could finally rest. I knew she was well. I could wonder no more.
Until, for some strange reason, this week.
I searched again. And found another photo. This one of the same young girl, Samantha, lying in a hospital bed, her blond hair pulled back behind her on the pillow, her blue eyes closed, a tube in her mouth. And prayers from her family to their angel. In heaven.
The girl who would have been Elle died on June 12 in a hospital in Alabama. She had been riding a bicycle when she lost control. She received internal injuries, which led to sepsis, which led to her death one week after her accident. She was still 12 years old.
And my heart broke a little.
It broke for the young girl, just one month older than my daughter, who left this earth much, much too soon, who had so much of a life left to live. It broke for all the pain and suffering she had to endure. It broke for all the promises that were broken.
And it broke for her mother, the woman who almost gave her baby to me, who said time and again that she didn't want that baby, didn't need that baby, couldn't care for that baby.
But things happen. Some say they happen for a reason. Maybe it was meant to be. Maybe I wasn't supposed to have Kim's baby. I was supposed to have the one I have. Maybe Kim was supposed to have hers, keep hers, love hers because it only would be for a little while.
All along, as we danced around the potential adoption, all we both ever wanted was for that baby to be safe.
That's the one thing we didn't get.
Click to read the blog post: Her name was Elle