Emy was picking flowers the other day when she saw it. A tiny baby bird had fallen out of its nest and was chirping away on the ground in our back yard. We had been hearing the chirps of baby birds for days and after much investigation, we had determined that they were living in the tree in our neighbor’s back yard.
Emy burst into the house yelling, “A baby bird is in the back yard, and Henry’s going to eat it!” We all went running outside, yelling “N0!” to poor Henry who was just sniffing things out. We put Henry in his crate and then tried to find the baby bird, who had hopped into a bush. The mommy bird was hovering overhead. She swooped down pretty close every time we made a move toward the bush. She was clearly onto us. The baby appeared to be stuck inside the bush. The girls desperately wanted to help him. We ever so gently tried to help him out, but he kept backing away from us.
When Steve got home, the girls all went running to tell him, “There’s a baby bird in the bush and we have to save him!” Steve came out and took a look. He realistically said that we might not be able to get the baby bird back in the nest. Having much experience with birds in his childhood, he mentioned that the mommy bird might not want him or take care of him if we were to touch him.
At this point, one of our sweet girls lost it. She was devastated. The idea that the mommy bird might not want her baby was just too much to bear. She cried and cried, and wouldn’t be consoled for a good while. The mommy bird and her baby belonged together. They needed to be together, and that was all there was to it. Steve and I looked at each other and knew with a glance that there would be no peace in our house until that mommy and her baby were reunited. So Steve did what any dad in this situation would do. He ever so carefully picked up the baby bird and returned it to the neighbor’s yard, while I assured the girls that everything would be alright and that I was sure the mommy and baby would be together now.
There are things about life that are sad and hard to understand, and I so wish that I could shelter my girls from those things forever. But I can’t. At the very center of adoption lies the reality that there are mommies who, for many different reasons, don’t keep their babies. And there aren’t just a few. There are a lot. It’s hard for me to see our girls learn of this, and even more difficult to see their response to this reality through their emotions with the baby bird in our back yard. Children see things with such clarity. Their cries, “This should not be! Mommies and babies need to be together!” should be our cries as well. The girls are right. Mommies and babies do belong together, and I can’t wait to hold our new baby in my arms.