Friday, March 27, 2009

I feel like Mrs. Boast...

Mr. and Mrs. Boast lived by themselves on their farm. They had no children and could hardly make fuss enough over Rose.

When at last the visit was over and Mr. Boast was standing by the buggy to see them start, he started to speak, then hesitated and finally said in a queer voice, “If you folks will let me take the baby in to Ellie for her to keep, you may take the best horse out of my stable there and lead it home.”

Manly and Laura were still in astonishment, and Mr. Boast went on. “You folks can have another baby and we can’t. We never can.”

Manly gathered up the reins, and Laura said with a little gasp, “Oh, no! No! Drive on, Manly!” As they drove away, she hugged Rose tightly; but she was sorry for Mr. Boast as he stood still where they had left him, and for Mrs. Boast waiting in the house, knowing, she was sure, what Mr. Boast was going to propose to them.
~Laura Ingalls Wilder, in The First Four Years

Many people are rather horrified by this passage. How dare such good friends even think to ask such a question? And to offer to trade a baby for a horse?

But I'm not horrified. I understand. I'm glad Laura inserted the line that she was sorry for Mrs. Boast waiting in the house... I'm glad Laura could look beyond her shock that her friends wanted her baby to see the longing that brought them to pose the question, and the anxious waiting of the childless woman inside.

Yesterday I did an absolutely insane thing. I took a page out of the Boasts' book.

And now I feel like Mrs. Boast waiting in the house. Only instead of waiting only a moment for my husband to return to the house, I await a phone call that could come at any moment, or never at all. A phone call from a family who now has a decision to make, because I was crazy enough to ask them if I could have their little Rose.

(I did not, however, offer them my best horse.)

I'm still in shock that the words came out of my mouth... "I would take her in a heartbeat, if you'd let me have her..."

And now to wait for the answer... I just can't imagine they would say yes... I just can't. How could a mother sign away her little girl? They won't say yes. There's just no way.

But what if they do? After all, they haven't yet said no...

Mrs. Boast... I understand.

Update: I originally put this post up last Friday then decided it was a little too close to my heart to share with the world at that time, and also, if they did say yes, I didn't know that I wanted everyone to know the circumstances of how she came to be mine... So I took it down.

But I know some of you had already read and commented, so I thought I'd repost it now that the waiting game is over, and let you know how things turned out.

What I didn't say was WHY I asked this family if I could have their baby. Last summer I mentioned this family (click here to read) and I have never stopped wanting those little girls. A few months ago, the mother signed over the older child to a relative, but the relative was unable to take the baby. Without going into the gory details, things had reached the lowest of lows you can imagine and the family, and even the mother herself, realized that this baby is not safe in her care. Not safe at all. They were discussing all the family members that they were trying to get to take this baby and nobody could or would.

Thus prompted my "I would take her in a heartbeat, if you'd let me have her..." to the family who has the older child.

The response, "Well, if you want her! We'll talk to Mom and tell her you'll take her if she wants. You can just go down to the district attorney's office and for $500 they'll do the papers, and she can just sign away her rights to you."

$500... my best horse... what's the difference really? Who knew you could buy a baby for five hundred bucks...?

Floored me. Never expected that response. This family does love that baby and I never dreamed they'd give her up to someone not only outside the family, but who now lives hours away so they would never see her! I guess concern for the baby's safety won out over their own desire to be able to stay in her life, which is actually pretty admirable.

So you can only imagine the thoughts consuming MY mind all week. I do want to adopt, but this wasn't exactly how I planned to do it. Still, I knew that IF it was God's plan for me to take this little girl in, He'd take care of all the details someway or another.

I never got a phone call all week, so it was with quite some nervousness that I went to see the little girl yesterday. I had decided not to say anything lest the family had since that time become offended that I'd even offered to take this baby off their hands, and to wait and see if they said anything. Nothing was said for five or ten minutes as I played with the little girl, and then suddenly, "CPS came and took Baby Rose. So it's out of Mom's hands now. She can't decide who she goes to. Rose is in foster care."

Many details ensued, but that's all that's important for now. So just like Mrs. Boast, I shall remain childless -- at least for now. At least little Rose is finally safe.


Heidi said...

I'm glad the baby is hopefully safe, but I'm really sorry that she didn't go to you and you would have your baby girl. I can't imagine that the little girl wouldn't have found the most amazing home with you.

And I, too, can understand Mrs. Boast. As a mother myself, I cannot imagine ever giving my child to ANYONE, but I know very well how Mrs. Boast feels. I've been there.

Prairie Rose said...

Thanks -- it's okay because there's another wee one out there who has a room upstairs waiting for him/her to arrive. :)

Christine said...


I have thought about those girls a number of times since you posted that way back when. Your passage was haunting and so very sad.

I'm sorry to hear you didn't get that baby although I agree that there is one out there for you when the time is right.

And I'm glad to hear something is being done about that terrible situation.

I've always been surprised by that part about the Boasts. I'm also surprised Laura included it as they were such good friends. My wonder is what happened after that incident? Did they remain good friends? It would have been so difficult back then to be childless (and wanting a child) without any of the options available to people today.

Prairie Rose said...

Poor Mrs. Boast never did have a child. I'm surprised... you'd think there would often be children left motherless that they could have taken in at some point...

Maria said...

*hugs* I don't know what to say, but think you're absolutely amazing to even contemplate it.

I hope Baby Rose will be safe and happy - wherever she is.