“You are from organ donation, aren’t you? They are not going to want to speak with you.”
Protective, the grandmother of my patient accosted me in the hallway and held me at bay.
I could not blame her; I would have hoped that my own mother would have done the same to protect us from further pain while we were in the hospital with our sons. She was merely a grandmother defending her grandbaby from me, the vulture. Though, in truth, the worst had already happened to that poor little baby boy, as he lay there tiny and helpless in the hospital bed after the doctors had already told the family that nothing more could be done.
Now she stood between me and her children, the gatekeeper for this family trying to protect them from having to endure yet another terrible and unimaginable conversation about whether or not to donate his organs. Like a mama bear, she eyed me suspiciously, her hackles raised.
I have generally resisted going on pediatric cases like these since the loss of my boys. It is just too painful to bear witness to the agony of another family at the loss of another baby.
But I knew in this moment as this grandmother confronted me in the hallway that I was here for a reason, that I had a unique gift that I could offer to them that perhaps no one else possibly could – solidarity.
“I do not usually share this,” I said, “But I too have been through something similar. I lost my own twin sons not too long ago. So in all honesty, I just want to be able to offer your family whatever support you may need right now and to answer any questions that you all may have.
And I do not want my support to be contingent upon whatever choice that you ultimately decide is best for your family.
Please know that I am here if you need me.”
In an instant, I could see all of that defensiveness and protectiveness transform in her eyes. Her hackles lowered. For the first time, it felt as if she could see me and she knew that I could see her. It was like an initiation, a secret handshake into a club that no one ever wants to join. I was suddenly welcomed into her grief, because she realized that I had lived through the unimaginable too. She trusted me.
And with what seemed like lightning speed, this mama bear grabbed the parents of her grandbaby, and she sat them in a private room so I could speak with them.
With that, the gatekeeper opened the gate, and she allowed me in.
You never know what may lead a family to choose to help another family through donation during the absolute worst moment of their life. I do not dare to take any credit for their courageous generosity. It is an act of such indescribable selflessness and sacrifice that I feel blessed to be part of every single time when a family chooses to give the gift of life.
Yet, I have to hope that Ezra and Leo’s legacy somehow live on through that little boy’s great gift, even if it was only their story that convinced this family to sit and speak with me in that small room.
And now, miraculously, another little baby somewhere out there received the gift of life and lives on, thanks in part to Ezra and Leo and their life-saving legacy.
I can think of no greater gift this Christmas than that…
As we start the next step in the journey to create our family, we are facing new challenges. We anticipate that the adoption process will cost somewhere around $40,000. Though our adoption agency is a nonprofit organization, these costs go to pay for the legal expenses, the counseling that the agency provides for the birth mother and her family, some of the birth mother’s medical bills and living expenses, etc.
In lieu of Christmas gifts, if you would like to help us offset some of the costs, you can support our adoption journey here –