Last summer I received an adoption announcement from a friend of mine, Brock. He and his partner, Dan, had a new little girl. Her name was Allison, but they called her Sunny.
I hadn’t heard from Brock in several years. We’d worked together ages ago, before he and Dan had met, but at a time when Brock was anxious to start his own family. It was a challenge, since he’s gay, and at the time, decidedly single.
The picture that came with the notice showed Brock standing next to a beaming Dan, cradling a baby I guessed to be about six months old. While Brock was smiling, there was a sadness in his eyes. Ever curious, I decided to call my one-time close friend. After all, he’d included his phone number in the announcement.
“HELLO!” He cried out when he heard my name. “I was hoping you’d call! I found your address, but couldn’t track down your phone number.”
In the background a baby was crying. “I hear sounds of a family,” I said. “I’ll keep this short.”
That call, however, was destined to be longer. While Dan comforted Sunny, Brock told me how she came into their lives.
Brock, you see, had an identical twin brother, Calvin. Calvin was straight, and like his twin, took his time settling down. Four years earlier he’d married a woman Brock was thrilled with, Anna.
Calvin and Anna had wanted children right away, but it took them several years to finally carry a baby to full-term. That baby was Allison, which, it turns out, is Anna’s middle name. As soon as she was born, Brock flew out to meet her, and he was the one who started calling her Sunny.
Sunny, however, was anything but a happy baby. She cried constantly, and while doctors initially dismissed it as first-time parental concern, a nurse finally took note and convinced Sunny’s pediatrician to run some tests. They discovered a heart defect and immediately took her in for surgery.
The surgery was successful and Sunny’s recovery was complete, but Calvin and Anna had a hard time leaving her side. Finally, when she was four months old (and by this time, a truly sunny baby), they left her in the care of Anna’s sister, who herself has four children.
It was a terribly windy night, and Calvin and Anna cut their evening short, concerned the weather was going to get worse. Three miles from their home, their sporty little Miata swerved or was blown across the median, and was hit by a semi. Both Calvin and Anna were dead at the scene.
Brock got the call, and flew out immediately. He desperately wanted to adopt Sunny, and after all, he was the godfather, but Anna’s sister was the godmother, and he was certain if there were a legal battle, he would lose.
Anna’s sister, however, liked Brock, and told him while she would happily adopt Sunny, she felt strongly he was meant to be her father. Sunny, you see, looks just like Calvin and Brock did at that age.
More than that, Anna’s sister knew this was perhaps the best opportunity for Brock and Dan to become parents. She only asked that she remain Sunny’s godmother. Brock eagerly agreed, and adoption proceedings were nearly immediate.
But there remains sadness in Brock’s eyes. He lost his brother, his closest friend, his twin. He is overjoyed at having a baby, and one who carries his DNA, no less, but is working through the pain.
I told him Sunny is a lucky little girl to have so many people who love her. I told him I was sorry for his loss, and I knew his emotions would be complicated.
Every day is a gift, Brock told me. Growing up, he had Calvin.
Today his gift is Sunny.
Image Credit: Header © Bigstock; Baby Feet © Zbyszek Nowak – Fotolia