There is something hopeful about Laura Grossman’s story, as if she were somehow able to rally herself from her sickbed to support others whose own luck was slipping away. She has a hankering to save this ungrateful new mom, whose baby still has the mother’s name on it. She has heard from dozens of mothers who wrote in saying they were in love with their babies, only to get heartlessly taken away by their husbands. This mom, however, is home, with her baby after notifying the court of her intended divorce, then battling with her husband for legal guardianship of the child. Some people might want to stereotype her as the evil one, as if somehow there are golden years when weddings happen and children enter the world. But Laura isn’t one of those women. She is the one who went through all of this, over and over again.
In fact, this is her sixth pregnancy and sixth adoption. She is a medical doctor, an acupuncturist and an internationally known folklorist.
From the beginning, Laura and her two older children, Benjamin and Emily, knew that they would be in a situation where they would see their own real parents again, more than once. They had choices. It didn’t hurt that the partners wanted to be in the pictures with them. Both women wanted to stay together. But there would be consequences.
The introduction of fifth-month pregnant Rosario into the fold was tumultuous from the start. She had a child herself and was on her fourth marriage. Her husband, Evan, an Army vet, had a master’s degree and could afford the fancy Lexus he drove. He complained that if his wife left he wouldn’t have anything to do with the kids anymore. His parenting skills were criticized and questioned by Laura and her siblings, and so she told him she was sick and needed to go home.
Rosario and Evan had talked about both adoption and birth motherhood. “Our first desire was to keep Rosario and not let her go to them,” Evan said.
He himself had adopted three children with his second wife. He had broken up with a second wife when she told him that her siblings asked her repeatedly to have Rosario in the family. Evan said he would never take Rosario from another birth mother and that he had to be the parent, not Rosario.
This made Laura feel terrible. “I shouldn’t have said it,” she said. But she thought it would be better for the children and the mother to be with Laura, at least for a time.
She was gone for only a week before Rosario announced she was pregnant. She knew Evan would never accept her adoption of Rosario. And yet, she wanted them to join them, too. “I love her,” she said. She didn’t want Rosario to go to a second or third home, if that’s what she wanted. And yet she had two children herself.
Still, when the child came, Rosario’s arms and Rosario’s stomach turned and suddenly she realized that she was pregnant. So she had an abortion right away, yet at the same time she was reporting her sickness to Laura. Laura helped arrange for the birth of Rosario’s own child. It was a baby girl that Rosario said she wanted named after her oldest son.
The separations could not happen later. Evan was in the Army, and it would have taken weeks and months before he could have been assigned to a location where Laura would have been welcome. Then Evan returned from deployment and was actively working to help Laura and her children. He painted murals and paintings of nannies he’d hired. Evan talked about how much he loved Rosario’s child and how he would be proud to be her father.