PAGE # 44
Approximately 11:50 am 

Anna joined us in the hallway.  She told us we could go back inside, the nurse was finished.  Mike said goodbye--he'd be back later--and Anna decided to leave as well.  When Tom and I reentered Kendra's room, it was just the four of us:  Kendra, Johnny, Tom and I.  Plus the baby of course.

Tom noted the time and offered to buy lunch for everyone.  He invited Johnny to go with him, and then it was just me, Kendra, and the baby.

Just before he left, Tom gave me a peck on the cheek and a quick wink.  This was my chance to be alone with Kendra:  no attorney, no Johnny, neither of Kendra's parents.  This was my opportunity to make sure no one had coerced Kendra into this adoption plan.  The social worker had claimed she made sure of that--but I needed to know firsthand if Kendra still felt the same way now that the baby had arrived.

We talked casually at first.  Mostly about how she was feeling physically from the labor and delivery.  I don't remember how I asked the question exactly.  I was very intimidated to do so (because I also did not want to upset or insult her; remember, the social worker had warned me to respect Kendra's decision), but I distinctly recall Kendra's reaction to whatever it was I specifically asked:
"I'm doing this to protect her from Bobby!"  Her arms flew up in the air as she referred to the biological father, then dropped back down to wipe the tears falling from her face.  "I'm doing this to protect her from him!"
I handed Kendra some tissues.
"Do you know that my dad has a restraining order against him too?  He bashed up my father's car windows!  My dad hates him!  My dad even bought a gun because of him."
Kendra sobbed into the tissues, blew her nose.  I listened to all this and began to feel utterly terrified.  If Bobby was so dangerous, why was it any safer for me to take his baby home?  I had been concerned about the birth father's potential for violence previously (when first learning that Kendra had a restraining order against him), and Shelley, the adoption attorney, had said the following:
"Oh, it's not like that.  I think she [Kendra] is the kind of woman who provokes men.  I mean, I think they provoke each other.  It was just that kind of relationship--very dramatic, very emotional.  He's not dangerous!  They both drove each other crazy!"
That had been the attorney's opinion on the matter.  Now, I was hearing a less benign account from Kendra herself:
"He wanted me to get an abortion!  I told him I was totally against that and he called me a cunt!  In front of his parents too.  They don't even know how to handle him.  I think they're afraid of him too.  They just sat there while he tore me apart."
"That must have been awful for you."
"And when I was 6 months pregnant, he punched me right in the stomach!  That's when I ended it.  He grabbed me by my hair and punched me straight into my stomach.  I had to go to the hospital and thank God the baby was okay.  But I called the police and I'm pressing charges and I got a restraining order against him.  I told his parents how he hit me and they didn't even believe me.  But I think they just don't know what to do with him.  He's a terrible, terrible man and I need to keep her [the baby] away from him."
"I'm so sorry that he hurt you like that, and Kendra, I hear you saying how scared you are of Bobby," I said.  "But Shelley told me that legally, Bobby has no right to the baby because you are married to Johnny.  So technically, you could keep her and Bobby has no say, right?"
At this question, Kendra seemed a little defensive and I thought maybe I had pushed too far.
"I want her to have a good life!  She deserves to have a good life!  She needs to be protected from him!"
I was beginning to feel a little scared myself.  No--I was downright horrified.  If this woman was giving away her own flesh and blood because of Bobby, then it seemed he must be truly life-threatening.  I began to think that Bobby might be capable of murder.  It was the only plausible explanation for why Kendra would choose to give away her baby girl--her sweet, beautiful, perfect baby girl.  She wanted to protect her newborn, as well as her other two children.  And herself.  It was making sense.  Miserable, dreadful, gut-wrenching sense.


What anxiety!

Bobby lived only about a half hour from us.  The attorney had accidentally let me see his name on one of the documents.  How could I be certain that Bobby would not find out our names?  I imagined him coming to get back his baby, and shooting my entire household in the process.  My imagination is vivid.  It was like a movie playing in my mind.  I couldn't hide my own panic from Kendra.
"What if he comes after us?  What if finds us and tries to hurt us?"
"He won't," Kendra insisted.  "He's not interested in the baby.  He just wants to mess up my life."
"But you said your dad bought a gun." I could feel my hands shaking.  I think I sat on them.
Kendra seemed calmer than me now.  
"He's all talk," Kendra said.  "He wouldn't hurt you or your family or the baby.  But I need to protect her from the things he does.  From the things he says," she emphasized that last word.  "Plus, he doesn't even want the baby.  Like I told you, he wanted me to get an abortion in the first place."
To be continued...


Myst said...

The more I read, the more I sob... this story is so sad! Don't know what else to say... :( (((Hugs)))

Samantha P said...

While I don't doubt that there are violent people in this world, I do doubt that every woman who claims this as the reason she gives up her child is telling the truth. Case in point, my husband's ex girlfriend! She had people convinced that my husband raped her and was violent towards her and then used their indignation and need to protect to move her 600 miles away so my husband could never see his daughter again.

Yet if anyone talked to the our local police, they would have gotten a much different story and found out that the police were recommending that we get an RO against her.

Not all women are selfless protectors who will do anything for their children.

Anonymous said...

So very sad. :(