Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Blurb and excerpt of *Adopting Alyssa* by Denise Patrick
When a tragic accident on the interstate leaves an orphaned 4-year-old in her charge, social worker Helen Carstairs is certain she's found the perfect couple to adopt her. Jason and Kelly Moore are a young couple in her congregation with a strong, steady faith.
The only thing that would make life more perfect for Kelly would be a baby of her own, not an enchanting four-year-old with adorable green eyes and the brightest smile this side of heaven. God seems to have other ideas and soon Kelly finds herself wondering how she got along without the little bundle of energy.
So, what are the odds that the bearer of so much joy would also be the catalyst that uncovers a secret Kelly thought long buried in her past? A secret which could undermine her faith and destroy her marriage, all in one fell swoop. But, as her world threatens to crumble around her, Kelly discovers the miracle of second chances and realizes God doesn't play the odds.
Jason was waiting for her when she stepped off the elevator. She wondered if he thought she might chicken out if he wasn’t there to meet her. She wouldn’t have. She wanted to give this a try; to meet Alyssa and see if there was something there. She already felt sorry for her, but pity wouldn’t do. She had to feel something more for her than that.
Helen was coming down the hall as they headed toward Alyssa’s room, her expression grave.
“Are you going to go see Alyssa?” she asked, stopping them.
“Kelly has agreed to meet her,” Jason answered.
Helen was silent for a moment, her gaze thoughtful.
“Is something wrong?” Jason asked.
Helen looked around the empty hallway. Gesturing to a row of chairs, she said, “Let’s sit for a moment.”
Jason pulled three chairs into a small circle and they sat. Kelly took in his worried expression and Helen’s serious one and braced herself for something bad.
Helen took a deep breath. “I had to tell Alyssa about her parents today. Her doctor said she’s been asking for them, so my supervisor and I decided she should be told. A grief counselor who works with children has been with her for most of the afternoon.” She looked from one to the other for another long moment. “I don’t want to put you on the spot, but in telling Alyssa about her parents, I felt it necessary to also tell her it was my job to find new parents for her.”
There was a tense, silent moment then Helen continued to Jason. “She asked about you.”
Jason exhaled. “I see.”
Kelly could feel his tension. What would you have me do, Lord? Her short prayer from the car floated through her head.
“Would you prefer we not go to see her?” Jason asked.
Helen’s shoulders slumped. “I honestly don’t know. I don’t want her cut off from anyone, but I also don’t want to get her hopes up. If you continue to visit her, she might bond with you.” She looked at Kelly. “If you decide you don’t want her—” her voice trailed off, but Kelly understood the end of the sentence.
It was suddenly clear to Kelly. She was the one with all the reservations. Both Helen and Jason were decided, but she had to make a decision as well. Could she go in and see this little girl, then walk away as if nothing had happened? Could she forgive herself if she broke a little girl’s heart? She’d also be letting Jason down. Was this God’s way of telling her she had to make a decision now, even before meeting Alyssa?
She reached out and took Jason’s hand. “I would be willing—but, suppose we don’t hit it off?”
Both Helen and Jason smiled at her, and Kelly felt like a child who'd gotten the right answer to a question from the teacher. The feeling irritated her, but she didn't know why.
“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” Helen replied. “But why don’t you go and see her for yourself?”
A few moments later, the three of them entered Alyssa’s room. Her little body looked small and lost in the hospital bed, and Kelly found herself drawn to the child instantly. With her head turned to one side, Alyssa looked sad and heartbroken. Helen went to her bedside.
“Alyssa. Look who’s come to visit.”
Kelly was not prepared for the effect Alyssa’s gaze had upon her. Twin emerald orbs nearly identical to her own stared up at her dispassionately. The sorrow and uncertainty in that young expression tore at her heart. How could someone have abused such a helpless child?
Jason moved to Alyssa’s side. “How are you feeling tonight?”
“My tummy hurts,” was the small response, although Kelly noted the light that entered Alyssa’s eyes at the sight of Jason. “Miss Helen says I have to have a new Mommy and Daddy, ‘cause mine went to heaven.”
Jason nodded. “Helen told me that, too. I’m very sorry to hear it. Did you eat any dinner?”
The little head nodded. “But I didn’t want very much. Miss Ann said I didn’t have to eat it all.”
Jason looked up at Helen.
“The grief counselor,” she mouthed.
“So, what did you eat?”
“That’s all?” Jason’s teasing voice drew a wan smile from her. “You’ll never get big and strong if you only eat ice cream.”
Kelly was beginning to feel like a third wheel as the two of them conversed. But then those eyes turned back to her. She could see the natural curiosity behind the gaze.
“Who’s she?” Alyssa asked.
Jason slipped an arm around Kelly's waist, drawing her closer. The touch gave her comfort and encouragement. “This is my wife, Kelly.”
There was no hint of surprise or confusion. Hope dawned in the little girl’s eyes. “Are you my new Mommy and Daddy?”
Buy it here