Dear Ann Landers, After several years of failed fertility procedures, my husband and I decided to adopt a child. We were thrilled when, soon after, a baby became available through a private adoption agency. At the birth mother's request, the baby was handed over to us while the legal documents were being drawn up.
Four weeks after becoming settled into motherhood, my friends gave me a wonderful baby shower. As my mother so diligently taught me, I quickly wrote each and every one a thank-you note for the beautiful gifts. Three days after my notes were mailed, I received a call informing me that the birth mother had changed her mind and decided not to sign the adoption papers. She wanted her baby back. Of course, we had to give up that precious child.
My husband and I are devastated beyond words. I am at a loss as to what to do about the lovely gifts I received at the shower. Should I send them back? What is the proper procedure? I need your advice. -- Empty Arms in Arkansas
Dear Empty Arms, What a sad letter. My heart goes out to you. Yes, dear, you must return the gifts with a brief note explaining the circumstances. I'm sure your friends will rally around and help you get through this painful time.
Dear Empty Arms, I would not return the gifts because I feel you will try again - and succeed! I know couples where this has happened. I would write the gift-giving friends and say you and your husband were deeply disappointed by what happened, but you're going to try again. Your hope is that their lovely gifts will be for the future baby. My guess is that all your friends would want it that way. - Margo