At 42, Simon had an incredibly successful career but no family. He worried that adoption agencies wouldn’t let him become a parent alone. But one day, someone left a basket with a baby girl on his doorstep, and he decided to raise her. Years later, the girl’s mother showed up, and Simon couldn’t believe who she was.
Simon Reid was a workaholic from Santa Barbara, California. He built his tech company from scratch, and it became one of the most renowned in the country. However, he soon realized that being so focused on a career left him no time to date and experience other joys of life. At first, that didn’t matter much. But suddenly, it was all he could think about after turning 42.
“Simon, that happens all the time. People think that their lives are over once they turn a certain age. It’s normal to be worried about it. But you have plenty of time,” Dr. Levy, his therapist, advised when Simon revealed his concerns.
“You say that like it’s so easy to find someone,” Simon grumbled.
“It’s not easy, and you can’t force it. But when the right person comes along, it’s as natural as rainfall. Remind me, who was your last girlfriend?”
“Lydia. I haven’t seen her in months. We seemed so right for each other on paper, both professionals in tech. But in the end, it wasn’t working,” Simon expressed.
“Exactly. You forced a relationship with someone you thought would be compatible. That’s what I’m telling you, Simon. You can actively seek relationships out, but they have to flow naturally. Otherwise, it won’t work at all,” Dr. Levy continued.
Simon knew the doctor was right, but waiting was hard for an ambitious man like him. He thought about this issue while driving home. After parking in front of his house, he walked towards his door and noticed a basket. Suddenly, a baby started crying. Someone left a baby on my doorstep! he thought incredulously.
Simon grabbed the basket and started cooing at the baby. She looked up at him with wide, tearful eyes and moved her tiny hands, begging to be picked up, so he took the basket inside and picked her up. “There. There. It’s ok. You’re ok.”
Surprisingly, the baby calmed down, and without meaning to, Simon fell in love in that second. But he knew that he had to call the authorities. The girl was around two months old. She could be adopted quickly by many expecting couples and live a happy life. Would they give her to a single, workaholic man? he wondered. It seemed impossible.
But Simon had to try. He called the non-emergency line and talked to a friendly dispatcher. An hour later, a couple of officers came to his house with a social worker, Barbara. “Excuse me, miss. Is there any chance I could adopt the baby?” he asked her specifically.
“Are you married?” Barbara questioned. When Simon said he was single, she frowned. “I don’t know, Mr. Reid. It might be too hard.”
“But this baby was left on my porch. That must be a sign, right? What if her birth parents come back?”
“Do you know who might have left this baby here, Mr. Reid?” one of the officers asked when he heard their conversation.
“I have no idea. But I just have this feeling that this baby should stay with me. I can’t explain it. Please, Barbara. Is there no chance?” Simon pleaded with the social worker.
“Ok, Mr. Reid. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll help out as soon as these officers clear your story. If no one comes back to claim this baby, we’ll start the official process,” Barbara conceded. Simon thanked her profusely for everything. She took the girl away, as the kid had to stay with a certified foster family before being placed more permanently.
A few months later, Simon became her official foster parent against all odds. Barbara came through for him, although several other families wanted the baby. Regardless, the girl now belonged to him, and Simon was determined to be the best father in the world. Now he had to pick a name for the baby.
Simon chose Joan. He wasn’t particularly religious, but Joan was like a gift that fell from heaven right on his doorstep. While searching online for ideas, he discovered that Joan meant “Gift of a merciful God,” which seemed fitting for her. Once all her paperwork was ready, Simon immersed himself in his new life as her dad and never looked back.
Twelve years later, Simon still thanked God for giving him a chance to raise Joan, although she was reaching the terrible teen years every parent dreads. But he had been a hands-on father. The only help Simon ever needed was a nanny service in the area, and his housekeeper, Mrs. Gonzalez, lent a hand sometimes.
The only problem Simon ever stumbled upon was his daughter’s questions about her mother. He never knew what to say at first. But when Joan turned ten, he finally revealed that she was adopted and told her exactly how he found her. She took it well, although Simon could see that she would always be curious about her mother.
“I’m sorry I don’t have any more information, Joan. I wish I could give you more answers, but we don’t know because your adoption was not common. Most of the time, the adoptive parents meet the birth mother,” he tried to explain gently.
“I know, Dad. I was just curious. Maybe when I’m older, she’ll find me,” Joan chirped.
“You never know.”
One random Saturday, Simon was getting dressed when he heard the doorbell ringing. Mrs. Gonzalez answered the door and called him downstairs. “Who could it be today?” Simon wondered as he descended and walked towards his front door. To his immense surprise, Lydia was there.
“Hi, Simon,” she said softly from outside. She had a polite but nervous smile on her face.
“Lydia. Wow, hello. It’s been years. What are you doing here?” he asked, shocked at his unexpected visit.
“Yes, it’s been a while. Hmm, may I come in?” Lydia wondered hesitantly.
“Of course, come in. Mrs. Gonzalez, bring us some tea, please.”
“Yes, Mr. Reid,” his housekeeper replied and rushed to the kitchen while he led Lydia to his living room.
“Ok, now that we’re settled, can you tell me why you’re here? I heard that you left town sometime after we ended things. What happened?” Simon questioned, still confused at this meeting.
“Simon, I don’t know how to say this. But after we ended things, I realized I was pregnant,” Lydia began. Simon looked at her sharply. “I had the baby, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I was a professional woman in her 40s. I never imagined myself as a mother. It was all so overwhelming, and I couldn’t handle it. So I did the only thing I could think of.”
Simon was stunned. If Lydia had come to him back then and told him she was pregnant, they might have gotten married and had that baby together. I was so desperate for a baby, and she was pregnant! Simon thought, incredulously. However, he snapped out of his inner musings, remembering everything Lydia said.
“You put the baby up for adoption? What agency? I have some connections in that area. I can help you if you want to find the baby. Why didn’t you tell me? I could’ve helped,” Simon fired. If his biological child was out there, he was going to find that kid. Joan was going to love having a sibling.
“No, Simon! Please!” Lydia exclaimed in frustration. “You know, for someone so successful, you’re really dumb.”
“I didn’t give the baby up for adoption. Not officially anyway. I gave YOU the baby,” Lydia confessed. Simon was floored. He couldn’t believe it.
“So what you’re saying is that Joan is my daughter? Are you lying?” Simon said, starting to tear up. He was glad that Joan was at a sleepover at her friend’s house.
“I’m not lying. It’s true. I know I should’ve told you, and maybe, everything would’ve been easier for you. But years later, I learned that I was suffering from post-partum depression at the time. That’s why I left the baby on your porch and disappeared. I still can’t believe I did that,” she cried, holding a shaking hand to her mouth.
Simon was still shocked, but he could see similarities between Lydia and Joan. This was far from bad news at all. However, he wasn’t sure what Lydia wanted after revealing this. “Ok, I believe you. I mean, we’ll get tested, of course. But more importantly, what are you doing here now?” he asked seriously.
“I want back in her life, Simon. I want to meet her. I want to be her mother if possible. But there’s something else…,” she began but paused.
“What you’re asking for is a lot already. What else do you want?” he questioned, suspicious now.
“I want us to pick up our relationship. We’re in our 50s, Simon. I don’t want to be alone anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I still love being a career woman. But if there’s a chance I could have a complete family, I want to take it!” Lydia confessed emotionally.
Simon didn’t think he could be surprised further after discovering that Joan was his biological daughter. But now, Lydia was offering him what he had been desperately looking for 12 years ago. He didn’t know what to say when she spoke again.
“I know this is a lot to ask. But I want you to consider it fully. We could be together and continue to raise Joan as a happy family. But if you don’t want that, I’m going to court to get my daughter back,” Lydia admitted suddenly. “I have proof that I was mentally sick when I left her, and my lawyers said I could win custody of her—”
Simon interrupted her with a harsh laugh. He knew there was a catch. “How dare you come into my house and demand such a thing? It’s not even a demand! It’s a threat! I was going to let you meet her without issues, but do you really think you can win in court after 12 years of abandonment?! I don’t know what lawyer you have, but he’s a charlatan!”
“Simon, calm down! I will not be spoken to like that! That girl is MY DAUGHTER!” Lydia yelled.
“I think you forget that you just told me she’s mine too! Now, get out of my house before I call the police, and don’t you dare come near us again!” Simon screamed and pointed at the front door. Lydia scowled at him and took off.
Simon sat back down in the living room and tried to calm down. Despite his anger, he knew that things couldn’t end like that. Lydia is Joan’s mother. She would love to meet and get to know her, he thought after calming down.
Simon didn’t want to go to court or watch Joan suffer at all, so he decided to call his therapist for advice. Dr. Levy encouraged him to patch things up with Lydia for Joan’s sake. “Your daughter deserves to know her mother and have a relationship. You need to facilitate that before things escalate between you two,” the doctor said.
The doctor was right, so Simon called Lydia and apologized for his outburst. Lydia was also sorry for the misunderstanding back at his house. “I know it came off as a threat. But I think it’s just that I’m determined to become a great mom. Please, Simon, give me a chance,” she begged and cried on the phone.
They talked for several hours and agreed to take things slow. They would introduce Lydia to Joan when the young girl was ready. “But, you and I will not be together. We’ll co-parent and nothing else. Our fight today showed me that we could never work as a couple. It’s better not to try again. Families come in all kinds of forms, Lydia. We don’t have to be traditional to work it out,” Simon declared. Lydia wanted to argue but accepted in the end.
Soon after, they got a DNA test that confirmed they were both Joan’s biological parents, and Simon took the time to explain everything to his daughter. Despite asking about her mother for years, Joan initially hesitated, but they worked with Dr. Levy to transition into this new normal together. In the end, Simon and Lydia co-parented well, and Joan grew up to become an even better professional than they were.
Years later, Simon learned that he did the right thing. Joan told him something on her wedding day that he would never forget.
“I never thanked you back then, Dad. It must have been hard to learn that crazy truth back then. You probably wanted nothing to do with my mother when she surprised you. But you knew I wanted to meet her and made it work, even when I was afraid. Thank you,” Joan told him.
“You’re my daughter. My only goal after you came into my life was to make you happy,” he replied tearfully and walked her down the aisle, hoping that her soon-to-be husband had the same goal in mind.
What can we learn from this story?
You have to do what’s best for your children. Simon could’ve prevented Lydia from seeing their daughter, but he knew that Joan had always dreamed of meeting her mother.
Get help before you make a big mistake. Lydia was suffering from post-partum depression, and that’s why she abandoned her baby. She should’ve gotten help at the time and avoided all of this.