Eventually, the nurse carried a baby wrapped in a pink blanket into the room. She declined to let Marcie hold her daughter. But she allowed Marcie to remove the baby’s blanket to look her over and count fingers and toes. The little girl grabbed Marcie’s finger.
Sobbing, Marcie said a prayer and pressed her lips to her daughter’s forehead.
“I just thought, am I making the right decision?” she recalled. “I didn’t know.”
On New Year’s Day of 1979, Roger showed up at Marcie’s apartment a little drunk. He admitted he’d made a mistake. He said he wanted a life with her and their little girl.
“Is it too late?” he asked. “Let’s get our daughter back.”
At first, Marcie was incredulous. But he won her over, and she agreed to call her doctor to find out if they could undo the adoption. She said the doctor didn’t return her calls.
So the couple showed up at his office. The doctor turned them away. He claimed it was too late. Marcie said she found out later that her daughter had been adopted by the doctor’s friends.
Roger tried to rekindle his relationship with Marcie, but the loss of their daughter proved to be an insurmountable barrier.
Marcie moved back to Indiana.
Marcie earned her securities license and her career took off. Over the next 28 years, she married, raised a daughter and divorced. But Marcie never forgot Roger or her first child.
“I just carried them in my heart,” she said. “I loved him like I’ve never loved any man before.”
So when Marcie’s niece called from Pennsylvania in 2007 to say she’d run into Roger, Marcie was curious.
She left him a voicemail in September 2007. When he called back, they talked for hours. They talked about their lives. Roger had never married. They talked about their daughter. Their phone conversations became a nightly ritual.
A few months later, around Christmas, they saw each other for the first time in nearly three decades.
He asked her to spend New Year’s Eve with him. She flew to Pennsylvania, and he recreated their New Year’s Eve experience from 30 years earlier. At midnight, as Roger spun Marcie around the dance floor, he told her for the first time that he loved her.
“This is really crazy,” Roger said, “but I let you get away. You were always the one. Obviously neither one of us is getting any younger. I know it’s crazy, but let’s get married.”
He asked her to be his wife, to let him make up for the years they lost and the pain he caused. He promised to make her happy for the rest of her life.
They married four months later. Roger moved to Indiana to be with her.
After the wedding, Roger and Marcie decided to search for their daughter.
Marcie wrote a letter to their daughter and posted it on an adoption website, in case their daughter would see it.
A woman who helps adoptees find their biological parents saw the post and began to search for Roger and Marcie’s daughter. She found Jessica within hours, because Jessica, who was now living in Florida, had signed up for the Pennsylvania Adoption Information Registry.
Marcie thought the call was a joke. But the woman insisted she’d spoken to Jessica and confirmed it was her.
It was Father’s Day 2008. Jessica was 29 years old.
Roger and Marcie called her on speakerphone that night. At first, Jessica thought her mother was the only one on the line.
“Mama, is this really you?” Jessica asked. “Are you really my mother?”
Sobbing, Marcie replied: “Yes, honey, I am.”
“I’ve been looking for you ever since I was 18 years old,” Jessica said.
Marcie told Jessica she had another surprise.
“Your daddy’s here with me,” Marcie said.
Jessica said she couldn’t believe it. In one day, she had reconnected with both biological parents.
“I was shocked that I had a daddy,” she said. “That was a bonus.”
‘I knew you’d find me’
The next day, Roger and Marcie sent Jessica a bouquet of 29 yellow, white and pink roses — one for every year they had missed.
They bought her a plane ticket so she could fly to meet them.
Roger purchased an enormous teddy bear with a pink bow. As they waited at the Louisville International Airport — the closest airport to their southern Indiana home — he chatted with a woman standing next to him. He explained why they were there. The woman told her husband, who told someone else.
Soon, a small group had gathered around them. A woman gave Marcie her flowers.
“Give these to your baby girl when you see her,” the woman said.