Gordon Monson: Would you turn away your own daughter and her newborn?

What is a family’s responsibility when an adult child finds herself in a time of trouble, a time of supposed celebration, a time of need, a time of urgency?

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gordon Monson.

Let’s get personal here, and 100 percent real, also giving allowance to stay appropriately vague while helping me understand what I should do.

I’m not sure. What should I do? What would you do?

My wife and I got a call from two of our adult daughters — one of whom lives out of town, the other who lives with roommates — the other night. One of their unmarried friends is delivering a baby girl and after her stay in the hospital has nowhere to go.

“Can she stay at your house with the baby?” we were asked.

The 27-year-old mother is stuck. She’s fragile and scared, confused and vulnerable.

The baby’s father lives out of state and, we are told, wants the mother and the newborn to travel to his home to live with him. The mother is unsure if that’s the best course, that relationship being less than rock steady in the past, and options are in short supply.

She also has been informed by her parents that if she keeps the infant, as opposed to placing her for adoption, which is what they forcefully insist on her doing, she and the babe are unwelcome in the family’s Salt Lake City area home.

I’m not here to judge, but I’m inclined to judge anyway. I’ll repent for it later.

I’m just not sure, on my part, what to do. What is the correct response? I don’t have all the facts, and I don’t have time to get all of them as the mother and child are about to be released from the maternity ward.

The only fact that matters is this: There’s a new mom and a newborn in need.

I wonder why the mother’s religious parents — or decent parents of any state of belief or disbelief — would throw the hammer down on their daughter this way. I don’t know their history, don’t know the nature of their relationship, don’t know their reasoning for their stance.

I’m no saint, far from it, but it seems harsh and heartless, rejecting a new mother and her baby (the parents’ grandchild), who over the next few days have no other suitable place to go, no place to be. If she decides to go to the father some 800 miles away, that will take time to arrange.

The mother and infant have no time. They must find a way to exist and survive — now.

What’s the proper thing for me to do … take them in? It’s the Christlike thing to do, right?

Whatever the backstory is for this woman, my daughters’ friend, and her family, the need for immediate attention to give her aid is paramount.

But I wonder, why would parents come to the conclusion to send their own flesh and blood packing in this manner? Is there a good reason to do so? What would that justification be? What could it be? What would you do if a family member or friend faced such a concern?

What is a family’s responsibility when an adult child finds herself in a time of trouble, a time of supposed celebration, a time of need, a time of urgency? With a babe in arms that has the same immediate needs as that of every infant.

There are diapers to provide, clothing and nourishment to give, warm shelter and protection to offer. My daughters and the mother’s other friends are rallying to garner resources for most of the above, even as they wonder what the mother’s parents are doing to those they proclaim to love.

The nature of the experience makes you — makes me — wonder about human conduct in the cruel, cold wind of a sometimes fierce and frozen world.

So, my wife, as loving and giving a person as I’ve ever known, puts the question to me again: Can we take mother and child into our home, give them temporary shelter and safety, feed them, help them, attend to their needs?

Um …

We had all kinds of other plans, work to do, friends to visit, responsibilities to handle, problems to solve, a surgery from which to heal, life to live.

Despite my initial hesitation, my stumbling and bumbling around, my double clutching, my concerns about a general lack of knowledge about all the circumstances here, not knowing every side to the story, with no time to uncover the facts, no definitive path in sight as to how this all will end, when it will end, how it can end, there’s only one correct answer and my wife knows it, knows that I know it, too.

For whatever reason, my daughters’ friend has had a door slammed in her face by her family, just as she and her baby so desperately need an open one.

What would you do? What should I do? What should the woman’s family have done?

Yeah, I know. Open the door wide with warmth and let ‘em in.