Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman Believes Daughter Was 'Gift' from Her First Husband in Heaven
"I believe he begged God, 'Let's give her what she's always wanted for a wedding gift,' " the singer tells PEOPLE while promoting her new kids' book
Many people think babies are gifts, but Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town is a little more specific. In an interview about her new children’s book, the singer explains that she believes her daughter Daisy was a gift from her deceased husband, Steven Roads.
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE about A Dolly For Christmas — a story inspired by their family about a little girl who asks Santa for a sibling — Schlapman reveals that she struggled to conceive in both of her marriages. (A Dolly For Christmas will release on Oct. 6.)
The star was unable to have a baby with Roads, her first husband, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2005. While Schlapman grieved terribly for his loss, longtime friend Stephen Schlapman helped her overcome her grief and they fell in love. The next year they married and, upon returning from their honeymoon, they realized they’d been given a gift.
“In my previous marriage, I had tried so hard to have a baby, so there was already, I don’t want to say skepticism, but I was already pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to conceive a child,” Schlapman, 50, says.
“When we got pregnant on our honeymoon, it was just the most incredible gift. I believe that my first husband, who was in heaven, I believe he begged God, ‘Let’s give her what she’s always wanted for a wedding gift.’ ”
She continues: “I believe that with all my heart, and so I got pregnant on my honeymoon. I know that was his wedding gift from heaven to me. I am 100 percent sure.”
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The pregnancy resulted in her first child, Daisy Pearl, who is now 12. And while the Schlapmans were grateful for their family of three, they dreamed of having another baby. Daisy started praying for a sibling when she was 4 years old, her mom explains.
“One time she said to me, ‘Mommy, if I don’t ever have a brother or sister, then my children will never have aunts or uncles or cousins,’ ” Schlapman says. “She so badly wanted a sibling.”
Despite their prayers as a family, the Schlapmans struggled to conceive naturally. In an even more devastating turn, their fertility treatments also failed.
“We did artificial insemination, and that didn’t work, and then we did two full rounds of in vitro fertilization,” Schlapman says. “And those both ended in loss, so it was just a lot of heartache on the road to trying to have a baby.”
Each loss was devastating and took a toll on her body, she explains. But Schlapman’s relationship with her husband remained steadfast.
“It was really, really hard,” she says. “But because of the relationship that my husband and I have, because of how supportive we are of each other, we were able to share those feelings openly with each other.”
She adds: “I think that certainly made us stronger as a couple.”
Eventually, Schlapman and her husband decided to adopt a baby — they weren’t particular about the baby’s sex or race. After filling out reams of paperwork, they were approved for adoption in the beginning of December 2016, but were told they might have to wait up to two years before getting a child.
“All along, [Daisy] was still praying every day. She was really excited now that we were in the adoption process and just had her little heart energized again for the possibility of a sibling,” Schlapman says. “Because her prayers weren’t answered how she wanted at the moment, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She wrote a letter to Santa Claus.”
A little while after the letter was sent, the Schlapmans got the news that they could adopt a baby girl. Dolly Grace was with them just in time for Christmas.
“She is our absolute Christmas miracle,” Schlapman says of the newest addition to the family. Daisy thinks so, too.
“They are 100 percent in love with each other,” Schlapman says of her daughters’ unique connection. “They cannot get enough of each other, and it’s just the most beautiful, beautiful gift.”
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The singer was so inspired by Daisy’s faith that she would get a sibling, that she decided to write A Dolly For Christmas. Schlapman hopes to inspire other parents and children who dream of expanding their families.
“I just want people to be hopeful and to know that if they’re in the middle of a struggle, they are not alone,” she says. “We walked those same roads, and they are very, very difficult. But, in the end, there is restoration and there are children who are waiting for them.”
A Dolly For Christmas will be released by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on Oct. 6.