Nathan McCann's life is sane and comfortable but not much more. His wife has her own bedroom, usually with the door shut. His best friend is his curly-coated retriever, Sadie. But Flora won't even allow her in the house.
One morning at dawn, on a routine duck hunt, his dog finds an abandoned newborn in a pile of leaves in the woods. It's a cold October morning, so Nathan assumes he has found a child's remains. Until the baby moves.
That one moment changes everything. And Nathan knows he is unwilling to see it change back. Childless and middle-aged, knowing it's wildly uncharacteristic for him, Nathan announces that he wants this child as his own. But he doesn't get him. The baby boy has a grandmother who receives custody.
Nathan finds her and extracts a promise: Sometime in the boy's life, she will bring him around to meet Nathan and say, "This is the man who found you in the woods." "That way, Nathan says, "he will know me. I will exist for him."
But by the time the grandmother brings Nat (named after Nathan) around, the boy is a 15-year-old juvenile delinquent with a police record and a bad attitude. And she doesn't just introduce him to Nathan. She washes her hands of him and leaves him there.
So Nathan gets his wish. But it's not the way he imagined.