A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Mother’s Love

When you love someone unconditionally, you do what is best for them, not yourself. It was the hardest lesson I ever learned, placing my daughter for adoption. It was also the best thing I have ever done and a huge testimony builder. 

Early in 2008, a family knelt down for prayer in their Utah home. During the prayer they told the Lord that they felt their family was not yet complete and when He was ready to send them another baby they would be ready. They had no idea that their prayer would be answered so soon. It took great faith. The next night, the couple received a phone call about a young woman in the husband's home town back in Delaware who was pregnant and thinking about adoption.

I found out in the beginning of February 2008 that I was pregnant. The news was more than I could handle. I was a young 20-year-old college student, not ready at all to be a mother. I was so nervous to tell my parents. They had raised me with strong Christian morals and values. My parents were disappointed but supported whatever I would choose to do. Adoption was already a big part of my life. I was adopted by my parents as a small baby. I knew the blessings that came from adoption, yet at the same time, during my teenage years I found myself upset and angry with my birth mother who I never knew for placing and not wanting me. I know now how wrong I had been. I began to weigh all of my options.

In June 2008, I had the most spiritual experience of my life. I met with the young man who lived in Utah with his family. They were friends of my family long before I was born. As I sat with him, he told me about his other two adopted children who I had met before and shared their stories. He told me how he and his wife would be honored to raise my daughter. It was finally my turn to speak. My chest began to burn and tears filled my eyes as I tried to talk. I had been having doubts about placing since finding out the baby was a girl. At that moment, all of my doubts faded and I knew from that instant that he and his wife were meant to be this baby’s parents for this life and eternity. By the end of the meeting we all were crying. Not only were their prayers answered, but mine were as well. I had faith that what I was doing was right. I will never forget that tremendous testimony building experience as long as I live.

The last five months of my pregnancy flew by and it was October before I knew it. I was writing emails to the family in Utah, keeping them updated with my doctor’s appointments. I even sent a few pictures of my growing belly. Knowing they were unable to have children of their own my heart went out to them. I wanted to make the experience about them instead of me, since they had not been able to witness their other two children’s births. I decided that I wanted them both in the room when she was born and I wanted the adoptive father to cut her umbilical cord. I threw his wife a baby shower just days before the baby arrived. It was all so wonderful. The women of my ward showed me such kindness and service, above all never judging. They all were in attendance at the baby shower.

Two days later Tally arrived. All that I asked was that I get to spend those two days in the hospital with her and then she could go with them. Those two nights were a mixture of joy and sadness. My faith was tested yet again. I was so happy that she was finally here, yet sad because I knew that she would be leaving me shortly. From the time I found out I would be placing her for adoption, to stay focused I kept a journal that I wrote in everyday of my pregnancy up until after she was born. I wrote entries telling her how much I loved her, what she meant to me and why I choose adoption. I gave it to her parents who agreed to give it to her when she was older. I thought since I knew five months before she was born that I would be placing her for adoption, it would be so simple. I was wrong. I held her as much as I could, studied all her little features and tried to memorize them. The adoptive family stayed a week after she was born and brought her over for my family to see her a lot. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so little so much. When they left our house and drove to the airport it felt like a piece of me was going with them. I did not think it would be so difficult to watch her go. Heavenly Father was beside me the entire time comforting me and giving me peace. I knew if no one else understood how I was feeling, He did. In my heart I knew I was doing the right thing and my family was such a huge support to me. 

About a month after she was born my mom and I flew out to Utah to legally relinquish my parental rights and to visit. Signing my name at the bottom of that paper was the hardest thing I did. Leaving her that time was harder than the first. The Lord knew He was building me up. Since then I have received many pictures of her and updates about her and the family. I call her on every birthday. How eternally grateful I am that she has two of the greatest parents Heavenly Father could possibly have given her.

In June of 2009 my number one goal for her came true, they took her to the Provo temple in Utah and had her sealed as a part of their family for all time and eternity. What a great blessing it is for me to know that I helped another daughter of God find her eternal family. That gives me such great joy that I cannot express. 

The song by Michael McLean called “From God's Arms, to my Arms, to Yours” sums up my story. I feel so strongly that she came to earth through me, but not to me. I now know that Heavenly Father does not make mistakes. Tally was sent at this time for a reason. She has changed my life forever. She and the Lord helped me see life in a whole new light and change the very way I was living. She saved me along with the great and powerful atonement of Jesus Christ. Our short 9 months together was exactly what I needed at that time, my faith has never been more strengthened and exercised. The road to repentance can be long and not easy but I testify that it is so worth it in the end. I am so grateful for the love that Jesus Christ offers me and I know that he will always be there for me in my time of need. I am indeed grateful for this experience that I went through because it has taught me numerous life lessons. I know adoption is not for everyone but it was right for me and has certainly blessed my life beyond measure.

But that is not the end of the story. 

From that experience I decided to begin looking for my biological mother. With no luck because I had a closed adoption, it felt like my dream would never come true. On May 6, 2009 I decided to do a simple white pages search in the phone book. All I had was her maiden last name. I knew she was born in Delaware and so I hoped she still might have some relatives in the state. There are approximately 63 listings in the phone book with her last name. I picked up the phone and dialed the first number. An elderly man answered and I asked him if Deborah was there. He said, "No." So then I asked him if he might be related to a Deborah Sexton, and he replied, “Yes I am. That is my daughter.” My heart began to race and I got chills all over my body. I told him that she might be my birth mother. He was quiet for a few moments. He then informed me that yes; his daughter did place a baby for adoption a number of years ago. 

By this time I was crying…I had miraculously found her and I ended up calling my grandparents’ house, the place where she grew up. It was only one hour away from where I lived. When my grandmother got home, she called me back and said that she just got off the phone with my biological mom and she wanted to meet me. That she had been praying for this for a really long time. She told me that every year on my birthday she would think about me. 

As an adopted child, it is natural to wonder where you come from and just knowing is a natural thing to want. I never thought that in a million years this day would come for me because the chances are very slim to almost impossible to find biological families when you have closed records. There are millions of agencies and private investigators that would have helped me but they wanted a lot of money that I as a college student did not have. 

So through dedication and determination, I met my biological mother on May 8, 2009 and she said it was the best Mother’s Day present she has ever received. She told me that placing me was the hardest thing she has ever done. I was able to relate to her even though it was the hardest choice; many people’s lives were blessed because of it. Now we are forming a bond of friendship that can never be broken. 

There were a lot of answered prayers that day. The void in my heart is now full because of her. There is no more wondering. I am so thankful for the gift of adoption and I want the world to know just how bitter sweet adoption can be. My life has truly been blessed by adoption. I want to thank my biological mom for doing the right thing for me, even though it was the hardest thing for her.

I have been sealed for time and eternity to an incredible man for three years now and we have two beautiful, intelligent, funny 27-month-old twin girls and a baby due in July. They have blessed my life tremendously. There is no higher calling on earth than to be a mother and I am so thankful the Lord has given me a second chance to be a mother again, under the right circumstances.

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