This was published on KSL.com and is written by Leanne Olsen.
It is shared with permission.
It was an ordinary day in August when my life changed forever. I found out I was pregnant.
It has been a long road from that day to where I am now, with lots of ups and downs in making my decision to give my daughter up for adoption.
At first, I was not connected to her at all. I thought I didn't care about her; I just wanted to get through this pregnancy and be done. I lost a lot of family connections as well as friends at that moment in my life.
I felt I had made the worst mistake ever and was now responsible for the life of someone else — well not just anyone else; this was my child, and her initial outcome in life now rested on my shoulders. I did not know what I was going to do or even where to start. I was lost.
But as things continued, my life changed. I moved to Utah and met amazing people and a bishop who changed my life forever. They showed me that even though I had messed up I still had a chance, and I could make it back to where I needed to be.
Even though I had great friends I still spent a lot of time alone. I had a lot of time to think about whether I wanted to keep this baby or think of a different option.
I am not happy to admit I did think about having an abortion, but I couldn't bring myself to do it and threw that option out the window. I had brought this on myself and was going to do the best thing for my daughter.
I knew I had to make this decision on my own since my daughter's father was never there and always seemed to make things complicated.
For most of my pregnancy I knew she was mine and I was going to keep her. I believed I could be the best thing for my daughter even if it meant doing it on my own.
Then, about six months in, I started thinking for my daughter instead of myself. I had to put myself completely out of the picture and began to think about her and what the best thing was for her.
This was the hardest decision I have ever had to make — to let complete strangers raise my daughter. I decided to give up being her mother and raising her so that she could have a better life with a better family structure. I knew I couldn't give her what every child should have.
I believe, with God's help, my daughter's family found me. I knew they were the ones before I had ever met them. I felt as though I had known them. To me, they were not complete strangers.
The night of the first day I had met them, I gave them the news that they had a baby girl on the way. They needed to get ready. If she is anything like me, they were going to have their hands full.
That night when I went home I felt a very calming peace come over me and had the best sleep I had gotten the entire eight months I was pregnant.
A month later I ended up in the hospital. A baby girl was on the way and there was nothing I could do. At this point, it all became real. She was coming whether I was ready or not.
I can't even begin to explain the connection that was made the first time I saw her. At that moment, my heart was broken. I knew I wanted her, but plans were already in motion.
When I saw the way her adoptive father looked at her I knew that was where she belonged, and no selfishness from me was going to keep them apart.
The adoption was finalized four days later. It has been the hardest eight months of my life. There has been a lot of heartache, insecurity and drama. But even through all of the heartache and hurt I have felt, I have always known she is special and has great potential. If I hadn't made that hard decision, she would not have all those opportunities to become great.
This is the saddest yet happiest experience I have had, and it has changed my life for the better. I have since graduated college and established new and lasting relationships. I know my daughter has been able to establish her own relationships that will also last forever.
Because of the decision I made, both my daughter and I have grown in ways I cannot even begin to describe. My daughter has made me a better person in so many ways. I now attend church regularly, my hate and anger that I used to once carry with me is gone, and now I feel love and compassion for those around me.
In the end, I know we will always have our connection that was made that day in the hospital.