Monday, September 08, 2008

adoption

A couple of weeks back I sat in on a combined Sunday School class. All the adults who weren't otherwise occupied were invited to listen to a presentation on the LDS Family Services. The presenter spoke reverently and respectfully about mental illness, marriages, families, adoption, addiction recovery in all its' forms, job placement, and many other quick points on the services they provide, who is eligible and how one goes about receiving assistance from them. After a ten minute or so presentation the remainder of the time was given to a young woman, "Sarah".

"Sarah" told us her very personal struggle with placing her newborn infant with an adoptive couple and how she came to make the decision. It was amazing to watch this young woman bear her deepest thoughts and heartbreak in front of so many strangers. She was poised and Spiritually mature beyond her years, and spoke with such conviction and purpose. Most everyone in the room had tears in their eyes as she spoke; and we could fully understand her decision process and determination for her new baby. Her words were filled with wisdom, and complete and unselfish love for this little baby, and hopes for this child's welfare above her own situation of ache and grief. It was a privilege to have witnessed her speak and feel the Spirit in the room that day.

She wanted to assure us that she made the decision fully on her own; and that no one had "guilted" or coerced her into it. She was given all the opportunities and options, a counselor, and availability to others who had been in her situation who had made various decisions.

I have to say that I have been in attendance (at these same kinds of presentations) a few other times, as recently as a few months ago, where other mothers have shared their stories, also beautiful and filled with love; however "Sarah" will being my heart and mind for a very long time, I hope, forever. She humbled me.

She shared an analogy that I had never heard before. She asked us to imagine a young mother and father who were outside, playing with their toddler. While the parents are inattentive, only for a moment, it is long enough for their toddler to wander out into the street where a swiftly approaching car is racing down the street. The parents have a choice to make:

A: They can stand frozen in fear and allow the child to be hit by the car, which would surely kill the toddler, but more than likely cause lifelong emotional harm to the parents who were not able to rescue their child.

B: They can, together, run to the child, wrap their arms around each other and take the hit. Chances are all three will be injured, and most likely have life long injuries, but they will all live.

C: Mother can run to the child, while dad goes for help. Mommy wraps her body around the toddler, and together they take the hit. Mommy and child will both receive injuries that will be life long and difficult, however they will live.

D: Mom can run to the toddler with such force she pushes the child out of the street and into the arms of another couple standing on the other side. Mommy will suffer injuries that will last a life time, baby may also have a few scrapes and bruises, however the baby will be safe.

Her analogies were this:
A: is like an abortion, the baby dies. "Sarah" explained to us that she could not even think of this option, although many in her situation have and do. For her, the emotional scars would have been too difficult to bear and she could not think of a life with that kind of hurt.

B: is like a marriage for marriage's sake and not one that was planned for or inevitable, a marriage of convenience that would most likely fail, harming all three parties. Another choice "Sarah" said was not even an option for her in her situation.

C: would be like rearing the child as a single mother, hoping for help that may or may not come, a father who is more absent than constant, and that would, again, harm all three parties for life. She said she felt that this was an option for her as she had great support from her family.

D: is like adoption. She would save her baby and harm herself knowingly.
She admitted that it was the single most difficult decision she has ever made; and that it has hurt her more than any other situation in her life... however the thought of her baby having both a mother and a father who could love her baby, support her baby, and give her baby 'saving ordinances' (scroll to "Sealing Authority" ) that she could not yet give her baby, those were the things that she felt her baby deserved. So she pushed the baby into loving arms and took the worst hit of her life.

She shared with us photos of her baby and her baby's adoptive family. She told us the happiest she has felt since finding out she was pregnant was the day she went to wait outside the temple as the adoptive family were sealed for all time and eternity. She said there would never be anything that would help her heart heal more than knowing her baby had a forever family. She was sure she had made the correct decision.

I have to tell you, it was hard to watch her tell her story, and I pray that if I were ever in her situation that I would have the faith to do what was best for the child. She truly amazed and humble everyone in that room.

For those of you reading who are LDS, this post probably makes a lot of sense. For my readers who are unfamiliar with LDS beliefs and would like to know more by reading information from the source --these links can help. No one will call on you unless you specifically request it. And of course you may always ask me, I would enjoy helping you understand what I am writing about!

Mormon.org

about the church

add to sk*rt

12 comments:

Lisa M. said...

What an incredible experience.

How lucky she is, and so are you.

It's neat how people touch us, and stay with us forever.

*Smile*

The Pea said...

I have been watching close friends of mine waiting to be parents for the longest time. I am desperate for them! Those girls who give there children up are the best mothers in the world, I could never imagine what they have to go through!!

Thank you for sharing! I hope "Sarah" stays with me too.

Kathy P said...

I found your blog through Segullah. This post was so touching, I had to reply a thank you. I have a friend that adopted after 15 years of waiting. That experience was so incredible. I know the birth mother went through the same things... she wanted her baby to have the sacred sealing ordinaces more than she wanted to keep the baby. What a beautiful reminder of how to surrender our will to Gods. Thank you for sharing.

maren said...

That is a neat story. What a powerful analogy. This has hit close to home in my family as both of my sisters (the oldest one was kept hidden from us--there was such shame involved) became pregnant as teenagers and both of them gave their babies up for adoption through LDS Social Services. My sister's weren't the only ones who have had lifelong scars from these things. It really ripped through my entire family. Especially all of the secrecy and shame around it. My youngest brother still doesn't know about my oldest sister. It has been so long ago now--26 and 19 years. I do wonder about those kids and what their lives are like. I know my sister's made the right choice. It's just been a long and hard road for us.

S'mee said...

Lisa, you're always awesome, thanks sweety.

Pea, I -like you- cannot imagine the love it takes to place a child in adoption. "Sarah" is incredibly ahead of the game in Spirituality.

Welcome Kathy! She had some other references that she made that just kept testifying to us all about the love these women have...faith and tremendous love. Thanks for stopping by, come back soon!

Maren, I am SO grateful the LDS Family Services has changed the view for these women, many of whom are victims themselves. "Sarah" has explained to us that LDS F S offers the birth parents, adoptive parents and all immediate family members free counseling...FOR LIFE if they need it. Amazing. The Lord is really working!

Alison Wonderland said...

This was lovely.

S'mee said...

Thanks Alison!

Kristy said...

I am so sad that we were out of town when "Sara" was here. Thank you for sharing some of her words. I am moved by her story.

S'mee said...

Kristy...oh my heck. Things I cannot write n the blog, amazing and sacred. When we get together next time, remind me.

Willis Whitlock said...

I too was moved by the candid honesty of that meeting.

I've pondered Sarah's story many times since that day. I can't help but contrast the love of that birth mother with the decisons of the many pregnant teens I see in my new work assignment.

It boils down to putting the needs of the child over the needs of the adults. The car/kid analogy was good. I also liked her statment about mistakes. She openly admitted that she made a mistake. But she couldn't fix it by making another mistake

Rynell said...

I was adopted. This post was very tender for me. Thank you.

S'mee said...

Thanks for adding to the testimony of that meeting Willis, I know I am going to remember this for a very long time.

Rynell, thank you for sharing that, I did not know you were adopted. I have a few friends who have adopted and know a few others who were adopted. There are always the exceptions, but for the most part, I cannot think of a more sacrificial act on the face of the earth.