November is National Adoption Month. How appropriate! In a month when we reflect on all of the things we are thankful for, I cannot think of many things greater than the incredible blessing of a child placed in a home with loving parents.
I, and my two brothers, came to our family through adoption. My parents had struggled with infertility...they got me when I was 9 months old. My birth mother was a teenager who, after I was born, took me home and was planning to raise me with the help of her family. After a short time, she made the choice to place me for adoption through LDS Family Services. I will be eternally grateful for her wise, selfless and loving choice. (Although maybe I was just a really whiny baby and she just couldn't take it anymore! I like to think that it was because she wanted me to have more than she could give me, including a home with both parents...) I'm sure it was a difficult and painful decision for her and her family. I'm sure there have been moments in her life when she wondered if she made the right choice.
She did. I am so grateful. I have a wonderful life and the most wonderful family. And I know I'm with the family God meant me to be with.
Over the years, people have asked me if I have any desire to find my birth mother. The answer, for me, is no. My heart is full of gratitude and appreciation for her, but I know who my mother is. She is the amazing woman who changed my diapers, fed me, played with me, spanked my bottom when I deserved it, giggled with me about boys, cried with me about boys, put notes in my lunches, played the piano for me and sang me to sleep, prayed for me, supported me, taught me about cooking and sewing and service and life and the Gospel and is my best friend and the person I would most want to be like in the whole world.
A few years ago, I did request my non-identifying information to see if there was anything medically or otherwise that I should be aware of. There wasn't. But I did discover that my birth father had been involved in the process of placing me for adoption. I was informed that this is pretty rare. At that moment, I felt a deep feeling of appreciation for him. Up until that point, in my mind he had just been a guy who had...ahem...had a good time. How grateful I am that he was supportive of my birth mother in allowing me the opportunity to be raised by my father, a great man, the rock of our family. It's hard for me to put into words what my dad means to me. It's said that a girl gets her self-esteem from her relationship with her father. I just know that my dad has always been so proud of me and always makes me feel like I am special and like I can do anything. He inspires me to want to live up to his expectations. He is an amazing example of Christlike love and strength. He loves my mother and treats her with kindness and respect. He loves his children and is constantly praying for their welfare. He loves the Lord and serves Him with all his might. I think every child deserves a father like that.
In our church, we believe that families can be together forever. After I was adopted, I went to a Holy Temple with my parents and was "sealed" to them, which means that we were bound together with a bond that will continue after death. My mother will always be my mother, and my father will always be my father. Scott and I were married in the Temple and we will always be husband and wife. If we are faithful, through the gift and grace of Christ, we will be a family forever. I can't think of anything I am more thankful for than that.