I was born into a family of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. At eight years old, I chose to be baptized and become a member. I feel like my faith is the center of my life. I make most, if not all, of my decisions based on my values, faith, and much prayer.
My husband and I talked about adoption and having a large family even before we were married. We both came from large families, and we love big family life. We had three biological children when we chose our journey of adoption.
Starting out on this journey, I worried more about my race than my religion. We wanted to become a transracial family. I had been told that some birth mothers may not want to place transracially, especially with a couple who already had biological children. Well, I will tell you that may be true for some situations. However, we are now four adoptions into our journey, and I will tell you emphatically that we have been chosen for our behavior, love, and steadfastness far above what we look like on the outside and/or our religion.
We chose our first agency in Utah. There are many members of Church of Jesus Christ in Utah, so many birth moms choose Utah knowing that their adoptive parent prospects have a high chance of being from the Church of Jesus Christ. Our first interview was with a birth mom in her mid-twenties. She had two sons and was expecting her third son; she was hoping to find a Church of Jesus Christ family.
This night we would meet our birth mom for the first time, I remember thinking that I have never been so scared in my life to meet anyone. I remember getting to the restaurant early and going into the bathroom for a quick heartfelt prayer heavenward.
I knew that our first interactions with this birth mom would likely determine whether or not she entrusted us with her 11-month-old child. I wanted this to happen so badly. In those moments before our meeting, I was given some insight that—above all else—I needed to be myself. I needed to be who I am and show her love regardless of whether or not she chose our family for placement. I needed to learn as much about her needs and wants as I could in the next hour and a half and find out where she was emotionally on this journey. Proverbs 3:5-6 came to mind: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” With renewed hope, I left the bathroom to see where our journey would go.
I can tell you what I did find out. I thought our child’s birth mom would be very concerned about our religion, what our values are, and how we would raise her child in our religion. She asked us many questions about our education, what we did in our free time, etc. She asked us situational questions about parenting. She was concerned about alcohol and drug use in our home. It had been a problem in her own home growing up and this was a major concern for her. Luckily, in the Church of Jesus Christ religion, we are asked to abstain from drinking wine or alcohol of any kind as well as coffee, tea, and illegal drug use of both recreational and prescription drugs.
We played with her 11-month-old and two-year-old sons. We helped feed them and kept them entertained while she also told us that her top priority was for her son to be raised in a household with a father. It’s one of those situations that I thought to myself, “Wow, I played that out differently in my mind.” I had worried so much that she would get hung up on the fact that we were members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In reality, she cared so much more about who we were as people and how we would treat her child. We were not just a title, nor did we treat her like she was one. It was so refreshing.
At the end of the night, we had discussed that she felt great about our family. She wanted to place her 11-month-old with us as well as place her baby due in six weeks with our family. For us, it was an amazing first encounter. We had completely put our faith and hope in a loving Heavenly Father. We knew whichever direction we were taken, we would be learning and stretching beyond our current capacities in our journey.
Adding children to our family is all about change. Change of any type is hard and uncomfortable at first. Each time we added to our family of seven children, people asked me a week after our children arrived if I felt like we are settled? What? That is crazy. I always tell everyone who asks that change takes time; it takes faith, hope, charity, service, and loads of LOVE! Come ask me in 18 months how we are adjusting and settling in, and I will be able to give you an idea then.
There are so many different aspects to adoption. We are definitely not on this journey alone. We feel like our faith, church community, family, and friends all played a huge roll in our adoption journey. We rely daily on our faith. We pray many times a day for help and strength. We read and study and ask for direction. We look to our prophet, bishop, and local leadership for strength and guidance. It’s who we are.
Since these early days of our first adoption, we have gone on to adopt four times. Through agency adoption, private adoption, and international adoption. It is our faith and our testimonies of our Loving Heavenly Father and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that has carried us through each day.
Do you feel there is a hole in your heart that can only be filled by a child? We’ve helped complete 32,000+ adoptions. We would love to help you through your adoption journey. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.