“How wonderful a thing is a child. How beautiful is a newborn babe. There is no greater miracle than the creation of human life.” Gordon B. Hinckley and other church leaders constantly emphasize the blessing children are to a progressing family. For those who have ever been touched by adoption, that blessing feels as though it has been magnified. While it is common to learn about adoption into the House of Israel and the family of God in General Conference, church leaders will occasionally share their experiences of a child’s adoption story into a forever family. Here are two of those stories church leaders have shared of their adoption experiences.
Elder Andrew W. Peterson is a father to three sons and five daughters—each touched by adoption. In the April 1995 session of General Conference, he reflected on the short time he spent serving in the North Argentine Mission: a time that prepared him to become a father. At the close of his service, he recalled kneeling in the dirt and offering a prayer of gratitude, love, and a promise to, as Elder Peterson said in his talk, “help the people.”
Over the next 16 years, Elder and Sister Peterson adopted six children as they traveled to and from America, Bolivia, and Mexico. Upon the arrival of their final two children Elder Peterson said, “we are forever grateful for the binding and sealing effect the temple provides for the members of Jesus Christ’s church … there is not a day goes by but that Chris and I embrace our children and feel of God’s love for all of His children.”
Elder James M. Paramore also shared his experience of feeling the love of God when he was touched by adoption in his talk, “Love One Another.” In teaching the principle of love, Elder Paramore recounted an assignment he was on in Oregon where he was asked to give a priesthood blessing to a child. He remembers watching as a large family was ushered into the room. “They had adopted six or seven abandoned, physically handicapped little children who would need their love and care the rest of their lives … I felt humble in their presence, and the love of God filled that room that day.”
The sacrifice a birth mother makes to give her child a chance at a better life is tragic, yet beautiful; the blessings of such pure selflessness are immeasurable. In Gordon B. Hinckley’s 1994 address “Save the Children,” he taught, “When marriage is not possible, experience has shown that adoption, difficult though this may be for the young mother, may afford a greater opportunity for the child to live a life of happiness.” Those touched by adoption know that the joy a child brings to a family is indescribable as is the promise of a forever family sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. These blessings of happiness permeate through the lives of all who are directly touched by or encounter adoption and help us to see the loving hand of God in all of our lives.