Melissa and Jacenta
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Melissa and Jacenta
Norma
Becca
Shelby and Emily
 I was a broke 22 year old widow (of only a year) and a single mother when I found out I was pregnant by someone who had broken things off about a week before. The birth-father wasn't interested in raising this baby, or being in our lives. I was trying to find comfort in a relationship that kept me in denial from the grief of losing the father of my daughter, and my husband. Becoming pregnant and subsequently sober, helped me to wake up to the reality of my situation. It hurt my heart to know that I was in no way prepared to give both of these girls what they deserved, I decided to look into adoption, and I found a family that I truly believed in my heart was meant to be my baby’s family. After meeting them, I knew that this without a doubt. They could give her all the things I couldn't; financially, emotionally and she’d have two parents to raise and love her. My daughter was almost 4 and she was part of the whole process, she understood from the start that this baby was not meant to be raised in our family. I knew that I couldn't give my daughter all that she needed and deserved if I was trying to also raise a baby without a second parent. The daughter I parent is almost 17 now and she has been a witness to my emotional, spiritual and physical healing over the years. We have a great relationship and she knows the reality of unplanned pregnancy. When there are issues in her life, she has the necessary tools to work through it rather than give up. We still talk about her birth sister and she understands why I decided to place, and is just excited that she may one day get to meet her. The adoption is closed and we have no information about my birth daughter who will turn 13 this year.I love her and have always loved her. I couldn't provide for her, so I had to look past how much it hurt my heart and how much I wanted to raise her, and find what was the very best thing for her and for my daughter. I still know in my heart that she is where she is meant to be, even if it hurts to miss her so, and not know anything about her. I kept my promise to both girls and cleaned up my life. I've done a lot of healing work and worked hard to become financially stable on my own. My life is finally a happy one. When and if my birth daughter wants to reunite, I want to be someone that she can be proud of, not someone that couldn't get my life together. I’m proud of who I am today. I have learned great compassion and hope through my life and only recently have I begun to share my story in the hopes of helping others to know that there is always hope and a light at the end of any tunnel, no matter how hard that light may be to find.
Candice's Story
Heather
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Nicole
Katy
  I am a Birth Mother. 9 years post placement. There is nothing simple about adoption. It is the most complex and beautiful thing that I have ever had the privilege of being associated with. It is a part of me forever. I will be a Birth Mother forever, and that is a beautiful part of my story.
  I am a birth mom to a beautiful little 3 year old girl.   I am married to my soulmate who also is the birthfather to our daughter. Together we travel the adoption journey as one . We parent two precious little girls,  MuRae 6 and Kynlee 5 . After having Kynlee we decided that having my tubes tied would be the right thing to do . We had our girls and  I have my son JD from a previous marriage and he has a son also.     So that's what we did. I had my tubes tied and our family was complete.    Months later I began feeling tired, feeling the exact same way I felt when I was pregnant . I had a appointment set with my Obgyn already for a check up from having my tubes tied. So I go to the doctor only for a check up to find out something that has changed our lives FOREVER . I was pregnant !!!      Now growing up as a child, I knew the word adoption but never really knew the true meaning of adoption. It was never something talked about or even seen. The second I learned I was pregnant the idea of adoption came to me. I never shared the thought with anyone until a couple of days later. I went to a pregnancy center nearby to talk to someone about the thought that had came to me .     It just so happened the lady that had been handed my file to open the door and call out my name and talk with me on what brought me in there was an adoptive mom. I had told her, "what I'm about to say is going to make you think that I am a terrible person." She listened.  I said, "I am pregnant and adoption is my decision." With a tear rolling down her face she said. "You are not a terrible person, Someone just like you made me a mother."     So with my resources I go home and share my thoughts with my husband. Of course he looked at me liked I was crazy and wasn't  feeling what I had felt about adoption because the feeling that had come to me didn't come to him. After talking the next day we contacted an adoption agency.    The journey began. It was a long, tough, everyday changing journey for us both. We cried, we hurt, we changed our minds several times between the two of us.  We felt shame, guilt, we felt it all . But the one thing we felt together and strong was God's word to us. His word was Adoption! I had become pregnant after having my tubes tied for a reason and that reason was God's plan for adoption . We believed Him and we trusted Him.        Today we are birth parents together! We did it! We turned a beautiful couple into a family. We gained another part of our family. We chose and open adoption and together we get to see our birth daughter grow.  We get to watch our three little girls visit with one another. We get to watch this special little girl's life as she grows. We love her and she loves us. Adoption is beautiful !!
 At the age of 24, I was behaving like a typical "20-something" trying to grasp the concept of being a responsible adult after college. By the time 2013 rolled around, my life was completely consumed with consequences. I began to feel so afraid of how reckless my life had become, that I figured perhaps if I merely "ran away" from all the poison that had began to leak into every crevice of my life, I would be able to just - start over. I decided to move to Los Angeles and live with someone I had just met weeks before on a vacation. After 2 months of shamefully trying to redefine myself on the West coast, I boarded a plane back to Denver, feeling hopeless and lost. About a week after my return, I met my rock bottom when I discovered that I was pregnant.  As I stared down at those two pink lines, my mind began to flood with different emotions. I remember sobbing uncontrollably as I held the phone to my ear waiting to hear my mom's voice on the other end. As I shared my new reality with my parents, I experienced my first awareness of God's grace. My mom simply said "We'll get through this together and we love you" and the fear that had so quickly taken up residence in my mind began to shift.  In a situation where many young women see three different choices, for me there were only two. I knew almost immediately that this precious life inside of me was going to be raised in a loving home. The decision I needed to make was whether that would be in my own home, or in the home of a mother and father who could provide for this brand new life here and now.  As this unfamiliar reality sank into my heart more each day, my family called on our pastor for support through this seemingly fearful journey. After sharing the many emotions that had now become a part of my every day, our pastor decided he wanted to gather a few handpicked women from the church to lift me up in prayer. He made it clear that they would not be there to judge me, tell me what to do, or give me advice. They would simply gather around me to pray.  About two months into my pregnancy, I reached out to an adoption agency in hopes of finding some practical guidance. I knew the basics of adoption, but was never able to imagine what it would feel like to say goodbye to my very own flesh and blood. I really don't think there was a particular moment when I suddenly realized adoption was the right decision for my baby. I think I knew all along, but I needed to gather the strength to say it out loud.  There were days I just wanted to disappear; yet I was the furthest thing from invisible. Sometimes I would pray that God would empty the sidewalks so I could catch a break from the stares, assumptions, and congratulatory words that would so often pierce my heart. With each day that I woke up to a bigger belly and stronger kicks, I held my head a bit higher, knowing that I was breathing for another life. I learned that I could and would make it through rock bottom. I had to, for my son. I learned that the love I have for that precious baby boy, the love that says "I will do anything to give you everything in life, even if that means it's not with me" is a small reflection of God's love here on earth. With each night I'd roll (literally roll) myself into bed, lie my head on my pillow, prop my legs on another pillow, and close my eyes to pray. I could hear God whispering, "that's my girl".  The four women who formed my prayer group became some of my greatest spiritual companions. I think they would agree that if we tried to list every prayer that was so perfectly answered, we'd end up writing a book. The greatest of those answered prayers being April and Scott, my son’s new mommy and daddy. The minute I finished reading their profile book, I knew they were it. Two months later on the day after my 25th birthday, I met them. We talked and shared our stories while the very active life inside me confirmed they were the ones. We formed a beautiful relationship and even chose his name together.  Skyler Elijah was born on January 25th, 2014. When I gazed into the eyes of my newborn son for the first time, I felt like my heart was going to explode with love. Since Skyler was delivered via emergency C-section, we spent a couple more days at the hospital than expected. Those four days were my four days to be his mom – to feed him, soothe him and tell him "why." As I rocked him back and forth one night with tears rolling down my face, I talked with him about being strong. I talked with him about the importance of having Jesus in his heart. I told him to hold me safe inside his heart too, and that there will never ever be a day that goes by that I won't think of him; whether I say his name out loud, or he passes quietly through my mind. I talked with him about how brave I'd need to be in a couple days.  I woke up extra early that last day to watch the sunrise with Skyler. As the sun slowly crept over the mountains in shades of lavender and peach, a very unexpected song began to play on my radio. It was my favorite song, the one I dream of playing at my wedding one day – "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. I knew it was God. He was nudging me to dance with Skyler, to close my eyes and hold him tight, knowing He's dancing right alongside us. When it came time to say goodbye, April and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes and we hugged. The moment her arms met mine, between the heaving sobs, I felt as if I was transferring all of my "Skyler mommy powers" into her. If someone were to animate that moment, there would've lightning bolts of some sort leaving my body and residing in hers. It was another whisper from God saying, "that's my girl".  The night I returned home from the hospital, I remember thinking: "this is it, this is that scary, unknown time of 'the after." The next few days and weeks I kept expecting to erupt, I kept expecting the emptiness in my arms to weigh me down and rip a hole straight through my heart. That didn't happen. I've experienced a very different kind of grief and heartache. There is a hole in my heart that will be healed but will never be replaced.  I have been embraced by Skyler's adoptive family, and we share a strong mutual love for one another. Although I miss my sweet boy every single day, my heart is so filled with gratitude when I see how much joy he brings April and Scott and his 4-year-old brother, Bryce. We have come to consider each other family  It is my hope that my story of finding myself at rock bottom and handing it all over to Him will plant a seed of hope and grace into many more hearts. Each time I share my story and see and hold sweet Skyler Elijah, I can hear God whisper, "that's my girl."
   As a fifteen year old, I was moved to Alabama to live with my father and grandparents. My mother was in a coma due to a car accident caused by driving under the influence. I started attending high school in my new home.  Months later, I found out I was pregnant.       My mother, now out of her coma, had me move home to Las Vegas, Nevada. I was taken to an abortion clinic. I found out there that I was 23 weeks along. The clinic refused to perform the procedure unless I could pay another two thousand dollars. My mom did not have enough money and that ended the abortion route. I was relieved as I did not want the abortion. I wanted to parent.       Since I knew nobody in Vegas, and the birth father soon chose to cut off contact and explained he was not interested in parenting, I realized I had to go back to the drawing board and make another plan. Single parenting was not my idea of what I wanted for my baby.       I approached my mother about the idea of an adoption plan. My mother instantly remembered an old boss she had worked for sixteen years prior. My mother dialed her old phone number, and the boss actually answered the phone. They were both taken aback by the shock and disbelief. I spoke to her on the phone and soon met Carrie.       Carrie and her husband had adopted two previous children through LDS Family Services. They had just finished creating their profile and becoming active with the agency a few weeks prior to me calling them. I knew that I wanted to place my child and that I wanted to place with them.  Carrie’s family was “perfect” and loving.  I knew they were the right family because it felt really right.  My son was theirs.  I wanted my child to have a mom and a dad. I felt the baby’s presence within me right away, and felt it was my job to bring him to earth and for someone else to parent him.  I was concerned about the first ultrasound and my emotions, but when I saw my baby’s face on the monitor I was okay.  The adopting mom, however, was sobbing, because she knew that it was her son.       Through my pregnancy I started to think more about God. I prayed regularly and felt my Heavenly Father guiding me and strengthening me along every step of the way.  During my pregnancy I listened to my heart.  I knew there had to be a greater purpose to life.  God creates families and I got to experience a little bit of that with placement. In the beginning, I saw Trent often.  Probably every month or twice a month, because they lived down the street.  The Adopting Parents accommodated my need to see him and were kind. I relied heavily on the support I found at LDS Family Services and from my case worker. I spent as much time their as possible. I felt it was where my feelings were safe.       A few years post-placement, I felt the need for more support outside my circle. I began googling for birth mother retreats and came upon an article in Cosmopolitan magazine. I found the woman who ran these retreats on Facebook and asked about the details for the next one. I could not afford to go to the retreat so the organizers held a spot for me and worked out a payment plan. They found me a ride to the retreat in Lehi, UT.  Going to the retreat changed my life.  Prior to this experience, I wasn't able to say how I truly felt and that I was okay and that there were other girls like me.  One of the most powerful truths I learned through the retreat was that it was all out of love. I hadn't allowed myself to believe that until I gave myself permission to be honest.        Adoption is beautiful. 
  A little over a month ago I had the ability {because of 5 amazing women} to see my sweet Josie. We were passing her neck of the woods and there I sat in her living room with her whole family. I was ecstatic. My heart  beating   pounding like it has every other time I have gotten to see her. This time it was 7 days after she turned 7.    We pulled up in the car, I opened the door. The most beautiful child you will ever lay eyes on came running straight at me and leapt into my arms. I held her for a minute. Tearing up. She will never know what those 5 minutes did for my heart. She was as excited to see me as I was her.    I owe her love for me to her parents. They speak well of me, they make me a known person in their family. They have always welcomed me with open arms and generous love. They have never denied me a picture, call, video, or visit. They go out of their way to make our adoption smooth. To them, I am just another "aunt" or "cousin", but to them I am also special. I am Josie's birth mom.    Anyways, I walk into their house. I give her parents a hug. I rush downstairs to joke around with her big brothers, who have grown a good 10 feet since I placed, then go back upstairs to talk with my Josie and her parents.    She tells me about her birthday, her books, her life. And there I sit, listening, but also absorbing. Her hair is so perfectly curly and textured. Her skin is the most gorgeous shade of brown and is so soft. Her voice is music to my ears. Her personality is me as a kid. She is a {brown} mini-me. But she isn't just a mini-me, she also has awesome traits from her birthfather (his charming smile) and her parents (sense of humor and passion for life). Those thirty minutes were marvelous.    Yet when I left, My heart...it ached. My heart was soaring when I was with her then it crashed to the ground in the car on the way home. There I sat in the same room as my birth daughter and I realized, all this beauty I was taking in. all this perfect. I am missing out on that every second of every day. The thought of that shattered my heart.    Although her parents do a kick-ass job at keeping me involved. Way better of a job than I ever fathomed. These moments come. I crash. When crashed I let myself slip into the "What-if's" and the "Why's". Even though deep down in my heart I know it was the right decision, and I will never regret placing or doubt my decision to place, I am allowed these moments of hurt. I am allowed to have moments of wonder and questions.    Gosh I miss her. I wish I could hug her tight everyday. I wish I could tell her every day how beautiful she is, how perfect she is, how smart she is, and how loved she is. I wish I could tell her that not a day goes by I don't think about her. I wish I could tell her how many lives were forever changed because of her. Most importantly I wish I could tell her that her parents are the best.    While I will miss out on a lot, I am forever grateful I don't miss out on all. That is enough to keep me going. To show her that her life, her placement, my decision, it was not in vain. It was for love.   
     I placed my daughter Zoe for adoption 11 years ago. I was 17 at the time and ready for my senior year in high school, and Zoe’s birth dad was 23. I decided I wanted to place her for adoption as I knew I wasn’t able to provide for her the way a parent needs to.   I knew we would be faced with many hardships as I grew up in a single parent home. After she was born, she was placed in foster care for 6 weeks. It was supposed to be 2 weeks, however her birth dad brought me to court for custody. Therefore, I took Zoe from the foster home to my home. Can you imagine?? Going through the grief and loss at the hospital and now here I was with my daughter, with no clue how to be a parent!  While I had her, we went to an audiologist since she didn’t pass her hearing test initially. We found out she had moderate-severe hearing loss in one ear and severe hearing loss in the other. The hearing loss was a result of a virus I contracted while I was pregnant (Cytomegalovirus).  Zoe’s birth father did eventually sign off his rights after 7 amazing and emotional weeks with her. When I had her, I knew I couldn’t let myself get attached- but how could I not?! She was gorgeous, happy and my baby girl. Having her as a single parent for 7 weeks also reinforced my decision that adoption was still the answer. I was impatient with her, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t want her shuffled between myself and her birth dad like I was between my parents. She deserved more than I could give her. A hard reality to face, but I knew I wasn’t capable. Therefore, I decided to sign off my rights a second time. This time it was so much harder to let her go. I did bond with her and it was a deep grief that I had never known.  She went to the home of a family I had chosen for her and they gave me weekly updates, which turned into monthly updates. After a few months, my social worker informed me that Zoe had become permanently deaf and the family felt they could no longer take care of her. They knew nothing of the Deaf world and didn’t have the tools to help her. So, Zoe went back to foster care. I was in college at this point.  I had another decision to make – is this my sign from God that I should take my baby girl home for good? Do I drop out of college? My social worker then provided me with deaf family profiles. I had 3 or 4 to choose from. I chose a family who has 3 hearing sons. The mom (Brandi) lost her hearing to spinal meningitis when she was 6, and the Dad (Tim) was born deaf. Zoe could have the best of both worlds – hear with a cochlear implant (if she chooses) or embrace the Deaf culture. She chose to embrace the Deaf culture, and I couldn’t be more proud.  Brandi has written an autobiography about her life growing up deaf in the hearing world, and how she was being groomed to become Zoe’s Mom. The first half of the book is about Brandi, the second half of the book is mine and Zoe’s adoption story. It is called Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Journey of Identity, Love and Adoption. It can be purchased at  www.brandirarus.com  or on Amazon.  Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. It has been an amazing journey and I am so happy I get to share it!
Sarah
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