Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Leesa's Story (from birth mom panel)

Leesa is a Birth Mom and I met her on a Birth Mother panel one night at Lds Family Services, where she shared her story with all the hopeful adoptive couples there. Leesa wrote her story for me to share with all of you. It is very detailed and worth reading. Leesa is also one of our Birth Moms on this Birth Mom panel. Enjoy!

My story started when I was 8 months pregnant. I hid my pregnancy for 8 months from my family, and I lived with them. This also proved that I was not ready to be a mom. It all kind of started one Sunday when my Young Women’s leader (I was no longer in Young Women’s) came up and confronted me saying that she knew what was going on. I tried to deny what she was accusing, but then all I could say was, “I haven't told my mom". She was just letting me know that she was there for me since the spirit told her that I was alone.

Then that following Friday, my cousin was getting his baby blessing for his name, and after that had happened my Bishop pulled me to the side and had a talk with me. He didn't give me a chance to deny that I was pregnant, he asked. "When are you going to tell your parents?" I told him that I planned on telling them that coming weekend. He said okay, and then proceeded to give me his counsel. He counseled me that I should place my child for adoption and that it would bless a families life. He also said that he supported me in whatever choice I made and wanted me to pray about it.

Later, that night I told my mom in a store that I was pregnant, she was somewhat shocked but she had an idea. Then, I told my brother he was not at all thrilled. I then had to call my dad to tell him, because he was down in Idaho, because he had a job there in Idaho and we were all going to be moving after my brother graduated. I started to try and tell my dad but all I could do was cry, so my mom told him for me. She then passed the phone to me and my dad asked " Does ***** know?" I told him that the birth father didn't know. Then, after I got done talking with my dad, I went downstairs to go to bed; my brother came in to my room and talked to me. He was talking to me about adoption; of course I started crying my eyes out, because my heart knew that adoption was the right choice. I had no job, no one to truly help me raise this child and my brother pointed out these key points. Also, he knew I didn't want to deal with the birth father and if I had kept the baby I would have been stuck with the birth dad for the rest of my life. After my brother and I had gotten done talking, I cried myself to sleep since I had so much on my mind.

During the course of that week I was writing a paper, because I was in College. The paper was on how I was against abortion, and while I was looking up stuff to use for my paper, I kept coming up with links that had to do with adoption. So of course,
Heavenly Father has a sense of humor, and I knew he was directing me to honestly think about adoption. I know during that course of that week, my Bishop came by to give me LDS Family Services phone number. I didn't really want that number, because at the time I was still thinking I was going to keep the baby.

I had my first doctor’s visit, and I brought my mom with me, and it was definitely an emotional time. My mom was crying, and I was crying while the ultra sound was happening. I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat, and I then found out that the baby I was carrying was a little boy. I was so happy that he was a boy, because I only want little boys. My doctor then asked what I planned on doing, keeping the baby or adoption. My first thought was to say, “Of course I am keeping the baby." Instead I said that I wasn't sure of what was going to happen. The doctor then said that she would get me some profiles to look at. I wasn't at all entirely thrilled, but I said okay.

During that week, I called LDS Family Services, and said “I am thinking about placing my baby for adoption." The lady then transferred me to my social worker Tawnia. She was the most helpful lady ever; she asked questions, she let me know that she was supporting me in whatever decision I chose. I knew, as soon as I called her that I had somewhat made up my mind about adoption. I was afraid, because I wanted to be able to see him grow up, I couldn't just walk away and never hear about him again. I didn't know what I could do about having that ability to see him grow up. I also wanted him to grow up with the Gospel in his life. As, I was talking with Tawnia I found out that there was open adoptions, and that there were couples that were willing to send pictures and send updates.

I eventually started to look on LDS.org about adoption, and I looked at one profile, and I wasn't at all sure about that couple. So, the second profile I looked at was the most amazing profile I had ever found. I read their letter to an expectant birth mom, and I was balling my eyes out. I loved what they had to say and they were also willing to share the baby’s life with whoever chose them. They already had one little boy who they had adopted about a year and half before I found them. I still looked at a couple files after but I kept comparing them to the couple that I had found. I knew at this point that this was the couple that I wanted to raise my son. I still hadn't told the couple but I had talked with Tawnia about the couple that I had found, but not to let them know, because I was still thinking about adoption. One day I was driving home from getting food for my family and the spirit prompted me to tell Tawnia to tell that couple that they were going to be parents yet again.

Tawnia called me the next day and asked if I was sure this was what I wanted to do. I was to shy to email them myself, so I had Tawnia do it for me and give them my email and my number. I immediately got a response from the adoptive mom; she emailed me her gratitude for me choosing her family. Through the course of the next couple months we emailed back and forth, we also texted each other also. I fell in love with this family so much more as I got to know the couple more and more.

At one point, the birth father did find out that I was pregnant. I started to stress and get irritated because I felt like the adoption wasn't going to go through because I was afraid that the birth father was going to fight the adoption. Tawnia heard some rumors from the grandmother stating that the birth father was going to fight it. Later down on the road the birth father agreed with the adoption.

While that had happened, the adoptive couple had come up to Alaska, a couple weeks before the due date of April 29, 2009, and we had met for the first time.
My first impression of them was that I knew who they were as soon as we got out of the car and met each other. I knew their laughs their smiles, everything. They took me to IHOP, and we had breakfast and just sat down and talked for while. It was so nice just sitting there and talking to them. I invited them both to a doctor’s visit that was coming up, the adoptive mom was up for it, and the adoptive dad just said that he would let me and the adoptive mom share that moment together. Well, the doctor visit came but I was overly late and had to have it rescheduled for a week after my due date. So, we went to the doctor on May 7, 2009 and there was no ultra sound but I was on a monitor, and the adoptive mom was by my side and got to hear her son’s heartbeat and see him move while I laid there. She was so amazed by all of it.

We came up with a name for the baby before he was born and it was Henry James.
I love how we came up with the name together, because I was unsure of who named the baby so I asked them, and they said they had some names swirling around and she asked what name I was thinking. I was thinking Henri, and the adoptive mom told me that that was the first name on their list. They stuck with the name Henry ( instead of with the i) and they came up with the middle name themselves. I just knew it had fit for him.

Well, that same doctor’s visit the doctor looks at me and says
“You are going to have a baby today." Of course I get quiet and processing through what she says, and I couldn't believe that all of this was going to happen. The adoptive mom is standing on my side and I think she was thinking through the exact same things. Well, the doctor just kept talking and eventually told me to go home eat a good meal and then go to the hospital where they were going to start me on petosin (worst thing ever).

The adoptive mom and I leave the doctors office, she calls the adoptive dad to let him know to
come get her and I called my mom. I also called some other women that I wanted to be there for me, my Young Women's leader and a teacher that I had in Young Women’s. I also called my dad to let him know what was going on. My mom and I met at the house, I got my backpack, and then made a sandwich and we were on our way to the hospital.

I got admitted into a room, I stayed in a trauma room since all the other places were taken up for the time being. I stayed there for a while, while they monitored my blood pressure. It was terribly high, and they treated me as a preeclampsia patient. I got a blessing from two brethren from my ward, and my Bishop came and visited me in the Hospital. It was so nice seeing him there, especially since he was letting me know he was supporting me in what I had chosen.
The adoptive couple came in and met my mom for the first time, and we all sat around and chatted, of course by then I was feeling contractions and it was miserable. My brother was of course called to let him know what was going on, but he didn't want to go to the hospital, but when he did come, I started crying, because I was so happy to see that he had come to the hospital.

Eventually, everyone had to leave the room other than my mom, because my blood pressure was way too high, and I needed to relax. So, that entire time, I was in pain and I was irritated because I couldn't move to alleviate the contractions.
My mom stayed by my side the entire time, she held my hand and she was also trying to sooth me since it was pretty rough. The adoptive couple was actually given a room at the hospital, I was so glad, because I really wanted them to experience the excitement of waiting for their baby. Eventually through all of the pain and contractions, I opted for an epidural about 2-3 hours before Henry was born.

Eventually at 4:04 in the morning Henry James was born on May 8, 2009. He was screaming as soon as he came out, and I was overly thrilled that he was screaming.

I do remember at one point I thought my mom was caressing my face and when I opened my eyes my mom was actually sitting down. I knew it was my Heavenly Father saying, "Good job, you did it!" I was so comforted to know that he was there for me especially at this moment in my life
Eventually, I got to hold Henry first, before his mom and dad, and the nurses laid him in my arms and he looked straight at me and his eyes said, ”Finally, I get to see who you are."
I know I cried a bit when I saw the look on his face. He was so beautiful, and so full of life. I passed him to my mom so she could hold him. Then my mom handed Henry back to me, and I held him for a few more moments, and then my adoptive couple was brought in. I looked at them smiling and they looked at me smiling too. I then said, “Do you want to hold your son?" The adoptive mom asked, “Are you sure?" I nodded my head;

I then let her know that I wasn't able to lift my arms, so she picked up Henry for the first time. I passed out after that and some other times. I know Henry's mom asked if I wanted to feed him, but I let her have that moment with her son.

Eventually, Henry went with his parents to their room, because I wanted him to start bonding with his parents not me. I remember the adoptive dad asking if I wanted to watch the first meeting between Henry and his big brother, I said yes, and I do remember passing out. The next day I woke up early, and the nurse came in, and of course I wanted to see Henry. His mom had just fallen asleep, and I was still bed ridden, because of my blood pressure. I don't remember when I finally saw Henry or his parents, I was in and out. I do remember the meeting between Henry and his big brother, and it was so cute and amazing. My mom came back to the hospital after she went home and had some sleep. She brought my brother along with her and I was just happy to see my family.

The following day, we got to do a little dinner in the hospital, and
the adoptive couple and I swapped gifts. That was a very touching moment, and I loved how the spirit was there acting as a witness of what was happening in the room. The following day Henry was discharged before me, so I walked him and his mom out so they could go back to the hotel as a family. I was at peace watching them drive away with Henry. I didn't get discharged till the following day, which was Mother's Day. I wanted to get out of the hospital so my brother picked me up before church. I went to church 45 minutes after I had just gotten out of the hospital. I was sitting next to my mom and I tried singing the first hymn and I just started bawling my eyes out. I couldn't stop crying, everyone in my ward that knew what was going on was worried about me. I eventually stopped crying. At the end of the meeting there were flowers being passed out to Mothers, but the Bishop made sure that all women in Relief Society got flowers. My brother gave me the flowers, and then another young man, looked at me and asked with his eyes if I had gotten flowers. Later on that same young man gave me a hug. I was so thankful that the ward was so loving and caring.

That following Monday was a little stressful, because the birth father was signing his rights away. The adoptive couple and I were hanging out before the birth father showed up and my brother met the couple. because I brought him with me. Then, while the couple and I drove to my home from the hotel, we got a call saying that the birth father wanted to meet the couple. We prayed together about the meeting that was going to happen and were at peace that all would go well. I hopped in to my truck and followed the couple back to the hotel so that the birth father could meet them. The birth father and I hadn't seen each other in months since I had broken up with him, so I was way nervous about seeing him again, the reason I went was so he knew I was proud of my decision about my couple and that I loved them with all my heart. When the couple and I got there they went in first and shook hands with the birth father and then I was going to just walk in and sit down, but he didn't let me go in until he got a hug. I started crying when he gave me the hug, and I don't know why. Eventually I went and sat on the bed and he sat on a chair opposite of me and the couple.

There was at one point that the birth father was offered to hold Henry, the adoptive mom looked at me first seeing if it was okay and I nodded. The birth father go to hold Henry, there were pictures of the birth father take while holding Henry, but eventually I ended up holding Henry. After he passed Henry back he signed his rights away. I thought that he had already signed them away before he had come, so I was a little surprised that he was signing them while we were there. The birth father and I had 10 days to change our minds about the adoption; of course we never changed our minds, since Henry is still with his mom and dad now. After that meeting with the birth father, the adoptive parents went back to their hotel and I went home.

That following week, the adoptive couple went back home, and our goodbye on Monday was good for me since we would be seeing each other in a year. After all of this, a month after I had placed Henry with his mom and dad I moved down to Idaho with my dad, waiting till my mom moved down after our home sold. Those few months after Henry was born were the hardest, but now I am doing well. I am working, I plan on starting college again this coming fall, and I am moving out. These things I wouldn't have been able to do if I had kept Henry. Placing Henry was the best decision that I had ever made, he is happy and seeing his family with him is amazing. It was the hardest choice for me to make but it was well worth it, because his parents give him everything I could never have given him. I love adoption and it's truly changed my life and it's been a very long journey, but a journey that really showed me how strong I truly was.

I get updates about Henry every Sunday, and I get pictures once a month, because that's what I asked. I am so thankful to watch Henry grow up and know what is going on with him in his life. Open adoption has really helped give me some closure on knowing that Henry is doing well. Not that he wouldn't have been if I was given the updates, but it's still nice to see him happy and have that confirmation more and more. I am just excited to see how much more he will change and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to see him grow up.


  1. Beautiful post - thank you Leesa for sharing your gift. Henry is a gorgeous testament to your love for him - unconditional and unselfish love. Blessings to you - Kelli

  2. This is beautiful! Thank you SO much for sharing!