Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get out your tissues...a beautiful Birth Mom kept, then placed...

This is Jill's story... Here is her blog

I never, ever wanted to be a birth mother.

I always thought that a birth mother was a woman who had a baby she wasn’t ready to parent, and I think I was born ready. People would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and while I had an answer for them (which changed with my age), I always thought, what a stupid question. I am going to be a mommy when I grow up.

Adoption itself I was familiar enough with. My mother was adopted at birth and although her family’s a little crazy, she had a perfectly happy growing up, and she always knew without a doubt that she was loved. I thought of my mom’s birth mother only to wonder if it was she who was responsible for my height, or my nose, or my bosom, and to wonder if she was any less crazy than my maternal grandmother. But I was grateful for her. Because of her, my mom has an eternal family, and she grew up with a strong testimony and everything a birth mom could want for her child.

As for me, I never felt that I had it in me to be that selfless, that noble. When I love, I love deeply and with my whole soul. I didn’t think that I could ever give up a child I grew and carried and birthed. Of course, I never thought it would be an issue for me. At the age of 24, I’d never been on a date. When church leaders spoke of chastity, all I could think was how nice it would be to be in a position to worry about keeping the law of chastity! I’d all but given up.

Then I met H. We met in March, on MySpace. How embarrassing is that? But I didn’t mind. H was clever and charming and funny and he told me I was beautiful. I decided I was in love with him. I knew what I had been taught, but I think I always believed that H was my one and only chance at any kind of relationship, and I let things go too far for fear of losing him.

Things inevitably ended. H dumped me at the end of July, and I was completely devastated. He said he still wanted to be friends. I cried for weeks. I was inconsolable. Then came the news that my father’s brain cancer had returned, and he would have, at most, six months. I was fired from my job two weeks later. Insult, meet injury. Despite his promise, H kept his distance, and I tried to persuade myself that it was for the best. I spent time with my father and I am so glad I did. Six months became two weeks, and my dad died on September 9th.

I heard from H off and on. He seemed to be considering a relationship again, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. I was grieving the loss of my father and I sought comfort where I could. I mistook H’s sympathy for affection. I found out I was pregnant two days after I turned 25.

I was horrified and ashamed and frightened. It seemed too much to deal with. I didn’t pray, but I shouted and railed at God. “I get it, okay? I screwed up. Fine. Message received. Now make this go away.” At first I only told my mother and my bishop. But a few weeks later I tired of bearing my burden alone. I told H.

I had hoped that the news might scare H into growing up, growing a spine, growing a brain. He’d been immature and unreliable, and I knew that had to change if he was going to be in my life now.

He didn’t change. I saw him last in November of 2008.

I considered adoption. I browsed profiles on the LDSFS website. I found three couples I like. I met with two of them and decided a third choice would be too much for me. I liked both couples immensely and felt that they would be wonderful parents. I wished I could give each of them a baby – a baby, but not my baby. I knew it, I thought to myself. I just can’t do this. I’m too selfish.

I decided to plan on single parenting. I bought a crib, a car seat, diapers, Onesies. Adoption was ever present in the back of my mind, but I pushed it away. I wanted my baby. I wanted her more than I’d ever wanted anything in my life. I spent hours every day staring at my ultrasound pictures, rubbing my belly and talking to my baby, impatient for the moment when I would finally meet my baby and hold her in my arms and be her mommy.

The moment came later than I’d planned, after 36 hours of labor followed by an emergency c-section. She was the most perfect, amazing little person I had ever seen. Weeks before the birth, I’d told myself that if adoption was the right call, I’d know when the baby was born. What a stupid thing to think! As soon as I saw her, some deep, primal part of me said she was mine, and that was that. The decision was made.

Being a single mother was hard work, exhausting and unforgiving. I loved it, though. And I loved my baby girl. She was my entire world. I thought she was absolutely perfect, probably the most perfect baby to ever be born. She was calm and happy, rarely fussing, and she slept and ate well.

But I couldn’t get adoption out of my head. It had taken root in my brain months before and wouldn’t loosen its grip. If I had a free minute or two, I was on-line, looking at adoption websites and profiles and blogs. I cried as I browsed. What a horrible mother I was! I had the most beautiful, most perfect baby in the world, and I was trying to find a couple to pawn her off to. What was wrong with me? And yet I couldn’t stop. I spent hours on-line, scratching my adoption itch.

I loved my baby more deeply and completely than I’d ever loved anyone in my life. But I had moments when I was holding her or feeding her or bathing her and I felt that I was living someone else’s life. That I was raising someone else’s baby. I hated those thoughts, and when they came I held my baby a little tighter, worried about my sanity and my fitness as a mother.

H made another appearance in mid-August via late-night e-mail. He’d sort of internet-stalked me and found out I’d kept the baby. He wanted his rights and threatened all sorts of nasty legal action. He implied that he would seek full custody.

I panicked.

I called my caseworker at LDSFS and arranged to meet with her on Monday. I had notions in my head of having his rights legally terminated, of restraining orders and court orders and a police-enforced safety net. H had shown his true colors during my pregnancy, and I knew that I didn’t want him in my baby’s life. I was terrified of what influence he would have on her, what he would teach her and expose her to, and I was convinced that if he had custody he would corrupt her, confuse her, and turn her against God.

I wasn’t going to let that happen. She was innocent and sweet and pure, fresh from Heaven. I was determined to keep her safe. Once again I looked at couple profiles on-line. I liked several but none really stood out. One couple sort of did – their profile was well-written, sans spelling or grammatical errors, and their picture was charming – they’d adopted a beautiful little girl 18 months ago. But they didn’t meet the criteria I had in my head. I wanted baseball fans and they watched ASU football. I wanted people with educational experiences like mine, and they were both overeducated. He reminded me a bit of my oldest brother, but in my mind, they simply wouldn’t do. So I moved on.

Or at least, I tried to. God had other plans. The names of that couple came to me over and over again. Every time I saw a list of couples hoping to adopt, there they were. I swore their names were boldfaced on one list I saw, but closer inspection showed their names in the same type as the other 30 or so couples listed. And there they were on another page. On another blog. On another list. And another, and another. I shut my computer off, thinking that I needed a break, as I was clearly losing my mind.

I prayed, not for the first time, to know what to do. I hated the answer. I was not placing my baby for adoption. “Well, Heavenly Father,” I said, “That’s nice. But you gave me agency. So … yeah. I’m keeping her.”

My baby woke from a nap and I fixed her a bottle. As I fed her, as I burped her, as I changed her diaper and rocked her to sleep, the names of that couple came to me over and over again, steady and strong as my beating heart.

This went on for two days. When I met with my caseworker on the third day, I begged her to help me sever H’s rights. She explained that would be a difficult thing to do. She asked me if I’d considered adoption. It was then, I think, that my heart accepted what my spirit had known all along. My baby wasn’t supposed to be mine.

She was seven weeks old. I was her mommy. How was I going to do this? My caseworker promised she’d help me find a couple willing to be very, very open. She mentioned the names of a few couples, but as she spoke, I made a connection that I should have been smart enough to make days ago.

“I know exactly where she belongs,” I said, looking down at my sweet baby napping in her car seat. I told my caseworker the name of the couple that had been haunting me for days. A phone call was made, and I arranged to meet the couple on Thursday.

I was more nervous about meeting them than I had ever been in my life. But I knew as soon as I entered the room that they were my baby’s parents. My baby knew it, too. I handed her first to her daddy. My little girl had a very expressive face, and while I could get smiles out of her, she most often looked puzzled or thoughtful. Not now. This newborn baby, this tiny girl, looked right into her daddy’s eyes, and she gave him the biggest smile I’d ever seen. She was enchanted. It was as if she’d said, “Oh, Daddy! There you are! I’m so happy to meet you at last!” I took a picture of my little girl with her new mommy and daddy. I had the most amazing peace. For the first time in over a year, everything in the world felt right.

When you are a mother, you have this innate awareness of your baby. Your baby is … well, yours. She belongs in your arms. I let friends and relatives hold my baby, of course, but when I did so my arms felt empty. I was on the alert, making sure the baby was comfortable and happy, her head supported, her limbs arranged just so. I was attuned to her so completely, I could hear her squeak or grunt from across the room. I could never relax when anyone else was holding her.

When I handed my baby to her mom and dad, something very curious happened. My mommy radar went away. My arms didn’t feel empty. I was at peace. I relaxed for the first time she the baby had been born.

I decided to place her in two weeks, on September 9th – the first anniversary of my father’s death. I decided that, that way, I’d have one day a year to be miserable, and I could be happy the other 364 days. Those two weeks were the shortest of my life. I had to fit a lifetime of memories into fourteen days. I took more than a thousand pictures. I skipped naps and meals so I could hold my baby as she slept. I whispered things to her, that I loved her so very much, that her mommy and daddy loved her already, and that she was going to have the most amazing life. And then on the 9th, I signed a sheet of paper that said I wasn’t her mommy anymore, and I handed her over to the woman who was.

The drive home was surreal, short and brutal. I’d been a mommy for nine wonderful weeks, and now my baby was gone. I wanted nothing more than to die. I missed my baby so much that I thought the pain would rip me apart. I felt like I’d been poisoned and I was dying slowly, the very fabric of my being dissolving and disintegrating from the inside out.

The first two weeks were without a doubt the worst in my entire life. I don’t actually remember them very well. Then came the first visit with my baby and her family. And it was wonderful! It was amazing, and comforting, and happy. My baby didn’t feel like mine anymore. She was theirs, as she was always meant to be. I knew on a cellular level that this little girl was where she belonged, in the home that Heavenly Father intended for her.

I love that little girl more than I have words for. She stole my heart. I miss her every day. But I would place her again in a heartbeat. She has the most wonderful parents and big sister that a girl could ask for. She was sealed to them in the temple in December. She is healthy and smart. She is the happiest baby I have ever seen. She seems to have an innate knowledge of just how deeply she is loved, and it gives her this magical, peaceful quality I can’t quite name. I’ll say it again: She has amazing parents. They can give her everything in the world she could ever want or need. The only thing they couldn't give her was a body, and I am so thankful that my Father in Heaven trusted me with that awesome responsibility. Her parents love her, and they love me. Because of my decision, both of our lives are forever changed for the better, and I am forever grateful.


  1. Jill's story is one of my most favorite because after all the controversial, opposing things I read: the blogs advocating parenting and the adoption horror stories, it's Jill's story that reminds me that adoption can be the Lord's plan and that He's the guide, and that He loves and does not leave us alone in this process.

    Jill, thank you for sharing your most personal story, and for reminding me that yes, God can be a part of Adoption.

  2. that's such a great story! You rock and i loved reading it in a whole new way!!!

  3. Love it! Thanks for sharing. You are incredible and God is always with us.

  4. I loved this story because we adopted our daughter at 12-weeks. Her birth mother originally wanted to place her but was talked into parenting.

    One of the things I wrote to her in our profile book was that this wasn't the end of something but a beautiful beginning for everyone involved. I loved that you basically said that at the end. It makes me feel like maybe V. feels that way too. I hope she does.