91908_000_008I was in trouble. Only Heavenly Father could help me decide what to do with my baby.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when he or she must turn to our Heavenly Father for help and have faith in His eternal wisdom. During times of trial and repentance, we feel only the pain. But after the pain has gone, we begin to understand.
As a young woman fifteen years old, I found myself in a situation that I thought would never happen to me. I was pregnant. My initial fear of being caught in my sins quickly changed to anticipation of the fairy-tale marriage of which I had always dreamed. However, I soon realized that marriage was not in my near future. The young man involved was not, unfortunately, willing to accept his share of the responsibility.
My life became a raging flood of emotions. I was excited as I listened to my friends talk of how wonderful it would be to have a baby. I was frightened as my mother lectured me about money problems, educational roadblocks, a strained social life, and the hardships of raising children. I felt guilty as I watched my father cry and thought about how much I had hurt him. I was angry and sorrowful as I cried over a lost love. And I felt unworthy of ever receiving forgiveness from my Heavenly Father.
Many people gave me advice. Some said I should have an abortion. Others talked of adoption. Public welfare was an option suggested by some. I considered the possibility of keeping my baby. An aunt even offered to take the baby and raise it so that I could visit at any time.
I considered most of these options but also spent a great deal of time trying not to think about them. Maybe I thought the problem would go away or that someone would make the decision for me.
My family and friends were supportive. They encouraged me, counseled me, loved me, and accepted me. My friends tried to include me in all their activities, but I didn’t feel that I belonged with them anymore. I felt alienated, and the things they were doing no longer seemed fun or important.
Soon my family moved to another town twenty miles away. My mother said she had wanted to move for a long time to get closer to her work. But I knew that she decided to move mainly to help me start a new life. I will always be grateful for the chance I had to start anew.
The day we moved into our new house, the bishopric came over to help. We had a good visit, and the bishop seemed genuinely concerned. Within the week, he had called me in for an interview. We had a good long talk. But when he asked me about my plans for the future, I broke down and cried. I didn’t know! There I was, seven months pregnant, and I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do with the baby or myself. After I had calmed down, my bishop made me promise that I would go home and pray.
That night, for the first time in a long time, I knelt down by my bed and poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father. Working through the process of sincere repentance, I begged for God’s forgiveness and asked him to help me know what was best for me and my child. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of peace and love that filled my soul that night. I heard the Spirit speaking to my mind, giving me words of comfort and encouragement. I knew that my Heavenly Father loved me and had heard my prayer.
Each night as I knelt in prayer, I felt the Spirit near me. I felt as Enos must have felt when he prayed all day and night for a remission of his sins. (See Enos 1:2–8.)
As the days went on, I knew in my heart what the Lord wanted me to do. I knew that I must place my child for adoption. But I tried to deny it, desperately seeking other options. For eight months I had carried this baby. I felt his movements. I heard his heartbeat. I felt that special bond of love that any mother feels for her baby. My eyes ached to see him, and my arms ached to hold him. He was part of me! How could I give him away?
However, my denial eventually changed to acceptance. I couldn’t deny the words the Spirit spoke to me each night. This was my trial of faith. I knew that if I was to receive the blessings I sought, I needed to have enough faith to make this sacrifice.
During the following month, the pain seemed unbearable. Each time I knelt in prayer, I begged the Lord to give my baby a good home with parents who would love him and care for him—someone who would teach him the gospel and teach him to love the Lord. I always received a peaceful reassurance that he would have a good home, but the pain was still there.
In the days after I made my decision, I spent a great deal of time in prayer. When my mother and I met with the person who would be handling the adoption, I knew I was in the right place. My prayers had been answered.
I later learned that when the couple selected to adopt my baby was contacted, the wife cried. When her husband came to the phone, he explained that he, his wife, and other family members had held a special fast on the previous weekend for the purpose of asking the Lord to send them a baby.
Their prayers had been answered. My prayers had been answered. I knew that my baby would have good parents to love him and teach him the gospel, and that they could give him much more than I could as a teenage mother.
The day came when I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Even though it was a time of sorrow for me and my family, it was still exciting to participate in the miracle of birth.
After a special priesthood blessing given to me by my bishop, I began to realize that this baby didn’t belong to me alone. I had no claim on his life. He was meant to be the son of a special couple whom the Lord had chosen. It gives me great comfort to know that through faith and repentance, and through making a difficult decision, I was able to bring to pass a miracle for someone else.
Even with that knowledge, deciding upon adoption wasn’t easy. I have never had any regrets about my decision, but even after almost eleven years, I grieve for my son at times. I pray that someday, in either this life or the next, I’ll be able to meet him and talk with him.
Over the years, the Lord has blessed me beyond measure. I was able to finish school and get a good job. I have had the opportunity to be married in the temple to a wonderful man who loves me. I will never forget the feeling of pure joy I felt as I knelt across the altar from my eternal companion, knowing that I was clean before God.
I am grateful that I was able to gain such a strong testimony of faith, repentance, fasting, prayer, and our Savior’s love for me and for all his children. I could not have accomplished all that I have without my Heavenly Father by my side, guiding me with his wisdom and mercy. He was truly standing at the door and knocking. All I had to do was open the door and let him in.
Note: Parental guidance and inspired discussion with one’s bishop are all-important for Latter-day Saint youth who face the issues and challenges discussed in this article. In addition, LDS Social Services can provide written material and counseling and can provide advice regarding private or agency adoption placement.