22902_000_017My baby was precious to me. But could I, a young unmarried mother, fill the role of the parents he needed?
From the time I was small, my parents had emphasized the importance of keeping myself morally clean. I always believed these teachings, and for most of my life I conducted myself accordingly. But later, as a teenager, I slowly came to ignore what I had been taught. I didn’t allow myself to think of the consequences of my behavior until the day I found out I was pregnant. I don’t know why I was shocked, but I was. Teen pregnancy was something that happened to other people—not to me!
It was then that I realized how far I had strayed from the gospel path. I knew I had to change, especially for the sake of my child, but change seemed nearly impossible.
I didn’t know what to do.
After much counsel and support from my family, and most of all through prayer, I finally decided I was going to attempt what had seemed impossible. With the Lord’s help, I was going to turn my life around and live according to the standards I had been taught.
I began attending church every week. The bishop was very understanding and helped me through the repentance process. He supported me in the difficult decisions I faced, ensuring that he was always available when I needed him.
The questions I had were many: How was I going to pay to have the baby? What would I do to provide for both of us? How could I give this child all he needed when I was still just a child myself? Abortion was out of the question, and I had not given adoption a second thought.
Kirk, my boyfriend, had wanted to get married, yet we now had extremely different goals. I wanted a temple marriage; Kirk didn’t understand why the gospel was suddenly so important to me. Through prayer I knew I shouldn’t marry him; that would only ruin his life, my life, and especially the life of our child. Somehow I gathered the strength to end our relationship.
Despite the support I was given, I was scared and unsure about my future. One day I talked to my sister about my situation. She could sense my confusion, and she told me something that changed my perspective. Her humbling words were: “Children have the right to be born to parents who can provide love, shelter, and food. But most of all, they have the right to a mother and a father to love them. A basic eternal family unit is a child’s right. But you need to pray to know what you should do.”
I knew I could give this child shelter, food, and love; I could give this child a mother—but not a father. I knew that no amount of love, no matter how great, can completely fill the void of a good father figure in a child’s life. But most of all, I knew I couldn’t take this child to the temple to be sealed to me. Would what I had to offer be enough for my baby?
I had to seek greater wisdom than mine, so I prayed and prayed and prayed. The answer didn’t come loudly, and no voice spoke to me, but the feeling I received was unmistakable. It was a feeling of knowing, of comfort, and of peace. I knew that adoption was the correct decision for me. Placing my child for adoption would be hard, but I was willing to go through anything necessary to give him an eternal family. I had faith that the Lord would help make it possible.
When I told Kirk of my decision, he fought it at first while admitting he could not provide for a child. Eventually he agreed that it was the best thing for our baby.
Shortly after I made my decision, I realized I had another great task ahead of me. I felt in my heart that there was a special couple somewhere out there who would welcome my child into their eternal family. I pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me in the search.
When I was told about Michael and Jennifer, I immediately felt great love for them. I felt a strong spiritual confirmation that they would be the kind of parents I had been looking for. I was happy for them but at the same time a little sad. Finding my baby’s adoptive parents made the reality of adoption hit home. I never doubted whether I was doing the right thing, but I gradually realized how difficult it was going to be to say good-bye to my baby.
At times it felt as though the forces of the adversary were working overtime to prevent the adoption from taking place. It seemed the last thing Satan wanted was for another child to be sealed to a family in the temple. But the harder Satan worked, the harder I tried to grow close to the Lord, and the closer I grew to the Lord, the stronger I became.
As my delivery date drew closer, I tried to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for what I was going to have to do. I had grown to love this baby so much! Through repentance and through turning to the Lord, I had seen a trial become the most precious gift I would ever be able to give: the gift of a child to a childless family.
The day finally came, a day I shall never forget for the rest of my life. Austin, the strong-spirited child I had carried for nine months, was ready to come into the world.
Within a couple of hours, he was suddenly in my arms. I looked at him through my tears. He was perfect! His noble spirit quickly filled the room. My family, along with the nurses, stood there with tears in their eyes. These weren’t tears of sadness but tears of love.
I spent a short time with Austin, expressing my love for him. He gazed at me with his large, dark eyes. I’ll never forget how he looked at me.
The time for parting came the next day. It was so hard to see my baby go, but through the comforting strength of the Spirit of the Lord, I found the courage and strength to entrust my child to a couple who had waited and prayed for him for such a long time.
I learned that the impossible is in fact possible if one turns to the Lord for help. I had done what our Father in Heaven wanted me to do. I was so grateful for Austin; his strong spirit helped me through many long months. I helped give him life, but he helped give me a second chance at life.
It has now been two years since I gave birth to Austin. I was recently married in the temple to a wonderful man. My joy is ever increasing. When it is our time, we too will have a family of our own. We hope to experience the same joy Michael and Jennifer must have felt when they received Austin as a gift from God.