Those of you who know me, know this story well. I'm sharing as part of Show Us Your Life at Kelly's Korner.
Peanut and Katie, November 2002
In March of 2002, one month after I had married my current husband, my 16 year old daughter came to me in tears and told me she was pregnant. To say she was distraught would be an understatement. She also shared that she had told the boy involved and he had immediately dumped her and spread lies about her all over the high school.
In today's world there are three main choices that she had. And none of them are easy, no matter what anyone thinks. She could have an abortion. She could keep the baby. Or she could place the baby for adoption.
An abortion is not the solution 99.99% of the time. It just isn't. It is the solution most full of "what ifs" and some consider it murder.
Keeping the baby is a popular choice amongst teenage girls. You can dress the babies up so cute and all your girlfriends will love hanging out with you and your adorable infant. Of course, this means that school will all but disappear from your life. Or, if you're lucky enough to have a school that has daycare available, you will have to work really, really hard to gain that high school diploma. And college is put into a much harder category. To qualify for welfare, you need to move into your own apartment, away from your parents and the support they can give you.
Placing for adoption. You will give away a very cute baby right as your hormones are swinging this way and that in the postpartum phase. People at school will not understand. You will always worry about your child. If you have a closed adoption you will always hunt for his face in the crowd. And you will hope that his parents remember to send you that yearly picture and update letter. If you have an open adoption, you will come face to face with what you gave up. And you will have uncomfortable questions that will be asked and will need to be answered.
I took Katie to LDS Family Services the week after she told me. The social workers there don't push an adoption agenda. They really just want the girls to be as prepared as they can be for whatever choice they make. All adoptions done thru them are closed adoptions. And abortion is discouraged. Strongly.
Katie joined a birth mom support group that met weekly. Sometimes I could attend the meeting. Sometimes the other parents of the girls hung out in a different room and discussed what we were going through. The girls in Katie's group ended up keeping their babies about 50% of the time and the other 50% of them placed for adoption.
Prayers were always said that they would be able to make the correct choice for their unborn children. And that they would be strong enough to make those choices.
When Katie was about 3 months pregnant, she made the firm decision to place her baby, that we called Peanut, for adoption. It was really the turning point in her life when she made that decision. She started attending summer school to make up credits for all the times she had skipped school. And when regular school started up in the fall, we moved her to a different high school and she went to that school rather than choosing to go to the young mother's program. She didn't want those girls to pressure her to keep her baby because they had kept theirs. She was firm in her decision.
Around the beginning of October Katie was finally allowed to choose the parents for her son. The social worker prayerfully chose 5 or 6 different couples from all that were available. The couples had all filled out a biographical worksheet giving boring information about themselves such as age, education level, occupation, stuff like that, without actually identifying them except for their first names or where exactly they lived. And they had written a personal letter to Any Birthmom, telling about themselves and their hopes and dreams and desires. And they all make a scrapbook page with pictures of them and a representation of their lives. I had a friend who did all this and the ulcer that the scrapbook page and letter caused her was epic. She wanted to say the right things and not anything wrong. And the pictures needed to be perfect.
And Katie's social worker only gave the girls she worked with the biographical page and the letter. No pictures. She counselled them to prayerfully choose the parents and she didn't want them to get hung up on looks. And, while my heart hurt for all the angst that went into all of those scrapbook pages, I agreed with no pictures and so did Katie.
Katie took the packet into her bedroom, said a prayer, and read every word on every page. And she said that she immediately knew who God wanted to raise Peanut.
She brought me out only the biographical pages. She didn't want to share the more personal letters. But she wanted to see who I would choose based on those bio pages. I went into my bedroom, a prayer in my heart and on my breath, and proceeded to have the most spiritual experience of my life. The third page in my entire body was covered with goosebumps and an incredible feeling of rightness. I knew who was meant to be Peanut's parents.
When I came out, it was confirmed. Because I had chosen the same couple that Katie chose. When we got the scrapbook page the following week it was interesting to see that Katie and Peanut's mom looked like they could be sisters.
Peanut was born on a Friday in November. We had him until Sunday evening. Almost all of that time was spent in the hospital. Taking pictures and holding him and loving him. Katie took some time alone with him and explained to him who she was and what was going to happen to him and her reasons why she was placing him for adoption. She had also written him a letter that he could read when he was much older explaining why she had chosen to place him for adoption rather than raising him herself.
When she was released around noon on that Sunday, we went home and she did her hair and dressed him in a cute outfit and we headed to the mall to take a formal portrait of them together. She kept one, I kept one and we sent an 8 X 10 for him and his parents.
That evening Katie placed Peanut into his mother's arms. And his mother just sobbed and hugged on Katie. And it was perfect.
Peanut's mom started hanging out at social networking sites and found Katie and they started exchanging emails. We have celebrated Peanut's birthday with him and his parents for the past 8 years. And we've seen him play little league baseball a couple of times. And we met a lot of his big, extended family a couple months ago at his baptism. And this adoption was the right thing. And Heavenly Father guided my daughter in making her choices during this time.
I hope and pray that all couples that feel the great desire to be parents can become parents. Because the miracle of birth or adoption is just the greatest thing anyone can experience.