Monday, November 24, 2008

Women who inspire me--"Cosette"

How do I tell the story of Cosette? How do I honor her today? I have been trying and trying to make myself commit to writing this post, but every time I have a spare minute, I talk myself out of doing it. I don't know why.

It shouldn't be hard. I have written essays about it before. I have shared my story several times within the Families Supporting Adoption groups that Britt and I used to meet with here. I have born my testimony of adoption during special fifth Sunday presentations at various wards throughout town. I even participated in a panel once at the high school, where I talked about how the choices which led me to adoption have affected my life. It really is not a sensitive subject to me. I am not ashamed or afraid of this story.

But I do feel the need to do justice to this tribute to the baby girl who changed my life, and helped me birth my testimony of this Gospel. Not telling it quite right, I think that is what I am afraid of.

Well, let me tell you, anyway. She will forgive me if it doesn't sound perfect.

My mother will tell you at that time in my life, she had been fervently praying that I would gain a testimony of the Church. That used to really bother me, because I always thought I had a testimony; I just didn't fully appreciate how the Gospel, and especially the Atonement worked in my life. Looking back now, I think a critical part of my testimony was missing. And that was--even though I would have denied it--that I did not fully accept that I truly was a child of God, with a divine nature. And as his child, that I truly mattered to my Father and my Savior.

There was a friend of mine waiting in heaven, watching over me as I struggled through this time in my life, when I intentionally made some pretty stupid choices, just trying to find my way. I believe she and I knew each other in the premortal existence, and we both knew that we would have a profound effect on each other's lives on earth. But there she was in heaven, helpless to aid me, frustrated that I couldn't see my way, and how could she be there for me?

Then, she was. She totally was. Just when I needed her most, she came into my life. In the most unexpected way. She was the one. She brought me around. Because of her, I began the repentence process. Because of her, I finally read through all of the Book of Mormon on my own. Because of her, I came to accept and understand the Atonement of the Savior and his love for me. I learned to truly serve others, and to accept the service of others. Because of her, I was able to feel the Spirit, carrying me, comforting me, guiding me. I was able to say, probably for the first time in my life, "Not my will, Lord, but thine be done."

I love her for that. How can I not?

I was not as young as some girls are when they discover their life choices have led them to a place where their choices are no longer just about them, but now include a baby. But I was still very immature, and I knew it. When I realized I was going to have a baby, my first thought was that it was going to have to be adopted. I would be a terrible mother.

For the first time in my life, I started to make arrangements for what would need to be done. I had always had help before. My mother practically had to fill out college applications, scholarship paperwork, make phone calls for me, and anything else that might be considered "responsible" previous to this time. But I did it all on my own this time. I found a place to live. I started the repentence process with the bishop of my new ward. I contacted LDS Social Services to start an adoption plan. I found my own doctor.

I didn't tell my family anything about what I was doing. They thought I was just moving to Logan to get out of Blanding. To find a job and eventually go back to school.

I was five months along, when I told my family. It was tough, but not terrible. I felt good about the decision I had now made, and I believed they would support me. I knew they would be disappointed, but I never doubted their love. (Thank you, my dear family. I will love you always for your patience with me)


The agency that I went to while I was pregnant with Cosette was not exactly what I expected. I walked in the door telling them what I wanted to do with this baby. And they said, "Wait. Wait before you make any decision. Consider your options." That really bothered me. I knew what I wanted to do, so let me get on with it, I thought. They encouraged me to consider whether or not marriage was a possibility. Well, since I hadn't heard from the boyfriend since I told him (I think Tim had something to do with that--thanks, little brother), that didn't seem a possibility. And I knew deep down I did not want to marry him anyway. Think about single parenting, they told me. Why??? Ugh, I know what I want. Wait, step back. Okay, maybe I should listen to them. Maybe I really should weigh my options, write down the pros and cons to each, pray about it.

So, I did. And I always felt right about my first choice, adoption. But I am glad that I received confirmation from the Holy Ghost that this was the right choice. I am grateful that as painful as my life was in the months after she was born, when letters could not come fast enough, and information was way too limited, I NEVER regretted my decision. I owned it. I knew the choice I had made, and I held to it. I believed, and I know the Spirit witnessed to me, that the little girl I held for 9 months and 2 days belonged to the family she is now with.

I am so grateful for the time I had with her. I am so glad that because of her, I finally learned how to really take care of myself. I am grateful that because of her, I got to have a relationship with her dear, sweet parents, who loved me so much. Who prayed for me in my struggles, when I didn't even realize how I was struggling. They helped me overcome my trials and move on. I love them, and I miss that relationship today.

Someday I hope I can meet with her again, and really thank her in words that she can hopefully now understand. I hope she can know that she was my angel. I pray we will be friends again.


Becky said...

WOW - You are one amazing person. What a tribute!!! I have often wondered, but never quite had the guts to ask...thank you for sharing. The feelings you hold are evident in this post. I am still trying to wipe my eyes and get back to work. Again, thank you for sharing!!!

Kim said...

Nan, that was amazing. I appreciate your strength and your willingness to share. I know you have blessed countless lives because of your openness. I love you like a sister! Oh, wait. You are my sister.

Tim and Nancy said...

Nan, that was a very beautiful & inspiring post. I am glad that you continually share your experience so that others might be blessed by your example & helped. I hope someday that I can be the woman you are. Love, Nancy

Worthy said...

Thanks for sharing Nan! That was awsesome and moving. You are pretty amazing!

Kd and Clay said...

I can't wait to meet her again too! Thank you for everything. I love you!

Kayela said...

Great story! Thanks for posting. It is amazing what we learn as we go through our trials in life. Hopefully you will get to meet her at another point in your life.

Kristy said...

Even though we've all made mistakes, it's really what's made us who we are and hopefully that's a better person for what we've been through, which you so obviously are. Most of us are thankful for some of the not so perfect moments in our lives, I know I am. Thanks for sharing.

Chrislynn said...

I love you, Nan! I sometimes can't believe that this happened in your, and our, lives. You came through it such an amazing person. When I had my baby in the Logan hospital and carried him out in my arms I thought of you and that day we walked out of the hospital without Cosette. I am so glad that she really was a positive influence in your life, and not a source of pain all these years.

Lesli said...

You are a remarkable person Nan - I am sure others are blessed because of your willingness to share your story.

It is a beautiful tribute!

Brookie said...

Nan, Thank you, thank you so much for sharing that with us. I think if ANYONE is going through something tough, you ought to be the one to talk to. I, too am grateful for trials because of the opportunity we have to find our Savior Jesus Christ.

I am so impressed on how you have pondered upon this girl who was with you in the pre-existence. Amazing nan.
Thanks again.Brookie

Jodi said...

I don't even know you and yet .... I know you! Thanks for sharing that. I have a sister in law who did the exact same thing, and WOW you are both such amazing strong women, who I look up to! God put women like you on this earth to be an example and straighten out the rest of us! Thank you.
:) Jodi