The office was closed when we pulled up. It was close to 8:00 a.m., and I had no idea what their office hours were, or whether the agency was even still in operation. The real reason I was down there was to use to LDS Cannery there in Farmington, which happens to be right next to the LDS Family Services office. That office I have been to a few different times in my role with Families Supporting Adoption as a birthparent advocate. But not in several years.
My friends and I walked into the cannery, and proceeded to can dried carrots for the ladies in our ward. We were quickly done, and walked out a little after 10:00 a.m. While the boxes and cans were being loaded into the truck, I wandered down the sidewalk and peered into the office. There was a beep and the locked door opened. Of course, then I felt obligated to enter.
I walked to the lady behind the counter, offering my hand. She shook it. "I'm Nan Barton," I told her, "I am a birth mom." The funny thing is, it wasn't that long ago when this introduction happened, I would have said, "I was a birth mom." Now, I am aware of the fact that this will always be true. I went on to tell her that I had worked as a birthparent advocate with the agency before, and I occasionally receive newsletters from the Albuquerque office, but I hadn't had any contact with the Farmington office for years, and I was wondering if they still had an FSA group, or any other outreach programs they were sponsoring right now.
I am sorry. I can't remember her name, but she was immediately apologetic. The man who had run the office for years had been sick for much of the time he was in charge, and so the work of the office declined. Then the lady who took over from him never quite figured out what she was doing and has since moved on. This poor woman who had greeted me behind the counter also seemed a little overwhelmed, but she said she was eager to get everything whipped back into shape.
So I asked her if there was anything I could do for them.
Well, she just brightened up then. She told me I should meet with the Church Service missionaries in the next room.
Now, I felt a little anxious, because I don't think my friends had seen me slip away, and therefore, they had no idea where I was during this brief exchange. But I truly did want to be of help somehow to the agency in their efforts to promote adoption. So I walked in, was introduced, and sat when they invited me to.
Within moments, I was sharing a bit about my story. And as they acknowledged that adoptions were more closed when I placed, they asked if I still had any contact with the adoptive family. Unexpectedly, I started to tear up as I explained that the last time I tried to send a letter, the agency in Logan shut me down, telling me they wouldn't even have the adoption records on file there.
Well now, that smiling elderly gentlemen sat right up and said, "Logan! I worked at the Logan agency. I just retired from there a couple years ago. I know the lady in charge there now. I will call her and get it set up. You just write that family a letter and send it here, and we will make sure it gets forwarded on."
Did you catch that? I went in to see what I could do to help, and immediately they offered to help me. Wow. I had essentially given up on having any contact with the family until the time (which may or may not come) when she decides she wants to meet me. And I was okay with that. But now, we could correspond again, maybe. Wow.
And I came away with a bunch of pamphlets and cards and video, so I can do my part to spread the message about adoption and the services offered by the Church through LDS Family Services. Yay! This is my little way of doing my part to save the world.
And I guess now I should get busy composing that letter. . .