This past year has been an emotional roller coaster ride. Life can be that way sometimes, but this year it was particularly true. This year, there were some breakthrough moments that brought my adoption experience into the forefront of almost all my conscious thought. I will admit I became obsessive about what I did not have, hopes that were crushed. I found myself questioning how the grief I was experiencing could possibly be the Lord's will for me.
Here is a brief history of the year's events:
In March, my husband orchestrated an opportunity for me to once again correspond with my birth daughter's parents and possibly even meet. He had been pursuing it for months with LDS Family Services, and finally contact was made! I spent an agonizing two months writing letters to her family and to her. My girls even made cards. We were all so excited for this new chapter in our lives.
In June (my birth daughter's birth month), my family went to Mexico with some friends. Her 18th birthday was the last day of our trip. We still hadn't heard anything from LDS Family Services. In the middle of the trip, my husband called Logan. He was told the letters never were sent. They didn't have an address and had lost the number they used to contact the family. I was devastated.
I spent months feeling frustrated, powerless. I was angry that I had written those letters, only to have them go nowhere. And my poor husband couldn't help but wonder if it would have all been better if he had just left well enough alone.
I attended the Families Supporting Adoption National Conference in August. At an informal event the night before, I was able to meet other women who have had similar experiences, since their adoptions occurred in the closed adoption era. We shared our testimonies of adoption and how our choice has blessed us. We also expressed our frustrations about ways we have been mistreated. We were all talking a mile a minute; it is so nice to be able to discuss the emotions of being a birthmother with others who know. That was a cathartic experience.
That same month, as I was posting about my experiences at the conference, I came to the conclusion that I needed to let go. The power to make something happen with LDS Family Services and the family was out of my hands. I felt like it was an unhealthy obsession, and I needed to find a way to move past it.
But that was easier said than done.
In October, I wrote this post. Shortly after that, I received an email from someone who used to go to high school with me. He had been reading my blog and decided to try an internet search with some of the information I had posted. He thought he may have found something. Did I want to see it?
Um, okay. Did I dare hope?
And then I followed the links he provided. And then I did a few internet searches of my own. There they were! It was a miracle! In my excitement, I tried to contact one of the parents on the internet. I asked them to request the letters waiting for them at LDS Family Services in Logan. I hoped they would respond, but they didn't. I called LDS Family Services with the information I had found and asked them to please call and let the family know my letters were waiting there.
Nothing happened. Weeks passed.
I sank into a deep depression. Talk about unhealthy. Those who were closest to me encouraged me to try to be optimistic. To give them, the family and LDS Family Services the benefit of the doubt. But I will admit to you, I really didn't. I was angry, even a little bitter, altogether unhappy. Why didn't they care about me? was a question I asked over and over. I now know that attitude was wrong.
I know I should have relied on the Lord more during that time of grief. I should have been more patient. I should have held on to hope. I already knew He loved me. My life has been blessed in countless ways. If I could have just stepped away from that time of railing against the world, crying about the unfairness of it all, I could have found the peace I sought.
In the October session of General Conference this year, Elder Robert D. Hales gave a talk entitled "Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done." It is worth reviewing, if you haven't read it yet. A couple gems from the talk:
Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows us, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, "all these things shall [be for our] experience, and [our] good." (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7)
Every one of us is more beloved to the Lord than we can possibly understand or imagine. Let us therefore be kinder to one another and kinder toward ourselves. Let us remember that as we wait upon the Lord, we are becoming "saint[s] through [His] atonement, . . . submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)
So, I didn't like the way I was feeling. I was not submissive, meek, humble--any of that. I was frustrated. I was hurt and angry. I didn't like being like that. I decided it really was time to let it go. I called the agency and asked her to send my letters back to me. It was time to close that door.
A few days later, I received a phone call. Actually, my phone received the call. I didn't answer in time, and it went to my voice mail. It was Sandy at LDS Family Services. She had just gotten off the phone with my birth daughter's mother. They wanted to send me pictures. Sandy had given her my email address as well. It was good news! I was in the middle of cub scouts when I listened to the voice mail. It was one of those moments you just need to stop and break down and cry (that was what I had done when I received the email from my friend. It was such a miracle!), but obviously I couldn't in the middle of cub scouts.
I went home and immediately made contact with the parents. We began corresponding on the computer, sending messages at least once a day. They were excited to know me! It was exactly the opposite of what I had been fearing. They had no idea that LDS Family Services didn't have their contact information. Why wouldn't they? The family had never moved! They also had not known that I had written to them. When they had first heard from Sandy, she gave them the impression I was requesting an update. They were in the middle of trying to get their daughter graduated from high school, besides working and writing full time, so they were overwhelmed at trying to put something together for me.
Basically, there were a few misunderstandings, but nothing malicious or neglectful. Their family has thinking of me often this past year, without even being aware of the turmoil I was going through. As I said before, it is unfortunate that I misinterpreted the circumstances. Remember those beautiful letters I posted written by those good people? Oh, what an amazing blessing it is to be able to resume that friendship! What a gift!
Recently, I have been able to communicate with my beautiful birth daughter, as well. She initiated contact. It was one of the best days of my life, to be sought out by her! Some of you may know I was anxious to know whether or not she had ever received the Book of Mormon I sent through the agency, with my testimony in it. Well, her parents gave it to her fairly recently and she has loved reading it, along with the letters I wrote years ago, as well as the ones I just sent. We are having so much fun getting to know each other, finding similarities, sharing a lifetime of love.
And yes, we are going to meet!
You know it has been hard for me not to say anything to you here, but I kind of wanted to lead up to it, you know. That Grand Finale I was talking about. These past few weeks have been such an amazing gift. My Heavenly Father does know me, just as Elder Hales said. He knows each of us. Blessings come, understanding comes, as we wait on the Lord.
Thank you, again, for all who offered prayers in my behalf. They have been heard. They are felt!