I'm having an interesting day.
A conversation that I had earlier this evening with my husband brought up some very strong remembrances for me. For the most part, we don't talk a whole lot about my adoption experiences. Upon occasion, one of us might mention something about Ian, but it's infrequent. But it came up today, and strongly.
James and I actually sat down this evening and watched a recording from an FSA adoption conference I was involved with a few years ago. The panel was called "Husbands of Birth Mothers" and the men on the panel discussed their experiences meeting, dating, marrying and raising families with someone who had placed a child for adoption. I don't really know yet what James made of it, though he said it interested him.
The video, along with our conversation earlier, has brought up a lot of emotion within me. I've been remembering what it felt like, when I was pregnant with Ian, and placing him for adoption, and afterward. There really weren't a whole lot of positive emotions at the time. Guilt, shame, remorse, anger, fear, sorrow, grief. Though I knew I did the right thing, it was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
I realize, even more than I did at the time, how much I was upheld by the Savior throughout the entire process. I had sinned, and I felt clearly the lack of the Spirit with me. But how could I have done it without the Savior? He was with me every step of the way. He helped me find Ian's parents, and helped me to know that they were the right family for this baby. He helped me to know that I was making the right decision. He helped me make it through labor and delivery. And He was absolutely there during placement, and afterward, when I thought the world had come to an end.
The best feeling in the world was when, a week after Ian was born, I was able to take the sacrament again. I felt the Spirit, more strongly than I ever had before. I bore my testimony. I received a calling. I went to the temple again. None of which I could have done without my Savior.
My favorite scripture is Matthew 9:22. The Savior says to the woman, "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole."
This verse has so much meaning to me. The Savior offered this woman physical healing, something we are all in need of at one time or another. But in addition, the Savior offers each of us spiritual healing. After placing my son for adoption, I read those words, and I knew the Savior was speaking them to me. I was made whole.
My adoption experience is a part of me. It shaped me, in part, into the woman that I am today. But it does not define me. I am not the same person that I was seven years ago. Sometimes, the memories of those days seem like someone else's story, that I have simply heard secondhand. I am not stained by them. As another birth mother once told me, "Who you are is not what you've done." I am left with the simple, humble gratitude that I have for my Savior, for the comfort and the healing that He brings me, like He can to each of us. Through His Atonement, we truly can be made whole.