Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), prayer is a big part of my belief system and lifestyle. I pray for a lot of the same things many people do in other faiths and cultures. I pray to give thanks for things I have, for people in my life, and for help I’ve received during my struggles. I also ask for things. (Sadly, I may ask for more than I give thanks for!) Some of those things are for help with a big decision, relief from pain or ailments, or forgiveness for something I’ve done wrong.
When I became pregnant, prayer was a ginormous part of the adoption process and really affected not only the process itself, but also the outcome and how I felt about it. I can very confidently say that without prayer, my story would have turned out differently.
I could simply list hundreds of things I prayed for during and shortly after my pregnancy, but many of those things were circumstantial and specific to my individual needs. However, there are many things I prayed for that I’m certain other expectant/birth mothers pray for, too:
First and foremost, I prayed for my child. As most women want when they’re pregnant—placing or not—I would constantly pray that my child would be healthy, and that he would be happy no matter where he was placed. After all, the whole purpose of placing my child for adoption was to make sure he had a better life than I could have provided at the time. Especially now, years later, I can see how this request is still being answered.
Part of praying for my child’s happiness and well-being meant that I prayed for my son’s family. I prayed that I would know them and that they would be prepared for him; that they would be the vessels that provided the answers to my prayers. As I got to know his family, even before I chose them, they were giving even more than I had initially prayed for; they were not only prepared to be my child’s family, they were also prepared to be an extension of mine. They incorporated me into their lives so fully that our lives became completely enmeshed.
There were days where I felt just fine and appreciated the break in the storms. But there were just as many days where I prayed for relief. Multiple times. I would ask for relief from physical pain, mental chaos, emotional agony, thoughts of worthlessness, and even an escape from those around me who didn’t understand. Adoption took a toll on every aspect of my life, and sometimes, I just needed a break. Though it wasn’t always immediate, I would always get that little breath of relief that kept me going through the entire process.
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Alongside relief, I prayed for comfort, guidance, and peace. The moment I could muster a coherent and productive thought after looking at those positive pregnancy tests, I told myself adoption was the answer. But I wanted to know that I was doing the right thing, that I was making the right decisions all along the way. Up until that point, I’d made some very poor choices, and now they weren’t just affecting me, they would affect this tiny person who was relying on me. I wanted to make sure I was keeping the right people in my life, that I wasn’t eating or acting in a way that would hurt him, and that I would put myself in a position to be lead. Though it wasn’t easy to let go of some people and make a lot of lifestyle changes, I know that my prayer was answered: I experienced a closeness with those I chose to keep around and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
One of my most common requests that I made didn’t come until I’d taken a leap of faith and chosen my child’s family for myself. I had been praying daily and never seemed to get a reply for the single most important thing I needed. But when it finally came on the day that I told my child’s parents that they were his family, it was unmistakable and undeniable. Above everything else, I prayed for a confirmation. I needed to know this was right and that I wasn’t going to place my child with the wrong family. I needed to know that I was doing His will, not just what I wanted for my own imperfect reasons.
I prayed for countless things and not once did prayer fail me. I am a huge advocate of prayer, meditation, mindfulness exercises, and anything else that can help women consciously and clearly consider adoption and its consequences. Prayer is what worked for me, and it made all the difference in my adoption journey.
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