Adoption relationships are often misunderstood by those outside the triad. It can be confusing for anyone not involved in the adoption community to understand the adoption triad and the impact of those relationships. The people in the adoption triad who seem to get the least amount of recognition are the biological parents. They make an enormously hard decision, placing a child for adoption, and are often misunderstood. Many people assume they chose adoption because they didn’t love their child. Usually it is the exact opposite. Also, unfortunately, birth parents often do not receive the emotional help that they need.

Leighton Ford was adopted as a baby. At age 12, was told he was adopted. Decades later, watching Roots, he decided he wanted to know about his heritage and biological family. At 50, Leighton was able to locate his biological mother, Dorothy, and planned a visit with her at her home in Canada.

Leighton stated that during the visit, he noticed a single white candle in his birth mother’s bedroom and asked her about it. She stated that it was for “purity.” But that one-word response seemed to resonate much deeper emotionally for Dorothy.  She told Leighton that she became pregnant at 16 with him and placed him for adoption at birth. Dorothy’s father was a pastor, but because of the stigma attached to a teen pregnancy, never talked to Dorothy about it.

Dorothy later married and had three boys, but that candle still burns. Leighton’s adoption and his existence always be a daily prayer with the lone white candle. Now, she is divorced and has spends a lot of time alone. Dorothy stated in a local newspaper, “I know God loves me. But on a cold winter day if there’s no one in your life to talk to, have a cup of tea with, it’s very lonely.”

Their story reflects the essence of life: Our past will always stay with us, maybe with regrets but always with forgiveness and grace.