When you love someone unconditionally, you do what is best for them, not yourself. That was hardest lesson I ever learned and I learned it placing my daughter for adoption. It was also the best thing I have ever done.

Early in 2008 a family knelt down for prayer in their Utah home. During their prayer they told the Lord that they felt that their family was not yet complete and when He was ready to send them another baby they would be ready. They had no idea that their prayer would be answered so soon. It took great faith. The next night the couple received a phone call about a young woman in the husband’s hometown back in Delaware who was pregnant and thinking about adoption.

That young woman was me.

I found out in the beginning of February 2008 that I was pregnant. The news was more than I could handle. I was a young 20-year-old college student not ready at all to be a mother. I was so nervous to tell my parents. They had raised me with strong Christian morals and values. My parents were disappointed but willing to support me in whatever choice.

At that point, adoption was already a big part of my life. I had been adopted by my parents as a small baby. I knew the blessings that came from adoption, yet at the same time during my teenage years I found myself upset and angry with my birth mother (whom I never knew) for placing and not wanting me. I know now how wrong I had been. I began to weigh all of my options.

In June 2008, I had the most spiritual experience of my life. I met with a young man who lived in Utah with his family. They were friends of my family long before I was born. As I sat with him, he told me about his other two children who were adopted and shared their stories with me. He told me how he and his wife would be honored to raise my daughter.

It was finally my turn to speak. My chest began to burn and tears filled my eyes as I tried to talk. I was having doubts about placing after finding out the baby was a girl. At that moment all of my doubts faded and I knew from that instant that he and his wife were meant to be this baby’s parents for this life and eternity. By the end of the meeting, we all were crying. Not only were their prayers answered, but mine were as well. I had faith that what I was doing was right. I will never forget that tremendous experience as long as I live.

The last five months of my pregnancy flew by before my eyes and it was October before I knew it. I was writing emails to the family in Utah, keeping them updated with my doctor’s appointments, and even sending a few pictures of my growing belly. Knowing they were unable to have biological children, my heart went out to them. I wanted to make the experience about them instead of me, since they were not able to be present to witness their other children’s births. I decided that I wanted them both in the room when she was born and I wanted the adoptive father to cut her umbilical cord. I threw his wife a baby shower just days before the baby arrived. It was all so wonderful. The women of my church showed me such kindness and service and never judged me. They all were in attendance at the baby shower.

Two days later Tally arrived. All that I asked was that I got to spend those two days in the hospital with her and then she could go with them. Those two nights were a mixture of joy and sadness. My faith was tested yet again. I was so happy that she was finally here, yet sad because I knew that she would be leaving me shortly.

To stay focused, I kept a journal that I wrote in every day of my pregnancy from the time I found out I would be placing her for adoption up until those precious days after she was born. I made sure she knew how much much I loved her, what she meant to me, and why I choose adoption. I gave it to her parents, who agreed to give it to her when she was older.

I thought since I knew I would be placing her for adoption five months before she was born that it would be so simple. I was wrong. I held her as much as I could, studied all her little features, and tried to memorize them. They stayed in town a week after she was born and brought her over for my family to see her a lot. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so little, so much. When they left our house and drove to the airport it felt like a piece of me was going with them. I did not think it would be so difficult to watch her go. Heavenly Father was beside me the entire time, comforting me and giving me peace. I knew that even if no one else understood how I was feeling, He did. In my heart I knew I was doing the right thing and my family was such a huge support to me.

About a month after she was born, my mom and I flew out to Utah to sign my rights away and to visit. Signing my name at the bottom of that paper was the hardest thing I did. Leaving her that time was harder than the first. Since then, I have received many pictures of her and updates about her and the family. I call her on every birthday. How eternally grateful I am that she has two of the greatest parents Heavenly Father could possibly have given her.

The song by Michael McLean called “From God’s Arms, to my Arms, to Yours” sums up my story. I feel so strongly that she came to earth through me, but not to me. I now know that Heavenly Father does not make mistakes. Tally was sent at this time for a reason. She has changed my life forever. She and the Lord helped me see life in a whole new light and change the very way I was living. She saved me, as did my faith.

Our short nine months together was exactly what I needed at that time. My faith has never been more strengthened and exercised. I am indeed grateful for this experience because it has taught me numerous life lessons. I know adoption is not for everyone, but it was right for me and has certainly blessed my life beyond measure.

But that is not the end of the story. From that experience I decided to begin looking for my biological mother. With no luck at first, it felt like my dream would never come true. On May 6, 2009, I decided to do a simple white pages search in the phone book. All I had was her maiden last name. I knew she was born in Delaware, so I hoped she still might have some relatives in the state. There are approximately 63 listings in the phone book with her last name. I picked up the phone and dialed the first number. An elderly man answered and I asked him if Deborah was there. He told me she wasn’t. So then I asked him if he might be related to a Deborah Sexton, and he replied “Yes, I am . . . that is my daughter.” My heart began to race and I got chills all over my body. I told him that she might be my birth mother.

He was quiet for a few moments. He then informed me that yes, his daughter did place a baby for adoption a number of years ago. By this time I was crying . . . I had miraculously found her by calling my birth grandparents’ house, the place where she grew up. It was only one hour away from where I lived. When my grandmother got home, she called me back and said that she just got off the phone with my biological mom and she wanted to meet me. They told me that she had been praying for this for a really long time. She told me that every year on my birthday she would think about me.

I met my biological mother on May 8, 2009. She said it was the best Mother’s Day present she has ever received.

She told me that placing me was the hardest thing she has ever done. I was able to relate to her even though it was so hard, many people’s lives were blessed because of it. Now we are forming a bond of friendship that can never be broken. There were a lot of answered prayers that day. The void in my heart is now full because of her. There is no more wondering. I am so thankful for the gift of adoption and I want the world to know just how bittersweet adoption can be. My life has truly been blessed by adoption. I want to thank my biological mom for doing the right thing for me, even though it was the hardest thing for her.

I am now married to an incredible man and we have three beautiful children. They have blessed my life tremendously. There is no higher calling on earth than to be a mother and I am so thankful the Lord has given me a second chance to be a mother again, under the right circumstances. I am a birth mother. I am a mother.

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