Yea I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. – D&C 8:2
A time to choose
Is one who has closed her mind and hardened her heart, one whose bitterness precludes the help of those closest to her, is one who may not really want such inspiration able to receive it? Will the Lord offer help to such a person? The simple answer to both questions is, yes.
Candice is not a stranger to the Salt Lake area having visited there on many occasions and having lived there for the better part of a year while going to school. She was however, a stranger to the circumstances which now brought her there to live with her Grandmother.
Grandma Ruth lives in basement apartment built for her in the home of my brother. He and his family are no strangers to adoption, having adopted three of their four children and his wife having been adopted as a baby as well. These people were a tremendous support for Candice and a great example of the good that can from adoption. We cannot express enough, our gratitude for their support and love during this difficult time.
Once settled in, the first order of business was to introduce her to the LDSFS agency in Farmington. Candice called and made an appointment to see a counselor (chosen by the agency based on availability) who had expertise in dealing with Birthmothers. Even so, it was no coincidence that brought her together with this particular counselor, Sandra. Sandra, a soft spoken but very wise, humble, and inspired woman began her work with Candice.
Candice quickly developed a sense of security and trust in Sandra, things vital to her if she was to experience any change of heart. This security and trust proved to be the foundation of what would become, for both of them, something much more than a typical counselor/client relationship. It was Sandra’s genuine caring and love for our daughter that enabled Candice to begin to tear down her walls and thus begin the process of restoring her testimony.
Candice was counseled on many subjects as needed, one of which was the position of the Church as outlined in The Proclamation to the World which states in part; “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, to be reared by a father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity”. This instruction was reiterated in a letter from the First Presidency which states: “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by parents who provide love, support, and all the blessings of the gospel”. “Every effort should be made in helping those who conceive out of wedlock to establish an eternal family relationship. When the probability of a successful marriage is unlikely, unwed parents should be encouraged to place the child for adoption, preferably through LDS Family Services”. Candice took this very seriously, even defending this as being a commandment since it was stated by the Prophet. Please understand, girls in no way are pressured to make the decision to place their babies, in fact, some do choose to keep and parent their babies themselves. Whatever their decision, it is theirs to make and they are all treated equally.
In addition to her one on one counseling with Sandra, Candice participated in weekly group meetings with several other girls in the same situation. Grandma was her usual companion at the meetings but we were privileged to attend a few of these meetings on our visits with Candice in SLC during her pregnancy. In these meetings, expertly presided over by Rachel, don’t expect to sit on the sidelines and watch, Rachel expected/compelled all to participate. And don’t ever try “I don’t know” as an answer to one of her questions, this was just not acceptable. Rachel, in her own endearing style forced (caused is probably a better word for it), the girls to think, to talk, and to open up…Great therapy.
It was on one such occasion, with us in attendance, that I received a rather rude awakening; you might even say I was put in my place. I heard several of the girls make reference to “placing” their babies. To me this seemed like a politically correct term for what was really about to happen…they were putting their babies up for adoption, “placement” was a “nice” term designed to make them feel better. The next day Candice, Mary, and I attended a session with Sandra during which I asked why the girls didn’t “tell it like it is” and use the term adoption. In short order I was set straight and rightfully so. These girls were not putting their babies up for adoption as on the auction block to the highest bidder. Of their own free will, they were “placing” their babies with a specific family, a family of their choosing. Sometimes semantics are more than just words. As we would learn later, Birthmothers quite literally do “place” their babies with their adoptive couples.
Sandra further informed us that placement was a sacred experience. I must admit that in my ignorance I did not understand. The significance of her statement would soon become very clear to all of us.
I was very apprehensive to meet with a new counselor, almost (internally) against it. My previous interaction with a counselor at LDS Family Services, was really disappointing. This counselor was not sensitive to me or my situation. He was curt, and harsh. He jumped right into how hard this would be, and how I probably wouldn’t be able to do it. He never encouraged me, or showed any sort of compassion. For me, that was the one way to drive me deeper inside myself and make my walls even stronger. I shut down while meeting with him. Luckily, I only had to meet with him the one time.
My next post will take a small break from the norm., so I can talk more about group & Sandra (don’t want these posts to be too long).