“Grandparent,” Ensign, Feb. 2009, 41–42
Ours was a fairly average Latter-day Saint family. We had family home evening, family prayer, family scripture study. We went to church together, took vacations together, had fun together. Of course we weren’t perfect, but overall we loved each other and centered our lives on the gospel.
So when our oldest daughter, Katie (names have been changed), then 19 years old and not married, told my wife and me that she was pregnant, it broke our hearts. I blamed myself, wondering where I had gone wrong as a father. Katie had been so stalwart during her early teenage years, but as she got a bit older, she began to give way to negative peer pressure.
Of course, it was natural for my wife and me as grandparents to want to watch this grandchild grow up. But we knew that neither we as grandparents nor Katie as a single mother could give this child the love, time, and direction that he needed. This was not about us or our feelings. It was about what was best for the baby.
Although Katie hoped that her relationship with her boyfriend would work out and lead to marriage, it became evident that it wasn’t going to happen. My wife and I suggested adoption, but Katie refused to even consider it. She had always loved children and wanted to raise this one. She insisted on keeping her child.
We encouraged her to at least talk to the representative from LDS Family Services. We pointed out that she did not have to make a decision right away and that she could probably make a better decision if she were educated about all her options. We also told her that whatever she decided, we would support her. Katie later told us that our assurance and support—without pressure—gave her great comfort as she made important choices.
Our daughter remained uninterested in adoption for several weeks, so when one day she suddenly admitted that it wouldn’t hurt “just to talk” to the caseworker, we were quite surprised. We later learned that my sister, Katie’s aunt, had also encouraged her to consider adoption. It was her influence that made the difference.
It took just one visit to LDS Family Services. Katie told us that when she walked into the office, a warm feeling came over her. She said she felt a sense of love for her son and of adoption being the right choice for her and her baby.
As she reviewed profiles of potential parents, Katie felt the Spirit confirm to her which couple should be the parents of her child. As the adoption process moved forward, the time came for Katie, my wife, and me to meet the adoptive parents. I remember the anxiety, anticipation, and excitement we felt as we waited. When they entered the room, all of us stood with tears in our eyes. We hugged them and cried for a long time. The Spirit was strong, and we all felt a heightened awareness of the importance of what would take place between our families. We talked for more than three hours.
The husband shared with us that he and his wife had been waiting for some time for the opportunity to adopt. He told us that one night as he was praying and acknowledging to the Lord that he and his wife had done everything they could and were turning their wills over to Him, he had a calm, peaceful feeling. As we shared our own story, we all realized that the day this man had said that prayer was the same day Katie had chosen him and his wife to be the parents of her child.
The day our grandson was born was a bittersweet one. What a beautiful baby! It would have been easy to change our minds—after all, children are raised by single mothers and grandparents all of the time. Surely we could do it too. But we knew the Lord’s will, and we knew that it was in this child’s best interest for the adoption to proceed. After spending two days with our daughter and grandson in the hospital, my wife and I watched with tears streaming down our faces as Katie handed her son to the caseworker. She exclaimed, “I can’t believe I just did that!” and ran back to her hospital room to cry. My wife later commented that she had never seen greater love than she did as she watched Katie that day. Adoption, she said, truly is about love.
Shortly after the baby was born, Katie enrolled in nursing school. She also came back to Church activity with a renewed and deepened testimony of the Savior and of His Atonement.
Although Katie didn’t realize it at the time, this experience was also difficult for my wife and me. (We still get emotional talking about it.) We think of this child often and love him very much. But by relying on each other and moving forward, we have been able to find peace. We are confident that the Lord had a hand in this adoption.
We know of grandparents who are angry about their grandchild being placed for adoption or who go to great lengths to stop an adoption because they want to know their grandchildren and watch them grow up. We understand those feelings. But we also attest to the peace that comes from doing what is best for the baby.
This period became one of the most sacred and spiritual of our lives. Even now, more than a decade later, we continue to learn from our experience. Our love and appreciation for each other and for the family unit has grown. We can also testify of the love of our Heavenly Father. We know that He will guide us in our earthly experience, however difficult, as we willingly follow Him in trust and faith.