Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm always trying to improve my blog and so today I thought of a great idea! I have decided that if you guys have any questions...any at all. You can e-mail me to ask me. I set up a special account for this purpose..I love receiving your comments and hearing your story. If you just want to e-mail me to say hi and share how you're involved in the adoption process I would love that too!


P.S. I'll be adding my speech that I recently gave in the next few days!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FSA Regional Conference

Hi! My name is Melissa and I was placed for adoption through LDS Family Services 18 years ago. Last year for my senior project, I had to come up with ten hours of community service that related to my career choice. That is how I started speaking about adoption. I'm still surprised that a ten hour service project turned into me speaking at an event so large, it truly is amazing. I have always said I was adopted and proud of it, in fact that is the name of my blog.

Let me explain to you why adoption is so amazing to me personally. My adoption story to me is like a fairytale. It begins with once upon a time......and ends with, she lives happily ever after! Oh, I apologize for giving away the ending! I'm not a big fan of doing that but, I didn't want you guys to be on the edge of your seats, wondering if the story had a happy ending!

Once upon a time... my mom was in the hospital for three months extremely ill. It was at this time she was pregnant and lost a baby for the second time. This was a very difficult time, and knowing how much she longed to be a mother, it surprised my dad and grandparents, that she was able to smile through her tears and reassure them it was OK, that there was another way! The Lord gave her the strength to accept the loss and receive hope through adoption. That very day, while still in the hospital, my mom called the adoption agency eager to begin the adoption process. By the time my parents were qualified, my birth mother was one month along with me. I was an answer to all their prayers!

For my birth mother so loved me that she gave me, her first born, to a home with both a mother and father to be sealed to for all eternity. Late one night, my parents were getting ready to go to bed when the phone rang. My mom sleepily answered. It was the adoption agency announcing the birth of their new baby girl. After the phone call, they hugged each other and cried. They knelt and thanked the Lord and prayed for my birth mother. They were filled with so many emotions. They felt so humbled, and were filled with such gratitude. They were so excited and so happy! They rushed around the house, getting all their baby things ready for the following day when they would bring me home. My room was ready and waiting for me....decorated and with a crib. My parents were so excited, they just couldn't wait to tell everyone, so they drove over to my grandparents home to tell them the wonderful news! They rushed out the door so fast, my dad didn't tie his shoes. My uncle video taped this event and asked my dad...."so tell us what caused you to rush over here after midnight, so fast that you didn't even tie your shoes, it must be pretty important?!" Well, to say the least, the news of my birth brought a lot of excitement!! My parents couldn't sleep all night, they were so overjoyed.

The next morning my ENTIRE extended family came to the adoption agency to meet me, the room was packed. Six months past, and there I sat in my moms arms in the temple, to be sealed to my parents. The temple sealer looked at me and asked me if I was ready to be sealed to my parents. To the astonishment of everyone in the room, including the temple sealer, I looked up and clearly responded by saying, "yeah!". My parents feel the Lord gave me the ability, at that special moment, to speak the desires of my heart!

One day, when I was 2 1/2 my mom told me adoption means belonging, to familiarize myself with the word adoption. My mom made a book for me with pictures that told the story how adoption was the special way we became a family. I would ride around with it in the basket of my tricycle. I would say mommy will you read me "my special book?!"

I'm four and give my parents my cutest face, and would ask if we could get ice cream? My parents would ask, "Well, Melissa what are we celebrating?" I would look up with batting eyelashes and reply "Let's celebrate life!" My parents couldn't argue with celebrating life, plus who could say no to my innocent, adorable face!

Time goes by, and all of a sudden I am seven years old, and I tell my friends that I was adopted. To my surprise, they didn't get adoption like I did. They told me things like, my parent's weren't my parents. I came home in tears. Adoption is something that takes time and maturity to understand and when you're seven you don't understand that. On the bright side, one of my friend's was really smart. She told me, she wished she was adopted, because it was so cool. She said she wanted to adopt kids someday. Since I was young, I decided it was best not to share with friends that I was adopted, because it was personal to me and kids would ask questions I didn't know how to respond to. I was young and was learning to understand it myself.

I'm a teenager now, a time when every youth seeks their identity. It was my most difficult time in life, when I struggled to understand adoption and come to terms with it. My parents always made me feel loved and special. They always made me feel comfortable talking about adoption with them.

My birth mother is one of my greatest heroes. She was very prayerful and unselfish. She wanted the best for me. My birth mother wanted me to be sealed to a mother and father in the temple. She loves me so much....and I love her! My birth mother gave me the two greatest gifts in the world. She gave me my life! Like I said before, since the age of four, I informed my parents we needed to celebrate life and go get ice cream. If she would have had an abortion, I wouldn't be standing here right now. I'm truly grateful for my life every moment of every day. The second greatest gift she gave me was the gift of dance. It makes me so happy to know my birth mother danced with me while expecting me. It has always meant the world to me that she did that for me.

It is every child's birthright to have both a mother and father. My birth mother prayed all night and she had no doubt that the Lord wanted me to go to the family she chose for me. My birth mother wanted me to have the best and that's exactly what I got. I got the best parents EVER. I'm a total daddy's girl, my dad is everything to me. He is my math tutor, he constantly has me rolling on the floor laughing, and he is always there for me. When I'm sick he will go to the store and buy me anything that will make me feel better. And, he took me to the Taylor Swift concert. I honestly couldn't live without my dad. Dad, that is the reason you are never allowed to die.

My mom is my best friend, she cares so much for me. I'm her favorite daughter. It's true....although, the fact that I'm her only daughter has nothing to do with it. I would be her favorite if she had a million daughters. She will do anything for me. She is there to hold my hair back when I'm sick. She will stay up all night caring for me if she has too. She stayed by my side, all day and night when I had surgery this past summer. She watches my dance routines and sings along to all my favorite songs. I can't live without my mom!

And then....there is Austin, my brother, who wasn't adopted and is six years younger than me. You may think we don't have that much in common, but, Austin is my best friend!!! He will play wii with me, we make crazy music videos together, he gives me the best hugs and makes me feel like I'm the best person in the world. No one can quite make me laugh like Austin! He is the greatest brother in the whole wide world. He even skipped school to come and hear me talk. Ok, so let me make it clear, Austin, you're not allowed to die either!

Being adopted has been such a blessing to me! I wouldn't change a thing about my adoption. It was a closed adoption and I'm grateful it was closed. It allowed me the opportunity to understand adoption on my own terms. I look forward to finding my birth mother someday, and thanking her for making my life so wonderful. I know today, most adoptions are open, but I feel I needed to grow up without my birth parents in my life, to understand what adoption is. Adoption is very complex, and growing up, a child needs time to understand it. It should be my choice to have my birth parents in my life and open adoption takes away that choice. I mean after all, isn't adoption all about the child, and what's best for them? So, it really should be the child's choice whether or not to find their birth parents, or when that time feels right for them. I'm grateful my parents have always been supportive of my decision to find my birth mother, when I felt the time was right. They have always been sensitive to my feelings and have treated me with the greatest respect. My parents made sure that I received the letter and gifts my birth mother gave me.

My birth grandmother made me a baby blanket and it is on my bed every night. And if it is not on my bed, nobody goes to sleep until it's found. On the corner of the blanket, it says "made with love", this corner of my blanket is very special to me and is where I hold it close to my heart. My parents gave me a gold chain for a baby ring my birth mother gave me, which I'm wearing right now. She also gave me a heart with the words engraved, "You're in my heart". These gifts are treasures and help me whenever I have a hard time understanding adoption. Besides dancing with me, my birth mother also sang while expecting me, and recorded some special songs, and hand wrote the words to them. On the tape she sang the songs, Walk Tall You're A Daughter of God, and From God's Arms To My Arms To Yours....but the best part of the whole tape are the last four words...."I love you sweetheart!" Along with these treasures, my birth mother wrote me a beautiful letter, telling me how much she loves me and wants the best for me. She explained that the parents she chose, would be able to provide all that she and Heavenly Father desired for me, which she was unable to do at that time in her life.

In the end, understanding adoption is something that I continue to understand as I hear more and more stories. I actually went to the LDS Family Services website to check it out. I was interviewed by a newspaper based in Provo and I told them the first thing I did was watch every video of the birth mothers telling their stories. It really helped me understand adoption from other points of view. I actually e-mailed them to tell them that I thought they should include stories on their site, by kids who were adopted, because birth parents should be able to see how happy and thankful kids are for adoption! They asked to include my story on their website, and I learned they are working on the new additions website right now.

I am happy to be a voice for adoption! Having my ten hours of service for my senior project has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I love being here and telling each of you how grateful I am that I was adopted. I am forever grateful for the wonderful family especially selected for me by my birth mother and the Lord. I want to thank my birth mother for praying all night to know what was best for me. This was Heavenly Father's plan for me. Adoption is truly by divine design. guys all know the ending. And she lives happily ever after!