When my birth mom chose a couple to place my brother and I with one of her wishes was to place us in a LDS home. “LDS” is an abbreviation for Latter Day Saints, a nickname for members of our church. The actual name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I figured she made that choice by default since our adoption paperwork lists that some of her family members religious preference was LDS but some of them were not. So naturally I often wondered if she herself was a member or not.
I always figured that most kids just grow up going to whatever religion their parents are a part of right? You just go with the flow and somewhere along the way you just end up being a part of that church as well. I mean isn’t that true for the majority of us?
That idea was a struggle for me. Because while I was raised in it and felt it was true, sometimes I also had a wavering feeling of doubt. Was I a member of this church because it’s what I was quite literally PLACED into? Or was I a member because it’s what I believe?
I mean everything about my life showed that I was a member but was I truly? My family went to church, my parents almost always had callings, we served others, we read the scriptures, we participated in primary and youth associations like young womens and young mens, we prayed by ourselves and as a family, I watched my parents go to the temple and I had the goal to go there one day too.
Then at times I doubted. Because just like every other thought as an adopted child you can always go back to “well what if…” what if I wasn’t placed into this family. Would I still be a member or would I believe in something totally different?
I always came to the conclusion that we are creatures of habit – right? We do what we are surrounded by. Then sometimes if for some reason we don’t want to follow the mold of what we are around we become “rebellious” and step outside what we are “supposed” to be – right?
So when I doubted it led to me wanting to break this mold that had been created for me.
For awhile as a teen I even thought to myself that I should be more rebellious so that my birth mom would be more accepting of me. I realize how terrible it is to say that but it’s true. I assumed because of how my brother and I were brought into this world that if I fit into that “lifestyle” that I thought she was living then I’d somehow become closer to her, or she’d be more accepting of me, if for some reason I lucked into finding her. Super judgmental I know and as embarrassing as it is to admit it, I did in fact think that sometimes.
Being a teenager is tough, adopted or not. But for myself there were times that I really struggled finding my footing when it came to “being myself.” I was conflicted on whether I was being my authentic self or if I was being what I was surround by and expected to be.
Living in those moments were tough but there were a few things that helped me find my way. Being able to see the photo below & rereading a part of my birth grandmothers letter that she wrote to me after I was born were game changers at a critical time in my life.
My first grandmother (as she called herself) said: “You will blossom into beautiful womanhood because the Lord has planted you in a family suited to your spirit and it’s needs and desires. I pray you shall learn a couple of valuable lessons from your mothers experience. First how important fellowship is among us as members and how destructive gossip and lack of charity toward our neighbors can be. Second, to chose wisely the company you keep. The rewards and consequences are of eternal importance.”
Writing those words out now impact me as much as then did then but for a different reason. Back when I first read them it helped give me direction & now as I re-read them I see how true those words turned out to be true for me.
I decided to focus on what felt right to me instead of focusing on the pressure I felt of trying to fit the mold. So that’s what I did, I got on my knees and I turned to my savior & to that red set of scriptures that she gave me. Then in time I no longer had the doubt that once weighed me down and I truly felt my own testimony of this gospel grow and in return so many other things came with it. The direction I went, the friends I kept, better appreciation for my parents, the examples I followed, the joy I live, the love I found and the eternal family we built.
SURE there are still and always have been difficult parts along the way. But when those times or those thoughts come, the core of who I am and the belief I know to be true is always at the end of the day what lifts me up and gives me the strength to move forward.
Without my testimony of this gospel I as a person would feel extremely lost. So my birth mom choosing for me to be placed with the LDS couple ended up being the choice of all choices for me. It’s crazy to think one choice or one preference on her behalf led the way for a lifetime of choices I’d make.
In some strange way I’m also really grateful for the doubt I felt so that I could truly figure out what I wanted & believed. I’m in no way here to preach as I am such and imperfect member of this church. For example I’ve got quite the potty mouth & I do enjoy some raunchy tv! Sue me.
But in my experience I’ve learned that this verse is so true – “that all things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” I also believe that my first grandmother was right when she said that ” I was planted in a family suited to your spirit and it’s needs and desires.”
Believing those things have allowed me to let my experiences shape me instead of drown me. Who knows what else I could of become, I’m sure there are many different versions I could of been but HOTT DAMN I’m grateful to have ended up where I am now.
High five on the choice birth mom.. I truly appreciate it!
A few of my favorite blessings that have come from these choices…..
p.s. Readers of this post…… I don’t care what religion you are or if you have one at all. But if there’s anything I can hope for you it’s that you allow your experiences to shape you for the good! Come out on top, I’m rooting for you!