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Friday, August 6, 2010

Maryann's Miracle

I, Jessa, had the pleasure of meeting Maryann at the Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah last weekend! She is graciously sharing her beautiful story as well as a poem she wrote!!
Maryann is a member of the LDS church and placed for adoption through LDS Family Services. 


I have always loved adoption! I have been fascinated with it from the time I was young. The basic story is always the same, but when you add the details and the evidence of the Lord’s hand, every story is unique. I love the excitement of life changing phone calls, of dreams that really come true, and of prayers so clearly answered – I love the mystery and the miracle.

This is my story as a birth mom and how my miracle came to be. To truly see the Lord’s hand in my story, you must first have a clear understanding of the nature of the sperm donor. I call him this, because he truly does not deserve the title of birth father.

It was the summer after my senior year. There was a boy I had a crush on for all of my senior year, but our standards were very different. He had spent the whole year trying to convince me our relationship needed a physical aspect. I spent the whole year trying to convince him of the opposite. Needless to say, curiosity finally got the better of me and I consented one time. I didn’t love it or hate it, but I immediately knew I had done wrong and should not do it again. I avoided him for a while, but eventually our paths crossed again.

This time he expected it. The situation quickly got ugly. It went from trying to bargain and negotiate with him, to him making threats and stating “This is what I came to get and I am not leaving until I get it.” Eventually he had angrily removed clothing and I was on the ground hoping it would end.

Because of the things he had threatened, I did not dare to tell anyone what had happened. When I missed my period a few weeks later, the only person I could call was him – he was the only one who knew. He came and got me to “talk”. He ask if I wanted to be pregnant – I told him “no”. I was leaving for college in 3 weeks, and an LDS college at that – of course I did not want to be pregnant.

His response was, “Well either you can get rid of it or I can get rid of it.” And then he proceeded to tell me how he would take care of it if I did not. He said he would repeatedly punch my stomach until the baby aborted, or he could pull it out with a wire hanger, or he could have me take a months worth of birth control pills all at once which he claimed would abort the baby. He also added new threats of what would happen to me or my family if his parents found out.
I of course returned home terrified.

Two days before I left for school, I bought two different brands of home pregnancy tests. I took both tests, and both were negative. I felt a little relief and I was happy to be on my way to college in another state. My goal was to forget what had happened and to not date anyone.

September came and I missed my second period. I freaked out and went to the dorm mom who called the Bishop. The Bishop said I could stay at school and work through the repentance process with him on the condition I took another pregnancy test and it was negative. If it was positive, I would have to go home. It was a REALLY long night.

The next day, the dorm mom took me to her OB for a complete physical and pregnancy test. The test and the doctor both said I was not pregnant.

October came and I missed my third period. We went back to the doctor for a 4th pregnancy test. This test was also negative. The doctor gave me some medicine to start my period so I would stop worrying.
I talked to my Mom and found out she missed her period the first year of college due to stress. My aunt had the same experience the first year of her mission. I started to think maybe it ran in the family. Still I think this in the only time in my life I have wished to have my period.

I started the medicine the doctor had provided me with, but then decided I was not 100% convinced I was not pregnant, so I stopped taking it. I had no period in November, and no period in December.

I was looking forward to Christmas break because I was excited to see my family. I was dreading Christmas break because I did not want to see the sperm donor. He had been calling my house asking for me already. Every time he called, my family would say I was not there, but one time I answered the phone. His first question was, “Are you pregnant?” I told him I was not – at this point I honestly believed I was not. He asked me to come over to his house and I refused.

In January, I began to feel something odd in my stomach. It was of course the baby moving, but I did not realize then what it was. I made an appointment with the clinic on campus thinking maybe I had a hernia. The nurse was less than kind when she examined my stomach and accused me of being pregnant and wanted to know if I would be getting married.

I left and immediately went to the dorm mom’s apartment. She dropped what she was doing and took me to her doctor’s office. They did a 5th pregnancy test – which was negative. The nurse asked to see my stomach. She said, possibly I could be a month or two pregnant. I told her if I was pregnant I was 5 or 6 months pregnant – I had not seen the guy since August and it was now the end of January. She said I couldn’t possibly be that far along, my abdomen was not big enough. Then she tried to make me feel better and said maybe it was just a tumor or a growth that could be removed.

The doctor agreed to do an ultrasound because something was clearly there. We were all shocked to see a baby on the ultrasound monitor. I was indeed 5 ½ months pregnant.

The dorm mom drove around for a while completing her errands as I tried to gain control and comprehend the reality of the situation. I had just 3 ½ months to decide what to do. She was unable to have children, and offered to adopt the baby if I placed her for adoption. I said I would think about it. I did not end up choosing their family, but it was she who made me start thinking about that option.
I called my parents, and it was the hardest phone call I have ever had to make. I knew how disappointed they would be. When I talked to my Mom, she said I had and aunt and uncle who were moving to the state I was in (Idaho) the next day. I immediately felt I should live with them and told her to ask if I could stay with them. I did not yet know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted the decision to be my decision. I only wanted myself to blame if I was unhappy with what I decided in the future.

My parents called back later that night. They had spoken with my Aunt and Uncle and explained the situation. My Uncle’s response was incredible. He said, “Of course she can live with us. Now we know why we are moving – we don’t really have a reason for moving, we just felt strongly we should be there.”

So, I moved into their house the same weekend they moved in. I will pause right here in the story to point out the miracle it took me years to recognize. At the time I was frustrated and confused with the always negative pregnancy tests, but after coming home and having the sperm donor retaliate as promised because his parents found out, I have recognized the miracle.

It was Heavenly Father’s will that the tests all be negative. Had any of them been positive I would have had to return home where the sperm donor would probably try to abort the baby. I did not look pregnant. Pregnancy symptoms were easily explained away, and no test confirmed it. The very day pregnancy was confirmed, someone had enough faith to follow the promptings of the spirit and move so I would be safe and the baby would be safe. Talk about seeing the Lord’s hand!

I of course went through all the emotions many of you have experienced. She is my baby, she is in my womb, and I should protect her. I want to raise her. And of course I had already fallen in love with her, and already chosen her name.

Then the reality of what I could not provide her – a father, a home of our own, money for the things she needed. I was prepared to be a college student not a mom. The only thing I really had to offer was love, and it was not enough. She deserved more. She deserved to not suffer for the mistake I had made.

Two things greatly impacted my decision to place her for adoption. First, I did not know if I could keep her safe from the sperm donor. If he so badly wanted to abort her, I felt strongly he would probably try to hurt her anytime he had the chance. Once pregnancy was confirmed, I had nightmares almost every night about the threats he had made.

But second and most importantly was the confirmation of the spirit. Many times daily I prayed and asked Heavenly Father what I was supposed to do, and where she was supposed to be. I constantly acknowledged to Heavenly Father I had gotten myself into this situation and deserved what I was experiencing, and then I would plead with Him that she would not have to suffer for what I had done. That he would help me know what was best for her.

I finally told the caseworker I would consider adoption. This was the year 1993, so adoptions were closed, and I did not get to review endless profiles. At that time, the caseworker would present you with three files she thought fit what you were looking for in an adoptive couple. You did not actually physically look at anything. She would read the information to you and you would try to picture what they might be like as she read a vague description of their physical appearance and talents. Then she would read a letter they had written for prospective Birthmothers.

I remember she read the first families information, and they seemed nice, but I felt nothing. Then she started reading the second families information. You know the feeling you get when you think you should bear your testimony, but you don’t want to? That is what I was starting to feel multiplied by about 15. It was not just me who was filled with the spirit, the room itself was filled to capacity with the spirit. It seemed like it was glowing or on fire. There are really not words to describe it.

I have never had a prayer answered that way before or since, but I knew right then where she belonged. I knew she would be happy. It was the calmest feeling I had felt in a long time.

In May of 1993 I placed a beautiful baby girl for adoption with the family to whom I know she belongs.
I have never regretted my decision, and after the birth father retaliated, I knew I would never regret removing the possibility from her life that she could be hurt by him.

I have sad days, it is true. I pray for her and her family. I wonder about her everyday, but I do not regret my decision. I have never been able to deny the force with which I felt the spirit and knew to which family she belonged. I am forever grateful to her parents for enduring their trial of infertility well and seeking Heavenly Father’s guidance so they would be in the right place at the right time. The love I have for them cannot be expressed with words.

I hope that one day I will meet not only her, but her family and hear the other side of the miracle. I hope we have the opportunity to share how each of our lives have been blessed because I put my faith in God.

In Case You’ve Ever Wondered
In case you’ve ever wondered…..
You were Rachelle when you were mine.
I do not know your name now,
But I do know you were named after your Grandmothers –
I think that is absolutely beautiful!
In case you’ve ever wondered…
I resented many times the way you came to be,
But I have never resented you.
It fell totally and completely in love with you –
You were the silver lining of a very dark cloud.
YOU were the joy in the journey.
In case you’ve ever wondered….
I craved peanut butter and jam,
I threw up eggs and milk.
I loved to watch my belly shift and move –
It made me happy you were so alive.
I loved our tapping game where I would tap,
And you would respond.
In case you’ve ever wondered….
I would talk to you at night when I was scared
I knew of course you wouldn’t respond,
But I wondered what you knew about your destiny here on earth
Certainly you knew more than I, having just left a Heavenly Home
In case you’ve ever wondered….
I had an overwhelming desire to protect you
And make sure you were happy.
I loved you very much – but love was all I had to offer,
And love was not enough.
In case you’ve ever wondered…..
I did not decide by myself where you should be.
I asked our Heavenly Father – It was He who answered me.
I admit at first the answer was not what I had hoped,
I cried many tears as I realized I was not to be your mother;
Instead I was on the Lord’s errand;
I had been entrusted to get you safely here;
He trusted me to place you in your families’ arms.
In case you’ve ever wondered….
I love your parents, though we’ve never met.
I often wonder: were we friends in another time or place?
Did we know our paths would cross?
Did we know we’d answer prayers?
I love them more than words can say-
I hope you love them too!
In case you’ve ever wondered…
I was so happy you had a big brother!
I always wanted a big brother –
And I definitely couldn’t give you that.
I hope you’ve found a friend in him.
In case you’ve ever wondered….
I held you at the hospital
You were beautiful
The first question I asked when you were born
Was: does she have hair? (and you did!)
I still have your footprints
I still have your pictures
These are treasures I will always hold dear
In case you’ve ever wondered….
This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,
But I believe we both were blessed
Because I let you go.
I hope one day that you will tell me
Just how blessed you’ve been.
In case you’ve ever wondered…
You are always in my thoughts
I pray for you and wish for you
All life has to offer.
You are the miracle
That has changed our lives for good.

2 comments:

Bronson Family said...

I'm sitting here in the dark, bawling, trying not to wake up my husband. What an incredible story. You are such an amazing woman! That is such a beautiful poem. I hope you get to share it with your angel and her family one day.

Maryann said...

Thank you for reading! This is the first time in 17 years I have shared my story with anyone other than family and a few friends. I hope it will touch others lives and bear testimony of the miracle of adoption. Thank you for your comment.

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