life unexpected

My Story

My life has been a beautiful, unexpected journey.

When I was 16 years old, I was sitting in the ER at Primary Children’s Hospital. I had been very sick, so my mom brought me in to see if they could figure out what was wrong. I didn’t think in a million years that I’d be having a doctor tell me those words that forever changed my life: “you’re pregnant.”
I was the junior class president of my high school; I got good grades; I had lots of friends. I wasn’t perfect by any means (obviously, I’d been making really dumb choices), but I was the last person that anyone thought would be “that girl” to get pregnant in high school. I was naive, selfish and I thought I was invincible. I was so scared, so embarrassed, and so, so sick.
When I told my mom what the doctor had told me, she hugged me. She cried and made sure to tell me first that she loved me. She assured me that she was there for me and that she’d support me with whatever I decided to do. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to have a mother who stayed so calm and cool during her youngest child’s teen pregnancy, but I am forever grateful to that woman.
I had been dating a guy on and off for over a year when I had found out, and after abortion was ruled out, we decided to keep the baby. We got engaged and made a plan to parent. His family was excited for us, my family encouraged us to consider adoption. I thought of a tiny baby to dress and play with, and dreamed of being the couple that would “make it” and stay together forever. I wanted to prove my family and statistics wrong.
My mom brought me into LDS Family Services and set me up with a case worker so I could review my options.  At this point in my life, I wasn’t sure how I felt about my religion or even God for that matter. I was frightened, and overwhelmed. The relationship I was in was less than healthy. I had been dead set on parenting, but decided to take the advice of my case worker: “take yourself completely out of the equation and just think about this sweet baby growing inside of you.”
I knew she deserved two stable, loving parents who were prepared to raise her. I could give her love, but I couldn’t give her the life she deserved. I made the decision to have sex and it was my responsibility as this baby’s mother to provide her with the best life possible. I knew that would not be with 17 year old parents.
I said a sincere prayer for the first time in a long time and asked God if adoption was the choice I needed to make. In that moment, I had never felt more peace and comfort in my entire life. I knew I had my answer. I broke off our engagement (although we stayed together) and made the choice to place my baby for adoption. I looked through 900 profiles. I looked at pictures, read letters and sobbed. I didn’t think it could be possible to choose, I wanted to give all of these couples a baby!
I came across a family who had already adopted a little girl and had everything and more that I wanted. We emailed back and forth and decided to get together at the agency a week before Christmas. Hayden and Cheyenne walked through the door, I hugged them and knew right away. They felt familiar to me, and we clicked. It might seem crazy that within 30 seconds of meeting someone, you can know that these people were meant to raise your baby, but that’s how it was for me. I just knew.
On Christmas day I called them and asked if they would take this baby in and raise her as their own. There were a lot of tears and “thank yous.” It was the first time during that pregnancy that I truly felt some excitement! I continued to get to know them, met their daughter, and saw how they were as parents.
On May 5th 2010, I went into labor more than a month early. I went to the hospital and about 5 hours later Leilah was born. She had tons of (unexpected) brown hair and the sweetest little face in the whole world. Cheyenne was with me through it all and was able to be the first one to hold her. That was very important to me because if Cheyenne was going to be her mom, I wanted her to be the first person Leilah met. The hospital experience was hard. Leilah had to be in the NICU due to some complications with being premature, there were people trying to convince me to keep her, and I was dealing with this intense love I had for this tiny baby.
The day of placement, Hayden and Cheyenne wrote me a letter and gave Leilah and me beautiful matching necklaces. Placing her was the hardest thing I’d ever done. People ask me all the time “how I did it” and the answer is always, “I don’t know.” The only explanation is that I had help from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. There was extra strength with me that day. It was so painful for me, my boyfriend and both of our families. Lots of tears and hugs. But I knew it was the right thing for Leilah. She was getting an amazing family! She was safe, loved and healthy. I loved seeing the joy she instantly brought to her parents.
The months following her placement were very hard for me. I found a job, finished high school from home and kept myself busy. But I felt so lost and depressed. My relationship with my boyfriend was spiraling from bad to worse becoming both emotionally and physically abusive. My self esteem was down the drain and I felt completely worthless. I went through a lot of  dark periods where I didn’t even recognize myself. I tried and failed many times to get out of that relationship, but was never strong enough to leave.
About 8 months after we placed Leilah with her family, I started feeling sick again. I went to Wal-Mart and took 4 pregnancy tests. 4 positive pregnancy tests. I was once again terrified and embarrassed, but I was filled with strength I didn’t have before. I had put up with a lot, but I wasn’t going to put a baby through all of that. I knew this baby needed to be placed as well, and I wanted him to be with his sister. I finally had the courage to leave the relationship, and contacted Hayden and Cheyenne. First and foremost, all of their concern was for me. Their hearts were broken knowing that I was going through this again. When I asked them if they would adopt from me again, they were more than willing. I was so grateful to know I had them and their support through this entire pregnancy. I called my old case worker and began seeing her again along with going to a group for girls that either had been or were in a similar situation. My mom helped me start over in a new apartment in a different town. I changed my number, email address and started focusing on getting myself on the right track.
That pregnancy was very healing. I started college, gained a great relationship with my mom, my Heavenly Father and began mending relationships with my whole family. I was able to finally understand and use the atonement of Jesus Christ and find my testimony in Him and in God. I met many new friends, reconnected with old ones, strengthened talents and learned to love myself. That baby saved me.
On September 11th, 2011 I went into labor a month early and barely got to the hospital in time to give birth to a beautiful, healthy boy named Greyson. My sweet mom helped me breathe through the pain. Cheyenne sped all the way to the hospital and made it just in time to see me through the last pushes and hold that perfect boy. Cheyenne meeting Greyson for the first time was so special. The love and spirit that filled that room was indescribable. I’m thinking that’s a whole lot what heaven will feel like. I had some nasty complications with this labor and delivery, but I survived and although Greyson came early like his sis, he was healthy. I got to see Leilah meet her brother and had an amazing hospital experience with those closest to me. Placing Greyson was just as difficult if not even more difficult because I knew exactly the pain I was getting myself into.
When you relinquish your rights as a parent you need to sign a whole stack of papers so you understand the gravity of your decision. I remember sitting in my hospital bed with that clipboard full of papers in one arm and sweet Greyson in the other. Each signature felt like a marathon. I’d look at him, sign, breathe, repeat. This time around I felt more peace with my decision. I was given another beautiful necklace and a ring from Hayden and Cheyenne to help me think of Greyson. Once again, I know that I had help from my Heavenly Father and Jesus to place that perfect boy in his mothers arms.
Apparently, God knows that I need big, grand gestures to get me where I need to go. I needed both of those babies to change my life. We have a wonderful open adoption where we text often, I get emails with loads of pictures every year on their birthdays and we meet up once or twice a year. I’ve been able to see them grow up from the side lines, and I’m so incredibly grateful for the life they have. A life I know I could not have given them at the time. I do miss them. I do still have hard days. I always say that adoption can be a bitter sweet situation that becomes mostly sweet over time. They are worth it! I would go through all of it again for those kids. Hayden and Cheyenne are some of my closest friends. Our relationship is based completely off of love, gratitude, and respect for one another. It’s a beautiful, unique thing.
A little less than a year before Greyson’s first birthday, I sat down next to a handsome guy at a friends missionary homecoming. When I met Eric, I had the same familiar feeling I’d had when I met Hayden and Cheyenne. He was only planning on staying a few minutes, but we ended up talking for two hours. He asked for my number and we started dating shortly after. When I told him about Leilah and Greyson his response was full of love and understanding of the atonement. He applauded me for my decisions, and assured me that I wasn’t going to scare him away.
We were engaged 3 months later, and married 4 months after that in the Bountiful, Utah Temple. Some of the most important people from my journey, including Cheyenne, were there in the temple that day when I was sealed to my sweetheart for time and all eternity. I had experienced some of the lowest lows, but in the moment I was experiencing the highest high. I had worked SO hard to get myself in a good place, and I was finally truly happy. On my wedding day I wore Leilah’s necklace and Greyson’s ring for a constant reminder that they helped get me here.
One month after we got married, I felt sick. Pregnancy didn’t even cross my mind, but Eric told me to take a pregnancy test. The 3rd unexpected positive pregnancy test I’d had. But this time I had an eternal husband. This made all the difference in the world. Ellie was very healing for me. Having her so soon was a wild ride that brought Eric and me closer together. We’ve been able to live in California, Boston and now Utah where 7 months ago I gave birth to my sweet boy Max- my very first planned pregnancy! I had given birth to 4 kids by the time I was 23.
My life hasn’t gone how I would have ever planned or expected, but I’m so grateful for Leilah and Greyson, their parents and the path they led me on.  I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m proud to be a birth mother, proud to be a wife, proud to be a mother and proud to be LDS.
I’ve gone through a lot so far, but my story is just beginning.
If you or anyone you know is going through an unexpected pregnancy, please feel free to contact me! I had so much help through my journey (I still do) and I want to be able to help others through theirs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

35 thoughts on “My Story”

  • I am so grate full you are willing to share your experience. It is a very hard journey but you came through gracefully. I found myself in a similar situation when I was 19. I made the same choice and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. But 25 years later I have 14 children. 8 adopted and 2 foster children. My birth daughter found me when she was 18 and now I get to have a relationship with her and her beautiful sons. Adoption has been a blessing in my life from both sides.

  • You have shown much selflessness! Thank you for sharing your testimony of the Atonement and your honest story. I wish you much luck and joy in the future.

  • Thank you so much for veins open and honest about your reality. It was so refreshing! I have adopted 4 beautiful children and felt the heartache, anguish, love and sacrifice of our sweet birth moms. I have 2 children from the same birth mom as well. It is a most difficult experience, but the joy and peace everyone feels is only explained through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  • Being the proud momma of 2 adopted kids (6 weeks apart in age), I love reading your insight on the birth mother side of it. We also have open adoption and I am so blessed to have my kids amazing “fairy godmothers” in my life!

  • I’m sobbing over here. So many young women need to hear how His love and their worth does not end when we make mistakes! You are beautiful and selfless. I can only imagine the courage it takes to put this out there but thank you!
    I helped a friend locate her birth mom and it was HARD! I’m glad sweet Leilah and Greyson will always have that piece of their puzzles answered. 😘

  • 20 years ago, my husband and I adopted a newborn baby girl from LDS Social Services. It was not an open adoption, but we did have a phone conversation with the birth mother a week before she was born. Every year, on my daughter’s birthday, I think of that wonderful young woman who gave our daughter to us and wonder if she is thinking about the baby girl she gave up, wondering who she has become. Maybe some day, they will meet and she will have the opportunity to see the amazing, talented, beautiful woman our daughter has become. Thank you for sharing your story. It only increases the love and gratitude I feel for my own daughter’s birth mom.

  • Thank you for sharing your more than 2x hard story and the eternal blessings you have received thus far in your life.
    We were blessed with a beautiful baby boy almost 24 years ago through LDS social services. One of the greatest eternal blessings we have ever received and it was all because of a beautiful young woman like yourself♡

  • Your story brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart. I am the adopted mother of two girls. I love their birth mothers! I believe that God puts birth mothers and adoptive mothers together in heaven. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

  • My husband and I were blessed to adopt our 2nd child/son 20 years ago. I think of his birth mother very often. Every life event. I don’t think open adoption would have been right for us had it even been an option but I do look forward to maybe someday meeting her again – to thank her for the gift of my son. Thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine the strength needed.

  • You are such a special daughter of God. Your story is so touching and heartfelt. I appreciate your courage in sharing your story. You are a very strong example to other young women! I love you. I’m so thankful you have a very precious two children to raise.

  • Bless your heart! You are a remarkable woman! Thank you for sharing your tender story. Beautiful testimony of the atonement!

  • What a beautiful story. You are strong & amazing and I’m so happy that you have found peace and happiness in your life. I really loved your mom’s & Eric’s reactions to news you gave them….both showed true charity & an understanding of Christ’s atonement.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. Selfless love is always important in being a good parent. What a great gift you’ve given to that couple who couldn’t bear their own children through you selfless love. Their children and yours will always be thankful to you and for you.

  • This is such a sweet story….I have a daughter named Leilah (same spelling) thank you for sharing your story I know somebody out there will gain hope and strength from your experience

  • Your comments are so refreshing. I was one of those lucky kids to be placed through LDS adoption Agency in 1959. I have two brothers who were also adopted. My mom has three amazing stories she tells about our individual adoptions confirming the miracles that adoption can be. My only regret is that our adoptions were sealed in court records. With my daughter-in-laws help we were able to track down my birth mom’s maiden name but it has dead ended from there. I have had some medical problems that have been passed along to my boys, and now it would be really nice to have some medical history from my background.
    On my birthday I often think of my birth mom and wonder if she is thinking of me, the same way I think of my own boys in my heart on their birthdays. I am so grateful she had the courage to give me up, so I might be able to have a better life. What a courageous undertaking that must have been. It is so inspiring to hear stories like yours. Thank you for sharing.

  • This was the most beautiful and inspiring thing I have ever read. You are truly an amazing young woman. My brother and sister in law cannot have kids and I have personally seen the blessings and miracles that come along with their adoption. Thank you for sharing your story. I cried the whole time!

  • I’m a birth mother too. It’s heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time. I always feel a kinship with other birth mothers, as they are the only ones who know the feelings being a birth mother has. The help from Heavenly Father and Jesus are the only way I’ve been able to heal.

  • THANK YOU for sharing this! What a touching post this was. You are such a loving mom! (to ALL of your children). Thanks for having the courage to share this. I am SO HAPPY for you!!! God bless!

  • I too had a teen pregnancy and although I didn’t give my son up for adoption I wasn’t choosing the right path. I chose the wrong path for many years and it took a failed marriage to realize my infinite worth and to be able to come closer to my savior. Thank goodness for loving mother’s right? 🙂 Mine too was there for me along my journey. Thank you for sharing your story you overcame many obstacles and recognized what was right for those sweet babies. P.S. It sounds like you landed an AMAZING man. Kudo’s to him for being the man he is an loving you despite your journey. LOVE!!

  • I am married to a man who was placed for adoption nearly 50 years ago. It was a closed adoption. While he considers his adoptive parents his parents, I know he is so very grateful for the courage of his birth mother; that, like you, knew he deserved what she could not provide in her situation. Bless you for your strength and courage to do right by those little ones. Congratulations on your life now, and may God bless you.

  • That’s is a very inspiring story and you have strengthened my testimony of the matchless of the Our Father in heavens and His begotten son Jesus Christ for the plan of redemption and all the beautiful blessings we do obtain from as we go through this mortal journey.
    Move on and continue to be a light onto others in similar situation. May God bless you

  • How gloriously wise and wonderful it would be if all young women in your prior unfortunate situation would make the same marvelous sacrifice for the eternal benefit of their birth children.

  • I am a birth mother who raised 3 children up to my oldest being 11; I had bipolar depression and no insurance for medication to help. We finally terminated parental rights when I could no longer handle it. All 3 are now legal adults, but only one has a relationship with us. We think of the others, and my heart aches because I miss them so much. I am so very
    glad that you have a loving, supportive relationship with the adoptive parents! Your entire family is wonderful and blessed!😇

  • It took so much courage to give your babies up for adoption. Your story is one of love . There are many girls out there going through the same thing right now who can draw strength from your story. I too went through a similar situation when I was 16. My decision was to keep my baby. The father and I married and then divorced – our choices done’t always work out for the best. There are three options when you find yourself in the position of being pregnant and single, and it’s important to know the ramifications for all three. No matter what you decide to do there will will be hard times but when you have the love of Heavenly Father you can get through it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *