During this special season, I feel so grateful for all of you, and for the many ways that my life has been richly blessed by all of you.  I don’t tend to be outwardly effusive about my innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences, but as this year comes to an end, I feel strongly that I’d like to share some things that have been profound for me especially this past year.inspirational-quotes-adjust-your-sailsOur greatest security is found in the love and support of our family and in our faith.  Everything else is really illusory and truly doesn’t matter too much.  Tim and I have taken risks this year, most of them haven’t paid off with financial success and yet it has little bearing on our overall happiness and sense of security.  Our faith has been stretched, and we have grown closer as a couple and a family.

Decisions we make have far reaching consequences that we may not see immediately.   These decisions and consequences can bless us if we learn from the bad ones, and are grateful for the blessings that come from the good.  The most difficult thing about this year is that we have often only been led one footstep at a time, with no clear picture of what will happen.  It has been a huge challenge and blessing.

Home is where you make it, and wherever you have each other.  It isn’t about the perfect location, the best house, or even all the creature comforts.  We should know that our homes can be a sanctuary from the world, and that heaven can be found here.  Our homes can that place.  Nothing is perfect, and that’s okay.  I am so grateful to truly feel this way.

The Savior loves me, is aware of me, and is fixing things behind the scenes to bless me without me even being aware of it.  I have felt much peace amid the confusion and chaos of moving, uprooting our family, losing a deal we were counting on, and having to look for constant guidance from God.  While we thought we were moving here to buy a property, we soon found that was not the case.  It didn’t discourage us too much because we had peace that we were in the right place.  Over these past months, I have recognized him in the details of my life.  Big and small things that testify of this.

The atonement of the Jesus Christ is our greatest gift.  I have had times in my life when I felt so alone, so heartbroken, and truly lost.  The only thing that got me through these experiences was the relationship I developed with my Savior.  I have felt his arms around me and I know he can ease our burdens and understand our pain when no one else can.  I also know that is prepared to bless us with joy greater than our pain if we will allow him in to heal us.   37cf56ced1ab7df6e1d220fb0a6bd258

 

On November 11, I got an email that put all of these things into perspective for me, and reminded me again of the wisdom of God.                                                                                                                           When I was in college, I was very lost and felt very unloved.  I do not blame anyone for this, but now find that in large part it was because I had not recognized WHO I was, and my relationship with my creator.  I made some bad decisions.  I think I knew that they were wrong, but I just didn’t care or know if it mattered because it made me feel temporarily happier.   A consequence of these decisions was a pregnancy with a boyfriend that I knew I could not marry.  To say that I was ashamed, full of regret, desperate, and confused would only begin to describe this time of my life.  I kept the pregnancy secret from everyone for 5 months, before telling my parents.  I moved away for the last 3 months of my pregnancy.  This was partly because I was so ashamed and embarrassed and partly because I knew I would not have the clarity to make a decision if everyone knew and was telling me their opinion about it.  The boyfriend and I tried to figure out a way to make it work, and yet, I knew.  I just knew because we disagreed on all the major points: religion, family, work, money… and on and on.

I started looking for an adoptive family.  I knew what I wanted, so I was shocked when I found parents for her that were nothing like what I thought I would pick.  I couldn’t stop thinking about them, and I knew they were meant to be parents to my child.  While this was a solution, it was NOT what I wanted.  In fact, I couldn’t wrap my head around how I could ever hand my baby over to someone else to raise.  I looked for any way around this.  I knew the pain and sorrow of it would demolish me.When she was born, I was thrilled and broken hearted.  I stayed with her for 3 days in the hospital.  I talked to her, and loved on her.  Then I handed her to her parents.  6022528a513c05b55d506d6e9b935cb4

The first stage of grief is denial.  For 2 weeks I made plans to get her back.  I could not deal with the reality.  I did call social services and asked them to get her back for me.  I kept her one more night.  All night, I sat there crying because I knew she was supposed to be with her parents and not me.  I gave her back, and then drove home to my parents house and broke down for a few months.  My grief was killing me.  I couldn’t eat, sleep, or think about anything else.  Finally a couple months in, I was talking to a counsellor and he said, “ I can tell you are barely hanging on and you feel like you are in bottomless black hole don’t you?”  I just nodded and cried.    At that moment I made a decision to surrender all of what I was struggling with.  I prayed differently, desperately for healing.  For the first time I felt Jesus sitting with me, mourning with me.  While I didn’t immediately get over this event, I began to feel better and I finally did not feel totally alone in my grief.

 

For 18 years I received yearly updates and photos of my child, but I had no direct contact with her or her parents.  The last few years I hadn’t heard anything, and I knew that as of 3 years ago, she knew nothing about me.  I was at peace knowing that she had a good life with parents who adore her.

On November 11, I got an email from her mother saying she wanted to meet me.  To say that this was a major disruption to my emotional state would be an understatement.  Four days later I drove to Calgary and met her.  It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.  Because of the details of our meeting, the way it came about, and where she lives (Calgary), I could only feel immense gratitude afterwards.  I received strong confirmation that I did the right thing, and that because I did, I was being blessed now.  I know because of how things happened that it would have been a disaster between her father and I had I kept her.  I most likely would not be married to Tim and have these kids, or this life I love.

I can’t help but be so thankful that I live 10 hours closer to her.  We are only a few hours apart instead of 15.  As she has been an only child all these years with older parents, a mother whose family resides in another country, she has not experienced siblings and chaotic family life.  So a couple weeks ago, we took our children up to meet her.  She met us in Raymond and spent the night with our family at Grandma Dudley’s house.    She is so excited to be included in our family, and this is the dream I never thought would be realized all those years ago.

To say that our move was preparing us for this unexpected event is right on.  It made our family closer, it taught us all a lot about adapting, and about walking forward in faith.  I don’t know how I or my kids would have handled this all a year ago, but I know now that we have been prepared.  Sometimes the Lord in his wisdom sets our feet on unknown paths to get us where we need to be.55dc04b0efe21f25a6f6610a21fd5b73

I feel truly humbled to share this with you, and I hope that as you read these words, you will feel the truth of it and that it will strengthen you in whatever circumstances, challenges, and decisions you are facing.   If we let them,  our greatest challenges refine us, improve us, and bring us closer to God’s vision of us.ry=400

 

I know this may be shocking or take you off guard, but please know that my intention has never been to deceive anyone about who I am or choices I have made.  Tim and I have prayerfully made decisions about who to tell and when, in order to protect our children.  I do not mind answering questions or talking about my experiences, so if you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.ry=480

We face challenges that are completely foreign.    There is no “how to”, or handbook on how to deal with integrating a grown child into your family after decades apart.  There is no easy way to bring this up in conversation, introduce your suddenly altered family, or navigate the emotional work required to build a new family.  However, I go forward in faith.  Tim always says, “we have access to the divine, but we settle for google.”  Well google has already failed me miserably on this, so I’m trusting the answers will come, and things will happen as they should.

27 thoughts on “The most terrifyingly vulnerable post ever… (words from the wife)

  1. This is so touching. Thank you for sharing and strengthening my testimony. You are amazing and such a great example. Love the humble, faithful, loving person you are and your willingness to help and strengthen others by sharing your experiences!

  2. Oh my!!! As I read how you have felt the lord wrap his arms around you at times in your life I immediately went to one of the darkest time of my life. 16, pregnant and so alone. I considered ending my life, but then I would end his. I wanted to run away with Denny and live happily ever after, then even a small amount of reality would through that off its tracks. I chose adoption as well. I sat up all night my last night with him in the hospital, crying and telling him I loved him. There was a moment with him when he looked into my eyes and I had such a clear feeling of him telling me he knew I loves him and that it was all going to be okay. It was the hardest thing I thought I would ever have to do. In so many ways it was but in other ways it is just one among many. I also got photos and updates through the years. His family lived in Boise so there were a few times I would see them. They are a very well known LDS family sominwouldnhear about them as well. Chris didn’t want to meet us. We let it be. It was up to him, he has a family. There is a long story about how our children found out, not the way I ever intended but I feel that God had his hand in that as well. There are many other stories about why and when we met for the first time. The healing that happened. Now I am able to be Mimi to his son, Bentley. I spend time with his family and siblings all the time, it is so strange but right. Chris is headed back to prison. He got out one year ago only to go back to using and back into the system. To say it breaks my heart is an understatement of the world!
    I am so happy for you. I am bawling so if this is misspelled and auto corrected to death I am sorry..,I can’t see it! I wish we had talked. You are correct, Google has no answers for this. I have searched for how to tell my children and so many other questions. Faith. That is all you need. God paved the way for us as he did for you. If you ever need to talk please call me. I am a few years past you, nor that our experiences will be the same but it is better then no one. I have always liked you and thought the world of you and Tim, but now I feel like we are sisters in a way that not many will ever understand. Bless you for giving her a life that was better then what you could give her. Bless you for loving her more then you loved yourself.

      1. We all need support and love no matter what it is in life. I hope all goes well with your kids and your birth daughter, it is a hard relationship to figure out on all parts. We are not their parents but love them as if we were, don’t want to over step but not sure where that line is, etc. Enjoy the journey.

  3. what an amazing story! Thank you for sharing! I think this would possibly help young mothers who are struggling with giving their children up for adoption. But I think that you already know that and that’s why you chose to share your story. Love your family! You are so brave! And wise! And love reading your blogs! In fact I need to go back to the purging and getting rid of stuff! Love that one!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your email. (Donna forwarded it on to me–hope it’s ok.)
    So happy for the reunion with your beautiful daughter and sharing your family with her. I think you and Tim are amazing people and I love your example of faith and
    obedience. (Not to mention COURAGE!) I hope we can meet your family sometime at a family reunion or whenever. We have a home in St. George and Orem. We are
    leaving on Jan. 11th for St. George and probably will stay until the end of April. (Depending on what is going on in Orem and then we will make quick trips up this way).
    We would love to have you come & stay if you’re in the area. We have lots of room and there’s nothing like St.George in the winter. (at least most winters).
    We love you and wish you and your family a wonderful new year!
    Love
    Darolyne

  5. Kara,
    You are very brave . . . to lay it all out there for anyone to see. We (I for sure) thank you for sharing your so personal way of developing your amazing testimony through handing all over to Christ. I’ve harbored the feeling that your testimony had so much depth; it is so heart-warming to hear the details. Thank you so much for sharing. You have helped strengthen my own testimony on several fronts. One of my sons is adopted into our family and he is such a blessing to us all; adoption affects so many.
    I think about your wonderful family so often. Now, I can rest, knowing how close you all are to the Lord. Makes me so happy for you. Much love to each of you. Sheila

  6. I love you all so much! I love this post, Kara! I can’t imagine all the people you will bless because of your experiences, your testimony of His Plan and your conviction of His love.
    I hope we will be able to connect with your family soon.

  7. This is one of the most complicated relationships there is. I am so glad to here that it went so well! If I can ever help or give perspective I am always here. Adopted people are a special sort of breed…the knowledge of the atonement is a beautiful source of light and strength. I love and miss you all terribly!

  8. Kara, thank you so much for sharing this. I felt truth as I read your words, and they brought me to tears. I too have been at points in my life where all felt dark, and I did not know where to reach for help. I am still learning how to reach towards the Savior, and walk with forward sometimes just with faith that I am doing what I need too. It is a process. Anyway, thanks for sharing this incredibly personal experience. Your family is lucky to have you.

    1. Thank you Helen. It is always a challenge, but it’s the lesson we are all trying to learn, over, and over, and over I think…

  9. I admire you and your courage so much! I share a similar story- not an adoption but a young and careless marriage and subsequent divorce that deeply affected me in a way that had long term affects on my happiness. Real healing does come through surrender, faith, and processing the truth with people who can learn from your experiences. I love it when people speak courageously and openly. Thank you for sharing your story!!! I have no doubt that your family and friendships are strengthened through your wisdom acquired from going through such heartache!!! Xoxox

    1. Thanks Christy, I remember reading your blog post about that, and I guess we all have our story. It’s great to share and support one another. xo

  10. Just wow . . . what a beautiful story of desperation, courage, hope and healing. It was a gift to me to read it and I thank you for having the courage and vulnerability to share it and bless and encourage so many. God never ceases to amaze me in His wisdom, grace and perfect timing! I know He will continue to bless and grow your family in countless ways. Thank you Kara!

  11. What a beautiful story you shared about yourself Kara. Thank you for being so open and honest. I imagine you prayed long and hard about sharing your story. …I am glad you did. I absolutely love the faith you have and your children – all of them – are blessed to have you as their mother and teacher! Your story should be told – to young women everywhere – as a preventative to abortion and a testament to your faith in a God who loves us so unconditionally. God bless you, Tim and your children, Kara!

    1. Thanks Jennifer. It would be my hope that my story would help someone, and make them reconsider their choices. There is always hope.

  12. I am so happy for you that you were able to reconnect with your daughter. You have such a wonderful family, she is blessed to now be a part of it, just as you have been blessed to have her back in your life. I don’t know you all that well but I have always considered you to be kind, sweet and gentle. Now I will add courageous and brave to that. Thank you for sharing your story.

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