EastIdahoNews.com’s comment moderator Peggy Jeppesen shares her adoption story on National Adoption Day, in hopes of helping others know there can be hope and beauty in adoption.
In 1970, an overwhelmed 16-year-old girl from Las Vegas, Nevada found herself pregnant.
This was long before such situations were somewhat common and more socially accepted, so she was sent to Booth Maternity Home for Unwed Mothers in Boise, Idaho.
She quickly made friends with all of the staff and nurses there. On a cold, wintry November day, she gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She named her Stephanie, even though such naming would never be official. She named her after Stephan, the boy she knew she loved — her baby’s father, whom she was forced to leave behind in Las Vegas.
She was allowed to hold her new baby for one hour, breaking all the formal rules of the maternity home.
Then, she kissed her daughter on the forehead and whispered the parting words, “Come find me someday, little one. I love you.” Many tears openly flowed in that room that day.
A couple of days later, she was sent home to Nevada and was warned by her embarrassed and upset parents to never speak of this again. She told everyone who would listen.
Meanwhile, on a farm and ranch in Rexburg, Idaho, a couple who already had five children of their own, was hoping and praying for another baby. They’d felt very strongly that a baby was on the way but were also keenly aware that due to a farming accident, that wouldn’t be possible naturally.
They approached the idea of adoption in a hopeful manner. They went to their LDS Stake President who surprisingly forwarded their information to the State of Idaho. This drastically diminished their chances of adopting. Healthy babies were usually placed with first-time adoptive parents in the state, and they already had five naturally-born kids.
Nevertheless, they took the necessary steps, including home studies, financial reviews and a lot of paperwork that goes along with adoption. Within a few months, they were phoned and told a baby girl would be ready for pick up the following day at noon in Boise. They quickly prepared and were in the car by 4 a.m. to make the drive.
They arrived at noon, only to have a very worried case worker tell them the baby was entirely too ill to travel. The anxious parents begged to take their baby home and promised they’d take extra precautions and would have this baby “good as new” in no time, with the help of their beloved family Doctor.
When they arrived home, the five kids had made a huge banner and hung it up. It read, “WELCOME HOME PEGGY.”
I was that baby girl.
As I grew up on a farm, I had wonderful experiences and a childhood of joy. I rode horses and three-wheelers, drove tractors and loved all the animals. From the time I could comprehend, my parents told me they loved me and that I was picked out in Heaven.
They told me they had stood my siblings and me in a hallway in Heaven and explained to us that they could only bring five kids to earth; one had to be brave and strong enough to find their own way. I raised my hand, they said.
My Mom tells of a story that happened when I was barely old enough to talk. I asked a childhood friend if they were adopted. They replied that they were not. I said, “Well, I bet your parents love you anyway.”
At 18, my birth mother sent in her information to the Idaho adoption registry, which can reunite birth families. She did not get it notarized, which meant her information ultimately couldn’t be shared.
At 28, I sent in my own information. Doris at Booth Maternity Home for Unwed Mothers, told me she could do nothing about the situation. I pleaded. I begged. It wasn’t until a few months later that I received a call from Doris.
“I have never forgotten you,” she said. “I’m retiring next week. I decided to go through some of my files to see if I needed to clean anything up. I found yours. What are they going to do? Fire me?”
She gave me all the information that I needed. I quickly phoned my birth mother. Soon after, we arranged a meeting.
My parents will always be my parents. They earned that right. I also have a wonderful birthmother and extended family there, too. After I found my birthmother, I was given a pink sweatshirt that read “Two Mothers – Twice the Love, and I felt fortunate in every way to have so much love in my life.