Perspectives: A long overdue message about choice

OPINION – I’ve been carrying a message for many years. It’s for a woman that I met briefly a long time ago.

I know next to nothing about her but I am resolved that one day I will deliver this message to her personally. She was the woman who gave birth to me and then graciously put me up for adoption.

It was December 1965. The Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!” was the most popular song on the radio. And somewhere in the Salt Lake valley, a young, unwed mother was preparing to give birth.

I’m certain that the preceding months were difficult ones for this young woman. The difficulty would have begun with the revelation that she was pregnant, and attended each subsequent decision that followed.

I can only imagine the anxiety she must have felt as her due date approached. This was during a time when there was still a good deal of shame attached to teen pregnancies. Young women who become pregnant often were sent to stay with an out of town relative until after the birth; after which the ordeal was never mentioned, even among family.

The counter-culture revolution that celebrated free love and consequence-free sexual behavior was in its infancy. It was 7 years before the landmark Roe v. Wade decision would be handed down making abortion on demand legal in every state.

Abortion was an option, but carried much greater stigma than it does today. Society hadn’t yet shifted the emphasis away from the innocent life being taken in order to focus exclusively on the woman’s reproductive choices.

Perhaps there were well-intentioned friends or even family members who quietly suggested that she terminate the pregnancy. It could have been a convenient escape hatch from an uncomfortable situation. But, for whatever reason, she chose to give me life.

Her next big decision also carried far-reaching consequences for the lives of many others. She chose to give me up for adoption.

This decision required far greater courage than a person might think. Putting a baby up for adoption isn’t ducking responsibility. It is making a supremely personal sacrifice at the deepest level. The mother who has carried a child to full term does not simply forget when that child is no longer in her life.

This young mother’s willingness to put the needs of others ahead her own convenience was a gallant act. Her choice allowed two amazingly selfless parents to adopt and raise me as their own.

Over the years, my birth mother has crossed my mind often. Each year when my birthday rolls around, I find a few minutes to quietly reflect on her graciousness and to send out my love for her wherever she may be.

Several times, I’ve started to search her out so that I might deliver my message to her. But under Utah law, adoptions done at that time remain tightly sealed and it is extremely difficult to obtain any useful information.

Even when adoptive children are able to successfully contact their birth mother, it isn’t always the joyful reunion they may have envisioned. Sometimes the pain of a long-closed chapter of their lives is too much to revisit.

I’m confident that there will come an appropriate time and a place where I will have the opportunity to deliver the message I’ve carried all these years. I don’t know if it will be in this life or the next. But I will one day look this brave woman in the eye and tell her these words:

You made the right choice. Your decision to give me life and to allow my parents the chance to have a family required you to walk a more difficult path.

Thank you for being willing to endure the disappointment and disapproval of others. Thank you for undergoing the discomforts of labor and delivery. Thanks for accepting the pain of giving a part of yourself to a couple you would never meet, in the hopes that they would provide a stable home.

For blessing the lives of others with your selflessness, you are my hero.

Your courageous actions are proof that within every trial or mistake is the opportunity for growth and redemption.

From the bottom of my heart, I love you. For not taking the easy way out, you have earned my everlasting gratitude and respect.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • Maggie January 23, 2014 at 8:37 am

    ..and I am sure from reading this that you have made a positive difference in this world that would be missing had you not been born.

    Kudos to all mothers who made this choice for their child.

  • Katelyn January 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Adoption is an amazing option but it shouldn’t be the only option. I too want women to have less abortions and I don’t necessarily support the abortion itself, but I support a woman’s right to choose. When we say that women have to carry a baby to term regardless of how the baby was created, we are saying that women are nothing more than incubators. Abortion isn’t “the easy way out,” it is a hard choice that some women choose for more reasons than anyone can imagine. Did you know the number one reason for miscarriage is domestic violence? Let that one sink in for a second. Some women have abortions because they’re afraid of their partners, some because they were raped, and some for many other reasons. It isn’t fair for us to use a “one-size-fits-all” analogy with pregnancy because it is such a difficult and complex topic. No one person has the same exact situation as someone else.

    • skip2maloo January 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Ahhh! How refreshing to read a comment that respects the complexity of a complex issue. So much easier to leap to a position and hold tight. Need more of this kind of restrained, thoughtful discourse — in all significant issues we debate.

      • Roy J January 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        I don’t see how ignoring the real issue is respecting its’ complexity. The issue is and always has been about whether or not unborn babies are human beings, and if so, at what point do they become human beings, and if human beings, do they have rights equal to and separate from those of their mother. Whether or not abortion is a choice is decided by how that issue is answered, and in no other way. Finally, there were alot of us who debated this issue last year on STG News when this came up; if you are looking for a debate I recommend checking the archives, it would be incredibly tedious to reconstruct all those arguments again. Great article, Bryan. I absolutely loved it.

  • bub January 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    An embryo in a test tube is a person too, and should be treated as such.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/22/us/utah-sperm-switch/

    • bub January 23, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      It’s crazy that man may have 100’s of biological children.

  • Cara January 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Well written and very thoughtful article. As the mother of an adopted son, I too feel immense gratitude for the selfless act of my son’s birth mother. At the time my son was placed with us, I know my son’s birth mom loved him and cared more about him than her own feelings of sorrow at the time. I am proud to tell my son about his birth mom and what a courageous and beautiful person she is. I know there are difficult decisions to be made out there but I urge anyone who may find themselves pregnant and unwed to consider the selfless act of placing a baby with two loving parents. It has certainly been a blessing to us, to my son, and to his birth mom.

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