In five days we get to finalize our adoption. I want to share a little more about our adoption story over the next few days and also honor the two people that made it possible for Alayna to be part of our family, her birthparents, Lauren and Matt. This story is very personal and sacred to me, but I hope it is one that can touch the lives of others for good.
Today I want to tell you a little about what happened when we first started contact with Lauren. I found out her last name was Park, and that was my maiden name, so of course I was curious to see if we were related. (More on that later) My great grandfather’s name was Lorin Park, so it was just one of those little nods from heaven we got during that time that this situation was good. The entire time before placement even happened, to me at least, it was always more about Lauren than the baby that she would later place. At the time it was good for me that it was more about Lauren, but after placement, to be honest, it was harder for me to feel like Alayna’s mom because I had only tried to think of her as Lauren’s baby. Every time I looked at her I would see Lauren and feel guilty. I didn’t know before how bad the guilt would be. I think it is because Lauren and I had gotten so close the guilt was overwhelming. It took a while to get over that, and even now I still will sometimes have it sneak in, but it is so much better now. One thing that has helped me so much through this is that Lauren has always been so good at making me feel like Alayna’s mom. She always says the nicest things to me and without her, I’m not sure how I would have made it through this last six months.
Open adoption is amazing-through all the super ups and super downs it has, it is the best thing I could have done in my life. It has changed me in more ways than I ever though possible. Now when I look at Alayna, I mostly just see Alayna. That sweet little baby that refuses to laugh, smiles when you just say hi to her, loves to eat her food and wants it as soon as she sees it and loves her big brothers.
Now onto if Lauren and I were realted. Well, I made this for Lauren for her birthday and had it printed on a canvas. It is a family tree of Alayna that shows both sides of her family and it all ends up at one James Park who was born in Scotland in 1766. After doing some research I found out our family came from Scotland, to Canada and then to Utah and stayed together until just before our grandfather’s generation where they settled in Millcreek, Utah. After that the family spread out. Who would have thought it would be brought back together by one little girl, Alayna Lauren (Park) Cooper. How can you not see God’s hand in this one? God sent me my long lost cousin to not only complete my family, but be part of it again. We are connected not only through Alayna, but our shared ancestors.