August 2nd, 2011 by admin


Snapshot Portrait: Amanda Lythgoe

Snapshot Portrait: Amanda Lythgoe

Manchester, CT, August 2, 2011

The hardest choice I’ve made in my life was when…

…at the age of 19 I chose to follow the promptings of the spirit and place my baby for adoption.

A sweet baby boy, just two days old, lay on the hospital bed between me and his birthfather.  I held his tiny hand as I took pen to paper and acknowledged, then signed away my right as his birth mother.  The room was thick with the spirit as angels sustained and comforted me in a way that no mortal could.

After months of hoping and praying that my boyfriend and I would get married, he mentioned the one word during a late night phone call that spanned two time zones and crushed my hopes: adoption. This path he suggested seemed too trying for my feeble heart. Later that night as I humbled myself in prayer, I plead with my Father in Heaven to know His will for this child.  The experience that followed will forever be imprinted on my soul. It was exactly as described in Doctrine & Covenants section 8 verse 4: “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.” I physically felt my heart and mind open to the choice of adoption as never before. From that night on, the peace that accompanied my answer carried me forward.  It is with me to this day.

While most of my friends from high school were attending sorority formals and cramming for exams, I was shopping for maternity clothes and taking birthing classes with my mom. A few offered a listening ear, but they had no frame of reference for the pain, worry and guilt I carried alongside a growing belly.

The last place I wanted to seek help was LDS Social Services.  I am an independent soul and I was afraid of being judged or worse, being told what to do with my life. Instead with the help of a loving counselor I discovered a positive environment in which to confront my hopes and fears for not only my baby’s future, but my own as well.

Each of us has a mission in life. Part of my son’s purpose, before he was even born, was to change the course of my life.  Once the adoption was final he would be sealed to his eternal family in the temple.  I had to believe that the sealing power was real.  I began to develop faith in that power, and came to know that I wanted it for myself and my future family.

I had to believe that the sealing power was real. I began to develop faith in that power, and came to know that I wanted it for myself and my future family.

After a year of healing and immersing myself in work it was time to open a new chapter in my life.  I began attending a singles ward where I eventually met my husband who is the father to our four children.  The day we were sealed in the temple my social worker was the last guest to greet us as a married couple.  Tears streamed down my face as we embraced.  We both knew what it had taken to get me to the altar of the temple.  And I will ever be grateful.

Yearly updates inform me of this young man’s talent for memorizing, his penchant for history and sports.  These small time capsules are treasured and tucked away in a space he will always have in my heart.

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  1. Forrest Phelps-Cook
    10:15 am on August 2nd, 2011

    It was a long battle to save
    my little grandson from the hell
    into which he was born. But
    that day finally arrived and he
    was adopted by my sister and her husband.
    He spent 2 long years in foster care
    as we battled the State of Arizona.
    I went to visit my sister one summer,
    and I could see that my grandson
    recognized me as someone besides
    ‘Aunt Forrest’…this is why I wrote
    this poem.

    For Gabriel…my grandson at birth
    and now my nephew.
    I will love you always.


    I see the memories in your eyes,
    those eyes of crystal blue.
    You’re trying to recall my name,
    and who I am to you.

    A smile of recognition
    as you try to see the past;
    a pause, and then you reach
    and fall into my arms at last.

    My little blonde haired boy,
    the child I’ve held so dear.
    I hold you to my bosom
    and I wipe away my tears.

    I say a prayer of thanks
    to the heavens up above,
    for giving you this home
    and surrounding you with love.

    You have your mother’s eyes,
    and you also have her chin,
    your hair is like your sister’s
    and you have your father’s grin.

    They did not give you birth
    but now they give you life;
    they saved you from a future
    that promised storms and strife.

    So put away the memories
    don’t let them bother you,
    I am now your loving aunt,
    whose love for you stays true.

    © Forrest Phelps-Cook

  2. Kelli
    11:40 am on August 2nd, 2011

    I loved reading this Amanda. Thanks for sharing this moment in your life.

  3. Heather
    12:11 pm on August 2nd, 2011

    Amanda, the overwhelming impression I have in reading your story is how much God loves you.

    Thank you for letting me feel that today.

  4. Jeanie Stow
    2:58 pm on August 2nd, 2011

    Amanda, I appreciate you story so much. I placed my son for adoption 9 years ago when he was a day old. I was 37 and my ex-husband and I were in the middle of a divorce. He never wanted children and our son was a suprize. We agreed that placing our son for adoption through LDS family services was the right thing to do. He is now an incredible 9 year old kid who is creative, living in the country and has a loving father and mother. I know we did the right thing.

  5. Michelle
    11:02 pm on August 2nd, 2011

    I loved this. Thank you for sharing your story and testimony. Very powerful.

  6. Beth Allen
    10:14 pm on August 3rd, 2011

    I was so touched by your story. You are an amazing woman. That sweet boy was lucky to have you there to bring him into this world.

  7. Lori Vance
    11:46 am on August 4th, 2011

    I was born in the early 1950s when single motherhood simply wasn’t an option, and closed adoption was the only alternative. I and my not-biologically-related brother were adopted and Mother had two sons via biological birth. Equitable treatment was a big issue for Mother and Dad and they did a fantastic job. Here’s how I know that: my younger brothers used to say, “Lori and Tim get everything!” and I used to say, “You spoil those boys rotten!” Yes, The Question has come up. Now that Mother and Dad are gone, Tim and I discuss it periodically, and think about doing some research, but neither of us really wants to open that Pandora’s Box. My only concern is that The Others have found peace. I’m not too worried about that eventual meeting, because I know “it will all come out in the wash.” As for genetic concerns, what more can I do than take care of the body I’ve been given?

  8. Deila
    6:15 pm on August 4th, 2011

    Thanks for sharing–a lovely testimony of faith.

  9. Andrea
    8:05 pm on August 7th, 2011

    Beautifully written. What a strong and courageous mother you are! Your example of love and righteousness has and will change lives.

  10. Cynthia
    8:53 pm on October 31st, 2011

    I love hearing the other side of adoption. My husband and I found out only after 1 year of marriage we couldn’t have children. We quickly moved to the adoption process. 15 years later we have 3 sweet, talented, beautiful children. All because of three other women who made the ultimate sacrifice, just like you. Thank you.

  11. Jen
    8:51 pm on September 10th, 2012

    I cannot begin to imagine how difficult that decision must have been. Thank you for your testimony and amazing example of faith.

  12. Kimberly
    7:51 am on October 2nd, 2012

    Heaven’s blessings on all birth mothers….but especially on you Amanda and on the mother of my own son. Not all women can make this decision with peace and clarity, but I am grateful that I can say to my son, She chose us for you because she loved you then and loves you still. Not every child can say that about his birth mother, but I wish it were true for each one. (I have a dear nephew who wasn’t placed out of love but out of fear….but our entire extended family was filled with the knowledge that he was OURS despite the fearful possibilities from the moment we heard he might come to them and he is such a blessing. Bless those birth parents too. They didn’t know…and we all wanted him anyway.) k.

  13. Natalie
    3:26 pm on October 2nd, 2012

    This is a lovely account of a very courageous journey. Hopefully, this will encourage others to share their experiences of becoming parents, both the painful and the beautiful. What I most appreciate is how your story illustrates the need we have for each other as we move through difficulty. Bravo to you and to those who helped sustain you.

  14. Cristina
    8:30 pm on October 2nd, 2012

    Thank you, thank you. Your courage is amazing. I hope my adopted son will love and honor his birthmother for her courage too. It is so important for people to hear this side of adoption so thank you for being willing to share.

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