By Jessa Speight, Birth Mother Outreach Associate, Adoption Network Law Center “Without change, there would be no butterflies” Last March I went on a trip. It was completely last minute and a fly-by-the-pants kind of thing. There is a beautiful woman, we will call her L. She was all alone with no support in her neck of the woods. She was wanting to place her baby and chose a lovely family, but didn't have the personal support to move forward. She chose to take her baby home with her from the hospital. Too many forces working against her. Her heart was broken. She knew it was the right thing for her to place, but didn't have support in doing that from her family and friends. The night she took her baby home she messaged me. After quite some time talking she told me she felt she should have placed. I asked her if it would help if she had positive support with her. She said yes. The next morning I spoke to her Adoption Advisor, Tina, who is also quite a bit madly in love with L. (She is beautiful, so kind, and amazingly insightful.) We then spoke to our boss and asked if we could fly there to be her support. We were told YES! Excitedly we got things booked and ready to fly out. 5 a.m. the next morning I drove to Tina’s house and we took off to the airport. We went straight from the airport and sat outside her doctor's office, just in case she needed us. Then we scouted out a place for her to sign her papers. We wanted somewhere quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. We found a lovely little botanical garden with some picnic tables surrounded by flowers, trees, and plants. Very quiet. From the park we left to pick up L and baby girl. We drove her to the garden to meet up with the couple she had chosen and the social worker. Tina and I thought it would be nice to have them talk for a while. We asked the B family why they loved L, what their promises to her were, and what their hopes for their relationship were. We asked L why she was placing, and what she hoped for. The B’s gave her a beautiful present with butterflies in it and inscribed with "Eternally Grateful." Then we had to have L go a ways away from the couple and the baby and sign the papers. There I sat on a park bench, in beautiful surroundings, watching a woman sign a piece of her heart away. It brought up so many emotions for me and, quite obviously, with her. With each signature, initial, and date, I saw her need a little bit more strength. ALL OVER this park bench were caterpillars. They were so annoying. They were in our hair, on our backs, on the table, on the paperwork, they were everywhere. After signing, we held L for a bit as she cried. Then she got in the car with the B’s and the baby. (I wish I could adequately describe the beautiful relationship in this triad. UNBELIEVABLE!) That night B’s said L could take the baby home for another night. They had so much trust and faith in this birth mother and their relationship. The Adoptive Father said, "Well we will have her our whole lives, so yes, take her tonight." That next morning we took L out and got brunch with her and some other amazing birth mamas and ate delicious food. We walked around the city, talking about this thing called life. We spent most of the day together, then dropped L off at her home so she could rest up. All night I thought of her and what she was going through. The next morning, we went to breakfast with L and the B Family. We laughed, we talked, we sat in silence. I hugged L outside of the restaurant and told her that this was not the end, but a new beginning. That this couple will always let her know her daughter. That she has an army of birth mothers here to help her grieve and move forward. Tina and I told the family as we were leaving the realization we had come to the night before in our hotel room. There were caterpillars everywhere; there were butterflies in the present they gave L. Tina said "Without change, there would be no butterflies." Butterflies are a new beginning for caterpillars. Then the B Family looked at us and said, "Her room at home is decorated in butterflies." I know you may not believe in God, but for me, at that moment in time, GOD WAS THERE. I hated/loved this experience. Adoption is an awful, terrible, hard thing. But it can also be beautiful and the beginning of an amazing journey. I am thankful for the butterflies in life that give us a chance to start something new.