Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sealed...

I realized tonight that I have been putting off writing this post because it is so big and so important that I just want it to be perfect!  I am worried about my ability to truly express and share this day in the way that I would want to.  I hope I can do it justice.  (warning, this is probably the longest post I have ever written)

Sealing Day 
For as long as we have known that we wanted to adopt, we also knew that meant at some point we would have the privilege and blessing of taking our child to the temple to be sealed to us.  As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we know that families can be together forever.

"Through the power of the priesthood....husband and wife may be sealed, or married for eternity; children may be sealed to their parents for eternity; thus the family is made eternal"--Joseph Fielding Smith

July 14th, 2012 (9 months to the day after we were chosen to be parents) was the day that would finally make Benson ours,  not only for this life but for eternity.  I am not sure I can even express the excitement that I felt as this day approached.  The night before I honestly felt like it was the night before my wedding, but better because we were able to focus on the ordinance, the special significance of the day and that was what I was excited for.  We were also extremely excited because we had many family and friends that would be there to share this special day with us.  

The evening before we went out with Ben's family to pick out a white temple outfit for Benson and also a new temple dress for myself.  It was a fun excursion and when I put the little white jumper on Benson in the dressing room at Desert Book in American Fork I couldn't help but think he looked like a little angel.  We spent the evening preparing for the next day.  We put Benson down for bed and at some point finally went to bed ourselves.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep, but I did and next thing I knew the day was here.  Benson woke up and he and I spent some time together before he went down for his morning nap.  I bathed him so that when he woke up we could just get him dressed and be on our way.  I ran to get my hair done while Ben got himself ready.  It was good to get out of the house since Ben's whole family was staying with us and I don't know that I would have been able to really just take some time to enjoy the moment.  In going out to get my hair done I was able to listen to some music on the drive and just relish in the fact that my life was amazing and I was so happy!

Ben, myself and Benson needed to arrive at the Temple by 11 AM.  I arrived back at the house after getting my hair done at about 10:15 AM and we woke Benson up from his nap to get him dressed and ready to go.  We made sure we had everything we needed and off we went.  On the drive I asked Ben to say a little family prayer.  The spirit was so strong in our little car driving over to the temple.  The significance of the day had settled in on all of us and it was an amazing feeling.  Benson started to kind of whine in the backseat, so I did what I always do to calm him down (and it completely works) and turned on "his song" (see this post for more info).  I realized seconds into the song that it was probably a bad idea to turn it on with our emotions so close to the surface.  Ben even said "I can't look at you right now or I am going to start to cry."  It was finally the day we had been waiting for!

We arrived at the temple on time and went in where we were directed to drop Benson off at the youth center.  As we walked in there was another family just picking up their children after their own sealing and I realized that it was the cute couple that had been in charge of our adoption training for LDS Family Services last June.  I had to say hello to the wife and she was so excited to see us there and said "and wow, look at you guys, already here to be sealed"!  She recognized, as we do, that we are very blessed to have had this process go so quickly and smoothly.  Just another reminder of the miracles that have happened to bring us to this day.

After dropping Benson off happy and content with the adorable older women in the youth center, Ben and I were off to confirm paperwork and get ourselves dressed and ready.  I was walked back into the same part of the temple where they took me on the day we got married.  I was even allowed to dress in the Brides Room.  I was surrounded by these girls who were starting their lives as wives and I was there to celebrate my becoming a mother.  I thought it was very fitting.  Sitting in the room waiting to be told it was time to go I felt very "old" and "mature" but I didn't mind that I was surrounded by girls in their beautiful and ornate wedding dresses with jewelry and stunning makeup and hair.  I was in a simple white temple dress with no extra frills and felt more content than I can ever remember feeling in my life.  This is what that day was all about.  The wedding, the frills, the beauty is all secondary to the fact that a family is being formed.  This day we were truly becoming a family and I could not have been more excited.

They came and got me and I walked out to see Ben waiting for me and we got into the elevator where they took us up to the Celestial Room.  They wanted us to wait there until all of our guests had arrived and everything was ready for the sealing to start.  They told us it was our time to catch our breath.  As Ben and I sat there holding hands I told him that I was feeling the same kind of nerves and excitement I felt as we had walked into the hospital to meet Benson for the first time.  It was the best way I could describe the feelings that come with such an amazing experience.  We sat and waited and enjoyed the peace of the temple.  Then the workers came to get us and we were off.

Right before they took us into the sealing room where our family and friends were waiting, we had the chance to meet the sealer (the man who would be performing the sealing).  He told us that he had just been talking to our fathers and when he heard the name Crisanto it sounded familiar.  Come to find out he had served in the mission presidency as well as the Temple Presidency up in Alaska during the same years that Ben's older brother had served his mission there.  He knew him and remembered him.  If the tears had not started falling yet they did at that moment.  I lightly squeezed Ben's hand because I knew he was thinking the same thing I was.  We both felt at that moment that the Lord was completely aware of us and was providing us with yet another tender mercy.  You see, Cowdery had chosen to not be a part of this day with us.  It was hurtful to have him decide that and it was the one thing about the day that might have been "imperfect".  But here was this man who knew the best part of Cowdery who would be in the sealing with us, like a representation of the brother that should have been there.  It was perfect and Ben and I both felt the significance of it.  

We were then led into the sealing room, to the faces and so many amazing friends and family members who have been with us as we have finally made it to this point.  I looked at every single face in that room and thought of how truly blessed we are to have these people in our lives.  They made me emotional.  We have the best friends and family ever.  Becky (my jr high and high school best friend) made her way down even though her kids had soccer tournaments, Jenny and Woodson Lynes left a family reunion and drove 2 hours each way just to be there for the sealing, Adam and Tonna flew all the way from South Carolina, Kimmie flew in the night before at 1 AM and flew out the next morning at 6 AM just to be able to be there.  Everyone that was there is so special to us and we are truly so grateful we got to share something so special with them.  It was so awesome to see everyone and feel their love and excitement to be there with us.  


The sealer spoke to all of us about the ordinance, about the blessings this would bring to Benson's life, about the blessings of the gospel and the temple.  I could not help but think of Benson's birth family.  They did not know about the temple or about being sealed together and here this little boy was about to be sealed for time and all eternity to the family that they had placed him with.  He was here, the Lord had led him to our family, and I just had this impression that through him they would be led to the saving ordinances of the gospel.  

After the sealer talked for about ten minutes Benson was finally brought into the room and there were oohs and aahs all around.  We all know Benson is a beautiful baby but his skin and hair and eyes against the white of his outfit and the white of the temple looked more gorgeous than ever.  Plus, he was so sweet.  He just layed his little head against the chest of the temple worker when they walked into the room.  The sealer then had Ben and I go and kneel at the alter.  The temple worker handed Benson to Ben's mom who was also dressed in white and would be the one to hold Benson at the alter. He actually did cry for a second, which we all thought was quite funny.  It was a pretty good indication of how much he was enjoying the temple workers.  He calmed right down though and for the few minutes of the ordinance he sat there peacefully and just watched my face, Bens face and the face of the sealer like he was somehow aware of what was going on.  It really seemed that he understood the significance of this day.  I guess if we think about how recently he has been with our Father in Heaven, he probably was the one person in that room that truly knew exactly what was happening and the importance of it!

It was done and over extremely quickly and we all left and were able to greet and hug our guests.  We handed Benson back to the worker and went down to get changed.  That was it, we were done.  On the way down we did stop to thank the sealer.  Ben broke down in tears and just thanked him for representing his brother that could not be there.   It was a significant moment and one that I don't think we will ever forget.  Just like every other part of this day, it was significant and memorable.

We went down to get ready to go outside and greet our guests and get pictures taken.  As I said earlier, I felt like this day was as significant as our wedding day and it deserved to be treated as such, so we had hired a professional photographer.  I am SO glad that I did.  She did an amazing job at capturing the feeling of the day.  We spent a bunch of time taking pictures while everyone made their way to my parents house for food.
(Photos by Heather Telford Photography)



our amazing friends!

Crisantos

Johnsons








After pictures we were excited to make our way there and spend time with everyone!  When we arrived back at my parents house Benson was definitely asleep.  He was so tired from the big day and all the pictures.  I was sitting there talking to friends and guests when Ben came down and handed me a box. I opened it to see this beautiful statue of a mother holding her baby boy.  


The statue is called "Child of my Heart" and with it came this saying:

"Child of the world,
Into my heart you came
Bringing sun into my life, 
Making family our name"


I started crying before I could even get through the saying.  This day was perfect and this little boy is perfect.  He is the light and joy of our lives and has truly made us a family!




8 comments:

The Staheli's said...

There are no words. ♥

Amy Sue said...

This post was absolutely perfect! Pictures are perfect! The day was perfect!

San Fernando SS said...

<3

Allison said...

I've been waiting for this post! Thanks so much for sharing so that those of us far away could enjoy a little piece of the day- as in I got my happy tears out this morning :) It's amazing how much joy the ordinances of the gospel really brings to a family. What a beautiful perspective you got to have on that day in the bride's room, you couldn't have described it better. We love you guys so much and we can't wait to meet Benson!

Tiffany Johnson said...

Oh my crap. SO eloquently put. I love that we got a glimpse into your minds on that day. The rest of us all knew what we were doing/thinking, but to hear it from you is absolutely beautiful.

Carolina Nightingale said...

OH CArmen, I hope to get to meet you someday! Ben and us (Noah and I, through Isaac, Noah's brother) have been friends for... nearly a decade? and reading your stories of Benson are... so gorgeous and so powerful. Your sealing was on my birthday this year. I know Isaac also would have been there with you. I wish we could have been. Our love for Ben through the years... how could ANYBODY not adore Ben... and now that includes you and your gorgeous little man. Cannot wait to someday meet you in person. Love, love- Heather Bergevin

Susie said...

Beautiful story. Amazing pictures! I am so happy for you guys.

.the palsky's. said...

I know i've said this a billion times already, but looking at the three of you, benson was meant to be your son. These pictures are amazing and show the love and significance of the sealing ordinance. We love you guys and little benson so much, and we love his birth mom for giving you the greatest blessing she could offer. Thanks for sharing your special day!