The fifth child in the David and Leslie Larson family of the Lake Arrowhead Ward in Blue Jay, Calif., joined the family through an open adoption policy. The birth mother, an unwed young woman from an LDS family whose situation became known to the Larsons, moved nearby to get to know the Larsons.
"I had the blessing of knowing her and helping her through labor and delivery," said Sister Larson.
"The baby was a beautiful boy and we raised him" with frequent visits from the birth mother, she said.
"I grew to love the mother and appreciated her loving sacrifice for her baby to place him in an active LDS home that would love him and raise him in the gospel.
'When the baby was 4, the final adoption papers came and we took him to the temple to be sealed to our family."
Sister Larson explained that by then the birth mother had become active in the Church again and had been to the temple with her extended family. Tragically, she had contracted cancer but was well enough to be invited to the ceremony when the child was sealed to the Larson family. During the sealing, the officiator felt someone was needed to assist the child.
"After receiving our permission, he asked the birth mother." She came forward and helped with this.
"It was a touching scene, born out of love for each other, and a deep understanding of the gospel and Heavenly Father's will," said Sister Larson. "It was beautiful. I can't describe how incredible it was."
The birth mother's cancer progressively became worse and finally took her life in 2002.
The Larsons visited her a week before she died. They said she was at peace, knowing the baby she could not rear was now part of a forever family with two parents vitally concerned with his every need.
"It all made perfect sense," said Sister Larson.