Utah mom Gina Crotts, 40, had given up a daughter for adoption when she was a 19-year-old single mother. She had Kalyn, her "little butterfly," for just four days before the baby's new parents took and raised her as their own.
Crotts believed that putting Kalyn up for adoption was the best life she could give her. A few months later, she met and married the man who would become her husband and the father of her three other children.
Yet Crotts never erased Kalyn in her life as she would get a yearly photo of her from her adoptive parents. Her other kids know Kalyn's story, and her family celebrates her birthday every year with songs, cakes, and a candle to boot.
Despite this, however, the mother and her biological daughter had never met in person. Though it was one of her biggest dreams, Crotts said she wanted Kalyn "to have a desire to meet her" and know her birth mom.
Fate Brings Them Together
One day, while her other daughter, Evie, now 15, was at a dance rehearsal at the mall, she saw someone who looked like Kalyn from the crowd. She pointed the young woman to her mother, who was accompanying her.
Crotts did not see Kalyn at first, but she followed the girl Evie was sure was her older sister. She then saw her coming up to a man she recognized as her adoptive dad, who saw Crotts first before she locked eyes with Kalyn.
The mother said that she was shocked by this chance encounter and then hesitated to approach her biological daughter and the dad. Her first thought was if Kalyn wanted to meet her in person. Crotts did not want to watch her daughter walk away if she was not ready.
However, Kalyn was already standing right in front of her. Before she knew it, Crotts was saying her first words to her daughter. The mother asked if she was happy and when she said yes, they hugged for a while.
"We couldn't help but stare at each other, as we talked for longer, we would just look at each other and laugh," Crotts said.
This moment happened a few years ago, and the mother and daughter have been exchanging messages since. Kalyn had also visited Crotts and the rest of the family in their home. Evie always had a picture of Kalyn in her bedroom, so it was no surprise that she was able to spot her at the mall.
Abortion Wasn't Her Option
In a piece on Love What Matters, Crotts wrote that she never considered abortion an option and decided to go for adoption. She chose a semi-open placement, so she got photos and letters from the adoptive family for Kalyn's first five years.
After losing Kalyn, Crotts also set up a non-profit to help birth mothers by providing essentials that could perk them up after delivering the baby at the hospital. Crotts also wrote letters for the birth moms to let them know that they were not alone.
Meanwhile, the mother said that she felt fortunate to have her three kids and her biological daughter in her life. Crotts considers her children's laughter when they are together as the "gift I never thought I would be given," making her feel utterly whole as a mom.
As a writer, Crotts has published a book about the adoption, titled "A Seemingly Unfillable Heart."
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