Jason and Lisa Smith say the adoption of their two young daughters "completed their lives." Not a day passes when they don't feel thanks for their daughters' birth mothers and the Church services that helped the Smiths become the eternal family they are today.
The Smiths and other LDS couples who have adopted children say their gratitude also extends to President Gordon B. Hinckley. Called "a friend of adoption — a friend of children," President Hinckley was honored Aug. 19 by Families Supporting Adoption, a consortium of LDS families whose lives have been blessed by the Church's family services and adoption programs.
In a small ceremony outside his office, President Hinckley received an engraved award and a family-themed quilt in honor of his service "to create eternal families." His two counselors in the First Presidency — President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust — also attended the function.
After accepting the award, President Hinckley made brief comments and emphasized that the happy consequences of adoption can be everlasting.
"Anything that can be done that adds to the happiness and well-being of children is worthwhile," President Hinckley said.
Sister Smith, a member of the Taylorsville Valley Park 3rd Ward, Taylorsville Utah Valley Park Stake, spoke of her family's love for President Hinckley during the ceremony. Adoption, she added, touches the lives of many.
"My life has been forever blessed by my two beautiful daughters and their wonderful birth mothers and their families," Sister Smith said.
LDS Family Services has placed some 28,000 children in LDS homes where they could be sealed, since 1919.
Church Welfare Director Harold Brown said President Hinckley's adoption honor is well-deserved. During his leadership tenure, President Hinckley has promoted the family and championed efforts that help children find homes in two-parent households and become part of eternal families.
"President Gordon B. Hinckley and the First Presidency have promoted adoption in many ways," Brother Brown said.
Brother Smith also spoke of President Hinckley's love and support for birth mothers who are unable to care for their children and agree to have them raised in loving families.
The Smiths' oldest adopted daughter, 8-year-old Nicole, attended the ceremonies and admitted feeling butterflies before meeting President Hinckley.
"I felt a little nervous, but I knew it would be a good" experience, said Nicole.