Adoption and the Afterlife

Adoption in the Afterlife

Question answered by: Brad Masters

“Hello, I am not a Mormon, but I do believe in God, and life after death. My husband and I recently adopted a five-month-old baby girl from a young mother who was sick with colon cancer, and her husband left two months after she had the baby.

She was in tears when she realized she could not support her child, and was hysterical at the thought of giving her child up, her own daughter not knowing her birth mother. I believe that after death we will be a family together in heaven, as long as we follow the Ten Commandments and live a good life, but will Makaila* be able to see her mother after death? What will happen to her mother?”


Thank you for the question and congratulations on the new addition to your family!  Our prayers are certainly with your daughter’s birth mother.

Most, if not all of us, similarly stew over spiritual questions about family, and the status of our families when death, in fact, does split us part.  Mormons are certainly no exception. Like you, we believe that familial relationships can continue after death.  In fact, we believe marriages that are performed in sacred temples (such as this one or this one) are “sealed” for eternity! To be sure, these marriage ceremonies require some preparation. Developing faith and obeying certain commandments help prepare us to enter those temples and perform these ceremonies. But once a marriage is sealed with this promise of eternity, a new and enriching perspective can instantly fill that family’s life. To think, the way we treat each other on earth matters because our relationships do not die when we do!

Joseph Smith, our founding prophet, described how these earthly relationships can continue on: “That same sociality which exists among us here [on earth] will exist among us [in Heaven], only it will be coupled with eternal glory.” While it’s tough to say exactly what that heavenly society will look like, it’s clear that our earthly associations can continue, and they will be even better and more glorified.

Along with our earthly family relationships, we are also each a part of the great big spiritual family of mankind.  We are all the spirit sons and daughters of God; so, in a sense, we are all brothers and sisters. As we live righteously, we become an eternal family sealed together by the love of Christ and the power of God — a family that can continue to grow and mature together in the hereafter.

No doubt, the relationship you enjoy with Makaila will be more developed than her relationship with her birth mother. But everything I know about God gives me great hope that both your and their relationships may continue on into the eternities. Birthing and raising a child are both vital roles that create special bonds, even if two different people perform them. Makaila’s birth mother gave your daughter the gift of life; you are giving Makaila the gift of a life well-lived. That relationship with Makaila can be eternal: you may always call her daughter, and she may always call you mother. And she will always be tied to her birth mother by the simple fact that they are both daughters of a God who loves them. Will they be given the chance to build and strengthen a bond that this earthly life never afforded them? I’d like to think so. Ultimately, I trust God, as you do, and believe that Heaven would not truly be heavenly without our families, regardless of how they’re defined.

 *name changed


Add yours
  1. 1
    Marty Mead

    Brad – Having adopted two kids from two different birth mothers and having taken both of them to the Temple to have them sealed to me is a huge blessing in my life.
    I personally believe that my girls will have the opportunity to build and strengthen their relationships with their birth parents. I do not feel threatened by this in any way. As a matter of fact, I look forward to it. I believe that these wonderful people who gave us their children will be able to understand more fully God’s plan and will have the opportunity to be with these two beautiful girls who have been adopted/grafted into my family tree. I think my girls will have two family trees and there will be a special place in each tree to show how it branched off through adoption and sealing.
    God does have an amazing plan and He is very understanding and forgiving of us his children. I love how you mention that we are all brothers and sisters. As such, I do look at the opportunity to be a mom or a dad is an honor, a responsibility and a blessing regardless of how we obtain that opportunity.
    Well done. Adoption rocks!!! I highly recommend it!!!! My brother adopted his oldest son and could not be more proud of the blessing that adoption is in my life. I would not be the person I am today without it.
    At the same time , these birth-parents, who make one of the toughest decisions to ever make, are some of my favorite people. Hannah’s birth father is a marine and to this day he valiantly serves our country. He is not perfect but he is a hero to me as is Hannah & Sarah’s respective birth mothers.
    Thanks for sharing and God bless you & your wonderful family. I will never forget my first day in your ward. Your mom quickly introduced herself to us. She is such a sweet woman. Jenna babysat Hannah often and we have so many great memories of their time together.

  2. 3

    Have you ever wondered what it is exactly that will separate those who have not been sealed together in the next life? If resurrected, glorified beings can teleport (like Moroni did when he visited Joseph Smith), what’s to stop two resurrected, glorified beings from sharing space time with eachother, whether they have been sealed together or not?

  3. 4
    Tamra Dawn Hyde

    brilliant answer! and beautifully put! and i’m so impressed with the concern of this family for all of it’s branches!
    when i met the parents of the baby boy i was carrying, 16 yrs ago, i had never seen them before in this life. yet i recognized them. their faces were familiar to me. i kept trying to remember how and from where but i couldn’t. not only was there physical recognition but i had an immediate feeling of family. i’ve never before or since had such an experience with anyone, and i was totally surprised by it. the experience taught me that i was not choosing but finding his family. they were family already. but my part in it was significant. i’d already been lead to and accepted adoption as right for my boy and i was already determined in this path. this experience was just a tender mercy, and has given me such comfort and reassurance as i have not seen them since (adoption had not yet evolved to openness).
    i imagine it this way; before we came here, God says “Tamra, you’ll have a tough assignment, you’ll go to parents who are sad and confused, your little soul’s gonna get hurt, you’re gonna stumble, you’re gonna get lost. but don’t worry Tamra, your sister (Adoptive mom) and your Brothers (Adoptive dad and our boy) have volunteered for the rescue effort. his mom and dad will wait and pray and cry and wonder and then they will share him with you. he will come as your missionary on his way home and though you won’t love yourself enough to get well, you’ll love him enough. and you’ll remember me and i’ll heal you”.
    my feeling is; if we shared some sweet and special association before, we surely will after. though i miss them all terribly, there has always been a feeling that no amount of distance or time could separate us! i believe all adoptions will be open adoptions on the other side!

  4. 5

    Nice line –” Makaila’s birth mother gave your daughter the gift of life; you are giving Makaila the gift of a life well-lived.” Very well stated.

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