Utah Adoption Act (Utah Code Title 76B Chapter 6)


Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Church was canceled again yesterday because of the “big” snow storm (we got about 5″) and so I had some free time on my hands. Somehow, I ended up tracking down Utah’s “Adoption Act” and came across some interesting stuff.

“Utah Adoption Act” Title 78B-6-102.7

(7) The Legislature finds that an unmarried mother has a right of privacy with regard to her pregnancy and adoption plan, and therefore has no legal obligation to disclose the identity of an unmarried biological father prior to or during an adoption proceeding, and has no obligation to volunteer information to the court with respect to the father.

Say what??? In Utah, a woman has no legal obligation to tell who the father of her child is prior to placing that child for adoption???? What in the Sam Hill kind of law is that?  Now I know why the LDSFS worker told me that I could just “leave him out of it [the adoption]”, that  “he doesn’t really matter, ” and “involving him will just complicate things even more for your daughter and her new parents.”

I now know this was incredibly morally wrong. Regardless of if it is the law or not. It is wrong. And this is one of the things I wrestle with – why would a representative of the LDS church tell me to do something so completely amoral? Not just tell me to do it, but actively encourage me to do it and provide suggestions on how to get around telling him the truth.

78B-6-119. Counseling for parents.
(1) Subject to Subsection (2)(a), before relinquishing a child to a child-placing agency, or consenting to the adoption of a child, a parent of the child has the right to participate in counseling:
(a) by a licensed counselor or an adoption service provider selected by the parent participating in the counseling;
(b) for up to three sessions of at least 50 minutes per session; and
(c) subject to Subsection (2)(b), at the expense of the:
(i) child-placing agency; or
(ii) prospective adoptive parents.

Wow. Geez. Three whole 50-minute counseling sessions in return for my daughter?  I need to make a T-shirt up for this one. “I gave another family the greatest “gift” of all – my daughter – and all I got was three lousy counseling sessions.”

Three sessions.  That’s a hundred and fifty minutes.  In exchange for a lifetime of grief.

Here’s the kicker – in your adoption, I was never told I was legally entitled to even this “generous” amount. I never received my three free counseling sessions, courtesy of…well, of anyone.  I did eventually find my own way to a counselor. I am very grateful to have found such a wonderful therapist – I am just sad we moved 2200 miles away from him.  I could really use a chit-chat session with him about now. But  I never got my three free sessions.  Do you think 17 1/2 years later is to late to demand them?

78B-6-123. Power of a minor to consent or relinquish.
(1) A minor parent has the power to:
(a) consent to the adoption of the minor’s child; and
(b) relinquish the minor’s control or custody of the child for adoption.
(2) The consent or relinquishment described in Subsection (1) is valid and has the same force and effect as a consent or relinquishment executed by an adult parent.
(3) A minor parent, having executed a consent or relinquishment, cannot revoke that consent upon reaching the age of majority or otherwise becoming emancipated.

So…a minor can’t buy cigarettes. Can’t buy alcohol. Can’t open a credit card or get a loan without a co-signer.  Can’t get married without parental consent (and a juvenile judge’s consent if she is 15 or under). Can’t get birth control pills without parental consent. If she is under 16 can’t drive a car. If she is under 13,  can’t even open an online email or social networking account without parental consent.

BUT, she can relinquish another minor child (hers) to adoption.Without parental consent. Or telling the father.

That is really screwed up.

78B-6-125. Time period prior to birth mother’s consent.
(1) A birth mother may not consent to the adoption of her child or relinquish control or custody of her child until at least 24 hours after the birth of her child.

Wow.  A whole 24 whole hours?  Geeze. That’s really nice of them.

How many of us who have had children were at the tip-top of our mental and emotional game a mere 24 hours after having a child? I know I am not. At that point, I am still trying to deal with the uterine cramping, the bleeding, the surging hormones as my milk comes in and my body adjusts to not being pregnant, my raw & swollen girlie bits. I am exhausted  – not just from the delivery, but the last excruciatingly sleepless weeks of my pregnancy,  the every 4-hour checks by the nurses, and the visits from the family. And that’s after a natural, normal, short delivery without any residual effects of pain meds either.

24 hours after delivery is not the time to be having relinquishment papers shoved under a vulnerable mother’s nose. GoodfreakinFriday, even those “evil  capitalist” insurance companies allow a woman 48 hours in the hospital before she has to leave after having a child.

And here are some more of my more favorite parts:


78B-6-126.
When consent or relinquishment effective.
A consent or relinquishment is effective when it is signed and may not be revoked.

78A-6-514. Voluntary relinquishment — Irrevocable.
(4) A voluntary relinquishment or consent for termination of parental rights is effective when it is signed and may not be revoked.

No ifs, ands, or buts. No waiting period. No “can I have a week to think this over?” No nothing. So once that order to relinquish is signed in the hospital 24 hours after giving birth, the mother has no legal recourse to revoke her consent.

No wonder LDSFS encourages so many single mothers to deliver in UT.  They don’t have to tell the father. They don’t have to get parental consent. There is only a 24 hour waiting period after birth before the mother can relinquish. And then once those papers are signed, the mother has no legal recourse.

It was an enlightening way to spend my Sunday afternoon to say the least. Understanding the laws a bit more in UT helps me understand my experience a bit more as well.

Much love,

M.

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13 thoughts on “Utah Adoption Act (Utah Code Title 76B Chapter 6)

  1. Did you know that as a “birthmother” you have the “right” to free counseling for life through LDSFS? I only found that out after going to them to get the non-id info when trying to find my son about a year ago. My Bishop found that out and suggested I go when I told him I was struggling with my testimony based on my experiences with LDSFS and their policies on adoption. I can’t bring myself to go to the same people who encouraged me to place my son and then were downright rude and condescending when I wanted to find him. They did tell me the adoption side and counseling side are completely separate as if that would make me feel ok about going back there.

    These laws in Utah are messed up! I placed my son in Idaho, and although I don’t know what the laws are there I do know that the LDSFS rhetoric is pretty much the same.

    • “I can’t bring myself to go to the same people who encouraged me to place my son”

      Yes, Desi – this!!! To me it feels like consorting with the enemy, if that makes any sense. How could I possibly trust the advice and counseling I was given when it was so poorly handled the first time around? More importantly, WHY would I go back to the same people who told me such lies about my ability to parent?

      You know that old definition of insanity? Doing the same thing again but expecting different results? That is what going back to LDSFS for post-relinquishment counseling would be like – more adoption-is-sunshine-pony-rides-and-lollipops talk. More of the “You just need to pray more, read your scriptures more, serve more, do more” and I will “get over” my daughter. That isn’t what I need. What I need honest talk about the difficult and dark side of relinquishing a child, more help on how to deal with the loss in my life, more compassion for my grief.

      For some reason, I think what I need isn’t something LDSFS is offering…just sayin’.

      ((((Hugs to you Desi)))). Thanks for stopping by my blog again.

  2. I plan on stopping by often. I have yet to find anyone who is in my same position and mindset. For the most part I’ve found that the women who placed through LDSFS either feel (or continue to believe the rhetoric they were fed while pregnant) that adoption is wonderful for them and their child or they have left the church and are extremely bitter about it. I don’t want to be bitter, but I can’t just pretend that LDSFS policies and practices are okay. So, that’s where I’m at and I’m finding a lot of comfort in knowing I’m not the only one.

    • “I don’t want to be bitter, but I can’t just pretend that LDSFS policies and practices are okay. So, that’s where I’m at and I’m finding a lot of comfort in knowing I’m not the only one.”

      Me either Desi. And that is one of the reasons I started this blog – I couldn’t find any other LDS “voices” out there who weren’t (a) still swimming in the adoption-is-the-nectar-of-life vat or (b) hadn’t left the church. I don’t blame either group – I think both are reacting out of self-preservation but I don’t feel like I am part of either group either.

      Don’t know if you have come across this mama’s blog: In His Easy Yoke. I love her writing as she talks about her daily walks with God through this adoption “stuff.” I think she is doing an amazing job of balancing her belief in a loving God with the reality of relinquishing a child to adoption.

      Guess I should get back to studying for comps now…

      M.

  3. hahaha im sorry i couldnt stop laughing as i read!

    you really didnt know all that about utah adoption law?!

    and yeah the 3 ‘counseling’ sessions… LOLing again.

    (not laughing at you, and not laughing as in ‘funny quotable line in a movie’ either)

    most of the women i have met who placed with ldsfs do not care at all (my code phrase for ‘hate’) for ldsfs for various reasons. in fact i hardly know any who DO like the agency, and i know a lot of us, even the current prego ones with an adoption plan are not pleased with ldsfs. unfort its a necessary evil, for as much as we ‘hate’ the agency, the peace of the adoption choice is something completely separate (for me and my croonies). the more a-couples i enlighten with the agency behind the scenes practices and how they treat us, the more they hate ldsfs too, which is good, cuz thats how change happens.

    can obama run for ldsfs pres, i seem to remember him saying something about change… 😉

    as for not being able to find other voices, i find that so hard to believe as my network of these voices is immense and frankly overwhelming. sad for you thinking you were alone, youre so not alone in this feeling.

    ****please delete my first comment, i entered my real name and want it to be posted under my blogger name, thanks*****

    • “(not laughing at you, and not laughing as in ‘funny quotable line in a movie’ either)”

      Yeah, I know you weren’t laughing at me but the irony of the situation. The whole things is funny, and I don’t mean funny ha-ha either.

      And yeah, I didn’t know about a lot of the intricacies of UT adoption law…frankly, I wasn’t offered any independent legal counsel nor did I even think to seek any out. Did you? Am I the only one who just…trusted I was being told the truth? Was this even the truth 17 or so years ago when I relinquished?

      So many questions and so little time. If this were the only thing going on in my life right now, maybe I could figure them all out but like I said in my post, not today. Today is full of a head in my ribs and tiny feet dancing on my bladder, phones calls with my graduate committee, comps preparation, meals to be made, dishes to be done, floors to be vacuumed, laundry, my curriculum vitae to be updated, lunches to be packed, grocery shopping, Scouts, homework, and teaching my 5-year old how to read.

      Hmmm…maybe what I need is another 3 or 4 hours in every day.

      M.

  4. Hi, I just wanted to say that I just found your blog here…and hence, just a hello.
    Yiou know.. i think we could all collectivly spend the rest of all our days trying to underderstand how this happened to us all, but it won’t make any sense.. ever. Becasue it just doesn’t make sense. At least once we stop drinking the adoption Kool-aide..

    Though I do often wonder why the LDS church loves themselves some adoption something fierce.. they do help fund the National Council for Adoption.. but I’m only a recovering Catholic, so ti all fails to reason at all with me…

    And yes, Utah is THE WORST.. you do know that many an agency will move a mom there if she has a “difficult” baby daddy? Because in Utah, daddy have NO rights at all..

    And yes, for the record, you should demand your paltry minutes of counselling.. think of it this way,,.. you can make them pay just a bit while you tell them how they suck.

    • Hi there Claudia! I have been a long time reader of your blog – it was one of the first that I found in my initial forays into the eyes-wide open end of the adoption pool.

      I don’t know why/how I remained so ignorant of the adoption laws in UT for so long. It is a real testament to how deep the hole in the sand was in which my head was stuck. I can only chalk it up to self-preservation…if I had been more cognizant of all of this “back then,” I am sure I would have flown to a million little shards, like a Corelle plate when it shatters. The intervening years have tempered my mettle a bit – maybe that is why I am finally being able to see a bit more clearly now.

      Thanks for stopping by – I sure enjoy reading the stuff you post over at your place!

      M.

  5. Your comments break my heart. I am an adoptive mom, my adoption was in cal. I have a friend in Utah trying to adopt, and I happened by your blog. Fathers have no rights? No waiting period? How archaic! Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with LDS, and what I read does not surprise me. The incredible pressure young couples have to procreate in the church is amazing. Have lots of children asap and follow the traditional family life. Those unfortunate couples who are infertile have an increasingly difficult time with the trauma of infertility bydisappointing their church and endangering their eternal souls! I think it makes the entire experience even more debilitating for these young people.

    • “Those unfortunate couples who are infertile have an increasingly difficult time with the trauma of infertility by disappointing their church and endangering their eternal souls! I think it makes the entire experience even more debilitating for these young people.”

      You are so right about that – I have thought about it long and hard and I believe it is one of the compounding factors of why infant adoption is pushed so hard in UT. There are many other reasons but this extreme pressure to create the postcard perfect Mormon family is just that – extreme. Particularly for young 20 somethings who live in UT.

  6. (cont.). What you Women have done is a blessing. I’m so sorry it wasn’t an easier process. Always remember, you created a family, and for that you will surely have your ticket to heaven already stamped….

  7. I came across your blog while frantically doing research in efforts to get our baby back from an adoption that went wrong, due to these corrupt adoptions law. My brother in law had his baby STOLEN from him. He was with the birthmother until the night before she delivered and was kept in the dark about the delivery for 6 DAYS, so that the 24 hour time period would go into effect. The laws are absurd and are ruining families. Please voice your frustration, opinions and let us help to get these laws changed. We can not have FRAUD wrote into a law that involves children.

    Visit getbabyjackback.com for more information on our case.

    I am so sorry to hear that you too were fed information and pressured to give your baby up when you too did not know the whole truth.

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