National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 15: Changes to the LDS Adoption Policy


Dear Ms. Feverfew –

On Saturday November 13, a new administration handbook, “Handbook 2: Administering the Church” was rolled out for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Some of the notable changes to adoption related issues are:

21.1.3

Adopted Children and Their Biological Parents (p. 180)

Questions regarding the exchange of information and contact between adopted children and their biological parents should be handled with sensitivity. The legal rights and emotional needs of all relevant parties should be considered.

Wow. Massive directional change from 2006’s handbook that recommended that the only contact between adoptees and their biological parents was for non-identifying medical information.

But here is an even more seismic shift in LDS adoption policy. After the usual “if you aren’t going to get married, then you should consider adoption” stance, the handbook says:

21.4.12

Single Expectant Parents

If an expectant parent decides to parent the child, Church leaders and other members should treat the parent and child with care and compassion and seek to strengthen parenting skills. LDS Family Services may help in these circumstances. Leaders encourage the parent to have the child given a name and a blessing (see 20.2).

I sit here weeping, in part because I wonder where this compassion was 18 years ago. Our lives would be so different. I would have made you scrambled eggs and toast with homemade peach jam this morning, just like I did my other children.  I sit here weeping, in part because maybe, just maybe, the heart of this church is beginning to thaw.  Perhaps there is hope that in the future, LDS church leaders will recognize every mother and child as a family worthy of preserving.

Much love,

M.

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6 thoughts on “National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 15: Changes to the LDS Adoption Policy

    • Yes Jeannette, a LONG way to go but it is a step in the right direction. At least now they are acknowledging that PARENTING is an option and should be supported when an expectant mother chooses that option!!!!

      M.

  1. I know one of your concerns is that she will be influenced to not make contact with you due to the church’s stance on seeking biological parents only for medical records… maybe, just maybe she will learn of the change and not be persuaded the other direction. And maybe when you are able to launch your non profit you will not be met with as much adverse reaction by the church. Maybe the resource will be welcome. Loves, loves, loves.

    • That’s my hope, Elly! I know to some it might not seem like these policy changes are that big of a deal, but they truly are considering the old policies. And just like you said, when it comes time to launch my next project, I will have official church policy backing me up – I won’t even have to be bending any of the rules. It will be in total keeping with this new policy so no one can kvetch that I am not supporting church leadership by teaching parenting skills to single expectant mothers who decide to parent and young mothers who are parenting.

      What is astounding to me is that I had a serious “come to Jesus meetin’ ” with God in the last few weeks and told him, in my own way, that if push came to shove over this issue with my church leaders, I would have to choose the single expectant mothers over their policy. I have truly come to believe that God’s heart is not adoption – it is family preservation. That is what His doctrine teaches, even if policies don’t align.

      So here I was, ready to give up my membership in the church if that was what this required only to have a “ram in the thicket” moment – you know, the kind of moment where God provides a way out of a difficult situation in a most unexpected manner. I am not saying that the church changed it’s policy because God and I “chatted” about it, but it does feel like a confirmation of the promptings I have received about my next project. I am not a big believer in signs, but it certainly does feel like a bit of a stamp of approval on my idea, if that makes any sense at all.

      I love you Elly and I am so glad I get to be your sister.

      Much love –

      Melynda

  2. In my ward, a daughter of a counselor in the bishopric was single, young (just out of teenagehood) and pregnant. She was treated..at least as far as I know, very well. She had a baby shower at church, and all the leaders (her mother was in the Relief Society presidency) were very loving toward her.
    Her baby daughter is almost one and the whole ward just loves her.
    I wish that could have been your experience.

    • Linda – That is very heartening news. It sounds like they were a family that understood the importance of…well, family. I hope that we begin to hear more and more stories just like this one.

      M.

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