Someone Has to Face the Valley, Part 2: The Questions


Dear Ms. Feverfew,

I went to the appointment yesterday with Brother Olsen from LDSFS. It went…well, it went. I am going to break up this story into a couple of parts because there are so many facets and things I need to tell you.

Before I start though, I thought I would share with you the list of questions that I took with me. I thought they were fair questions – hard – but fair. When I asked them, I tried to be my nicest self and to non-confrontational. I feel they were not only fair questions, but honest ones as well, meaning these are things I truly wanted to understand. So here there are, in all their glory…misspelled, bad grammar, all of it.

Much love,

M.

Questions for Brother Olsen of LDSFS:

  • Is adoption really considered to be a priesthood ordinance? {Fred Riley statement: “From the time of Adam, adoption has been a priesthood ordinance,” says Brother Riley. “It’s a principle of the gospel that probably all of us will experience at some point as we’re literally adopted into our Heavenly Father’s kingdom.”  Taylor, R. M. (2008). Why Adoption?, Ensign, Jan 2008, 46–52.}
  • If things are so different now in LDS adoptions, why did things need to change?
  • What were the problems with how things were done 18 years ago?
  • If there were problems, have there been apologies and corrections made to both natural parents and adoptees from the past?
  • When did they realize that there were problems?
  • Does LDSFS encourage open adoptions agreements to be signed prior to placement?
  • What have they done to help keep adoptions open?
  • Are adoptive couples allowed to adopt after they closed one adoption?
  • Are adoptive parents told that natural parents will move on?
  • Are PAPs encouraged to be at the hospital and doctor appointments? Why?
  • Are adoptive parents and natural parents both told that because of adoption there is a statistically higher chance the adoptee might commit suicide?
  • Why does LDSFS offer free lifetime counseling to surrendering mothers?
  • Are they told that they are at a significantly higher risk for depression and mental health issues that will require in-patient care? (3% of the general maternal population pre-surrender VS 12% post-surrender).
  • Are mothers considering surrendering their child for adoption told they face a much higher risk for secondary infertility than the general population (40-60% vs 2.24% for the general population)?
  • What is LDSFS view on adoption’s collateral damage on the extended family as well as future generations?
  • What kind of advice does LDSFS give to help repair damaged relationships with parents and siblings who were unwilling to help the young mother and who may have pushed for the adoption?
  • What specific counsel does LDSFS give on for the half or full siblings of the child relinquished for adoption?
  • What kinds of longitudinal studies have been done by the LDS church (if any) to track the activity rate, mental health status, marriage status, etc of women who surrender a child in the LDSFS system? If there isn’t one, why not?
  • What percentage of natural mothers and adoptees end up leaving the church?
  • What has the agency done to respect the rights of fathers?
  • What is done to make sure that no Native American children are adopted out without consent of the tribe?
  • You offer mothers who surrender their children for adoption through LDSFS a lifetime of free counseling. Is this same offer extended the adopted individual as well? Why?
  • As adoption affects entire family systems, shouldn’t the parented children of a surrendering mother also receive counseling for free as well?
  • Is kinship adoption/guardianship first encouraged so the child does not lose all of their family and heritage?
  • If the church is all about families and genealogy is so important – what about the adoptees? What is their true genealogy?
  • What about trans-racial adoptees like my daughter? What is done to help the adoptees embrace their cultural heritage or is does that part of their life because tabula rasa with the adoption?
  • Are their ancestors no longer important?
  • Who does the church consider to be their ancestors – their adoptive parents or first family?
  • And what of the issue of the sealing ordinance – if infant adoption is REALLY about ensuring children have access to the sealing ordinance, are newly converted single mothers told to relinquish their child for adoption to a temple worthy couple? Are they told they are being “selfish” for wanting to parent their child? What about children of part member families? Are their children any less “deserving” of the sealing ordinance than my daughter? Are those mothers told that if they loved their children enough, they would let a temple-married couple adopt their children so could be sealed together as a family?
  • How does the agency help to reunite the first mother and the adult adoptee?
  • According to LDS church policy, LDSFS should be offering single expectant parents who have the desire to parent support to learn the parenting and life skills they need to become successful parents. What is currently done to assist mothers who decide to parent their child? What programs and resources does LDSFS provide to these mothers?
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4 thoughts on “Someone Has to Face the Valley, Part 2: The Questions

  1. All excellent questions- the suicide risk among adoptees is higher. I did my paper on that last semester for psych. Linking it with PTSD, I also included mothers in it. Working on edits now with an eye towards publishing.

  2. I showed my older sister your blog. She never placed a child but was pressured into placing by our mom and the church. She said that these questions were valid not intimidating, not questions to stir up trouble just valid questions that should be answered.

    • I think answers will be coming eventually…just years away and probably not publicly either. A week or two out from this experience and I can see how he would feel like he needed to defend the church. They pay his paycheck, after all.

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