And yes, I am yelling.

I won’t bore you with the details about how I found this picture this after noon but….I am hoping someone can answer me some questions. Now take a good look at it.

Now let me add a few more details.

  1. The woman is 33 years old.
  2. She is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
  3. She is not married (see, no ring on her left hand? Plus, I have first hand knowledge she is not married, has never been married, and has no prospect of getting married. If you want to know how I know, drop me an email and I will fill you in on the details.)
  4. The infant she is holding was procured through a hasty adoption after the Haitian earthquake.
  5. She is white and clearly does not know how to do her own hair, much less African American hair (which as a former beautician/cosmetologist I can assure you is an art unto itself and NOT something a white-bread chic from small-town Utah can pick up in an instant. How do I know? She tells us all about it on her blog and posts pictures of this sweet boy crying his eyes out while she does a hack job on him).

Now before you get all upset that I have posted a picture of a minor child who is not my minor child on my blog, let me assure you this is from her very open, very public blog. In fact, this was the publicity photo used in the Daily Herald press release about the Haitian toddler finally coming “home.” The blog also houses entries such as a FULL ON PICTURE of his green card with a caption along the lines of “Well, it is REALLY mine since I did all the work. He just stood there and looked cute.”

Now answer me these few questions:

  1. Why is just fine and dandy for HER to be a single mother in the LDS church but it wasn’t for me?
  2. Do you think for ONE MOMENT her Bishop, her parents, or her ward members EVER pulled her aside and told her she was being selfish for wanting to parent? That she needed to give her son to a man and a woman who were sealed in the temple?
  3. And what of the blessings of the sealing ordinance? Isn’t her son just as “bereft” of them as my daughter was? Isn’t he just as entitled to being raised by a husband AND a wife who were sealed in the temple (for at least two years, according to LDSFS)?

Let me repeat my first question: Why is just fine and dandy for HER to be a single mother in the LDS church and culture (she lives in Utah Valley) but it wasn’t for me? Is it because she bought her baby from a Haitian orphanage instead of (gasp) getting pregnant?


34 thoughts on “ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME??!!!???

    • The thing is I know her family quite well and let’s just say…er…uh…well, they don’t have the best of feelings about people of color. I think that is one of the reasons I am so horrified at the situation.

  1. Oh my Gosh….this is unbelievable. How can THIS be ok, when an LDS Mother who gives life to her child is encouraged & sometimes forced to surrender? Wow…Nothing surprises me in adoptoland anymore.

  2. Let’s say that I was already far beyond this being surprising in any way. A penguin trying to eat my shoe, a 7 ton elephant breaking a tusk, some kids in Ohio trying to steal a dead lion… that’s surprising, an LDS-member involved in a shady adoption, that’s bussiness as usual.

    • Only if he “acts out” in any way that they don’t think he should…like wanting to know his natural family. This family OWNS their children. They are all in for a very rude awakening as their many adoptees all start to come of age.

  3. “…clearly does not know how to do her own hair…”

    I tried not to laugh at this but I failed. (The only funny part of this post.)

    • It’s the cosmetologist in me coming out. Some habits die hard. Some people who just need a hot oil job and a trim. And to put down the flat iron and just…walk away, ma’am, just walk away.

  4. Oh no… Just awful. That poor child and family. She looks very familiar; I’m wondering if she’s the same woman featured on The R House awhile ago?

    • It’s possible. All the Utah adoption crowd seem to be hooked in to each and on the surface, this does seem like a “feel good” story, just the kind that they like to feature over there.

  5. Ugh. Just awful on so many levels. I’m sorry. I’m guessing, in answer to question one, that the word “saved” came into play. She is “saving” a child, they were “saving” you. Just awful, isn’t it? I won’t even go into the cultural/emotional aspects of being African American in this country and being raised by an ethically insensitive family. Just a bad situation overall.

  6. well. Ms Mleynda, you hit the nail on the head with this one. Do you think it is about…creating more Mormons?

    You got pregnant, you were the sinner, and the child would be Mormon no matter what, right. But here is a case where a person…will grow up to be a good Mormon. Isn’t that the answer?

    • I don’t think that is it so much, Lorraine. I know that is how adoption is approached in the broader evangelical Christian churches, but I haven’t heard that kind of rhetoric from the LDS folks. Well, other than children of single parents being “bereft of the sealing ordinance.” Plus, technically a person is not counted as a member of the LDS church until they are baptized, presumably when they reach the age of accountability, or eight years of age.

      I think it has more to do with “saving” babies from being raised by sinful people (in the case of single mothers) or in sinful circumstances (in the case of orphanages).

  7. It’s not about creating more Mormons. I think it is related to a “adoption as rescue” mentality. I don’t agree with it, but allow me to summarize. A young, single, uneducated woman is in need of rescue, as is her offspring. If a man cannot rescue her by marriage, she is encouraged to place so that the church, LDSFS and the adoptive couple can rescue her and her baby.

    The woman featured in this post is 33 years old, done with schooling, financially independent, and therefore doesn’t need to be rescued. BUT…an overseas orpan is in need of rescue, and because there are so many to be rescued, the bottom of the barrell can be scraped to allow a single mother to parent. She can also adopt a foster child or special needs child, if no temple-worthy couple can be found. She is acceptable to be a parent of an overseas orphan, but unacceptable to parent a white, womb-fresh baby with no special needs, according to LDSFS. Womb-fresh domestic infants are premium property and must be reserved for temple-worthy couples.

    It’s a double standard, because what they are saying is that some babies are more worthy of a certain type of home than others, and that single mothers are only worthy to parent certain types of children if nobody else will take them.

    This is standard NCFA policy.

    • Megan – I happen to know that this particular individual does not have a day’s worth of education over a high school diploma and works at a fairly normal job, making fairly normal pay for someone who only has a high school diploma. Compared to me when I became a mother at 19 1/2 years of age, I had almost two years more of education than this person has. Yes, she has a job, one that she works at 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. every day, which means she puts her son in day care from about 7:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. every day, five days a week. How was that any different than ME and my daughter? I had a job, I was going to school, and she was in daycare from about 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

      Once again, why is she more qualified than I was??? Age? I grew up. Education? I now have alphabet soup after my name (two of those degrees earned while a SINGLE parent, btw). Financial status? By the time I was 30 I was making twice what she makes. I was working from home (using the MS degree I earned while a single mother) so I could be with my children full time, unlike her, who takes her son to daycare. Marital status? I got married. In the temple. To a man who would have adopted my daughter and had her sealed to him as his own.

      There isn’t really an answer for those questions, just simply a recognition of the horrible double standard that is applied in the LDS. A double standard which you so truthfully wrote about. I wonder when the general membership at large will start acting on the counsel given by a prophet of God and then repeated by an apostle, when they said β€œYou devoted sisters who are single parents for whatever reason, our hearts reach out to you with appreciation. Prophets have made it clear β€˜that many hands stand ready to help you. The Lord is not unmindful of you. Neither is His Church.’ ” (April, 2011. Elder Quinten L. Cook, quoting President Gordon B. Hinkley from General Conference 1996).

      Single mothers – for whatever reason. Whether I got pregnant and birthed my baby or I bought my baby with money borrowed from my parents and gifted from my rich grandmother. It doesn’t matter. According to prophets and apostles, I was just as deserving as this woman to be a mother and to have the care and help of my church community.

    • BTW, thank you for the skillful and honest analysis of the situation. It makes me angry to read – not angry at you by any means – but it makes me hoppin’ mad to see it all spelled out so clearly.

  8. What happened to you and your daughter is atrocious. That little boy being ripped from his home is so sad. I wish I could have been there and whispered in your ear that you are an amazing person and mother and that you deserve to raise your daughter.

    Also I wanted to let you know that I saw a comment about your blog in the comments of another blog. It said she read your blog and her faith in adoption was shaken. You are making a difference. Keep writing. Families preservation needs a voice.

    p.s. could you email me the link to this blog?

    • Thank you, Jen. I think knowing that the natural love for my daughter and my innate desire to protect her was used against me – no, US – is what hurts the worst. Through the fees, dues, and donations made to the NCFA, the LDS church helped fund the research to figure out how best to play on my fears of harming my daughter to separate us from each other. 😦 I get a little woozy thinking that my tithing money helped do this.

  9. Oh Melynda, this is just atrocious!! Sadly it doesn’t surprise me because I happen to place adoption in the lowest of the low category and all this does is confirm the million other things that have happened to put it there. There is no logical reason why this is even acceptable. My heart aches for that little boy and the hypocrisy he will have to grow up and the fact deep down he will know his acceptance and the way they love him will be based on how he behaves. I dread to think of how he will cope as an adult. If they have such a low opinion of people from other races this will sadly rub off on him even if they are not aware of it. What happened to his family in Haiti? Do they know for sure he doesn’t have family looking for him? Very sad.

    • I don’t know what happened to the boy’s family in Haiti. Let’s assume he is an orphan in the true sense of the word — his parents and close relatives were killed in the earthquake. Let’s assume that the nation of Haiti can’t take care of him, because of devastating poverty, government corruption, and lack of enough humanitarian aid. If that is the scenario, and possibly could be, then I am happy he is adopted in the US instead of dying of malnutrition and poor hygiene in his country. I am glad someone wants to give him mother’s love. I hope that his mother will become educated about Reactive Attachment Disorder (common in international adoptees from orphanages, and very often can be treated successfully). I hope that she will become racially sensitized, and will take the initiative to sensitize her extended family. I hope the adoptive mother gets involved with Genesis, and brings her son to Genesis Sunday School (Genesis is a very active group of black Mormons in Utah). I hope the family will commit to change. I hope the mother will learn about Haitian culture, and give the child broad exposure. I hope that he has loving caregivers in his daycare, or perhaps the mother’s extended family can care for him, so that he has good consistency.

      Since this woman’s already got the boy, I’d like to support her on her journey of parenthood. One of my biggest headaches with in my relationship with my adoptive mother was her own insecurities. I’d like to help this woman be the best adoptive mom she can be — for the boy’s sake.

      We don’t know for sure what challenges this boy will face. My challenges as an adoptee were very different than my adoptive brothers’ challenges. We grew up in the same home, but we inherited polar opposite personalities.

      I don’t want to stigmatize this little boy who has been through so much already. I don’t dread him becoming an adult, I look forward to it. I like to know that people are developing and growing. Wait and see. Let’s not predict the worst for him. As a child of adoption, I resent the hell out of people that try to pin a pathology on me. I’m the only one allowed to diagnose me and say what was wrong and what was right about my adoption.

      Without comparing this adoptive mother to Melynda or to any other mother, I would like to think that this woman will do a competent job of mothering. No mother, even a biological one, has a magic potion. There are all kinds of good mothers out there. This woman can be one.

      • This is all well and good and I agree (mostly), but would you extend this same level of compassion thing a single expectant parent who is 20 years old? I guess that is my whole point: She AND HER SON are extended this kind of compassion and concern from the LDS community but I wasn’t and neither was my daughter. Why were we any less deserving?

        You say, “I would like to think that this woman will do a competent job of mothering.” Do you feel the same way about women who become mothers through pregnancy or just single mothers via adoption? I don’t ask these questions to be argumentative, I am honestly wondering what advice you would give to a single LDS woman who found herself pregnant with no college education?

    • My hope is that they have had that mighty chance of heart my religion teaches we can have when we come unto Christ. I don’t know all the history, I only hope they will help him find his natural family.

      • I would tell a single LDS woman that of course she could be competent to parent her child. In my area of the country, most LDS girls keep their babies. I would tell her to talk to some of them. I would also tell her to talk to women who have surrendered their children. I would tell her to study the pros and cons on her own, and not to just take LDSFS word for it that adoption is best. I would tell her that the perfect parent doesn’t exist, whether adoptive or natural. I would tell her that she is entitled to personal revelation, that she can receive a personal communication from God on the matter of adoption. I would teach how ways she can know when her prayers have been answered. I would tell her that this personal revelation is available to her even though she’s a sinner (I would point out that we’re all sinners). I would tell her to study in particular scriptures pertaining to the Plan of Salvation. I would also encourage her to read and pray about the Proclamation on the Family. I would tell her that she will have the love and support of me and her ward family no matter what she decides.

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