About Me

Mely_09_19_2013Every woman has a story. This one is uniquely mine.

Some call me a birth mother, some call me a birthmother, a natural mother, a first mother; some call me a biological mother, or even yet, a life mother. (I’ve been called a breeder, brood sow, and a BM, too.)

However, I call myself a mother. No prefixes or qualifiers. Simply a mother.

I am a mother of Ms. Feverfew, my oldest daughter who was lost to a private domestic adoption facilitated by my LDS bishop in the early 1990’s. I am now blessed to mother to two amazing boys and a ridiculously sweet daughter. I am married to an ever-so-patient man  with whom I share an epic love story deserving of a blog of its own. I love all things domestic, creative, and crafty, hold a B.S. in Psychology, an M.S. in Instructional Technology, a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, and have recently returned to graduate school to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work.

I believe the cultural proscriptions placed on a birth mother’s speech foster lifelong feelings of shame and purchase her continued silence at a terrible cost to her psyche and soul. This silence allows society to minimize and trivialize the destruction of the most fundamental family unit – a mother and her child. This purchased silence also prevents a mother of adoption loss from uncovering the depth of sorrow and the complexity of loss adoption brings into her life.

In defiance to this polite silence, I speak as plainly and truthfully as my psyche will permit.

I speak with the “freedom of those who are marginalized to the establishment” (Rainer, 1997). I speak with the zeal of one who creates and affirms her experience through writing. I speak with complete abandon because I have already lost and have nothing to lose by risking it all. In the raw and unbounded beauty of becoming fierce with my truth, I am liberated from the trance of adoption mythology.

To protect the privacy of certain individuals, I have in some ways disguised their identities. Sometimes, I have taken poetic license with events and their timing to protect both the innocent and the guilty. However, the truth remains substantially intact.

These are my words. This is my truth.

 


49 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I just found your blog through the Firstmother Forum and I can’t wait to read more (I’m at work right now or I’d read it all straight through). I too relinquished my firstborn child and I’m LDS so from what little I’ve read I already feel a kinship to you and some of your feelings. It’s always helpful for me to find others who have been in similar situations or have similar thoughts, feelings or issues. Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to “get to know you better.”

    • Desi –

      I am pinching myself as I can hardly believe there might be someone else out there like me who is willing to talk about the dark side of LDS adoption “stuff” from an active church members point of view. It seems like we have a couple more layers of…junk? half-truths? lies? to work through than those who relinquish outside of the LDS church. (I am not saying their path isn’t just as equally difficult, it’s just seems like there are a few more “issues” we LDS mothers have to navigate through, if that makes any sense.) I look forward to hearing more from you…

      M.

  2. The main thing I’d like to say to you is thank you for sharing these experiences. I was adopted in 1985 to a loving family. I have no knowledge of my birth mother other than feelings of gratitude. I’ve broken down a few times over thoughts regarding sacrifice I can only imagine.

    A funny, related story comes to mind: when I saw Juno in the theater, the people cleaning the theater asked if I was going to be okay).

    May this comment have a positive affect on you.

    • Welcome to my blog! Thank you for your kind words – they mean a great deal to me. You know, I have never been able to bring myself to watch Juno. Probably never will. I am glad to hear that your adoptive family was loving and good to you – my daughter’s has been to her as well. I would really love to hear more from your perspective of being an LDS adoptee. I know what it is like from my point of view – what’s it like on the other side of the adoption fence?

      Have you ever thought about searching for your first mother? There are many adoptees who have wonderful adoptive parents who still search for their first families – Amanda over at The Declassified Adoptee comes to mind.

      I would write more but my littlest one if hollerin’ for her mama. Thanks again for reading my little blog –

      M.

      • Sorry it took a bit to respond. (I take weekends fairly seriously…).

        As an LDS adoptee, I realize I was very fortunate to be raised with a perspective that it was part of Heavenly Father’s plan for me to become a part of my family. I didn’t doubt that much.

        My thoughts surrounding emotion were never “What would life have been like?” but rather, “I wonder what my birth parents are like” and “What were the circumstances of the adoption?” One’s left logically to assume only a number of reasons. I wondered about siblings, esp. if I had a twin out there somewhere (my very own “Parent Trap” of sorts).

        Also, occasionally, I’ll have a fleeting thought, “What if Stephenie Meyer is my birth mom? Gee, I hope not.” Random, but pretty constant thoughts. Part of me would like to find out. I wouldn’t feel rejected if that were against my first family’s wishes as my curiosity remains on its constant casual level.

      • Aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!! Stephenie Meyer as your first mom???? That would be as close to a nightmare as I could think of. Seriously – how can people call her stuff literature? Oh wait – I digress. This isn’t a book review blog. 🙂 And I am sure she is a very nice woman in person.

        Have you ever talked with your parents about searching for your first family? I know of some LDS adoptive families that are completely supportive and some that aren’t. It seems like there isn’t much gray area, you know?

        The weekend is heading this direction again – have a fund Halloween!!!

        M.

  3. This is a complicated issue in part because serious discussions do not go well in my family. This particular issue (I think) would not go well because I sense some sensitivity in my mother over the issue.

    When my nephew was born, my younger brother asked about his birth. How many hours of labor, etc. She told the story of his birth and my brother’s then simply glossed over mine as “the easy one.” For whatever reason, she doesn’t want to tell him I was adopted even though he was not.

    • Oh man – your little brother doesn’t know??? I can only imagine that would be really hard for you (and the rest of the family too!) I am sorry that your mother isn’t willing to share the truth about you. 😦 (((Hugs))). I hope that eventually she gets the courage to be honest with with other siblings. Did you grow up knowing you were adopted or are you a late-discovery? I have a brother in law that didn’t find out until he was 16!!! Talk about an identity crisis.

      And you are most likely right – a discussion about your roots & your first family most likely would not go over very well. You are probably dealing with enough “issues” with your adoptive parents already – this would only add fuel to the fire.

      I hope you don’t mind all of my questions – I really appreciate your willingness to answer all of them for me!

      Melynda

  4. Hi, thanks for linking me 🙂 Glad to have found your blog.

    I am not Mormon but I did grow up in a very religious community and household. I never realized how much my religion was intertwined with how I felt about my adoption (or how I felt I was supposed to feel) until I met adoptees who are not religious and/or were not raised in religious households. It can really be a challenge to step out on a limb and challenge what you’ve always thought about adoption when you think it might go against what God thinks.

    But we are his creation and he loves us. I don’t think we ever have to be afraid to think for ourselves or admit we aren’t 100% happy with something.

    • Thank you, Butterfly. If anything, this stuff is all heartfelt…perhaps a little too much sometimes. And yes, she had been raised under friendly skies from what I can tell. I read through a bit of your blog and as a fellow survivor of childhood abuse, your blog is painfully tough and raw to read but

        spot on

      .

      M.

  5. I just recently found your blog and am so excited about it. I had to go back and read from the beginning because I was so intrigued. It isn’t often that you find another LDS mother that feels the same way. It sounds like our children who were adopted are about the same age as my son just turned 19 in April. We are in a reunion of sorts I suppose, but he just left on his mission and we haven’t really communicated in a while. When he turned 16 I only started my journey to healing and I feel like it has taken me the last three years to truly come out of the fog. I’ve loved reading your blog and am so glad you did not go private. It is inspiring to me and I look forward to following your story. There are so many questions I have wanted to ask you but wanted to make sure I had read all there was to read first =)

    Thanks for putting this out there. You are a very eloquent writer (one of my not talents as I like to call them)!

    • Nicole –

      Holy cow, our children are about the same age! My daughter’s 19th birthday is tomorrow and I sent a package (through her parents) last year but they didn’t give it to her. I read through your blog and cried a whole bunch for you, perhaps because our stories are so similar. I wish I had some easy answers or non-trite platitudes, but I don’t. I hope that he is able to meet you after his mission.

      M.

  6. M.,
    I found your blog last night and ended up staying awake until 3:30am reading everything you’ve written. I am so heart broken for you and other women and families in your situation. I am a social worker and have an adopted sister…. I’ve always been very supportive of adoption and felt called to learn as much as possible about it! I’ve always felt that my husband and I would one day adopt. OH GOD, now I see the complete error in everything I’ve been taught and believed. I am speechless that I have a master’s degree in social work and am yet so ignorant on this topic. Thank you, thank you for your blog and for educating me. I have been thinking of you and Ms. Feverfew all day long. I am sending you so much love and peace. You have been an amazing teacher to me so far, and I am quite jealous that your kids have such an obviously loving and amazing mother. ❤

    I'm sure you don't just give access to your password protected posts to any random lady on the internet, which I completely understand, but just in case you do, I had to bring it up. Either way, thank you again for all you share.

    • Julie –

      I am the one who is rendered speechless. So few people take the time to listen to women “like me,” and even fewer of those in the helping professions care (dare?) to listen to first mothers such as myself. I cannot express my gratitude to you deeply enough – thank you for setting aside the deeply engrained cultural beliefs about adoption and opening your heart to a fuller understanding of what adoption does to families.

      Like you, when my eyes were finally opened to the reality of what adoption does to mothers and children, I had the same reaction as you: OH GOD. For a long time, I didn’t think He heard me, but I am learning He has heard my cries all along and cries with me now when tears fall. And they do fall, frequently at the most unexpected moments, such as tonight. I was making dinner and my 7-year old was sitting at the table coloring a picture of his future Halloween candy stash. Out of the blue he says, “I don’t get how someone can give away their daughter! I mean – it just doesn’t make sense. Why would someone do that?” I called my husband in from the other room and said, “Honey, you want to handle that?” As he tenderly explained my story in very simple terms, I turned back to making salsa with shaking hands and a numb feeling crawling up the backs of my legs. I tried to fight back the tears but when I heard my husband telling our sweet little boy why I had given his sister away, the tears won and I just let them stream down my face.

      This is what adoption does to families. It makes strangers of brothers and sisters. It makes strangers of mothers and daughters.

      Thank you for you kind words about my mothering. Sometimes it is so hard for me to see that I am a good mother, because after all is said and done, I have to go to bed every night knowing I gave my daughter away. And in the words of my very wise 7-year old, how can someone “give away their daughter! I mean – it just doesn’t make sense.” He is so right. It just doesn’t make sense.

      M.

      P.S. If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, you should read “The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption.” Tann was a social worker who…well, stole babies and corrupted adoption. Her’s is a legacy that lingers on in every altered birth certificate and sealed original birth records. The book is written by an adoptive mother and is simply eye-popping.

      • Thank you for your kind words and book suggestion. I will read it ASAP… And if you have any other book, movies/docs, blogs, etc that you think would be helpful for me and other social workers to delve into, please suggest! I plan to learn all I can and to help inform other helping professionals. It is just so tragic that we weren’t educated about this. Shameful, even.

        Love to you, Melynda!

      • Shameful is the correct word for the lack of education about how adoption affects first mothers and adoptees, Julie. It is a difficult thing to wake up to, especially if we have had part in it, I as a first mother and perhaps you as a social worker who may have facilitated adoptions.

        There are some *amazing* blogs out there and as you start reading, you will be able to follow the bread crumbs to find others. I would start with Lost Daughters (http://daughterslost.blogspot.com/) – it is a blog authored by a number of women adoptees who are gracious enough to share their experiences with the rest of us. Birth Mother First Mother Forum (http://www.firstmotherforum.com/) is another place to start reading about first/natural mother’s experiences. It can get pretty heated sometimes, but the ladies who write the blog – Jane and Lorraine – are fair minded women with a great deal of maturity and wisdom to share. I also love reading Cassi’s stuff over at Adoption Truth (http://adoptiontruth-casjoh.blogspot.com/). She has a great blog roll as well – like I said earlier, just follow the bread crumbs and you will find so many stories just like mine it will make your head spin. You will quickly find out I really am the norm – I am not the exception – when it comes to first mothers.

        As for adoptees, I like reading Amanda’s stuff over at The Declassified Adoptee (http://www.declassifiedadoptee.com/) and Linda’s writings at Real Daughter (http://realdaughter.blogspot.com/). She’s got a wicked sense of humor and is a straight-shooter – I admire how her ability to call a person out on their B.S. is tempered with a genuinely caring heart. They both have blogrolls that will lead you to other great blogs written by adults who were adopted.

        These are just very, very, very few of the ones out there but will give you a good start in reading about the lived experiences of adoption, not what some pointy headed academic or adoptive parent tells us we “should be” experiencing.

        As for books, here’s my must read list. In fact, thinking like the instructional designer/learning scientist that I am, I would include many of these on a required reading list for a social work program. These books are that important.
        ~ The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade (Ann Fessler)
        ~ Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v Wade (Ricky Solinger)
        ~ The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption (Barbara B. Raymond)
        ~ Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience (Betty Jean Lifton)
        ~ Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up (Nancy Verrier)
        ~ The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child (Nancy Verrier)
        ~ Adoption, Identity, and Kinship: The Debate over Sealed Birth Records (Katarina Wegar)
        ~ The Adoption Triangle – the Effects of the Sealed Record on Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents (Arthur D., Annette Baran, Reuben Pannor Sorosky)

        As for movies, the only one I can think of off hand is “Adopted: The Movie.” I know there are more – when I remember, I will get back with you.

        M.

  7. Thank you for your suggestions; I can’t wait to get started. Luckily, I am a macro social worker in adult literacy… So I have no experience with adoption. I am so thankful for that now.

    • So…how’s the reading going or did it totally overwhelm you? I know there are times where I just have to put down any and all adoption-related reading and binge on some throw-away novel because I can’t take the sadness and heartbreak one more moment. Hopefully you are a bit more measured with your reading than I am at times. 🙂

  8. In so many ways I wish we would have “met” under different circumstances so that you might hear my sincerity of wanting to get to know you further. Reading through your blog I’ve found so much with which I want to learn more and even *gasp* agree with you on. It was with the help from women who had been there before me that helped me make my decision of placing my child for adoption, both through negative and positive circumstances but never have I had the opportunity to meet someone who had really “lived” through it.

    Obviously the choice I made has been done so I can’t learn from you in that way but i believe that gaining an understanding of the side I don’t
    know could only help me in my healing process.

    Yes I’ve said that my story is a positive one and that I don’t feel I’ll change the way I believe, but I’m always open to learn.

    I again am sorry for all that’s come of yours and J’s situation but I hope in some way it can bring a sense of hope rather than only ill feelings. If any thing it’s brought awareness to both sides of the situation, right?

    I hope my sincerity comes through and that you may know I never meant in anyway to degrade you as a human being or as a mother.

    Sincerely,
    A.

    • Apparently I’m not worth your time. And here I thought this might be a chance for me to gain some understanding and light to the other side that I apparently am too blind to see. Curse me for reaching out. I guess I’ll just continue to walk in the wrong direction and sip on my kool-aid. Never have I felt so judged by a complete stranger.

      I’ll go back to my happy place now.

      • Amanda –

        You know how people out there in the adoption blogosphere always accuse me of not having a life? Well, I do. And it usually doesn’t involve babysitting my blog 24/7. I have three very active children (15 years, 7 years, and 21 months), a home to run, two different book projects I am working on, grant proposals, conference presentations for a conference in April, three journal articles in the works, and a Relief Society lesson for the Stake RS conference coming up in two weeks. I am also organizing a charity 5K for the local child abuse prevention shelter as well as several other large projects I am involved with. Weekends are my busiest times because all of my children are home and we have a lot going on. My husband has been away for work for a month and won’t return for another five weeks. This means I am the sole adult responsible for making sure the house stays cleaned, the laundry done, the grocery shopping complete, bills and budgeting are managed, children are fed appropriate meals, read to at bed time, gotten ready for church on time and that they get up for seminary at 4:30 a.m.; that lunches are packed, homework is done, scriptures are read, beds are made, nails are trimmed, hair is combed, FHE is held, tithing is paid, chores are done, and discipline is meted at as necessary .

        I apologize that you feel slighted since I haven’t spent what you feel is appropriate amounts of time responding nor I have I responded as quickly as you would like. Whether you choose to believe it or not, quite the opposite of what you assume is the reality of the situation. If you will note, any of the responses I have posted in the last 24 or so hours have been fairly short and generally only to people I know very well. This is for two reasons. (1) As I have previously explained, I am busy right now. I really do have a life that doesn’t center around this blog or adoption. Really. Please don’t take it personally. It isn’t you, it is the fact I have three children I am caring for on my own right now, plus many professional, church, and community commitments. (2) I don’t know you aside from what you have written here. Therefore, I don’t want to say anything that may be hurtful or not carefully thought out. I am sure you can appreciate that after this last week, I am a bit hesitant to jumping into dialogue of any kind with someone I don’t know.

        So please, can you be patient with me? It isn’t that I am ignoring you, I just want to give my response to you the appropriate attention it deserves and not simply dash off some half-hearted response.

        M.

  9. I am sorry to have assumed that you were disregarding me or my desire to learn more about the other side of adoption. A friend of mine who has also been involved with following the situation with J, I guess felt it necessary to check out your FB and post what your status was for the day. I being on the defense automatically felt that it was in some way directed towards me since I’ve talked so much about “learning” from one another in my other comments and felt as though it meant that you didn’t think I was worth your time. I’ve never thought that you don’t have a life outside of adoption and never assumed so, it was just my own anxiety of wanting to hear a reply back that caused me to jump at the learning of your words. Where we are not FB friends it was wrong of me to even respond to my friend and the manner of her doings (as I am sure she is probably not a FB friend either) and should have just ignored the status rather than feel it was directed towards me in some way.

    I completely understand how busy your life must be. I am an expectant mother and also a mother to a very rambunxious 2 year old while my husband is in graduate school full time. I am overwhelmed with all I have to do, so I cannot imagine how crazy your life might feel. Again I apologize for assuming (as my English teacher always said, it only makes and ass out of u when you do), and I hope that when your life does calm down that we may correspond. If you choose to do so please feel free to email me at the address I have listed here.

    My life too does not revolve around the adoption world and in fact I usually try to steer away from it because I find myself getting so involved that I can’t think of anything else…hence why I’ve been so anxious to hear a response from you.

    I appreciate your kindness in having patience with me and I am sorry I have not returned that favor until now.

    I hope your husbands return is quick and that all the responsibilities you have may be taken care of with ease. I truly do wish for nothing more than an opportunity to learn and hope to hear from you soon.

    A.

  10. Hi Melynda,
    I’m not even sure where to begin right now. I found your blog doing a google search for “should I title a birth mother letter Dear Birth Mother” because I have been conflicted over this terminology (and writing this letter) for some time now. After reading through this blog, I am feeling…I don’t know…a bit lost. Very sad, of course. It’s not the first one on this important aspect of adoption that I’ve read but I do find more ways to connect with what is written here than the others. I’m not sure what exactly I need answered at the moment but I would like to be able to ask you some questions over email, phone or video chat if possible. Just a brief back story: I made an immature decision to adopt my children out of spite for my personal situation when I was twelve years old. But, as I became an adult- I found that’s still where my heart was. My husband and I decided early in marriage that if we had children, we’d want to adopt them into our home. It turns out- we may not be able to have biological children. I actually haven’t even acknowledged this until recently (two years into our adoption process). We feel we have an above-average understanding of adoption issues than many PAPs or APs (shoot- even than some caseworkers we’re encountering) and are struggling to navigate through this process battling “the norms” or expected ways of handling it (the “birth mother” letter for example). I know we have a lot to learn. Would you have any time available to talk with us about this?

    I hope to hear from you.

    • Erin –

      Thank you so much for sharing your journey so far with me. I am more than willing to answer any questions you may have, but I am fairly certain you may not like what I have to say. If you are looking for approval and support for your “Dear Birth Mother” letter so you can adopt a newborn, I am afraid I will be of no help to you. There are plenty of women out there who would be more than willing to tell you what to do to convince a vulnerable expectant mother to give you their baby. In fact, they would consider it a great honor to help you bring another woman into this sisterhood of adoption loss. I am not one of them. However, if you would like to discuss the long-term effects of unnecessary separation on the mother/infant dyad (for both the mother AND the child), disenfranchised grief and ambiguous loss, adoption reform, adoptee rights, family preservation when possible, and the reproductive exploitation of economically disadvantaged women across the globe, I’m your girl.

      I *HIGHLY* suggest you start reading the blogs of those that are most affected by adoption: the adoptee. There are some truly compassionate and amazing women out there who are willing to share what it is like to be adopted with the rest of us and we can all learn so much from them on how to improve this process. Cassi, a first mom blogger, has an **excellent** blog roll on her blog. http://www.adoption-truth.com/. The blog roll has adoptee voices, first mothers, and adoptive parents, as well. I also suggest you read http://abortedadoption.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/30-before-flood.html for the perspective of a family that decided against adoption. I also suggest you read, “Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child” and “Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up” both by adoptive mother and therapist, Nancy Verrier; “Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness” and “Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience” both by adoptee & therapist BJ Lifton, “The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption” by adoptive mother Barbara Bisantz Raymond.

      So with that being said, you can email me at valencyspeaks@gmail.com if you are still interested it talking. You can also find me as maggiemagoo571 on skype.

      Melynda

  11. I am LDS but wasn’t raised LDS. I’ve been a member for 38 years – longer than I’ve known my birthmother. I also used to think that my adoption was a part of Heavenly Father’s plan for me until the Bishop disagreed with me when we were discussing genealogy/adoption/family history. He looked at me and said “We have free agency. Heavenly Father would never plan for one of his children to sin in order for another to have a child.”

    Now I’m sad about the involvement the LDS church has with encouraging young women to give up their babies for adoption and the attitude some members have about it being their duty to adopt – if they really felt that, they’d leave the babies alone and adopt older children. The world really needs to stop and take a look at what’s going on. Adoption exists so a child in need could have a safe harbor – a home. It does not exist to make sure we have enough babies to sell to needy adults.

    I love my adoptive family and have a wonderful birthmom – I’m not an angry adoptee – however I am sad at what adoption has become.
    Mary Ann

    • Bless you, Mary Ann. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. You are honestly the first LDS adoptee who has ever expressed those sentiments to me. You have no idea what a gift of healing it is to hear them.

  12. Melynda,

    I don’t know really where to start. I find you completely amazing. I was adopted through LDSFS in a closed adoption in the 70s. I was adopted by wonderful adopted parents. Raised in a strong LDS family but felt I needed to secretly find my natural mother and after 20 years of searching I found her a few months ago.

    She is a faithful LDS who married in the Temple not long after I was born. She raised a family of 4 children. She received me with open arms but in some ways our reunion is will forever be defined by the fact that “what happen was Heavenly Father’s plan”. No regret for giving me up and I should be grateful for my adoptive parents, which I am, but this is deeper than that. My adoptive mother was really a perfect mother but in my heart my natural mother is my mother. It is like my DNA is pulling me to her.

    I keep hearing from her and the rest of my birth family that “you are better off because you were adopted.” Yep, they are probably right but we’ll never really know. There isn’t a scenario where my life would been “better” with a single mom or a deadbeat dad or step-dad in SLC than my life with 2 active LDS parents but who knows maybe I would have risen to the adversity to be even a better person. I had a stable home with a stable love and income. I was given every opportunity a person needs to be successful but I still reserve the right to mourn the loss of my mother. I will never be “happy” that I was adopted. I am grateful that I had terrific parents but I’m not “happy” that I didn’t know my roots for most of my life.

    This is all very new and I’m trying to sort things out but I know that speaking your truth in our community is brave beyond measure. I thank you for that!

    • Giant Petunia –

      First, let me say I have a special place in my heart for flower names for girls so I love your user name.

      Second, I am glad you found something useful here but I am so very sad about your original family’s inability to see through the adoption fog. The fog is thick in the LDS church and few of us make it out with any sense of self-worth or with our testimomy intact.

      You said, “I still reserve the right to mourn the loss of my mother. I will never be “happy” that I was adopted. I am grateful that I had terrific parents but I’m not “happy” that I didn’t know my roots for most of my life. ”

      You absolutely have the right to mourn the loss of what could have been and for growing up disconnected from your roots. When your own family (adopted or original) don’t allow you that space, remember there are those of us who will sit shiva with you, who will mourn with you and help you learn to live well with the peculiar grief adoptees and first mothers must learn to navigate.

      Blessings, Giant Petunia. –

      M.

      • I can’t find on your blog why you use Ms. Feverfew but I’m sure it is significant to you.
        I picked Petunia because the Victorian language of flowers petunias mean “anger and resentment, but there is also a contrasting meaning that speaks of just wanting to be with someone so that it is soothing.” I really can’t find a better way of explaining how I feel about being adopted.

        BTW in case you didn’t already know feverfew means good health

      • Ms. Feverfew was the handle my relinquished daughter was using on the very first social media site in which I stumbled across her profile. I also have a daughter who calls herself, “Poppy” since her name Penelope was too much for her toddler tongue.

      • M – I listened to the podcast at FMH and again I am amazed by your faith and strength. I really would like to respond to you about it in a little less public way. Can you access my email from this post?

      • Giant Petunia – Sorry about taking so long to get back to you! I’ve been in D.C. all week and just saw your message. Yes, I can see your email and I will send you a message this evening.

        Blessings –

        M.

  13. Melinda,
    Wow, never did I expect to come across a site like yours. I had a daughter almost 21 years ago. At the time I became pregnant I was only 16 and was a member of the LDS church. My father was in the bishopric and my mother a Sunday school teacher. The bishop, among others in the church, pushed me to give her up through the church. They pushed to the point that my father gave up his position as did my mother in a show of their support. I was shocked as I knew they were horribly embarrassed, they made that very clear. I kept my daughter and am amazed at the young woman she has grown into. My experience in the church was horrific. One member even called her the “bastard” child on the day of her blessing!

    I wish I could say our story ended there, however, I would go on to have 2 more children, 1 daughter was adopted by my parents and another daughter was placed for adoption with a couple I chose through an agency.

    I am not proud of my past but I am dealing with it. I can tell you that the third situation has been one of the most painful and sad I have dealt with. That said, I met and married an amazing man that loves me and my girls. Funny part, he is adopted (my father who died when I was 8 was also adopted)! He has never outwardly judged me and looks forward to, one day, possibly, meeting my youngest. The things you have written about have touched me and I am grateful to you for sharing.

    • Katie – What a journey you have been on. I know you say you aren’t proud of your past, but stop for a moment and consider this: You have survived one of the worst losses a woman can experience. Twice. Despite the heartache, you are *still* here to bear witness of what happens to single expectant mothers in the LDS church and the pain adoption can bring into a woman’s life. You have a lot to be proud of, in reality.

      I would love to hear more about your journey and experience if you are willing to share. Are you on FB or do you have a blog of your own?

      Blessings – M.

      • I am on FB (can send link by email in private if that is an option) and after viewing your body of work i am interested in having my own blog where i have a forum to speak as well. I would like ask for your password so i can access the private posts.

        It has been helpful and refreshing to see my concerns and hopes are valid. There is a shame with adoption, when i speak of my children she isn’t mentioned. Only family and closest friends know about her. I am not ashamed of her, i am ashamed of my choice. Now, as she nears 19 i fear the additional pain i may cause my girls that are part of my life if she chooses not to know us…and that certainly is a possibly. While i have tried tell myself i am prepared for that, my husband has assured me i am not.

        I was told it was the loving choice but it has never resonated with me that way. My biggest fear is her believing she wasn’t wanted or loved because nothing could be further from the truth. The pain my family still feels couple with hope that we may reunite is strong.

        I am happy to share, if you have questions please email me. Thank you again for your strength!

      • I just read your first blog posts. Welcome to the sisterhood, Katie. You are brave, your experience matters, and your story deserves to be told.

      • Hi Katie,

        I’m going to barge into your conversation for a second. I want to encourage you to blog and speak about your experience. As an LDS adult adoptee, we need to know that our mothers care about us and that we matter.
        I look forward to see in you around the “adoptionland” blogosphere.

        Speak your truth.

        GP

  14. Hi Melynda,
    Thanks for your blog. I don’t know if you have written about the time while you were pregnant or not but if so I don’t see it. I also relinquished a baby girl for adoption through lds services, in 1996. I had to go to go live with another family that I did not know in another city so no one would know what I had done. It was a closed adoption ,of course, and I picked a couple out of a book. I never got to meet them and the only time I ever talked to them was about 1 week after they had her they called me through lds sevices to say what a great baby she was. I don’t ever remember being told about free counciling or if I did know about it, I blocked it out because I never wanted to deal with them again. The guy who facilitated the adoption was horrible and made me feel bad about myself every time I saw him. I feel like I went through all this in the 60s because of the shame and secrecy. I just met my daughter and found out how much stuff was kept from her. While I was pregnant I kept a journal for her to let her know how much I love her but come to find out she did not get the journal til just recently because lds services lost it behind a filing cabinet and found it when they were moving offices. They went through and blacked any information they thought she should not see, I am guessing names and such, I don’t know. Well anyway all this time later I feel I have suppressed my memories and emotions and feel like I can barely remember any details of that time. I am just wondering if anyone else had this sort of experience in the 90s or later. I know they sure did in the 50s and 60s.
    Thanks a bunch.

    • Dang it! I had a big long reply typed out and then I bumped my laptop the wrong way and it disappeared into the ethernet. In summary, this is what it had to say: I am sorry for your loss, you are not alone, and you are not the only mother to experience the suppression of the time period around loosing your child. The coercive tactics and psychological warfare employed during the Baby Scoop Era are alive and well within the LDS culture – you aren’t imagining things or exaggerating.

      I have had several adoptee friends tell me there are a few classes of first mothers they give a “free pass” to regarding their responsibility in the loss of their child to adoption: Moms from the BSE era and moms from the Mormon church. Because yes, it’s that bad.

  15. Hi Melynda,
    I found your blog while doing research for an article about a father who is currently fighting to prevent the adoption of his two-year-old daughter in Utah. Your writing is truly beautiful, and I’m so moved by your story. Would you be interested in speaking or emailing with me for the article some time? I would love to learn more about the LDS influence on the adoption process and include this in the piece. I would be happy to keep anything you would like to share anonymous. Thanks so much! Sarah

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