This. is. So. Wrong.

Dear Ms. Feverfew:

UT_adoptee_coltonThis.

UT_adoptee_melissaIs.

UT_adoptee_jamieSo.

UT_adoptee_BrendanWrong.

UT_adoptee_siblingsSo very, very, very wrong.

It is wrong these people do not have access to the truth in the form of their original unaltered birth certificates.

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It is wrong they have been denied factual information of their heritage. It is wrong they have to post their personal information on social networking sites, begging others to share their photos in the hopes they find their natural family.

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As radical as it might seem to some, I believe adoptees should have complete and total access, with no veto ability by natural parents, to their unaltered original birth certificates at all times, even before the age of majority. If that were to happen, these adoptees would not have to post personal and private statistical information all over social networking sites.

searchingWhile I am infinitely grateful adoptees are having success connecting with their roots this way, e.v.e.r.y. single one of these photos convicts those of us who occupy a more privileged space than the adoptee.

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Every single one of these pictures stands as a testament of the blatant discrimination existing in an adoptees life from the moment their adoption is finalized.

The non-adopted have unfettered access to their original birth certificates. Adoptees don’t. For no reason other than the adults in their life decided they shouldn’t. That is wrong. Adoptees did NOTHING to deserve the discrimination heaped on them by our closed records system.   They deserve and are entitled to their original birth records, whether they choose to pursue reunion or not.

There are those in Utah who are working on fixing the Utah Mutual Consent Adoption Registry to make it a bit more equitable for adoptees, but their efforts keep getting struck down by one member of the Eagle Forum. The laws weren’t fixed this legislative session, but I am going to do all that I can to see that they do get changed there in Utah.

OhioOpenUnlessClosed If miracles like the one above can happen in Ohio (open access, contact veto given the the ADOPTEE, not the natural parent!!!!), then they can happen in Utah as well.

Much love,

M.

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Dear Person Who Found this Blog By Searching for “pro-adoption scripture”

Dear Person Who Found this Blog By Searching for “pro-adoption scripture” –

There are none.

At least not if one is looking for scriptural justification to take another woman’s child, lie about that child’s parentage on a falsified birth certificate, and then raise that child as their own. Ain’t. Gonna. Find. It.

Don’t believe me? Go read this forthcoming article by David M. Smolin, Professor of Law titled “Of Orphans And Adoption, Parents And The Poor, Exploitation And Rescue:  A Scriptural And Theological Critique Of The Evangelical Christian Adoption And Orphan Care Movement.” It will be published in the Regent International Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, in Spring 2012. Full document can be downloaded from this link as well : adoption.christian.regent.smolindraft1.2.12-1.

He makes so many cogent points in this article, but there are two that have really stuck with me since I first read the article. The first one is about Joseph and his treatment of a young unwed mother.

“…what Joseph did in helping an otherwise “single mother” to keep and raise her own child was consistent with the ministries of Jesus and Elijah in assisting single women and their children in staying together. Honoring the “birth” mother—honoring the motherhood of Mary—is exactly contrary to the kinds of adoptions advocated by the modern Christian adoption movement, which typically takes children from living mothers and gives them to non-related people as their adoptive children.  If Joseph had acted in a way typical of the Christian adoption movement, Mary would have lost Jesus at birth.” (Emphasis mine).

The next deals with “pro-adoption” scriptures in the New Testament.

“Despite the claims of the Christian adoption and orphan care movement of a fundamental New Testament call to horizontal adoption—and specifically to the adoption of orphan children—-the New Testament does not record a single such event.  If Jesus and the apostles were calling the New Testament church to practice horizontal adoption of orphans, it seems to have escaped the notice of the writers of the New Testament entirely.   Despite clear New Testament admonishments to assist the poor and widows, and despite a clear New Testament record of the early church in fact engaging in organized efforts to assist the poor and widows, there is no parallel New Testament record of anyone being urged to adopt an orphan, or of anyone doing so….Hence, we have the mysterious gap of a Bible supposedly urging horizontal adoption as a fundamental practice of the church, without any Biblical record of anyone actually encouraging Christians to adopt, and without any record of Christians actually adopting orphan children. “ (Emphasis mine).

So put on your pointy-headed thinking cap, pull out a red pencil and go read Smolin’s article and then get back with me about “pro-adoption scriptures.”

Sincerely,

M.

 

 

Thank God for People Like “Harriet”

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

It isn’t often that someone who is neither an adoptee, first parent, nor an adoptive parent “gets it” about adoption, but sometimes they do. Here’s someone who does:

Every adoption that occurs is a black mark on the humanity of the rest of us, because every adoption represents parents who were unable to acquire the assistance, resources, or community necessary to raise their children or plan their families. ~ “Harriet” who writes at www.fugitivus.net

If you have tender ears, please be advised about the language content on her blog – she’s real, she’s raw, and she uses language that you aren’t going to hear in a Relief Society lesson. Be forewarned but also know that what she has to say is terribly important.

Take the time to go read that blog post. You will be glad you did.

Much love,

M.

P.S. THANK YOU Ask an Adoptee over at Facebook for pointing me to this important and provocative blog post!

Lola and Me, Lola and I, Me and Lola

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Whew. Glad that is all over.

I am so happy to write that Lola and I have made our peace. I am even happier to write that it is not that uneasy, “You go your way and I will go mine” kind of peace that is typically brokered between two parties in situations like this.

It is the kind of peace from which friendships may form. The kind of peace when two people say, “Come now, let us reason together. We are better than this.” The kind of peace that does not make much sense to others, but makes perfect sense to us.

Lola has graciously offered some of us space and time on her blog to answer questions from her readers.  Mind you, the questions are most likely all going to come from LDS readers who have spent their entire life being preached to about the miracle and blessing of adoption.

Most of them have never encountered an adoptee who has had nothing but glowing things to say about the “miracle and blessing” of adoption. Most of them have never encountered a first mother who has anything to say other than what a “miracle and a blessing” adoption is in her life. The reason why is that we first mothers and adoptees in the LDS culture are simply not allowed those feelings. If we dare express them, we get the smack down of the century from well meaning, but unknowing folks who are just trying to help us see the error of our ways and convince us yet again that adoption is a “miracle and a blessing.” But you probably already know that. Here I go again, preaching to the choir.

Some of the things we may say will be very foreign to their ears and heavy in their hearts and we must tread lightly but speak our truth.

I know that is how it was for me.   When I first started learning about things like primal wounds, baby brokering, and how adoption was woman on woman violence, I was horrified to realize that I had been part of the system – I was a part of the system. That I inserted you, my beloved and cherished daughter, into the system. Realizing the fantasy I had about adoption being a “miracle and a blessing” for all those involved was really not as true as I once thought…well, it was earth shattering.  And it was a bitter pill to swallow.
You know that whole “gall of bitterness” thing that Alma talks about in Alma 36? Yeah…that was me. That was so me.

I do not know how the Q&A session on her blog will turn out.  These are difficult things to hear and learn. Not only that, most people I have known who speak out against infant adoption as we practice it in the LDS church get shouted down fairly rapidly (and loudly). Maybe Lola will not. She has proven to have the mettle to stand firm in the face of some pretty unpleasant stuff.  And maybe because she does not have “a dog in the [proverbial] hunt,” people will be more willing to listen to her.

You can be sure I will keep you updated.

Much love,

M.

It’s Time to Try Defying Gravity

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

It seems that I set off a firestorm yesterday, unintentionally. I am not the type of person to go around picking fights with people and anyone who knows me would agree with this. After all of the happy-happy joy-joy adoption is such a gift and and a miracle blogs I have digested in an honest effort to understand where the typical LDS adoptive mother is coming from, if I really wanted to pick a fight about LDS adoption I could have and would have. But I don’t because as anyone who knows me would attest – that’s not how I roll. But…

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

Yesterday, Lola/Laura made several statements that really struck a chord with me. No, I am not talking about the personal attacks on my motherhood, my parenting, or my life – those I can frankly forgive because it is the standard party line response to any woman who dares to step out of line and speaks up about the pain adoption has caused. It is not just first mothers who encounter this, but enlightened LDS adoptive parents who understand that yes, their eternal family is built upon the ashes and remains of another family. It isn’t that these adoptive parents go around wearing sack cloth and ashes and rending their coat, but they at least acknowledge and accept this reality.  These kinds of adoptive parents are frequently met with the same vitriol that first mothers are when they dare question the status quo of infant adoption in the LDS community.  So, to make a short statement long – I don’t take those kinds of attacks on my parenting ability or familial relationships personally.

But back to the statements that did get me thinking. Towards the end of her first response, Lola/Laura said:

CLEARLY, you will continue to suffer as long as you continue to fight and rage against something that can never, and will never be different.

It’s the basic equivalent of being angry that humans have to breathe or that, I don’t know, gravity exists.

Don’t rage against what is. You will lose every time.

With this attitude of equating adoption with breathing and gravity, is it any wonder that Utah County has the highest surrender rate in the nation? Is it any wonder that many LDS first mothers feel marginalized or belittled by their culture? Is it any wonder that so very many of those LDS first mothers end up leaving the church in the long years post-placement? This attitude of “Don’t rage against what is. You will lose every time” is an all-pervasive belief that is riveted on the hearts of many LDS people.  As first mothers, both pre-surrender and post-surrender, we are met with this attitude on every front: Give up – it will never, it can never be different. You will lose very time.

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!

I wonder if this the same attitude that many of our black brothers and sisters were met with pre-1978 when they attempted to discuss the Priesthood. Were they told the same things? Were they told give up – you not having the priesthood is just like breathing or gravity. It will never, it can never be different. Stop raging against what is, you will lose very time.

In response to Lola/Laura’s comment, I wrote this:

However, you are right. Fighting for change in LDS adoption is like fighting against gravity. But just like we humans have been able to “slip the surly bonds of earth” and peer into the galaxies, I believe change can and will happen. The ability to defy gravity started with one apple and one man who was willing to look at things in a different way. It will be the same with LDS adoption. One apple, one person, one voice willing to speak out.  It might take 304 years before the equivalent of the moon landing happens in the LDS adoption world but change is happening, as evidenced by the changes in the official Handbook. Hopefully it won’t take that long but if it does take 304 years? It’s OK because in the end, time doesn’t matter to God.

I know I will be met with the sentiment as I try to defy this generational gravity in the LDS adoption culture. “Can’t I make you understand? You’re having delusions of grandeur” (Glinda, Wicked, the Musical) is pretty much what I was told yesterday. But that’s OK. Really. I cannot go back to sleep, anesthetized by the adoption fog that mercifully protects first mothers those first five or so years post-placement. I am fully awake and aware of the challenges and resistance I will encounter. However,

I’m through accepting limits
’cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down.

As someone told me lately:
“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I’m flying high
Defying gravity

Much love and belief in your own attempts to defy gravity –

M.

P.S. Lola/Laura: I am grateful for your comments and for the opportunity to clarify my stance and position on this subject. Like I said before, I hold no ill-will towards you personally. I am sorry that it was such a confrontational encounter yesterday and I hope that today is a better one all around.

(Note: All quoted lyrics are from the song “Defying Gravity” in Wicked, the Musical.)