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
I think I’ll try
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
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
I’m flying high
Much love and belief in your own attempts to defy gravity –
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.)