Today is a twofer blog post kind of day, thanks to a conversation I had last night with my fantastic, amazing, incredible, patient (and might I add ridiculously handsome) husband. I won’t bore you today with all the details, but after I finished my rant about the LDS adoptive couple that took Ezra from his rightful parents instead of helping them through their temporary rough patch, he said to me, “Melynda, this is your life’s work. Fixing this (meaning how we LDS people view adoption) is what God called you to do.”
That seems like a pretty tall order. Especially for this high school drop out now PhD student, sometimes an academic, once divorced now married, and a once-upon-a-time single mom now a mostly stay-at-home-mom of a teenager, a school aged child, a rolly-poly infant, and a daughter lost to adoption.
And bless my husband’s ever lovin’ heart – he’s one of the types that believes if you are going to complain about something, then you had better have a plan to remedy the complaint. So I have been thinking about how to “fix” what is wrong with LDS infant adoption and needless to say, the “field is white and ready to harvest.” (For all the non-LDS folks who might read these letters I write, that’s a metaphor for saying “there’s a heck of a lot of work to be done.”) I have wrestled with what I can do with the time I do have in the place I live ~ you know, the age-old question of “What is my sphere of influence? What are my skills best suited for? What is it, Lord, that you would have me do?”
While making bread today, I was thinking about this and it came to me. Along with all the research and political work that I plan to be engaged in once I am done with my PhD, I am going to open a young mother’s/maternity home very unlike the ones we typically might think of. It will be called “Love’s Labor” and will provide a safe haven for mothers who feel like they want to parent, but don’t know if they are good enough or have the “right” kind of skills. Love’s Labor won’t be a maternity home that dumps young mothers out if they decide not to place for adoption – in fact, at Love’s Labor, infant adoption will be a hiss and a byword, a relic of a different age.
At Love’s Labor, young mothers will be connected with community sources, from counseling and parenting classes to lactation consultants, to housing assistance authorities, medical professionals and birth practitioners like midwives & doulas, to job training to any other sort of thing that expectant and new single mothers stand in need of. At Love’s Labor, they will have the opportunity to learn life skills that many young people today aren’t taught – from budgeting to food preparation to housekeeping skills. It will be a place where young expectant mothers can come to be relieved of the societal pressures to place for adoption and instead be taught of their true worth in the eyes of God. At Love’s Labor, they will learn that God is crazy about them and would never want one of His precious daughters to suffer the lifetime agony only a first mother knows.
I know it will be some time before I can have a brick and mortar establishment where I can welcome expectant and new mothers, but in the mean time, I can get the framework laid and start providing a place (at least online) for expectant single mothers to help connect them with resources that they may need to become successful parents.
Aside from raising competent, capable, and compassionate children who know their true worth in the eyes of God, my single most important goal in life is to prevent one more story like Ezra and his mother’s from ever happening again. Love’s Labor seems like a good place to start.
So now I need to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Do you happen to know of any graphic artists, code-queens, or other webbies that might be able to help me get a website up and going? Maybe you might know of some other first moms or adoptees (or gasp, even adoptive parents) who might want to help get Love’s Labor going.
Much love and belief for the second time today –