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.

searching3

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.

searching4

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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Reclaiming the Slivers of My Soul

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I finally did it.

Today I put the form, a check for $25, and a copy of my birth certificate in the mail and sent them off to the Utah Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry.

Yesterday, I took the form to a notary public to have it notarized.  Naturally, he had to scrutinize the details, details that I haven’t shared with people who have known me for years much less a complete stranger at the Pack & Ship. As I stood there clutching Penelope while Luke played with things on the desk, I could feel myself start to disconnect from the reality of the moment. For a few moments, it was as if I was watching myself go through the motions, very much like I did when I signed the termination of parental rights form.

The pen the notary was using hesitated over the section in which I marked “Birth Parent.” He quizzically looked up at Penelope, then his pen traced the line underneath the the date of your birth. The pen went back to the section, “Person Registering is {Please check one}”, paused and hovered over “Birth Parent” again. Puzzlement crossed his face as he looked up at me, then at Luke.

I watched him write my name, address, and phone number into his register book. When it came to “type of document”, he wrote, “Utah Vital Records/Adoption Registry.”

I exhaled, unsettled by the rattling of dormant memories of signing adoption paperwork. He pushed the form and the registry towards me and directed me to sign here, here, and put my address here. I had to shift little Penelope to the other side, since I am left-handed and she was trying to grab the registry. My hand shook as I signed. My heart quaked at the fresh reminder of my loss.

But it is done. In some small way, perhaps this is partial restitution of what adoption stripped from you – your original identity. Perhaps it is too little too late, but it is one of the only things I can do for you.

Much love,

M.

Dear Person Who Found this Blog by Searching for “Can I Force My Minor Daughter to Give Up Her Baby for Adoption in Utah?”

Dear Person Who Found this Blog by Searching for “Can I Force My Minor Daughter to Give Up Her Baby for Adoption in Utah?” –

Are. You. Serious??????

I am going to try really hard to be as gentle as possible but I must admit, I am shocked a parent would search for an answer to that question on the Internet.  I would think a little prayer, a little fasting, a bit of long suffering and patience would give you better results than typing such a question into a search engine. (BTW, the answer would be NO, you can’t force her to do it, nor SHOULD you force her – at least according to the God I worship and the scriptures I read. Consult D&C 121:41 if you need a reminder).

I can only imagine you are an LDS mother, extremely concerned with avoiding the appearance of evil (something we Mormons are so keen on doing – it’s all about appearing perfect, isn’t it?), maintaining the status quo, and fitting in with the other ladies at Relief Society. You probably don’t know any other women whose daughters have faced a crisis pregnancy and you are just doing what you think you should be doing, what the culture there in Utah tells you that you should be doing.

I implore you to carefully read this blog in its entirety to see what she has in store for her, should she relinquish her child. To carefully read “Thinking of Placing Your Baby for Adoption? Think very hard” found over at [Birth Mother]First Mother Forum. Then go over to Cassi’s blog, Adoption Truth and read everything she has written there, then read every blog she had linked to on the side bar. Then go read every single post at Lost Daughters and every single blog that is linked to it to discover what your grandchild’s future will look like. Read “Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience” and “Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness”, both by Betty Jean Lifton. Read “The Primal Wound” by Nancy Verrier, “The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption” by Barbara Bisantz Raymond, and “The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Industry” by Mirah Ruben. And after that, read every single memoir you can read written by a natural mother and an adoptee. There are so many good ones out there, take your pick, just start reading. Yes, it might take some time but you have a few months, right?

And then when you are done with all that reading, ask yourself, “Am I the kind of mother that would want to force this life on my daughter and my unborn grandchild? Or is there something I can do to help my daughter become the mother God has ordained her to be when He sent her this baby at this point in her life? What can I do to help her feel supported, loved, and capable? What can I do to preserve our family?”

If you can come to a knowledge of the true toll adoption extracts from natural mothers and adoptees and still ask, “Can I force my minor daughter to give up her baby my grandchild for adoption?” then you and I are simply cut from different cloth. Simply put, we worship different Gods, even if we belong to the same church. If you still want to force your daughter to give your grandchild away, then we are not of the same religion. My God teaches me that pure religion is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their need. Not to remove the fatherless from their mothers under the guise of the “loving option of adoption.”

In the meantime, I will pray for you that your heart will be softened and that you will allow mercy and grace to have a place at your family dinner table. More importantly, I will pray for your daughter and your unborn grandchild that they will find someone who will love them and support them, regardless of how they ended up in the situation they are in (a la Quinten L.. Cook and President Hinckley’s counsel at two different conference sessions).

Sincerely,

M.

P.S. Be sure to read Job 24 about what happens to people who pluck the fatherless from the breast. Something about corn being cut down and stuff like that.


Dear Person Who Was Wondering “can a minor child give up their baby for adoption with out parent concent [sic] in utah”?

Dear Person Who Was Wondering “can a minor child give up their baby for adoption with out parent concent [sic] in utah”?

Yes. Why, yes they can.

She can’t open a bank account without parental consent. She can’t get married without parental consent. She can’t legally own property. She can’t get birth control if paid for by state funds without parental consent (one of only two states requiring this, the other being Texas).  And she certainly can’t have an abortion without parental consent. In some instances, she can’t even register for an online social networking account without parental consent.

But give away a baby without parental notification or parental consent?

You betchya!!!!!

Utah Code 78B-6-123. Power of a minor to consent or relinquish.
(1) A minor parent has the power to:
(a) consent to the adoption of the minor’s child; and
(b) relinquish the minor’s control or custody of the child for adoption.
(2) The consent or relinquishment described in Subsection (1) is valid and has the same force and effect as a consent or relinquishment executed by an adult parent.
(3) A minor parent, having executed a consent or relinquishment, cannot revoke that consent upon reaching the age of majority or otherwise becoming emancipated.

Heck. She doesn’t even have to tell the father she is giving his child away to strangers!

Welcome to the great state of Utah!

M.

P.S. Does anyone else see the irony of laws in which a minor cannot get birth control or get married without parental consent but can make a decision like relinquishing a child (that she got pregnant with because her parents wouldn’t consent for her to get birth control) for adoption without telling her parents? The law doesn’t even provide for grandparents to even be INFORMED that it is happening, much less CONSENT to it. What kind of whacked up laws are those? Oh yeah. Utah’s laws.

I Must Be Tired Because I Think This is Hilarious

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I recently found out a person I know rather well and his wife of 14 years recently adopted a baby. Now mind you, this is one of those rare times when there was an infant truly in need of a home. The little guy was born weighing 2 lbs. 2 oz. and in desperate need for someone to love him as his mother sadly had no desire nor ability to parent this tiny life.  But frankly, I am shocked that this particular couple was allowed to adopt.  It’s one of those situations where if you know all the facts, you say, “Well, there is a reason why some couples can’t have children.”  Let’s just say that this particular person has some uh…ummm…well, he inherited his bio-dad’s proclivities.  And has been hauled into court for his behavior, so it isn’t just me saying this.  State of Utah knows it as well. (Oh yeah, he molested a girl 10 years younger than him for years and let his buddies help themselves to her too, but it only when on until he was just shy of his 18th birthday so it doesn’t show up on his adult record.)

Perplexed as to how this particular couple passes a home study, I went searching for adoption laws/home study rules in UT on Google.  And this is what popped up:

May Harm Computer

I got a good laugh when I saw that going to the site “www.adoption.org” may harm your computer.  I thought, “Harm my computer? That’s an understatement. Harm my computer. That’s just the start of the harm that comes from that website.

But, I guess if I were an potential adoptive parent, I wouldn’t find it so harmful. Maybe might find it pretty helpful. Who knows. I am not an potential adoptive parent so I guess I will never know. I just found it funny from the perspective of a first mother who lost her oldest daughter to adoption.

Hope school is going well for you and that you are finding much satisfaction and joy there –

M.

Here We Go Again – ~ God Doesn’t Do Adoption, part 11,002,546,997

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

OK – so maybe that “part 11,002,546,997” is a bit of an overstatement, it’s really part 11,002,546,992.

This latest go round has to do with John Wyatt and his baby daughter “Emma.” You can read more about it here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700064115/Utah-Supreme-Court-hears-fight-over-Baby-Emma.html

Needless to say, this case is causing quite the stir in the adoption blogosphere and needless to say (again), the LDS folks sure are making it easy for others to hate on them.  Just check out the comments left by readers over at Deseret News.

At any rate, I was led to a blog entry about this case on a blog titled “Rarely Home Mom.” (Does that mean she is rarely home because she is working or does that mean she is rarely home because she is busy being a helicopter parent or does that mean she is rarely home, as in she lives in another country and is rarely not “home” in the US? I digress…)

After reading the post and the comments, I left one of my own in response to another reader. I am fairly certain it will not be posted by the moderator, so I will post it here.

One of her readers says:

September 10, 2010 2:18 pm

This is so much like that story of King Solomon in the Bible. Caring for children whose lives are tangled in the courts carrys a huge amount of heartache. Someone needs to be there for them though. What a hard thing. I agree, the father is just painting himself a jerk, not proving his fatherhood.

To which my reply was:

Jendoop –

Do you remember the rest of the story of King Solomon and the baby? Do you remember who that baby ended up with? Was it the prospective adoptive mother or his natural mother? King Solomon gave the child back to his mother – a SINGLE parent, BTW.

If you are advocating that the Supreme Court in UT do the same thing – give this child back to her natural family who wants to care and love for her, then I am all for it.

M.

P.S. Here are some of my posts regarding adoption reform from an LDS perspective that your readers might find interesting:

https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/arrrrrggggghhhh/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/is-you-is-or-is-you-aint-or-in-other-words-a-question-for-fred-riley-of-lds-family-services/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/god-doesnt-do-adoption-part-2/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/you-know-what-chaps-my-hide/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/another-head-scratcher/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/the-mormons-and-liberalprogressive-scientific-thought-maybe-not-so-different-after-all/

I truly don’t have any more mental energy right now to deal with this so I let my previous writings speak on my behalf. In the words of the unforgettable Prince Humperdinck: “Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.”

Much love and belief –

M.

___________________________________________________________________________

I just had to update the conversation over there on that blog. Of course Julie didn’t post my comment. Whatev.’ As a first mother in the LDS world, I am MORE than used to my voice being silenced, ignored, belittled, and marginalized. After all, I *deserve* what happened to me. At least that’s what most LDS people believe.

So here is Julie’s response to my post:

September 10, 2010 3:39 pm

Yes, it’s true that I have received comments to this post that I have not published (every first time commenter has to first be approved by me, then further posts are published at once). I am fine with people disagreeing with me (see posts by Katie above). But I won’t publish posts by people that have endless links sending readers of this original post to sites that are anti-adoption (one site says adoption is always wrong, in every situation!), anti-Mormon (nice, making my non-religious argument about my religion), and just plain ignorant.

Disagree with me, but don’t be a jerk.

Bottom line here: what needs to be decided is how the different state adoption laws will work together. This adoptive couple are not criminals – they followed the laws in at least one state. They are not kidnappers. I’m so tired of that argument. So, we can all agree that there needs to be action to prevent future disagreements like this.

It’s amazing to me that so many of you don’t agree that the best interests of this child can’t come first. Have mercy.

And here is mine:

Oh my, Julie. Anti Mormon??? Anti-adoption? Ignorant? Did you actually take the time to read those links?

Do I need to pull out my temple recommend or give you my Bishop’s phone number? Would you like to sit in on the Sunday School classes I teach? Would you like to see my tax returns that show how much we tithed last year and how much we donated in fast offerings (BTW, some of which goes to support LDSFS adoptions to help people such as yourself get children?), how much we donated to the mission fund and the humanitarian fund? Do you want to sit in on the Compassionate Service meetings I attend? Attend the ward activities I planned? The Enrichment classes I teach? Do you want to join me and my family at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning for scripture study and family prayer? Do you want to go with me when I do my Visiting Teaching this month? Perhaps you could join me on my morning 3 mile walk as I listen to the latest conference addresses on my mormonradio app. Do you want me to show you pictures of me singing with the the Mormon Youth Chorus at a solemn assembly when a new prophet was sustained? Would you like to join my efforts to “clothe the naked” and make infant care kits, knit hats, and sew dresses for children who have less? Do you want to join me as I go to a Sister’s house to teach her the basics of child care, home making skills, and budgeting because the Lord prompted me to do and then the RS president asked me to do it? Do you want me to parade you past the pictures at the Orem Institute of Religion that show me as part of the choir and part of the student leadership way back in the day? Should I send you pictures of my 1-year food storage? Do you want to make the 3.5 hours one-way trip with me to attend the temple? We could have a great chat on the way there, I am sure. I even know how to make funeral potatoes and green jello with shredded carrots in it!!! Even more, I kind of like them too. Would any of that convince you that I am NOT anti-Mormon?

What I am is a Mormon who is willing to turn over the rock of infant adoption and look at what might be underneath. Sometimes you find cool stuff, sometimes you don’t. I am a Mormon who is honestly seeking to reconcile the pure doctrine of Christ with her own experiences in the culture.

Anti-adoption? Perhaps, but *certainly* not the way you may assume. I am anti-the way *INFANT* adoption is currently practiced now (adoption through foster care is another thing entirely). You know, some of my dearest friends are adoptive mothers, just the variety that have the courage to look at this from every angle, even the ones that make them feel uncomfortable and queasy.

Please, as a fellow sister in Zion, I urge you to read some of those posts before you jump to conclusions about me as a person. Perhaps you will still come to the conclusion that I am ignorant and I am fine with that. But at least it will be an informed decision.

In the mean time, I will be praying for you that your heart will be softened and yes, I will continue to seek mercy. Mercy for the mothers who have lost children to adoption, mercy for the children who have lost their first families, and mercy for those who feel like it is their God given right to remove those children from their mothers. If there is one thing we ALL need, it is mercy from the Great Healer and Physician.

Much love,

M.

Utah Adoption Act (Utah Code Title 76B Chapter 6)

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Church was canceled again yesterday because of the “big” snow storm (we got about 5″) and so I had some free time on my hands. Somehow, I ended up tracking down Utah’s “Adoption Act” and came across some interesting stuff.

“Utah Adoption Act” Title 78B-6-102.7

(7) The Legislature finds that an unmarried mother has a right of privacy with regard to her pregnancy and adoption plan, and therefore has no legal obligation to disclose the identity of an unmarried biological father prior to or during an adoption proceeding, and has no obligation to volunteer information to the court with respect to the father.

Say what??? In Utah, a woman has no legal obligation to tell who the father of her child is prior to placing that child for adoption???? What in the Sam Hill kind of law is that?  Now I know why the LDSFS worker told me that I could just “leave him out of it [the adoption]”, that  “he doesn’t really matter, ” and “involving him will just complicate things even more for your daughter and her new parents.”

I now know this was incredibly morally wrong. Regardless of if it is the law or not. It is wrong. And this is one of the things I wrestle with – why would a representative of the LDS church tell me to do something so completely amoral? Not just tell me to do it, but actively encourage me to do it and provide suggestions on how to get around telling him the truth.

78B-6-119. Counseling for parents.
(1) Subject to Subsection (2)(a), before relinquishing a child to a child-placing agency, or consenting to the adoption of a child, a parent of the child has the right to participate in counseling:
(a) by a licensed counselor or an adoption service provider selected by the parent participating in the counseling;
(b) for up to three sessions of at least 50 minutes per session; and
(c) subject to Subsection (2)(b), at the expense of the:
(i) child-placing agency; or
(ii) prospective adoptive parents.

Wow. Geez. Three whole 50-minute counseling sessions in return for my daughter?  I need to make a T-shirt up for this one. “I gave another family the greatest “gift” of all – my daughter – and all I got was three lousy counseling sessions.”

Three sessions.  That’s a hundred and fifty minutes.  In exchange for a lifetime of grief.

Here’s the kicker – in your adoption, I was never told I was legally entitled to even this “generous” amount. I never received my three free counseling sessions, courtesy of…well, of anyone.  I did eventually find my own way to a counselor. I am very grateful to have found such a wonderful therapist – I am just sad we moved 2200 miles away from him.  I could really use a chit-chat session with him about now. But  I never got my three free sessions.  Do you think 17 1/2 years later is to late to demand them?

78B-6-123. Power of a minor to consent or relinquish.
(1) A minor parent has the power to:
(a) consent to the adoption of the minor’s child; and
(b) relinquish the minor’s control or custody of the child for adoption.
(2) The consent or relinquishment described in Subsection (1) is valid and has the same force and effect as a consent or relinquishment executed by an adult parent.
(3) A minor parent, having executed a consent or relinquishment, cannot revoke that consent upon reaching the age of majority or otherwise becoming emancipated.

So…a minor can’t buy cigarettes. Can’t buy alcohol. Can’t open a credit card or get a loan without a co-signer.  Can’t get married without parental consent (and a juvenile judge’s consent if she is 15 or under). Can’t get birth control pills without parental consent. If she is under 16 can’t drive a car. If she is under 13,  can’t even open an online email or social networking account without parental consent.

BUT, she can relinquish another minor child (hers) to adoption.Without parental consent. Or telling the father.

That is really screwed up.

78B-6-125. Time period prior to birth mother’s consent.
(1) A birth mother may not consent to the adoption of her child or relinquish control or custody of her child until at least 24 hours after the birth of her child.

Wow.  A whole 24 whole hours?  Geeze. That’s really nice of them.

How many of us who have had children were at the tip-top of our mental and emotional game a mere 24 hours after having a child? I know I am not. At that point, I am still trying to deal with the uterine cramping, the bleeding, the surging hormones as my milk comes in and my body adjusts to not being pregnant, my raw & swollen girlie bits. I am exhausted  – not just from the delivery, but the last excruciatingly sleepless weeks of my pregnancy,  the every 4-hour checks by the nurses, and the visits from the family. And that’s after a natural, normal, short delivery without any residual effects of pain meds either.

24 hours after delivery is not the time to be having relinquishment papers shoved under a vulnerable mother’s nose. GoodfreakinFriday, even those “evil  capitalist” insurance companies allow a woman 48 hours in the hospital before she has to leave after having a child.

And here are some more of my more favorite parts:


78B-6-126.
When consent or relinquishment effective.
A consent or relinquishment is effective when it is signed and may not be revoked.

78A-6-514. Voluntary relinquishment — Irrevocable.
(4) A voluntary relinquishment or consent for termination of parental rights is effective when it is signed and may not be revoked.

No ifs, ands, or buts. No waiting period. No “can I have a week to think this over?” No nothing. So once that order to relinquish is signed in the hospital 24 hours after giving birth, the mother has no legal recourse to revoke her consent.

No wonder LDSFS encourages so many single mothers to deliver in UT.  They don’t have to tell the father. They don’t have to get parental consent. There is only a 24 hour waiting period after birth before the mother can relinquish. And then once those papers are signed, the mother has no legal recourse.

It was an enlightening way to spend my Sunday afternoon to say the least. Understanding the laws a bit more in UT helps me understand my experience a bit more as well.

Much love,

M.