"I wonder if many of these (possibly) Mormon mothers still feel alone, isolated, and wholly unworthy of speaking out or seeking contact. The social stigma of being an "unwed mother" still looms large in the LDS church, even if you were an "unwed mother" decades ago - it is a label that will never leave you in this culture.Her post has been gnawing at me because I feel so strongly that mothers ought to at least meet their children ONCE face-to-face, and decide where to go after that; but I realize that a million different cultural forces may be pushing up against them--just the way many of us felt when we relinquished in the Baby Scoop Era. And we want understanding and acceptance, don't we?
Perhaps because I have an insider's understanding of psychological warfare used against relinquishing mothers throughout their entire lifetime in the Mormon culture, I am able to view some of these women's choices in a different light. I am not condoning or supporting their choice in any degree. My heart just aches for them that they feel like their own flesh and blood should have no contact with them."
Additionally, I realize that my personal stance against established religions and their dogmatic views, despite having been raised Roman Catholic or perhaps because of having been, I am not as forgiving as I should be of those who are contentedly living within a religious culture that actively discourages contact. That would exclude most religions, including my own Catholicism, because they do not discourage meeting the child one gave up to adoption. From what I know, Mormonism does. Certainly the National Council for Adoption [NCFA] does, and the Church of the Latter Day Saints is a major component, though their adoption agencies, of that nefarious pro-adoption organization. NCFA is unquestionably one of the biggest stumbling blocks to allowing adoptees access to their original birth certificates. The only kind of adoptee-reunion legislation NCFA supports is a passive registry, with as many disqualifying caveats as they can unreasonably get legislators to agree to. So if anyone reading this is considering placing a child for adoption, stay as far away from any NCFA members as you can when choosing an agency. You can find a list of their members at their website.
As for first/birth/biological/original mothers who will not meet their children whom they relinquished for adoption, I know they exist. One has even gone so far as to sue the state of New Jersey for having released her identity to her daughter; another has a fervid website opposed to open records. While I truly deeply believe all mothers who have relinquished a child to adoption have an unwavering, unyielding, absolute obligation to meet their children at least once and open to door to those children to have a a relationship with their siblings if there are any, I try to find some compassion for those women, and birth father men, who struggle with this.
Where does this leave us? I do not have the answers. All I know is that giving up a child to the unknown, or even to known parents in an open adoption, is the most gut-wrenching, difficult, terrible, awful thing that a mother can do, and everyone suffers, mother and child. Birth mother and adoptee.
And the pain inflicted never ends. Adoption is the sorrow that goes on grieving.
Incidentally, the woman who posted the above comment has a blog of her own: Letters to Mrs. Feverfew. And longtime readers know that in the past we have written extensively about the Mormon church and adoption. See Mormon Opposition to Open Records,
and Rachel's Origins Don't Include Me
and An Inconvenient Appendage. For starters.