them. Apparently there is sometimes a glitch posting comment, as various people have told us. She thought we were not posting her comments on purpose, but we had never received them.
Melynda and I then began an exchange and with her permission, we are including part of our exchange from her blog here today:
"I guess my unique perspective is that the sealing ceremony [of the LDS] should give adoptive parents all the comfort and courage in the world. If they truly believe the sealing ceremony joins the adoptee to their family for time AND all eternity, then what does it hurt to let an adoptee find his or her natural parents? I suspect the resistance to the opening of sealed records has to do with the secrecy and shame surrounding single motherhood, especially during the era of mass surrenders.She also wrote more that brings new light to the subject of why the LDS officially has been so adamantly opposed to adoptees and birth parents who search, and has opposed any legislation, through their lobby organization, the National Council for Adoption, that would give adoptees the right to obtain their original birth certificates. For us on the outside, this oppostion has been maddening and damning to much new legislaiton. Our new friend wrote me in an email:
"In the early ’90s when I relinquished, I was told to NEVER tell anyone what had happened, that it would affect my chances at marriage and future callings or leadership positions. I was even told that I should not tell my future husband, who ever he might be. It was to be a secret and should remain that way until I died. If I was being told those kinds of things in the ’90s, I can only imagine what the mothers of early times had been told.
"One of the issues we struggle with as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is pride and in trying maintain the appearance of perfection. As you are well aware, many first mothers go on to over-compensate for their loss by becoming uber-successful in other areas of their lives. In the LDS culture, success is defined as having a perfect home life with perfect children and a perfect husband – anything less than that is considered substandard. So if a woman had been admonished to NEVER tell a soul about what happened or it will destroy her and her family, then spends the rest of her life in a very closed culture which reinforces prideful behavior towards “perfection” in the home, it is no wonder that she is terrified of what will happen if anyone were to find out. However, it doesn’t make it right. In fact, it is a great tragedy for all involved."
"In addition to what I shared with you about my experiences in the early '90s, there has been the compounding factor of stated LDS church policy in regards to first mothers and contact with their children. I am sure you have heard it before, but prior to last November the long-standing policy was as follows:And isn't that what we all want? Our daughters and sons to know that we did not forget them, that they live in our hearts, day after day, year after year, and that one day we can be a part of their lives in friendship and true union, without hurting the strong and good bond we hope that they have with their adoptive families.--lorraine
Adopted Children and Their Natural Parents (p. 173)"I have known several first mothers of the BSE (Baby Scoop Era) who went to their Bishops and told them they wanted to search for their now-grown children. They were reminded of the church policy stating that the only adoptee's family (note: NOT the adoptee, but their family) should search for natural family members is for non-identifying medical information. This was interpreted as also meaning the first mother should not search for her now-grown child lost to adoption. Also, these first mothers were gently reminded (and in one case not so gently) that affiliating with any organization (such as First Mother Forum, Concerned United Birthparents, or search websites) whose teachings were contrary to the church policy regarding no contact except for non-identifying medical information would jeopardize their membership in the church.
Local Church leaders should discourage adopted children and their adoptive parents from seeking to identify the children’s natural parents. When adopted children have genetic or medical problems, the family may seek medical information about the natural parents but should be discouraged from seeking their identities.
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (2006). Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1 Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics 2006. Salt Lake City: UT.)
"That old policy coupled with the cultural practices I told you about was a recipe for disaster for adoptees who might be searching for information and for first mothers who feared their eternal salvation was at stake if their identity was made known. Add on top of that a heavy dose of blame, shame, and the usual "you deserve what you got because you selfishly got pregnant" garbage and it is no wonder that so many first mothers in the LDS church are still afraid of what will happen if anyone discovers their truth.
"Fortunately change is afoot in the LDS church and the new policy which came out on November 13, 2010 states:
21.1.3 Adopted Children and Their Biological Parents (p. 180)Questions regarding the exchange of information and contact between adopted children and their biological parents should be handled with sensitivity. The legal rights and emotional needs of all relevant parties should be considered. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Administering the Church: Handbook 2)
"My hope and prayer is that armed with this new policy, I might be an instrument in helping some of the older first mothers find their way out of the adoption fog before they pass on. Hopefully as this new policy trickles down into the general membership of the church, some of these first mothers will begin to thaw in their attitude towards open records and such. Hopefully. All I know is that I will do everything I can to bring this about, once I am done with this ^#$# dissertation on March 31. (Note: She is finishing her dissertation.)
Thank you for your kind words about my blog - I sometimes wonder if my daughter is reading the letters and what she might think of them. I don't know if I will ever get answers to those questions though. She is still very much the good LDS adoptee who is grateful for the "miracle and blessing" of adoption and doesn't see a need for me to be a part of her life. I struggle with her choice, but I also understand that is her Tao, her path to walk, not mine. All I can do is keep writing just in case I am gone before she is ready to meet me."
You can link to the blog we are talking about here: No Hat Tossing for Me, Just Singing Solo on a Blacked-Out Stage and read our entire exchange.
The book above, The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Storiesis a wonderful collection of essays by first mothers, adoptees and adoptive parents. Full disclosure: I wrote one of the essays.
****And though this is a few days old, I want to share with everyone that Christy and Jason's Vaughn's appeal to the Supreme Court--to take back the boy they illegally held onto while his natural father fought for custody for three long years--has been denied. Looks like "Grayson" will remain with his father, Benjamin Wyrembek. Good things do happen!