Hayes had joined the church with her mother, and knew the Romneys so well that as a teenager, Hayes baby-sat for the Romney boys in Boston. In her last year of high school, however, her mother abruptly moved with her daughter to Salt Lake City. Peggie married, moved to Los Angeles, had a daughter, divorced, and eventually moved back to the Boston area, where she made contact again with the Romneys. She stayed a member of the Mormon church.
In 1983, Hayes was 23, a nurses' aid struggling with her finances, and Romney was not only her church leader as her bishop, but she also thought of him as a friend. He helped find her odd jobs with other members of the church. Then Hayes became pregnant, and though marriage was not part of the equation, she looked forward to having another child. “I kind of felt like I could do it,” she is quoted as saying in the book. “And I wanted to.”
GIVE UP THAT BABY, YOU SINNER!
But Romney, hoeing to Mormon policy of discouraging out-of-wedlock mothers, sat down with her and "said something about the church's adoption agency." From the excerpt in Vanity Fair:
Hayes initially thought she must have misunderstood. But Romney’s intent became apparent: he was urging her to give up her soon-to-be-born son for adoption, saying that was what the church wanted. Indeed, the church encourages adoption in cases where a successful marriage is unlikely.ROMNEY LETS HAYES DOWN
Hayes was deeply insulted. She told him she would never surrender her child. Sure, her life wasn’t exactly the picture of Rockwellian harmony, but she felt she was on a path to stability. In that moment, she also felt intimidated. Here was Romney, who held great power as her church leader and was the head of a wealthy, prominent Belmont family, sitting in her gritty apartment making grave demands. “And then he says, ‘Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church,’ ” Hayes recalled. It was a serious threat. At that point Hayes still valued her place within the Mormon Church. “This is not playing around,” she said. “This is not like ‘You don’t get to take Communion.’ This is like ‘You will not be saved. You will never see the face of God.’ ” Romney would later deny that he had threatened Hayes with excommunication, but Hayes said his message was crystal clear: “Give up your son or give up your God.”
Hayes gave birth to a son she named Dane. Before he was a year old, he needed risky surgery because the bones in his head were fused together, restricting the growth of his brain. They would have to be separated. Hayes looked to her church for emotional and spiritual support, and, setting aside their uncomfortable conversation before the baby's birth, called Romney and asked him to come to the hospital to give her baby a blessing. Hayes was expecting him, but two people she didn’t know showed up instead. From VF:
She was crushed. “I needed him,” she said. “It was very significant that he didn’t come.” Sitting there in the hospital, Hayes decided she was finished with the Mormon Church. The decision was easy, yet she made it with a heavy heart. To this day, she remains grateful to Romney and others in the church for all they did for her family. But she shudders at what they were asking her to do in return, especially when she pulls out pictures of Dane, now a 27-year-old electrician in Salt Lake City. “There’s my baby,” she said.Though this happened in 1983, but from what we read and have learned about the pro-adoption stance in Mormonism and the state of Utah, where LDS is headquartered and is extremely influential politically, we do not believe that much has changed since within official policy. A recent expose in the Salt Lake Tribune about adoption policies at Utah agencies, whether LDS agencies are not, shows that they are reflective of the kind of anti-single-mother/pro-adoption policy that Hayes says Romney trumpeted three decades ago.
BRAINWASHING BIRTH MOTHERS
It is one thing to have a leader of our country that is against a woman's right to choose to have an abortion or not; it is quite another to have a leader who is a member of an organization that so strongly urges single women to relinquish their children if they are unmarried. We have seen the "proud to be a birth mother" blogs run by Mormon women and frankly, we are appalled. Why would anyone be proud to give up a child to adoption? Yet this is the kind of brain-washing that LDS continues to perpetuate.
Church dogma is not that children must be adopted. However, church dogma unequivocally states that children are entitled to a two-parent family: "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity," is included in THE FAMILY: A Proclamation to the World, which is dogma. Elsewhere, in numerous articles in the Mormon magazine, Ensign, and at Church meetings, the Church promotes adoption as the best choice for single pregnant women. The overall take-away is that keeping a child if you are a single mother is selfish, dooming a child, not only in this life but for all eternity.
We know from communication here that not all agency workers at LDS agencies are this earnest in their efforts to have all children born to single mothers adopted by others.
One has to be a strong and brave woman to stand up against the pressures of the LDS strictures. LDS is not like Catholicism, where in America there are "cafeteria Catholics" who go to Mass on Sunday but use birth control on Saturday. To be a Mormon in good standing, the rules are strict, no exceptions. How many more mothers and children must be sacrificed in order to hoe to church dogma until the elders have a divine revelation and LDS policy changes?
In this day and age, after all that we have learned about the psychological harm to both mother and child in unnecessary adoptions, urging any mother who wants to keep her baby to give him up to strangers is cruel and unusual punishment.--lorraine
For those interested in the story about Romney driving to Canada with the family Irish setter in a box on top of the car, details emerge. Yes, the dog pooped on the way, and the runny effluence could be seen inside the car. The family stopped, cleaned up the mess, and continued. The poor pooch stayed in his cage on top of the car. From VF: It was a preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management. But the story would trail him years later on the national political stage, where the name Seamus would become shorthand for Romney’s coldly clinical approach to problem solving. Poor dog, we say.
An LDS birth mother talks about her church, search and reunion, and the LDS position on such matters
Mormon Myths and Adoption Records
Unwed Fathers Can't Win Against the Mormons in Utah
Utah's laws designed to thwart birth fathers
Adoption and the Mormon Church
Adoption Reform and the LDS Church
From the LDS website: THE FAMILY: A Proclamation to the World