' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Is LDS Family Services getting out of the adoption business?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Is LDS Family Services getting out of the adoption business?

According to a source that seems to have the juice, LDS Family Services will be getting out of the adoption business ENTIRELY at the end of 2013. My source says that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints will no longer be doing adoptions, and they are letting go all of their adoption-related staff prior to Christmas. They also say they will continue to offer their "free lifelong counseling" to the women who have already lost a child to their system.

The source, who says that this was confirmed by a friend who is a social worker for LDS Family Services, says this had been rumored to be in the works for about two years. While there is likely to be no official reason given by the LDS church as to why it is getting out of the adoption business, "but within the rank and file workers, it is thought to be because of the pending lawsuits against LDSFS in relation to father's rights, as well as the "gay adoption issue."

A source tells FMF outside of Utah, LDSFS has been quietly getting out of the adoption business for years, and many LDS Family Services already do not do adoptions, but this will mark a dramatic end to most or all adoption services.

Makes sense to me. As LDSFS has 62 agencies (according to Wikipedia) in the United States and elsewhere, the policies and practices of the Mormon religion regarding adoption could be running afoul of new state laws in Utah that make it less onerous for a father to claim a child about to be put up for adoption, but also gay rights, since LDS would find it repugnant to comply with the requirement of some state agencies that licensed adoption agencies allow gay people to adopt.We do hear of the cases where fathers have gone to the courts to stop adoptions, but because of the cost involved, there may be many troubling cases involving father's rights that are sub rosa.

The real question is: What will this do to the National Council for Adoption, our staunch and relentless opponent regarding opening sealed birth certificates? When Florence Fisher and I testified in Washington, DC in the Seventies when there was a glimmer of a possibility of federal legislation opening the sealed birth certificates, NCFA supplied an anonymous birth mother to counter my testimony. She openly wept when I spoke, and her two handlers were hugging her as I walked past her and sat down. At that moment I had no compassion for the woman for I knew how much harm she, and others like her, were doing to our movement.

NCFA's website no longer has a listing of all the member agencies so you can see at a glance how many are LDS, but a large percentage are, thus providing a hefty bundle of NCFA funds for their lobby efforts. Bethany is the other large member agency, with multiple offices in several states. (The other day as noted in the previous post, I found four Bethany agencies in Michigan, my state of origin; however at the NCFA site, seven in Michigan alone were listed.)

To see which agencies belong, you now have to click on each state. A quick check of Utah and several surrounding states came up with 21 LDSFS agencies, 8 in Utah, 5 in Idaho, 4 in Arizona, 2 in New Mexico, and 1 apiece in Colorado and Nebraska. Wikipedia lists LDSFS as having agencies outside of the U.S. in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Japan; not all of them do adoptions. If LDSFS is indeed going out of the adoption business, there will be a great many adoption social workers looking for a change of career.

Perhaps this move by LDSFS is part of a larger trend. Jane reported recently that Spence-Chapin in New York was also getting out of the adoption business--at least for domestic infants. Our last post was about the files adrift from New Life Adoption agency in Syracuse that folded two years ago, and before that, we reported on an agency in San Antonio that shut down in 2012. Who's next? Clearly adoption of domestic infants is no longer the profit center it has been for decades.

Other than being offered a child this morning on Facebook from an orphanage in Africa, I have nothing else to report. I asked the person who messaged me if this is how he found adoptive parents, and he said, yes, as well as "from sites like parentprofiles.com, adopting.com and many others." I did not have the energy to play along and see how far I got with adopting one of the children he has available. --lorraine
Adoption Reform and the LDS Church
Mormon Opposition to Open Records
Mormons on Meeting Your (Birth) Child 
An LDS birth mother talks about her church, search and reunion, and the LDS position on such matters
Mormon Myths and Adoption Records
Utah's anti-father policies an offshoot of Mormon agenda
Utah rules against natural father. Again. And again. Adoption is big business there. 
Spence-Chapin out of the infant adoption business
Get them while you can: Adoption files in Syracuse

The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
This book is controversial among some who reject its premise, but reading it after I found my daughter, I found Nancy Verrier's thesis all made sense to me, and I recommended this to not only first mothers like myself, but also adoptive parents and adoptees. Here is a quote from an adoptee at Amazon: "I can finally make sense of the way I feel and the things I do. finally, there are people who are like me." Verrier is an adoptive mother, and a regular speaker at CUB retreats.


  1. You were offered a child on Facebook? How is that not trafficking? Anyone can put up a profile. I am sure pedophiles already have that figured out.
    I commend you for the energy you do have for all of this, Lorraine. I am so new to this scene, and I am already tired of hearing all of the madness.
    I hope you are correct and we are seeing the beginning of the end to adoption agencies in this for the money and controlling legislation through their lobbying power. Great news!

  2. I know you won't but you really need to rest my sweet friend (((hugs)))

    Karen Wheeler

  3. I think I have the same source who told me the same thing last night. I'm hesitant to get too overjoyed because there has been a rumor since 2012 that this was happening. My family is LDS still so I'm going to see what I can find out from their end, and if anyone knows.

    Also, in Canada, LDSFS does adoptions. Unless it's changed recently, they were still doing them in Alberta.

  4. Lorraine I too was utterly shocked that you were offered a child for adoption. My heart bleeds for children who are the mercy of an unscrupulous business rather than in the nurturing, loving care of their families.

  5. "Other than being offered a child this morning on Facebook from an orphanage in Africa"

    Have you notified Facebook about this? I agree with Kellie C, how is this not trafficking? This sounds like something that needs to be reported, both to Facebook and the authorities.

  6. I will notify Facebook--but who else? I wish I had some kind of international policeman standing over my shoulder while I continued to engage him or her and say I could take a child. The individual said he has an orphanage..

    we are an orphanage that are looking for caring , kind and loving families or couples or even singles that are looking to adopt a child.

    ...because we are giving out the children in our orphanage for adoption.so do you wish to adopt?

    ME: Do you find them this way, on Facebook?

    ..we find some on facebook, and we also contact sites like parentprofiles.com,adopting.com and many others
    so do you want to adopt a child?
    a few seconds ago

    hello are you there?

    ME: this is not seem like a good way to find parents. How do you know they are good people?

    because before we give you the child you have to come to our location in cameroon and stay with the child for a period of a month or two before we give the child to you , so as to ensure that you both can stay together ok

    end of conversation

    I just reported it the conversation to Facebook. Eight of my Facebook friends are also friends of his. I think he is picking up likely prospects from the various adoption pages but not checking carefully who and what they are writing about.

  7. Off topic, but irresitible: This was in the Modern Love column in the NY Times today, about a mother who lets her daughter and her daughter's boy friend live with her during their vacation time: The mother/author of the piece, Judith Gille,is speaking about herself here:

    "I was raised in a conservative Midwestern family by a mother whose worst fear was that one of her four daughters would get pregnant out of wedlock. Nothing, short of maybe our dying, could have been worse. Even when we had reached college age and were all responsibly taking the pill, we still weren’t allowed to sleep with our boyfriends at her house."

    And this is why young women who got pregnant did not tell their parents if they could avoid doing so...I was one of them. So was fellow blogger Jane.

  8. Scotland Yard, perhaps? They have reopened the case of the missing British girl, Madeleine McCann. The latest stories say she may have been a victim of a child trafficking operation.

  9. Robin: I did hear that, and what you suggest would not surprise me in the least. She was a very cute little girl.

  10. "Other than being offered a child this morning on Facebook from an orphanage in Africa"

    I guess you are not familiar with the famous Nigerian scam emails. I would be shocked if this person had anything to do with any Orphanage. He is simply contacting people looking to adopt in an attempt to steal their money. Its a very common practice.

  11. The African baby -- it might be one of those Nigerian scams. No baby; they just want money. Either way, it's a crime. You might pass it on to the FBI.

  12. Oh thank God. I've left the Mormon religion, but I will never forgive them for a life destroyed for taking me from my biological parents and selling me to a woefully incompetent set of parents who treated me like property and failed to provide for me (I've cut off contact with my adopters in adulthood).

    Out, LDS Family Services. Out, and never, ever return.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. My best friend is a Mormon and has always been supportive and kind to me when I found my first son 8 years ago this month. The tide towards adoption in the US does seem to be changing and hopefully/thankfully for the better. BUT then I recieve an email reply from my first son's first adoptive father (he relenquished his adoptive parent rights) with this admonishment - "your arguments would hold more water if you would invest more time and effort in finding fault with the secular mindset that has become the lifestyle of choice for so many people. I found nothing in any of those articles that made any attempt at all to point out that SIN was the precursors to the problem in the majority of cases."
    "I see you trying to eliminate the EFFECT of the problem while totally avoiding the SIN that caused the problem in the first place." Well that really pushed my bottons to say the least. There is still a silent and sometimes not so silent prejudice against single mothers.

  15. I agree with Jane that Lo should pass this information on to the FBI. Nigeria is notorious as an originator for email scams. When they saw your area was adoption, they may have targeted the scam to you by using the orphanage ruse.

  16. Gawd, Karen,
    Sad to read there are still neanderthals like your son's former adoptive father. Fortunately, their numbers are getting smaller.

  17. Karen Dawber wrote:" BUT then I recieve an email reply from my first son's first adoptive father (he relenquished his adoptive parent rights) ...

    FIRST adoptive father? What gives him the right to be "Mr. Holier Than Thou" when he reneged on his obligation? An adoptive parent is not supposed to be the FIRST adoptive parent, he made a commitment to be the boy's FOREVER FATHER. He sounds like a pompous ass. The only thing you have to feel bad about is letting this creep be your son's faux father in the first place.

    It sounds like when this FIRST adoptive father got tired of his relationship, and didn't want to financially support the boy anymore, he felt it was okay to bow out of his obligation. This man doesn't have a leg to stand on when criticizing anyone else. Part of that secular lifestyle he is so critical of includes not keeping one's commitments, which is exactly what he did.

  18. The fact LDS Family Services is getting out of the adodoption business is a **huge** step. LDSFS started encouraging and facilitating open adoptions/post adoption contact about many years before official church policy changed. Current LDS church policy now states, "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." (https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/selected-church-policies?lang=eng&query=adoption#21.1.3)

    Prior to this change in 2010, official policy was NO contact for ANY reason except medical info, and then it was to ONLY be non-identifying.

    It was because of the efforts of young, less indoctrinated employees who pushed for these more compassionate (though not perfect) practices, which eventually brought about the official policy change.

    These same LDSFS workers were also behind the push in 2010 to change official LDS church policy in regards to single mothers keeping their child. Policy now states, "If an expectant parent decides to parent the child, Church leaders and other members should treat the parent and child with care and compassion and seek to strengthen parenting skills. LDS Family Services may help in these circumstances. " Prior to this, official policy was marry the father or relinquish for adoption. Period. Families were even admonished NOT to help care for unwed mothers prior to 2010 in official LDS policy.

    I am in no way defending their actions in all of the terrible cases in which they have been/are currently involved. However, I believe as the "old guard" is retiring/dieing off, we will begin to see a slow, but seismic shift with how single expectant parents are treated in the LDS church. We can see this beginning in statements such as the ones given at recent General Conferences of the LDS church:

    “You devoted sisters who are ***single parents for whatever reason***, our hearts reach out to you with appreciation. Prophets have made it clear ‘that many hands stand ready to help you. The Lord is not unmindful of you. Neither is His Church.’ ” (April, 2011. Elder Quinten L. Cook, quoting President Gordon B. Hinkley from 1996; my emphasis)"


    "Some...are raising children as single mothers or single fathers. These are temporary states. In the eternal scheme of things—not always in mortality—righteous yearning and longing will be fulfilled." (Boyd K. Packer, 2012. And a Little Child Shall Lead Them).


    "With God’s help, you need not fear for the future. Your children will grow up and call you blessed, and every single one of their many achievements will stand as a tribute to you. Please never feel that you are in some kind of second-tier subcategory of Church membership, somehow less entitled to the Lord’s blessings than others. In the kingdom of God there are no second-class citizens." (David Baxter, 2012. Faith, Fortitude, and Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents)."

    The LDS church and LDSFS have a long way to go to make recompense for their many egregious sins towards single mothers and their children, but these statements taken in conjunction with the recent decision to shutter the adoption services of LDS Family Services point to a massive shift in policy and opinion that is emerging in the LDS church.

    There are a few points I am intensely curious to have addressed: What is going to happen to all of the records of the adoptions they have handled? What will happen to all of the cases in which they facilitate communication between the adoptive family and natural parents? I have called my local LDSFS office, both to verify the closing of their services by the end of 2013 and to see if these other issues can be addressed.

  19. This change towards single mothers is great news Melynda. My Mormon relatives have been telling me that they frequently see single mothers in church.

    With the Pope putting abortion, birth control, and gay marriage on a back burner and the LDS Church accepting single mothers, the world is looking a bit brighter to this old "sinner."

  20. I hope it proves to be true that LDS Social Services are getting out of adoption, as they have been terrible offenders in pressuring mothers to surrender, not to mention supporting NCFA and sealed records in a big way.

    I will believe it when I see it, not just a rumour. What I am hearing is that the LDS church still recommends quick marriage or surrender to unwed mothers, so their child can be raised by a temple-worthy married couple headed by a priesthood holder (all Mormon males).

    If true, I also fear that the slack will be taken up by all the shady private adoption facilitators in Utah, many of whom are run by LDS members. We all know Utah has terrible laws that restrict father's rights, and that the practice of bringing in pregnant mothers from other states to surrender in Utah is common.

    "We no longer do adoptions here, but call Bishop Jared, or Sister LaDawna's private agency and I am sure they can help you out (wink, wink)" Hope I am wrong, but am a bit cynical about this.

  21. Maryanne: My source is pretty good, and there will likely not be an official announcement. But LDS adoption social workers have been told that their employment will end before Christmas.

    Yet it is likely that LDS will go on recommending a quickie marriage, and in some cases, surrender of a child. Remember the scandal a year or two ago when an African-American basketball player at BYU got his girl friend pregnant? Someone who followed her on Facebook was pretty sure that she gave up the child, from the tenor of what she wrote there. It may be easier for the single mothers today but old habits die hard.

    I am thinking of Catholic Charities in NJ, Chris Christie who vetoed the NJ bill, the NJ ACLU...all the opposition In the NY legislature, the Ohio bill that almost passed but did not, etc.

  22. Lorraine - Jayci Stephen who got pregnant by Brandon Davies@ BYU did in fact place their son for adoption. She frequently tweets pictures of him or posts them on instagram. If you go back to the time period right after he was born, she tweets about how sad it was to file his birth certificate information knowing she wasn't his mommy anymore. http://instagram.com/p/ebGi9qObfl/#

    She is currently working as a nanny and still likes to taunt people with gay slurs on twitter: https://twitter.com/jaycipenni

  23. Lorraine--I am very curious about what you and others are saying about the LDS Family Services opting out of the adoption business. Do you know when this will happen? I don't want to ask you for names, but in what state did you hear of it?

    Very interesting....

  24. carolyn k,
    We heard from a social worker in Utah that LDS Family Service would stop doing adoptions. We have not heard anything more.

  25. Jane,

    Thanks for your response on my previous inquiry. I did also inquire today about if the LDS Church will pull out of the adoption business and the response from a SoCal office was "there's been talk but nothing official yet." The person said the church will continue with referrals but probably will pull out of adoptions by early next year.

    Keep in touch--if you hear anything, let us know.



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