National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 2, Part B: Love’s Labor (Not Lost to Adoption)


Today is a twofer blog post kind of day, thanks to a conversation I had last night with my fantastic, amazing, incredible, patient (and might I add ridiculously handsome) husband.  I won’t bore you today with all the details, but after I finished my rant about the LDS adoptive couple that took Ezra from his rightful parents instead of helping them through their temporary rough patch, he said to me, “Melynda, this is your life’s work. Fixing this (meaning how we LDS people view adoption) is what God called you to do.”

That seems like a pretty tall order. Especially for this high school drop out now PhD student, sometimes an academic, once divorced now married, and a once-upon-a-time single mom now a mostly stay-at-home-mom of a teenager, a school aged child, a rolly-poly infant, and a daughter lost to adoption.

And bless my husband’s ever lovin’ heart – he’s one of the types that believes if you are going to complain about something, then you had better have a plan to remedy the complaint.  So I have been thinking about how to “fix” what is wrong with LDS infant adoption and needless to say, the “field is white and ready to harvest.” (For all the non-LDS folks who might read these letters I write, that’s a metaphor for saying “there’s a heck of a lot of work to  be done.”)  I have wrestled with what I can do with the time I do have in the place I live ~ you know, the age-old question of “What is my sphere of influence? What are my skills best suited for? What is it, Lord, that you would have me do?”

While making bread today, I was thinking about this and it came to me. Along with all the research and political work that I plan to be engaged in once I am done with my PhD, I am going to open a young mother’s/maternity home  very unlike the ones we typically might think of. It will be called “Love’s Labor” and will provide a safe haven for mothers who feel like they want to parent, but don’t know if they are good enough or have the “right” kind of skills. Love’s Labor won’t be a maternity home that dumps young mothers out if they decide not to place for adoption – in fact, at Love’s Labor, infant adoption will be a hiss and a byword, a relic of a different age.

At Love’s Labor, young mothers will be connected with community sources, from counseling and parenting classes to lactation consultants, to housing assistance authorities, medical professionals and birth practitioners like midwives & doulas, to job training to any other sort of thing that expectant and new single mothers stand in need of. At Love’s Labor, they will have the opportunity to learn life skills that many young people today aren’t taught – from budgeting to food preparation to housekeeping skills. It will be a place where young expectant mothers can come to be relieved of the societal pressures to place for adoption and instead be taught of their true worth in the eyes of God. At Love’s Labor, they will learn that God is crazy about them and would never want one of His precious daughters to suffer the lifetime agony only a first mother knows.

I know it will be some time before I can have a brick and mortar establishment where I can welcome expectant and new mothers, but in the mean time, I can get the framework laid and start providing a place (at least online) for expectant single mothers to help connect them with resources that they may need to become successful parents.

Aside from raising competent, capable, and compassionate children who know their true worth in the eyes of God, my single most important goal in life is to prevent one more story like Ezra and his mother’s from ever happening again. Love’s Labor seems like a good place to start.

So now I need to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Do you happen to know of any graphic artists, code-queens, or other webbies that might be able to help me get a website up and going? Maybe you might know of some other first moms or adoptees (or gasp, even adoptive parents) who might want to help get Love’s Labor going.

Much love and belief for the second time today –

M.

14 thoughts on “National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 2, Part B: Love’s Labor (Not Lost to Adoption)

  1. Oh Melynda,
    It is you that makes me ALMOST want to give the LDS church another shot. I can’t thank you enough for writing from your heart. If you want ever want to have a “Labor of Love” building in California especially the Bay Area, I will help with it. Seriously I will. Utah County, Utah needs something like this too. I have been told Utah County has the highest adoption rate in the US. Would it be blasphemy to hand out pamphlets in front of LDSFS? Sorry I’ve always had a bit of a rebel spirit.
    Jeannette

    • Sorry I’ve always had a bit of a rebel spirit.

      That’s what this will take, Jeanette. A rebel spirit and the courage to stand up to a lot of criticism. I fully expect to be “called on the carpet” about doing this – but you know what, I am at the point that I am like “Bring it on.”

      I love your idea of opening a Love’s Labor there in CA – maybe that could be the first brick and mortar place. My husband’s job has us globe trotting for the next 15 years and so I have worried about how to establish a more permanent physical location. Maybe you are the answer!!! Much to think about, much to think about…

      Melynda

      • Well, you might want to start in some place that is more central. No offense, but things started in CA have a tendency to be labeled on the liberal side of what the heck! and it also makes it harder to spread the work.

        But you seem to be only interested in the LDS community…why not the world community?

      • Lori – Great comments! They raise issues I have been wrestling with myself.

        I am interested in the world community, it’s just that I know the LDS culture and I know how they react to “outside” influences or organizations that even remotely appear to cater to the “outside” world. We tend to be a…uh…hmmm…how do I say this politely…a closed society. If Love’s Labor even remotely has any “outside” influences, most party-line Mormons will turn their noses up at it and not even give it a second glance. It’s just like you observed – things started in CA (or anywhere outside of Utah in this case!) have a tendency to be labeled liberal or fringe elements and as members of the LDS church, we are constantly cautioned to be on our guard against “outside influences.”

        Right now, I feel moved to focus on the LDS single expectant mother community because (a) I was that woman once and (b) I am still an active, temple recommend holding, do my Visiting Teaching every month member of the church. Members of the LDS church will be more likely to listen to my story, my experience, and my solution because of this. In my heart, I know this effort will eventually grow to a broader perspective and audience but if I don’t establish my “cred” with the LDS folks first, then it will make it extremely difficult to do it in the future.

        The service Love’s Labor will provide for single expectant parents will be useful to those not of the LDS faith. However, at least initially it will necessarily have to focus on some of the significant cultural hurdles that LDS single expectant mothers face, particularly those who live in UT. Once I get a good solid foundation built there, then this effort can start to branch out. I am hoping that within a year or two of starting things up in UT, other chapters can be opened in other areas of the US.

        Thanks again for the insightful comment –

        M.

  2. Great minds think alike!!

    I have wanted to do this since 1998 after I lost Amber and there is another girl I met in NZ whose sister was raped and lost her child to adoption who wanted to do it with me. Sadly we lost contact BUT I still want to do this, especially in New Zealand. We don’t need one so much in Australia but they do in NZ.

    I wish you all the very, very best with it and I hope there wil be one in every state one day 🙂 No pressure lol!! Sounds fabulous and I love the name. Wish I knew of graphic artists etc that could be of use but I will pray the right one comes along very soon.

    You go girl!! Make sure you look after yourself in this process as well.

    Lot of love and much support being sent all the way from Australia,
    Myst xxx

    • Wow…wouldn’t it be cool if there was a place like this in every state???? And if you start one over there and I do it over here, then that would give me an excellent excuse to visit NZ!

      And you must have been talking to my husband – he is constantly reminding me to slow down, take a nap, relax, take care of myself. Maybe great minds (yours and his) really do think alike!

      M.

  3. My roots are in California I have lived in the same area since I was 3 years old. I do know someone that does graphic artist. She happens to be my sister and lives about 15 miles from me. Her company is Spitfire Advertising she designs and produces company apparel. She has a very small site on facebook if you want to check it out.

  4. I have said for years that if I ever came into big $$, I would open a place just like you have described!

    No big fancy mansion somewhere, if this mother would win the lotto, I would stay right where I am and help mothers stay mothers!

    • No fancy mansion here either, but maybe a nice cozy bed and breakfast type of place with a big garden out back (vegetable and flowers, of course!), and lots of room for moms and their babies to grow and learn. You know, a home – not a hotel. Kind of like a Ronald McDonald house but with a different purpose.

      M.

  5. Melynda,
    I know this is crazy, and for some reason our Father in heven has brought us to each other through this crazy thing called the web. I come from accountants/computer nerds. My dad does websites and “plays with computers” ie takes them apart cusses at them and then fixes them. His degree is in accounting. All of my family dabbles in computers to a point. I have a brother that does IT as a job and another brother that plays computer games for a living. My sisters mostly all own their own businesses.
    one does accounting, one is a lawyer, and one does the apparel/graphic designs. My other sister is a manager at a warehouse and does their accounting.

    My dad’s little website is http://www.heartslinked.com if you want to see what he can do. He hasn’t updated in a while but in the last 2 years he has moved from California to Cache valley and him and my mom have had a few surgeries to keep their old bodies running. They are doing alot better now.

    Jeannette

  6. M..I just truly love you…and now I love Jeannette! I wish I had more to add than my lowly cyber support, but once it’s up and running, you can bet your sweet cheeks that I’ll be the first one “advertising” Love’s Labor on my blog!

    • Thanks, Christina. I know how you feel – I wish I had more to add as well, but yesterday as I was making dinner I was channeling my inner Kung-Fu Panda and I had a thought. It’s really easy to break one spaghetti noodle all by it’s lonesome but get a giant handful of them, and it is nearly impossible. Alone we can’t do much, but together we can be strong. I figure every little bit that each of us can add will only make this project stronger.

      I can’t do every thing, but I can do something. My hope is that we can get enough of us doing something that eventually every thing will be taken care of!

      Blessings to you Christina –

      M.

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