Dear Ms. Feverfew –
On Saturday November 13, a new administration handbook, “Handbook 2: Administering the Church” was rolled out for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Some of the notable changes to adoption related issues are:
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.
Wow. Massive directional change from 2006’s handbook that recommended that the only contact between adoptees and their biological parents was for non-identifying medical information.
But here is an even more seismic shift in LDS adoption policy. After the usual “if you aren’t going to get married, then you should consider adoption” stance, the handbook says:
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. Leaders encourage the parent to have the child given a name and a blessing (see 20.2).
I sit here weeping, in part because I wonder where this compassion was 18 years ago. Our lives would be so different. I would have made you scrambled eggs and toast with homemade peach jam this morning, just like I did my other children. I sit here weeping, in part because maybe, just maybe, the heart of this church is beginning to thaw. Perhaps there is hope that in the future, LDS church leaders will recognize every mother and child as a family worthy of preserving.