What Has Gotten in to Me?

I called my new Bishop an hour or so ago, seeking an appointment with him. I was feeling brave enough to “read him in” about this whole adoption “thing” in my life. My hopes were that much like my amazing Bishop from my ward in Williamsburg, he would be able to talk with me and help me make some kind of sense about all of this. I really felt like I was making some progress with my old Bishop before we moved.

At any rate, I called him and I made an appointment. He asked me what it might be regarding and I hemmed and hawed and then just came out and told him it was about adoption and some unresolved issues I needed to work through.

He then told me about his brother and sister. Who are adopted. He then told me how when the older one was sealed to the family, the man performing the ordinance told his parents that this new adoptee would take on the genetic properties of their family. He then proceeded to tell me how he thought this is exactly what had happened with his adopted siblings – that they had become some similar they shared the same medical issues and likes and dislikes.

I lost it.

Yes, that’s right. Within a two week time period I have now officially LOST IT twice. A normally calm, rational, and reasoned Melynda had a complete come apart. And I mean my head popped off and spun around, screaming at my new Bishop, sobbing my guts out kind of come apart. I told yelled at him to cancel my appointment, I had heard enough and did not need to hear one more word from him EVER again.

I don’t know what has gotten in to me. I have endured nearly 19 years of being nice in the hopes that someday I would qualify to have a relationship with you and now…now I am PISSED. I am pissed at a culture that thinks it is OK to treat women and children like we have been treated. I am pissed at a culture that strips women of their motherhood in the name of God, while gently cooing, “it’s all about love.” I am pissed that when I scream “FOUL!” over it, this culture tells me too bad, so sad you got hurt, but things are different now and that I simply don’t understand “modern” adoption.

Nice Melynda seems to have taken a vacation and a new, fighting version of me has emerged in her place. And trust me, you don’t want to go up against a pointy-headed, well-researched pissed off natural mother who isn’t afraid to speak her mind anymore.

Today, my Bishop happened to step in it big time (no fault of his own) and he bore the brunt of it all.

To his credit, he did let me scream at him and when I was finally done, he actually took the time to tell me how sorry he was and that my Bishop back when you were with me had made a horrible, horrible mistake. (Yeah, tell me about it.) He reassured me that even though he didn’t know how, the Atonement could help ease my suffering. He also acknowledged that every single woman he has EVER talked with about losing a child to adoption has suffered lifelong grief, grief that never eased and seemed to grow bigger as the years go on (yeah, tell me about it).

I then asked him why we keep doing this as a church, why as a people we think this is an acceptable outcome for these precious daughters of God.

He didn’t have any answers, but at least he didn’t hang up on me.

He said he will keep the appointment open for me tomorrow – we don’t even have to talk about anything. He said he would just sit that and cry with me if that is what I need.

I don’t know what I will do at this point. It just felt good to have a priesthood leader tell me that Bishop Felix was wrong and what he did was flat out coercion.  Adoption was wrong for you and me. It was SO wrong. Is wrong. Will always be wrong.


15 thoughts on “What Has Gotten in to Me?

  1. It sounds like you did exactly what you needed to do to have your side/feelings known. I wish I had your chutzpah. Maybe as a Bishop he can help you to figure out where to go next in getting the Church to understand what their policies do to living, breathing women.

    Oh, and did you ever get my e-mail. I responded late, and I apologize, but I did want to make sure you got it.

    • Oh, thanks for reminding me, Desi!!!! I did read it and will get back with you. 🙂

      About getting my feelings/side/viewpoint FINALLY heard – why does it take screaming at a Bishop for someone to finally listen? I have spent the last 19 years crying about this – why did I have to have a complete and total come apart for someone in church leadership to FINALLY say, “Oh hey – you sound like you are in a lot of pain over this issue”?

      Ugh. And now I have to decide if I am going to keep the appointment with him tonight or not. My husband is out of town and so I have a perfect excuse not to because who will watch my kiddos? This isn’t one of those meetings I think it would be good to drag them to, you know?

  2. Good to see you acting a bit more like a normal human being, you made me wonder about your superhuman self control. I just hope she will be reading this soon.

    • Ha – my mom said the same thing about my “superhuman self control.” For whatever reason, I seem to have inherited the ability to endure A LOT of crap before I finally can’t take it any more. I think I did a relatively nice job of not engaging in a screamfest with my church leaders for the past 19 years. Hopefully I won’t do it again for another 19 because as we all know, yelling at someone usually makes them a bit defensive. To my Bishop’s credit, he didn’t get defensive at all and was full of a great deal of patience, especially considering the barrage of whateverthatwas I dumped on him.

  3. Hugs to you! He really did step in it, didn’t he???? Even though losing control is not how you wanted to handle it, I’m so glad that you at least felt “heard” and even validated afterwards. I’m sure you gave him something to chew on! I really admire your ability to speak out!


    • I have to chuckle as “speak” is a highly relative term in this situation. More like yell.

      Thinking back, I am totally impressed that he didn’t just hang up on me, but let me scream speak and just hung on through what can only be classified as a Cat 5 Melynda. He is a retired Blackhawk pilot who has seen several years of combat so maybe this was nothing to him. Perhaps me screaming at him for 10 straight minutes was a minor annoyance compared to being shot at by the Taliban?

      • Annoyance? He just had to remember combat and he could go back to enjoying the calm and quiet of listening to the ranting of a furious mommy who could not shoot at him and did not desire to do so either…

  4. “The man performing the ordinance told his parents that this new adoptee would take on the genetic properties of their family”

    The Mormon Church is not magic. Neither is adoption. These beliefs are so unbelievably stupid. I don’t know what I would have done had I been raised in a church that believed that adoption changes one’s DNA. Catholicism was bad enough…I mean, I know that to have faith means you have to believe in some unseen things/people/places, but we know, without a doubt, that our DNA cannot be changed by a church’s sealing/baptism/confirmation/voodoo/doctrine. Oye.

    It seems like this guy has just a smidgen of realism, though.

    • That’s pretty much would I told him, Linda. This whole crap about the genetics being changed is magical thinking!!!! I have heard it before from people adopted during the BSE and it makes me wonder, “WHHHHHHYYYYYYY????”

      The only thing I can come up with is that someone thought it might make adoptive parents feel more like “real” parents if they believed their child’s DNA actually changed to match their. Hogfreakinwash is all I have to say about that. Pull your head out the sand, adoptive parents, and deal with the fact that the child you are raising IS NOT YOUR FLESH AND BLOOD, regardless of how much you might love that child and that child might love you back, as I love my adoptive father. All the tender love of a parent will never change the fact that my DNA will never reflect his DNA.

      And yes, to my new Bishop’s everlasting credit he didn’t totally shut me down and tell me where to send my temple recommend. He actually tried to make an effort to understand where I was coming from and listen to my story. I think most importantly, he validated what I have known all along – adoption was WRONG for me and my daughter and my Bishop at the time used extremely coercive techniques to convince me to relinquish her for adoption. (In addition to being a lay clergy man my Bishop back in 1992 was a social worker so what else would he have told me?)

    • Yes, a social worker. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we have an unpaid lay clergy, meaning the leaders are drawn from the congregation and serve for a number of years with no compensation. Hence, they all have other jobs. My current Bishop is a retired Blackhawk helicopter pilot and currently owns/runs an elder care facility. My last Bishop was an IT professional who ran a company managing a huge database of all the non-profit organizations in the US. I have had others that were farmers, professors, rocket scientists, prison wardens, high school football coaches, attorneys, etc.

      My Bishop at the time I relinquished was a trained social worked, with a Master’s in Social Work. That, coupled with the LDS church’s stance on single expectant parents, led to a disaster that I will have to pay for for the rest of eternity.

  5. Look, unpaid lay clergy is not the problem, I’m familiar with that. But 1992 is about a dozen years after the time that the serious unmasking of the adoption option had started… If he had been a farmer, a rocket scientist, a prison warden or a football coach I would have used understandable ignorance in his defense, but as he is a social worker I cannot conclude anything but that he must have been an evil man in much greater need of atonement than you will ever be.

    • But you forget, we are talking about Utah and the LDS church, where time has stood still and the same tactics of the BSE are still very much in full play.

      But I agree, in 1992, things should have been different and he should have known better, especially as a social worker.

  6. Wow–you go girl! I have often said that “blood on the steps” of the Capitol (or any state capitol take your pick of 41) would get a lot of attention–from the media, from legislators, from adoptive parents and might do more to move the issue than other kinds of mild and well-mannered actions. You did way more good with your outburst than would have been possible if you had been polite.
    First mothers and adoptees should be way more outspoken and aggressive about their rights, but sadly, we have been lured into thinking polite behavior is the way to go. Gays learned long ago that acting out was useful; more testosterone in our movement would be good.

    • You did way more good with your outburst than would have been possible if you had been polite.

      I think you are right, Lorraine, as much as the Nice Girl version of Melynda doesn’t want to admit it. First I cuss my ex husband out and call him a baby-buying b@$#@&d and he totally back down and listens to what our son wanted for the first time in nearly 15 years. Then I have a very loud “come-to-Jesus meetin’ ” with my Bishop and for the first time in 19 years, I have a church leader acknowledge that what happened was wrong. You know what they say, rewarded behavior continues and if I keep getting rewarded for speaking my mind, I just might keep doing it. Perhaps with a bit less yelling and cussing, though.

      I recently read some books by Gavin de Becker, a personal security expert. In them he talks about the issue of how our culture teaches women to be nice. This niceness sets us up to become victims because we literally don’t have a voice. One of the things he stresses is that to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim, women MUST learn how to be mean, we MUST learn how to scream and yell and make a scene.

      Hmmm…I wonder if having all of those ideas percolating around in my brain for the past few weeks has released the mama bear in me that should have screamed and yelled at Bishop Felix to go to h-e-double hockey sticks 19 years ago.

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