Saturday, October 30, 2010

Update - October 30, 2010

The major portion of this blog was created in 2005, as the Baby Tamia story unfolded. Typically, soon after this child was returned to her family and the press covered her welcoming festivities, the atrocities committed in the Baby Tamia case were set aside and largely forgotten by the media.

There was one exception, however. Illinois subsequently passed legislation that would prevent out-of-state adoption predator agencies from operating in their state without being licensed. If only all other states would follow Illinois' lead!

This blog became dormant since then, and as time passed, links to news and other sources became useless. I considered taking the blog down altogether. However, I decided there was timeless material here that needed to be exposed, so it was worth salvaging – and perhaps even expanding.

With that in mind, I set about finding alternate sources for the broken links and then rewrote, expanded, reformatted, and added new material to the site. I even chose a new site design template. One great source for renewing linkages was Pound Pup Legacy, a phenomenal source for up-to-date news on all aspects of adoption and foster care. Niels and Kerry are truly generals in the adoption reform army!

I have also made the decision to add new blogs, linked to this one, with all new material on a wide range of topics that may be used by everyone 'in the trenches' for adoption reform.

I invite you to submit any new material you might have on specific topics addressed in these blogs. Be sure to include sources, including (if applicable) URL links.

Send them here:
TheAdoptionDigger@gmail.com

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Baby Tamia Story and other Utah adoption atrocities


NOTE: Posting dates are irrelevant here, so ignore them. This blog is designed to be read from the top down.

'A Cherished Child' - what a delightful name for an adoption agency! Wouldn't it make one assume its endeavors were aimed at bettering the lives of children entrusted to it?

As a number of Illinois famililies have learned, most painfully, agencies like 'A Cherished Child' in Utah appear far more interested in collecting the brokering fees than in the welfare of the babies they place. Ethics are cast to the four winds, as are laws designed to protect all parties to adoption.

Baby Tamia's family was one of those families.

Carmen McDonald, suffering from post-partum depression and bipolar disorder, felt overwhelmed, and in a weak moment called an 800 number she found for 'A Cherished Child' to explore the possibility of placing her child for adoption.

The next thing she knew, she and her three-month-old baby daughter were flown from her home in Illinois to Utah, where she was housed and 'counseled' in a hotel room. Within hours, she was asked to sign a relinquishment document, with just an agency representative and a hotel clerk as witnesses. When she attempted to back out, she was threatened with being left without return airfare for Baby Tamia and her, which would have left them stranded - and with no money - in Utah. Frightened and feeling alone (she hadn't informed her mother of her contact with A Cherished Child), she caved in and signed.

What resulted was a total breakdown for Carmen. When her mother learned what had been done to her, she immediately set out to rally the support of Illinois officials, her church, and others who could help her bring Baby Tamia back to Illinois.

The frosting on the cake was when Baby Tamia's prospective adoptive parents, with whom Tamia already had been placed, were arrested on drug charges, putting Baby Tamia in the care of Child Protective Services.


You'll find an excellent collection of newspaper accounts of the Baby Tamia story on Pound Pup Legacy. Also included are editorials by Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times. It's safe to say it was Ms Mitchell's rallying of Illinois' citizens, plus the dedication and hard work of Carmen's church, that were instrumental in bringing Baby Tamia home to her family.

Other victimized mothers

The Baby Tamia case was far from unique. Because of all the media attention it garnered, it brought the nation's attention to the horrendous predator activities being carried out all over the United States by agencies operating out of Utah.

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times, has written a series of excellent columns on the Baby Tamia case and on the victimization of poor (and especially black) mothers by Utah predators. She gives examples of two more Illinois mothers victimized by Utah adoption brokers:

(Summary)
Eula McNulty, a 23-year-old Chicago mother of a seven-month-old, suffering from depression, saw a TV commercial for 'Adoption Center of Choice' and called the toll-free number. She was sent an e-ticket to fly to Utah, where she was assured the baby's father would be contacted. He wasn't. What's more, when McNulty left Utah after surrendering her baby, she was given an envelope with $1300 in it (ostensibly for 'expenses'). She felt terrible - as though she had sold her baby.

Quoting Mary Mitchell from a column entitled '
Parents ensnared':
McNulty is not the only poor, desperate woman who went to Utah. Another woman who is too ashamed to let her name be used took her young twins and an infant to that state. She was given $1,300 in cash, supposedly to cover her travel and meal expenses. The children's father is fighting to get them back.

Prospective adoptive parents rescue Chicago mother

The Baby Tamia case brought to light an account of another Chicago mother, also brought to Utah by A Cherished Child, who tried to back out of relinquishing her baby. The following is an excerpt from "Tamia case an instance of déjà vu?", subtitled 'Utah parents say they had a similar adoption horror', published in the March 27, 2005, issue of The Salt Lake Tribune:
The allegations brought back memories for the Mintzes, who say they experienced the "seamy side of adoption" firsthand.

When their birth mother backed out, minutes before she was scheduled to deliver via Cesarean section, the Mintzes say A Cherished Child's director Ruby Johnston flew into rage.

"She started screaming at [her] and saying, 'You can't do this. You made a deal.' She was intimidating this girl right as she was about to have this baby," said Steve Mintz, who works as a surgeon at Salt Lake Regional.

Carolyn Mintz said, "I was devastated that we weren't bringing home a baby. But we weren't about to take a child from someone who desperately wanted her."

Steve Mintz says Johnston apologized profusely, claiming this had never happened before, but "the OB-GYN looked at her and said, 'What about that Vietnamese girl last month?' "

That comment triggered an "aha" moment for the couple, who decided to cut all ties with the agency.

In McDonald's lawsuit, she claims Johnston threatened to strand her in Salt Lake City if she did not surrender her daughter. The Mintzes wonder if that happened to the birth mother they met, who also was from Chicago. They were stunned to see her weeks later, featured with her infant daughter in a Salt Lake City TV news segment about overflowing homeless shelters.

"I don't even know if Ruby [Johnston] gave her bus fare to get back home," said Steve Mintz. "We gave her a little money and set her up with social services."
"Baby Warehouse"

That's the name Utah adoption attorney Phillip Lowery has given to his state:

In Illinois, the adoption has sparked a lawsuit by McDonald, seeking Tamia's return, and accusations that Utah adoption agencies prey on vulnerable, low-income African American women. In Utah, the case has renewed debate over whether the scant oversight provided by state and federal laws has turned the state into a "baby warehouse."
The Utah adoption debate: Phillip Lowry, an Orem attorney who has filed lawsuits for fathers and another Chicago grandmother attacking Utah adoptions, says Utah's laws attract parents and birth mothers from other states.
"Utah has come to be known as a baby warehouse," where mothers and adoptive parents can "minimize legal hassles," Lowry said. "There are no guards at the door going in or out."
Under current law, private adoption contracts between individuals must go before a judge. But licensed adoption agencies need only two witnesses present at the time the mother signs over custody of the child.
Says Lowery in an article published on the NBC5.com website on 2/17/05:
"They are inducing natural mothers to come to Utah with babies or to give birth. Adoption agencies are setting up shop, putting up ads in Yellow Pages all across the country with 800 numbers."
He claims that Utah's adoption laws are attracting ever more new agencies - thirteen licensed just in recent years.
"Utah Laws Not Likely to Change - Mormon-controlled Legislature"

From the Salt Lake Tribune article, "Is Utah a 'baby warehouse'?" :
Proposals to amend Utah adoption laws have fallen flat before the predominantly Mormon Legislature. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints runs 12 of the state's 37 licensed adoption agencies. A bill before the 2005 Legislature would mandate offering psychological counseling to all birth mothers. That move, or requiring a judge to sign off on all relinquishments, might prevent lawsuits like the one filed by the McDonalds, Lowry said. (Utah adoption attorney Phillip Lowry)

Fathers Lose their Children to Utah Predators

Illinois father's rights trampled - judge orders his child returned

Quoting from the NBC5.com article, 'Mothers Say They Felt Pressured':

In another Illinois case, a hotel employee also witnessed a young Springfield mother give up her child, but that adoption was overturned. Brooks reported that an Illinois judge ordered a baby returned to the biological father after finding that the director of "A Cherished Child" encouraged the mother to refuse to name the father of the baby on the birth certificate, leave the state of Illinois for the purpose of interfering with the father's parental rights and avoid the 72-hour waiting period for taking a consent as required by Illinois law. "The agencies are running amok with the law," Lowry said. "They are taking advantage of it."
Other Father Court Cases

Read Lorenzo Harrington's story - 'Judge: Baby Wade Stolen': This father participated in the mother's prenatal care and attended his child's birth. Harrington had planned to raise the child, since the mother feared losing her scholarship if she kept the baby. Instead, she contacted predatory Utah agency 'A Cherished Child', and they took over. She was flown to Utah the day she left the hospital. Her relinquishment, the next day, followed 15 minutes of counseling, and was witnessed by the agency representative and a hotel maid. And all without the father's consent - or even knowledge.


  • Judge: Baby Wade "Stolen"

  • Buddy Pruitt, of Birmingham, AL, lost his child through 'Adoption Center of Choice':
  • Case No. 20040065-CA

  • Frank Osborne, of Stanley, North Carolina, has been in a pitched battle with 'Adoption Center of Choice' to recover the son he lost to adoption without his consent. Read about it in the 'N. Carolina Father Sues':
  • N. Carolina Father Sues

  • Victor Johnson, of Arizona. An excerpt from Johnson's complaint, from the court record:
    The complaint stated that the relevant adoption statutes of Utah are Utah Code Ann., § 78-30-4.11 et seq. It was alleged that the latter statute, as applied or on its face, without due process of law deprived Plaintiff of his fundamental right to maintain a parent-child relationship in that the statute does not require the mother to produce the name of a possible father. It was averred that a due process violation occurred also because once "actual notice of the father's right is given to the adoption agency there is no duty on the adoption agency as agent for the adoptive parents to disclose information or [provide] notice of the proceedings to the father." In connection with this alleged violation of Plaintiff's rights, the complaint cites the "Kidnapping Act 28 U.S.C. § 1738." App. at 21-22.

    Johnson lost his case, which means he lost his daughter. The agency involved?
    Adoption Center of Choice.


  • Baby Orozco

  • Still Other Fathers
    Pound Pup Legacy has a listing of fathers from throughout the country who are battling agencies to parent their own children. Scroll down the list and you will find other dads whose children were swept away by Utah's predator agencies - or LDS branches in other states.
    Bottom line: By Utah's not requiring the naming of fathers, notifying them, or coordinating "putative father registries" with other states, they deliberately make it extremely difficult and costly for fathers to attempt to assert rights in Utah that would be legally theirs in their own states. Predator agencies are thus licensed to literally steal children from their fathers in any state. Even married fathers have no protection. All the predators have to do is lure the mother to Utah and coach her to refuse to name the father.

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Agency Rakes in Money - Tax Payers and Hospitals Stuck With the Bills

    Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 2005, 'Adoptive parents' story' (excerpt):
    Steven Mintz also wonders why taxpayers aren't outraged by Utah's laissez-faire adoption laws, noting Medicaid and hospital emergency rooms often pick up the health care tab for out-of-state mothers brought here by agencies.

    Treating such mothers puts doctors in a tough position, says Davis County obstetrician and gynecologist William Hughes.

    About a year ago on a Friday evening, Hughes was the on-call doctor when a woman arrived at a Davis County hospital in labor. He managed to track down her doctor in South Carolina and get her medical history, but was stunned when a couple showed up to adopt the baby. He also was stuck filing paperwork to convince Medicaid to pay the bill.

    "I have a patient I don't know, an adoptive couple I've never met and a lawyer who has not contacted me to make any arrangements beforehand," said Hughes. "And all we get is a malpractice suit if something goes wrong."

    "A bit unsavory": Washington, D.C.-area attorney Mark McDermott, legislative chairman for the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, frowns on flying in mothers from other states for adoptions.

    "The reputable agencies around here don't fly birth mothers around the country like that," he said. "There's something a bit unsavory about moving them around like that."
    Next: Utah agencies admit "routinely" violating ICPC

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Utah agencies admit 'routinely' violating ICPC

    The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), was formed at the federal level to oversee adoptions which cross state lines. Here's how it should go:

    When a child is to be placed for adoption in a state other than his state of birth, it is the responsibility of the adoption brokers in the "receiving" state to notify officials in the "sending" state (state of child's birth) of the proposed adoption. The sending state then initiates the placment process. It verifies that the parents' relinquishments, voluntary or court-ordered, have been properly executed according to its own state laws and sees to it that the parents' and child's rights are being protected in the adoption process. In turn, the receiving state verifies to the sending state that home study and other requirements of the prospective parents have been satisfied. When all the paperwork is complete, then and only then can the out-of-state agency legally take custody of the child for placement with adoptive parents.

    Not only was A Cherished Child guilty of ignoring the ICPC's procedures in Tamia's adoption attempt, but her case represented the fourth complaint to ICPC against A Cherished Child since its founding in 1997; three cases have resulted in violation findings. But the agency's attorney complained that it was being punished for doing something that was
    "a common practice by all agencies" in Utah. The following is an excerpt from an Associated Press article published in the Boston Globe, 'Baby is back with mother after suit':
    "...adoption agency attorney Richard Van Wagoner said the agreement that is supposed to coordinate the transfer of children across state lines is routinely violated by adoption agencies. (emphasis added)

    ''A mother might back out of the decision or make a commitment and not show up," Van Wagoner said. ''So, the paperwork ends up being completed on this end. This was a technical violation, and the practice is not a secret to the state."
    A mother might back out of the decision or make a commitment and not show up?

    This was a
    technical violation?
    H - E - L - L - O !!!!!!

    What does all this mean?

    It means that Utah adoption brokers can't trust adoption professionals in other states to deliver a 'promised' baby to them because other states' safeguard standards for mothers and children are higher than their own.
    • It means that in cases like Tamia's, a mother going through a difficult time emotionally and/or financially can be recruited through glitzy newspaper or phone book ads in her home state, flown to Utah, 'counseled' briefly by adoption brokers in a hotel room, and required to relinquish her child there - all within hours of her arrival.
    • It means that when an adoption in Utah is to be brokered by a licensed agency (as opposed to a privately-arranged adoption), Utah law doesn't even require that the mother go to court to sign the surrender before a judge; she can sign it in a hotel room with only an agency representative and a hotel clerk as witnesses. The hotel clerk who witnessed Carmen McDonald's relinquishment signing said she has witnessed "many" such signings. "They always cry," she said.
    • It means that once a mother has signed the relinquishment document, it is irreversible, even if obtained through coercion, intimidation, or - like Baby Tamia's mother - being threatened with not being given a return airline ticket home if she failed to relinquish. (One newspaper report of the Tamia case erroneously reported that a mother has 24 hours in which to change her mind. What the law actually says is that a mother has 24 hours after her child's birth to consider relinquishment before being asked to sign a surrender document.)

    Spend some time on
    Pound Pup Legacy to read about more of the unethical tactics used by representatives of A Cherished Child and other Utah agencies to obtain infants. Agency representatives have been known to become extremely angry and extremely intimidating in their efforts to get mothers to sign relinquishments.

    'Tri-state adoptions'

    Utah has become a fast track for what is being termed tri-state adoptions. In other words, not only is the baby imported from another state, but the prospective adoptive parents are from out-of-state, as well. Follow the link 'Judge: Baby Wade Stolen", above, and you'll see that the couple who tried to adopt Baby Wade (another Illinois baby) through A Cherished Child in Utah came there from Arizona.

    A discussion thread at the website of pahealthsystems.com included these posts by a prospective adoptive father:

    Posted by Steve on 09-30-04 01:17 AM:
    Adopting in December:
    Has anyone ever heard of a Tri-State adoption. Where you do not finalize in the state you reside or the state you are adopting from but actualy finalize in the state of utah?? This is what we are being told to do by our agency. (emphasis added) I trust them but had just not ever heard of this until the last week or so.
    Later post from Adopting in December:
    The way I have been made to understand how this Tri State adoption works is that 24 hours after the birth of the baby the mother will sign papers to relinquish parental rights under the accordance of the laws of Utah. Even though she is in NY state. Othewise my wife and I were going to have to stay within the state for 45 days. Once she signs the papers it is immediate and no changing of mind. Also, 6 months later we fly to Salt Lake City to appear before a judge to finalize it all. I was told that the law of Ohio and NY (the two states in question) were very complex and that doing it this way would save time and money and be legal and binding.
    Who are these agencies in other states that are counseling would-be parents to process their adoptions through Utah to avoid the "complexities" of adoption, as well as to save time and money, in their home states? What kind of adoption "professionals" would advise taking measures that short-circuit a birthmother's home-state protections, as well as subject potential adopters to such risky inter-state transactions?

    Are adoption brokers in YOUR state working with Utah brokers to arrange 'tri-state adoptions' processed in Utah?

    Illinois took steps to protect its citizens against this kind of predation, as you'll read in the next blog entry. ALL states need to pass similar legislation. There is much that we can do. The time to begin is
    NOW!

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Illinois Enacts Adoption Reforms

    Illinois legislators moved quickly to pass House Bill 3628, sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), that provides the following safeguards against the kinds of victimization experienced by Baby Tamia and her family.
  • Illinois Enacts Stricter Laws

  • The new law took effect on August 14, 2005. Among its provisions:
    * Requires all adoption service providers to be licensed
    * Strengthens the law that prohibits agencies from misleading birth parents regarding post-adoption contact
    * Ensures that birth parents and adoptive parents are advised of their rights
    * Ensures that adoptive parents are informed about the health background of their adoptive children
    * Allows the public to learn about unethical adoption agencies by establishing a toll-free complaint registry with DCFS.

    Other changes:
    * Only agencies licensed in Illinois will be permitted to advertise in Illinois. Their license number would have to be cited in advertising.
    * It will be illegal to run adoptions for profit in Illinois.
    * Illinois's Department of Children and Family Services will regulate agencies and enforce rules.

    "As policymakers, we have a responsibility to the adoptive parents, the birth parents and - most importantly - to children whose lives hang in the balance," said Rep. Feigenholtz, who herself was adopted and has been the lead advocate of adoption reform in the General Assembly.

    Right on, Rep. Feigenholtz! Your state has set an excellent example for all states!

    CALL TO ACTION: Will YOU be the one to start the ball rolling in YOUR state? Contact your state legislators and your governor's office and direct them to this website. Then ask to meet with them to begin working on a bill similar to Illinois' House Bill 3628, which became law on August 14, 2005.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Utah appeals court loads the deck in favor of brokers

    From Daily Herald, Salt Lake City, UT:, January 01, 2005
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    SALT LAKE CITY --
    A state appeals court has ruled that an interstate agreement meant to protect children taken across state lines for adoption doesn't apply to the unborn.

    The court, in a ruling handed down Thursday, held that the law doesn't apply to unborn children of expectant mothers who travel to Utah to deliver and surrender their babies.

    Each year, more than 100 expectant mothers from other states travel to Utah to deliver their babies and surrender them to adoption agencies.

    Before a child can be placed across state lines, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children requires an adoption agency to notify the receiving state of the child's name, date of birth and birth place.

    The requirements allow authorities to evaluate the child and make sure that the placement is in his or her best interest.

    But judges ruled that the compact doesn't apply to unborn children.


    Note 'Adoption Center of Choice', one of the three agencies which sued the state to exempt pregnant women from the interstate compact, is the defendant in at least three of the cases mentioned in the lead article in this blog - birthfathers Buddy Pruitt, Frank Osborne and Victor Johnson.

    This ruling by the Utah appeals court handed unscrupulous Utah adoption brokers license to literally thumb their noses at the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children by importing pregnant women, rather than already-born babies, into their state.

    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    LDS Family Services' Unethical Practices


    Complaints of unethical baby procurement practices in Utah aren't confined to obscure adoption brokers like A Cherished Child and Adoption Center of Choice.

    Mary Murphy

    Anchorage Daily News
    Sunday, February 26, 1995

    (Click to enlarge)




    Mary was a single mom of a 15-month-old son. She was providing for herself and her baby, but the going was tough. Raised in foster care herself, she had no support base - or at least none she was aware of. A Native Alaskan, she didn't check to see what resources might be available through her state. Instead, she turned to her church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Fairbanks, to help her through a temporary financial crisis. She needed about $40 to pay a bill that was due. However, she believes she was refused because she had not been able to pay her tithe to the church. In addition, she got neither help nor encouragement from the people in her congregation. The only option she was offered was to surrender her son for adoption. Finally, defeated, she consented.

    Although she and her son were residents of Alaska, she was not directed by her religious advisors to an Alaska adoption agency. Instead, she and Jonathan were flown, accompanied by a female LDS handler, to Utah, over a weekend, where they were taken to an upper floor of a building she couldn't identify. She was led to a room "full of cribs," states Mary, containing "at least eight other children." She was told the other children were just there for the weekend; their parents would be picking them up Monday.

    Mary was directed to put Jonathan into one of the cribs and proceed to another room to sign papers. After the paper signing, she claims a church official gave her female LDS handler $100 and directed her to take Mary to the mall and "buy her something nice." So now, in addition to feeling cheated out of her son, she also was made to feel she had "sold" him. She was also stricken by this cruel fact: the church wouldn't give her $40 to help her pay a bill, but it would give her $100 as a gift after surrendering her son for adoption.

    As Mary prepared to board the plane to return to Alaska, someone from the airline recognized her from her flight in the day before and asked her, "Where is your baby?" It was then that the horror of what had happened to her and her son nearly took her breath way. She has spent the rest of her life trying to recover.

    Questions:
    • Why did church officials in Alaska fly Mary and Jonathan to Utah, rather than facilitating an adoption in Alaska?
    • What Alaskan adoption laws, especially involving Native children - might have prevented LDS from wresting Jonathan away from Mary?
    • Why didn't LDS Social Services comply with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) in arranging for Jonathan's placement across state lines?

    The "proof" of Mary's manipulation and misinformation is the fact that she and her son were removed from her native state, Alaska, where they could have obtained help to keep their little family together, and flown to Utah. As a result, they were denied protection under the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).

    Was the ICPC in effect in 1977 when Mary lost her son?
    Since its establishment in 1960, it has been enacted into law by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands(Emphasis added.) The Compact is made up of 10 articles that enumerate the responsibilities of "sending" and "receiving" states in the completion of home studies for child placements and, later, in the supervision of children in interjurisdictional placements. In addition, it includes regulations, reporting requirements and specific guidelines for the interstate child-placement process. The current Compact applies to any child placed for foster care or adoption across state lines, including international adoptions and domestic infant adoptions, as well as to delinquent children sent to institutions across state lines.
    Clearly, LDS Social Services acted in non-compliance with ICPC mandates in Mary Murphy's case.

    To Jonathan Michael Murphy (whatever your name is now), born on November 26, 1975 (though your date of birth may have been changed on your amended birth certificate), at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital in Fairbanks, Alaska (your place of birth may have been changed, too): your birthmom and half-brother James are most anxious to meet you! This is what you looked like as a baby:


    More LDS Adoption Strong-Arm Accounts


    Mother Pressured, "Scared" into Surrender; Twins Placed in Separate States (See Post #99. This is off-site, so use back button to return to this page.)


    Father's rights violations (Off-site; use back button to return to this page.)

    Notice on the 'Father's rights violations' page that, of the thirteen cases represented:
    • Four involve LDS.
    • Six involve Utah attorney Larry S. Jenkins.
    • Seven involve Utah agencies, either directly or through their satellite offices in other states.

    Some that got away, but demonstrated LDSFS stong-arming practices

    (Excerpt) Anyway, at that point I told the LDSSS guy no - not interested. My 'foster' family, fortunately supported my decision and helped to put me in contact with other adoption agencies that took a more reasonable approach. I didn't want to be any part of such a farce. But, the guy wouldn't leave me alone! Kept calling, showing up at my work. Even told me I would need to move out of the foster family's house, as I wasn't involved with the church program anymore. Of course the family told him where to go and I stayed with them up to and even a few weeks after the delivery.

    Long story short - the LDSSS tactics are deplorable. My heart aches for the girls who have given up babies through this process. Did they have any real choice in the matter?
    Would not be bullied (Off-site. Scroll down to entry by "So Blind" on Sept. 3)
    I had had a child outside of marriage before joining the LDS church. Two months later my bishop called me into his office to tell me that I had to give my child up for adoption because by keeping him I was not truly repentant of my sin (fornication) and that no man would want to marry me because I had a child outside of marriage.

    I informed him that I would not give my son up and that my mom had kept me even though her parents tried to tell her the same thing when she was pregnant with me and that I was going to keep my child. He bullied me to put my son into foster care but after a week I was so upset and my son was sick that I did get my son back. This son is now 31 and has 2 beautiful little girls."
    She suffered significant damage at hands of the LDS social services in particular (Off-site. Scroll down to article 'More Parallels Between The FLDS And Mainstream Mormonism,' by Bob McCue.)
    I read this article over breakfast this morning, and then talked about it for a few minutes with my 25 year old daughter. She is a single mom. Her son is a four year old who challenges her; anchors her; motivates her; sometimes makes her miserable; etc. - in short, a normal mother-child relationship. She made an anguished decision as to whether to keep him or not; had selected his adoptive parents and did not decide to keep him until the day she went into labor. In fact, it seemed that her body was waiting for that decision befor being prepared to deliver the baby. He was about two weeks overdue.

    She suffered significant damage at hands of the LDS social services in particular and well meaning Mormons in general during the process of deciding whether to give the baby up for adoption. This played a significant role in my post-Mormon awakening.
    Lied to; Signed While Drugged; Serious Birth Father Issue (Off-site; scroll down to deblucas, posted 9/15/2005)
    I was also lied to by LDSSS - I was told the minute he turned 18, they would organize a reunion.

    I was forced by my Bishop and my mother and by LDSSS to give up my baby. I found out afterward that they had security try to kick the birth father out of the hospital because he was there to exercise his parental rights. It was only after I threw a fit and he agreed not to do anything that they let him in to the room to say goodbye.

    They also had me sign my paperwork while I was still under the affects of all the medicine they pumped into me while I was giving birth.
    And the list goes on and on and on....
    When I became pregnant with my son, I gave the church one last chance. When I refused to give him up for adoption, the bishop said I would be excommunicated or disfellowshipped. He made it clear it was for keeping my baby and not for fornication. I decided to save them the trouble and had my name taken off the records. I've never regretted my decision.
    Grandmother's story – from a no-longer active web page once found at this address:
    http://www.equippingchristians.com/PropercareFeedingofex-Mormons.htm.
    Here is another example: Our tenth child is adopted. He is our beautiful grandson by birth and we raised him from Day One. We were still LDS when this transpired. My oldest son's girlfriend (now his wife, praise God!) was pregnant. My son had been "inactive" LDS and his girlfriend had no religious background at all. She asked me how I felt about abortion and I told her frankly I thought it was murder. I told her I would adopt the baby or help her find an adoptive family if she did not feel comfortable with that.

    The Bishop called us in to talk to us about the situation. He insisted that the Prophet said babies should be given up for adoption rather than be raised by single parents and that we should allow the baby to go to another LDS family. I strongly believed this did not apply to us and our situation. The baby would not be raised by a single, unwed mother. He or she would be raised by a loving family: US!

    The Bishop told us "the spirit" was telling him we should give the baby up. He showed us a movie put out by the First Presidency (the Mormon prophet and his two counselors) that portrayed middle-aged parents having to raise their grandchild and being resentful. It was nothing but propaganda. I WANTED the baby! I WANTED to raise the child! Well, praise God we did not take the bishop's counsel, but went by what the "the Spirit" was telling US……
    I am no longer active, it doesn't sound like the church has changed much either. In 1991 I became an unwed mother at the age of 18. I was told by the stake pres. that the only way I would be guaranteed a 99.9% chance of going thru the lds temple would be to give the baby up for adoption thru ldsss. 13 years later I still have my first born, I didn't go thru the temple, but I am alive (thanks to my son) and I came to understand what a hard decision it must have been for my bmom. I know if I would have given my child up for adoption it would have been the end for me.
    A Personal Story Of Abuse By The Mormon Owned LDS Social Services (excerpts - off-site)
    As time wore on ... the pressure grew. At first it was subtle, but then it became almost outright at the end. The lady from LDS Services told me that she thought I should give my baby up, as I was too young and couldn't care for it properly - besides that, my baby needed a good two-parent home with temple worthy parents. Even the Bishop himself told me that I needed to give my baby up for adoption.

    Soon everyone was pressuring me, telling me what to do, or at least telling me behind the thinly veiled guise of "advice" and assuring me it was still my "choice". I began to look for adoptive parents. I looked through books and books of parents that had been screened carefully by the church. Somehow it just didn't feel right - but I felt that I HAD to find the right set of parents.

    It was God's will, I convinced myself. I looked and looked but could not make a decision. The pressure from everyone grew and grew until it choked my very being. Time was running short as the pregnancy grew further - and I soon began to feel desperate.
    ............
    Finally I chose an adoptive couple. They were both young. The mother was pretty, the father was handsome, and they had 2 adopted children already. They had been on missions to Japan, spoke Japanese, were wealthy with great jobs, and had the PERFECT LIFE so it seemed. These were the people, I was sure of it!

    I gave my permission to contact them and they were notified of my decision. One of the things that bothered me though, was that they had specified that they were only willing to take a child that was 1/4 Native or Asian, no more.

    So had all the other parents ... they only wanted Caucasian children, or children that were specifically no more than 1/4 of such and such a race. Some even specified they didn't want any non-Caucasian children. Such racism boiled my blood and disturbed me (hence we see the racism in the church playing out again!!).

    My soul cried out in agony. I prayed and cried to God and begged him to affirm to me that I had made the correct decision. I had no idea what to do, and I told God that I only wanted to do what was right. Whatever the decision ... it needed to be the right one, and the best one for my child.

    Things began to move forward and it seemed that this couple would adopt my baby. As I imagined the thought of them at the hospital, taking my baby from my arms and taking him home ... I would cry for hours nonstop. It felt so wrong ... and yet it must be God's will, right?
    ........
    I got down on my knees and I prayed to God for hours. I prayed like never before in my life. I said that I knew it was wrong to ask for signs, but that I NEEDED a sign to tell me that this adoption was the right course and the will of God. That it was "meant to be".

    Only about 3 days later I got a call from LDS Family Services. I was told that the adoption could not go through. The couple had pulled out citing personal problems and a family emergency and needed to relocate to the United States right away. Due to many reasons, the adoption was not possible. I KNEW THIS WAS MY SIGN. Looking back on it all these years later, I realize that may have been a sign true ... but the real sign was the feelings in my heart and my soul that told me NO and fought against it every breath of the way.
    ...............
    They told me that it didn't matter whether Steve agreed with the adoption or not -- they had ways to coerce him to agree, or to guilt-trip him or force him to agree. And if that did not work they told me, then they could secretly sneak me into Alberta (as I live in British Columbia) where I could give birth to the baby and give it to an adoptive couple. There were loopholes, I was assured, that could make sure Steve could never see his baby, or at least never get custody.

    There were many sympathetic judges and cities where the Mormons always won custody battles and there were "many ways" that were told to me of how I could sneak off and deceive whomever I wanted.
    Other mothers' experiences with LDS
    Altered or Illegally-obtained Documents?
    I had no idea. Really, truely (sic) I had no clue. I had always suspected there were shady dealings with the whole adoption process through LDSSS, after reading these posts I feel validated . . . finally.

    I too was forced into the adoption. Told the whole line, "This isn't really your child, this is the only way this child could come to it's true and forever family." What is unfortunate is my mother still spouts that belief whenever I am sad or missing my daughter. No wonder the Social Worker assigned to "assist" with my case not only moved from the area, but I later found out left the church shortly after my baby's adoption was finalized.

    I asked questions, very thoughtful questions about reunions and obtaining non-id info prior to the adoption. I hit brick walls then, I suppose they don't ever want you to have what is rightfully yours. I never received the "exit counceling" post adoption. My father signed as the witness and I never was offered legal councel, ever. Nor was the BF.

    It is a long and weary road. My heart breaks for all of you.

    It took me several years to actually contact LDSSS where the adoption took place for the copies of my relinquishment papers. I did have to meet with the local LDSFS director to retreive (sic) them, but it was odd. I have the papers, I distinctly remember hand writing in the baby's legal name, as I had given not only to the hospital but to the LDSSS. This was not on ANY of the documents it all read "baby girl _______." As if LDSSS ALTERED the documents post signing!!! Isn't that ILLEGAL!?
    LDSSS had my mom witness the adoption papers which in Oregon is illegal - they have to be witnessed by an independent third party. They also had me sign the papers less than 24 hours after delivery when I still had the medication in me - that also is against the law. I also called and wanted to stop things and they went ahead anyway. In essence, and this is what I tell everyone - LDSSS stole my baby.
    Unethical Betrayal of Confidentiality (Off-site. See paigeturner, 04/05/2005)
    Church leaders treated me very poorly during my pregnancy and even went so far as to call the young man they thought was the father into the Bishop's office and let him know about my pregnancy...behind my back. He wasn't the father, I had never implied that he was and he made my life a living he!! when I returned to my small town after I placed my child. Talk about a lack of privacy and confidentiality.


    (Excerpt)

    Boston Globe

    Friday, August 26, 1994

    SINGLE MOTHER TELLS OF THE ADVICE ROMNEY GAVE AS MORMON COUNSELOR
    ...Peggie Hayes, 34, said Romney, then a lay counselor for the local church, came to her home in 1984 shortly after she gave birth to her son, Dane. At the time, Hayes was divorced and had a 4-year-old daughter.

    "He told me it was really important to give the baby up," Hayes said. ''He told me he was a representative of the church and by refusing I was failing to comply with the church's wishes and I could be excommunicated."

    Hayes said that, though she was shaken by the incident, she rejected Romney's advice and eventually dropped out of the church.