Adoption and the Unwed Mother

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

This really pissed me off when I read it. It basically says that a married couple should raise all children, and that if you find yourself pregnant and unmarried, you should give your child up to LDS family services for adoption. I found this in the February 2002 Ensign, on page 63.

Adoption and the Unwed Mother
By LDS Family Services

In a letter dated 15 June, 1998, the First Presidency reiterated
instruction regarding unwed pregnancy given in earlier letters to bishops and
stake presidents. This most recent letter states:

"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to
be reared by parents who provide love, support, and all the blessings of the

"Every effort should be made in in helping those who conceive out of
wedlock to establish an eternal family relationship. When the probability
of a successful marriage is unlikely, unwed parents should be encouraged to
place that child for adoption, preferably through LDS [Family] Services"
("Policies and Announcements," Ensign, Apr. 1999, 80).

When the decision is made to place an infant for adoption, the infant
is not the only one who benefits. Young women who choose adoption are more
likely to complete high school and go on to higher education. They are
more likely to be employed and less likely to live in poverty or receive public
assistance. They are also less likely to repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancy
(see Kristin A. Moore and others, Adolescent Sex, Contraception, and
Childbearing: A Review of Recent Research [1995]; see also Steven D.
McLaughlin and others, "Do Adolescents Who Relinquish Their Children Fare Better or Worse Than Those Who Raise Them?" Family Planning Perspectives,
Jan.-Feb. 1988, 25-32).

In most cases, teenage unwed fathers are absent from the lives of their
children. One noted sociologist cites a number of studies that suggest
children who grow up without their fathers are three times more likely to drop
out of high school, and two to three times as likely to have emotional or
behavioral problems, and they often become the poorest of the poor (see David
Popenoe, Life without Father [1996]).

Since the early 1920's the church has offered counseling and help with
adoptive placement to Latter-day Saint young women who become pregnant out of wedlock. Today there are 59 LDS Family Services offices throughout the
United States and Canada, two offices in Austrailia, and offices in England, New
Zealand, and Japan that provide these and a wide variety of other

LDS Family Services provides individual counseling to pregnant,
unmarried young women to help them restore their hopes and plans for the
future. Young women may also wish to participate in group meetings with
others in similar situations with family members. Some birth mothers
request assistance in arranging medical care and temporary housing during the
pregnancy. they may slao help select the adoptive couple for their
baby. All of these services are provided at no cost, and a bishop's
referral is not required.

LDS Family Services also sponsors an Internet site and free crisis
telephone service to women pregnant out of wedlock. Anyone may visit the
Web site at or call 1-800-537-2229 for information or assistance. Volunteers are available by phone 24 hours a day year-round to answer questions and refer those who desire more information to the agency nearest them.

The decision to place an infant for adoption can be a wrenching one,
yet it is an act of selflessness and profound love. The First Presidency
letter affirms, "Placing the infant for adoption enables unwed parents to do
what is best for the child and enhances unwed parents to do what is best for the
child and enhances the prospect for the blessings of the gospel in the lives of
all concerned" (Ensign, Apr. 1999, 80).

Where to begin?

First of all, can you count how many times they use the phrase "out of wedlock" or "unmarried" as if it's a horrible thing? I guess I might be a little hyper-sensitive to the issue because I am constantly asked why I am not a married mother of 8 by now, and why I live with a male roommate. Most are convinced I am shacking up with him and never believe we are simply just best friends. It *IS* possible.

Children are entitled to be raised in a loving home. That much I agree with. They didn't ask to be born, and they deserve the best head start we can give them. To some women, adoption is a fantastic choice. My roommate was adopted when he was two days old. His adoptive parents were wonderful people who gave him a fantastic childhood.

However... there are adoptive parents who are awful! Read the news for crying out loud. In most cases the birth mother can meet the prospective parents before deciding who gets thier child, but you are only getting a glimpse into who those people truly are. A married couple doesn't mean a better child.

I don't think for one second that it is selfish for a woman to decide to be a single mother. It's hard. I get that. I understand that raising a child is probably easier when you have two people handy to tackle things as they come up... but there are excellent people in this world today who were raised by single mothers or single fathers. They didn't all run out and become drug addicted, unemployed, or have horrific emotional problems.

I think it's wrong for anyone to pressure a young woman who is making the biggest decision of her life. Share your opinion, fine... but keep in mind that the child they are carrying could be the biggest gift they have ever received. Their child might just turn their lives around, make them strive to better themselves for their child... I know of two young women who completely turned their lives around when they had their kids. They are both back in college, take care of their children, and own their own homes. What is so horriffic about that?

Being single and pregnant wouldn't be very easy... and I could imagine that would be a million times worse in the LDS Church. Everyone would be looking at you in judgement, your bishop would be pressuring you and telling you what you should do with your baby. I can only imagine the looks of pity a young woman might receive if she attended sacrament meeting with a pregnant belly... Instead of judging and telling them what they should be doing, we should be letting them know that we will be there for them no matter what THEY decide, and that no matter what we love and support them.

Is that too much to ask? I guess so.


  1. Truly Confused Says:

    IMO, this is the perfect time for someone to receive personal revelation on what they should do.

    This is an enormous decision for someone to make. A quailifed therapist (not the fake ones from LDS family therapist that cannot make it in the real world), should be helping with this kind of decision-especially if the parents are young.

    I disagree, I don't think that anyone should share their opnion unless the participants ask. This is a personal decision that others need to stay out of.