The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS, is a religious organization that values strong, happy, and lasting families. LDS adoptions are a wonderful way to welcome children into a forever family. LDS is a term that also refers to members of this church. The purpose of adoptions is to grow families, make connections, and feel the selfless love of so many people, coming from a place of love and hope. LDS adoptions, specifically, can bless the lives of hopeful adoptive parents who desire to raise children, while giving peace of mind and healing for birth mothers and birth fathers. Adoption is a beautiful gift, but it can also come from a place of tragedy. Here are seven questions you may have about LDS adoptions and the church’s role in adoption.
1. Does the LDS Church Support Adoption?
You might be wondering if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports adoption to begin with. You might also wonder about the role of adoption in the history of the LDS church. Adoption has played a large role in countless LDS families in a variety of ways, benefiting and helping all members of the adoption triad. Adoption has been around since the early days of the church. Right from the very beginning of the church’s latter-day history, adoption has played a role in building families and providing relief in times of tragedy and desiring to start and grow a family. In 1830, the church’s founder and prophet Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma, had just given birth to twins. Both children died because of complications and it devastated the couple. This was not the first time Joseph and Emma Smith faced tragedy with having children and growing a family. The couple’s firstborn child, who was named Alvin, also died as an infant. Despite these challenges, Joseph and Emma were willing to adopt another set of twins. The birth mother of these twins died in childbirth around the time that Emma lost her own children, and the birth father needed a way to provide for the babies. This selfless act of love on the birth father’s part, as well as the Smith’s willingness to take in children right after a personal tragedy, proved to be a comforting and necessary step in growing these families.
Since then, more and more families have been open to adoptions in all kinds of situations, and find a new kind of love that can only be experienced in raising a child. The practice of adoption is even supported in the Bible, in the General Epistle of James, which reads that “pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). In other words, everyone has a responsibility to care for those children and individuals who lack that essential mentorship, comforting, and nurturing that comes with family ties and friendships. Adoption provides relief for all members of the adoption triad—the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the adoptee. The LDS church advocates for adoptions in order to allow the child the right and opportunity to grow up in a family with opportunities and unconditional love where the present situation may not offer that. Birth parents within the LDS adoption community can also find peace and reassurance with that choice.
2. How Do LDS Adoptions Help Birth Parents?
A birth parent is the biological parent of a child. In situations of an unexpected pregnancy, the birth mother or birth father may decide to parent the child or place the child for adoption. A birth mother may place her child for adoption for a number of reasons. She may not have the means or support in her own life to provide the kind of life and experience that she wants for her child. When a birth mother decides to place her child for adoption and into the care of hopeful adoptive parents, she is showing one of the most selfless examples of love for her child. In the case of LDS adoptions, if the birth mother is not married, and therefore, the baby will be born out of wedlock or without the presence of a committed father, it is encouraged that the birth mother place her child for adoption in order to ensure that the child has a family that will provide those comforts and has a mother and father honoring those marriage promises. Marriage and family in the LDS church are highly valued, and it is recommended that, when possible, couples should be married and welcome children within that marriage. According to the True to the Faith booklet published by the LDS church that addresses a number of subjects, values, and standards, adoption is one of the first topics discussed. It says that “children are entitled to be raised by parents who honor marital vows and who provide love and support. Adoption can be a great blessing for many children who are born without this opportunity.” Even though adoption can bring a flood of emotions and may come from a place of potential tragedy and heartache, adoption is primarily about the best interest of the child. Whatever situation a birth mother may find herself in, there are so many options to form a relationship and adoption plan with the child and hopeful adoptive family.
With the resources from LDS Family Services, you, as an expectant and birth parent, can decide what adoption plan is best for the child and the parent. Adoption attorneys and agencies can provide parent profiles from LDS families that would love to welcome a child and make a connection to you as the birth parent and family.
3. What Do LDS Adoptions Offer Hopeful Adoptive Parents?
Many couples, for a number of reasons, want to grow a family through the adoption process. Some of those reasons may be related to infertility, reaching out to a family a couple may or may not know who is in need, or simply wanting to grow a family. LDS Services is a great place to start researching what your adoption plan and steps could look like. One of the main components and roles that LDS Services plays in an adoptive family’s journey is by providing counseling and offering consultations. While LDS Family Services for LDS adoptions do not actually facilitate adoptions, nor is the organization an adoption agency, LDS Family Services can provide a number of reliable connections for adoptive families to start thinking about making a parent profiles. In addition, there is a large LDS community of those families and couples who are looking to adopt. With both Adoption.com‘s connections and the assistance of LDS Services, hopeful adoptive families can find children who need forever homes. These resources can also connect LDS expectant parents to LDS hopeful adoptive families who could be a great fit for the child.
4. How Do LDS Adoptions Support Adoptees?
Of course, adoptees are perhaps the central reason for adoptions and the whole journey. One of the greatest parts about adoptions and adoptees is that these children who are adopted into LDS families are eternally part of that family. The child becomes a literal member of the family. The LDS church also teaches and believes that everyone is a part of God’s family, that no one loses identity or origin or value, no matter someone’s past. Reunions can also give adoptees the opportunity to reach out and get to know a birth family, when that child feels ready and prepared to make that connection, and depending on how open the adoption already is. On the church’s website, there is a video of a woman who explains her adoption journey as an adoptee and the emotions that went with that experience. Just like this video and this testimonial, as an adoptee, you can find powerful connections with others and find that community that fits your needs. You can also find opportunities to share your story as appropriate.
5. Where Do I Start with LDS Adoptions?
LDS Family Services mainly offers counseling services and provides a connection with reliable adoption agencies that can give both hopeful adoptive parents and birth parents. Through the church’s site, churchofjesuschrist.org, which is the church’s official website. It states that “working through licensed, authorized providers of adoptions services (adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and so on) is strongly encouraged.” In addition to this advice, for adoptive parents, you should “contact an adoption professional…to see what requirements are to become an adoptive parent. If Family Services is available in your area, you may contact them for a referral.” Every state and every country has its own policy and laws regarding adoption, so you will need to do your research about what is required. Adoption.ORG has several guides and articles that can assist in this research.
If you are an expectant parent, LDS Family Services can get you in contact with adoption professionals that can help in whatever capacity you need. Another possible option is kinship adoptions, where a relative could step in and adopt your child. On the church’s website, there is a video where a woman talks about her own experience as an expectant and birth mother, choosing adoption for her daughter. In the video, she explains her process of finding a family, as well as the emotions that go into becoming an expectant parent with an unexpected pregnancy and deciding on adoption. As you navigate and look at your options, make sure that you do your research. Make sure that you feel confident and comfortable in the choice that you make about adoption.
6. Where Can I Connect with Others through LDS Adoptions?
Adoption is a unique story and journey for everyone involved. No adoption is identical to another. However, each story is valuable to listen to. When we become open and understanding about each side of each story, we gain more compassion. Whether we want to connect with others who have had an adoption with the help of LDS Family Services or want to include other members of our family, adoption is meant to connect and to grow families. In a church published magazine called the Ensign, an article from April 2010 called “Adoption: Including the Whole Family” brings out possible ways to connect with siblings, parents, and adoptees. The first point the author makes is to “be open…my parents were open with me about their adopting a baby and having a new sibling.” Connections can build love and thoughtfulness from all sides.
7. What Other Resources Can I Find about LDS Adoptions?
There are so many people who have experience from all parts of the adoption triad who can give great insight into the benefits and emotions behind adoption. On the LDS church’s website, the section on adoption has valuable references of videos, scripture passages, and even places to start your adoption journey, whether you find yourself as an expectant parent, looking to adopt, or curious about a birth family and origins. The page also has a number of learning references to begin research. Wherever you come from and whatever your situation is, LDS adoptions are open to communicating and counseling on the best steps for you.
We’ve gone over some of the history of LDS adoptions, how birth parents, hopeful adoptive parents, and adoptees can find resources through LDS Family Services, and how to utilize other reliable websites. We’ve also seen how critical it is to make connections and do the research needed to have a positive adoption experience by relying on the right sources and finding a beneficial community. If you are an expectant and or birth parent that seeks for that connection and life that can come through LDS adoptions, you can talk to a Family Services representative and seek professional help and advice. If you are a hopeful adoptive parent, you can start looking at what steps you will need to take for your adoption plan and journey. And, of course, as an adoptee, there are so many connections and communities that can help tell your story. LDS adoptions are a great way to build a family and find peace in giving a child a loving home.