Guest Post: Adoption, Baptism, and Rainbows

Guest post by Desiree, cross-posted at Feminist Mormon Housewives

I am from Massachusetts. I strive for intersectional feminism because societies often don’t treat all humans as though they are actually human.

“A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship…”

All adoption is trauma, but adoption from foster care and other situations in which the child is older is especially traumatic. I was adopted from foster care by a straight LDS woman.

When I first realized gay people existed, I was around the age of accountability (eightish).

I visited a distant cousin. He lived with a man. They had many adorable cats and a few Disney movies. That was my overall impression of them. They were average people with boring movies and funny cats. (I believe the cats were Persians.)

At some point after we left their home, I overheard my mother and sister wonder about the nature of the relationship between this cousin and his “roommate.”

I didn’t quite grasp the complexities and I couldn’t ask questions later (selective mutism and all that), but as I understood it, those two men seemed to love each other and two men who love each other are unable to make babies together.

I was ecstatic!

I thought God was very wise. I immediately concluded that such adults would be far more likely to adopt. If those men ever wanted to be parents, though, they’d have to get better kids’ movies.

Now, I read stories of gay couples adopting and I feel joy. Families built on love and with empathy are the best.

Reading these new LDS policies, I feel immense grief.

Even if a same-sex couple’s adopted children are raised without ever hearing the word Mormon, what happens if those children grow up and become investigators?

Maybe these adult children take the lessons, are ready to be baptized, and then what? They are asked to disavow their parents’ loving relationship AND must not live with their parents.

At three years old, my entire family, my entire life, was ripped from me. I remember vividly what it is to be a three-year-old with absolutely nothing. The people who foster-adopt with love, compassion, and empathy? They make a difference.

A grown child whose biological mother and father abused and abandoned them now has to disavow the love that gave them a safe family?

People creating loving homes for orphans are apostates?

A child who has disabilities, or other circumstances, requiring them to live with their parents into adulthood can no longer live with those caring and care-giving parents if they want to be worthy of saving ordinances?

You’re going to try to tell me that Christ, suffer-the-children-to-come-unto-Me Christ, is behind abandoning children who are already so forgotten by the majority of society, simply because the people who opened their arms, their hearts to these children have the same type of genitals?

I was adopted at age six. I remember being given my “baby” blessing. I went from having no one to a whole church wanting me to join their family. You’re telling me that if my adoptive mother were in a relationship with a woman, you would not accept my six-year-old self’s name? You would not bless me? You would not widely declare welcome into your ward family?

Two years later, at eight, I was baptized, stepping into the water right after another little girl. I was like the other kids in my Primary class. I belonged. No one asked me about my parents. No one said, “Your natural mother had sexual relations with other women. With you. You are not allowed into these waters, little girl.”

My biological mother sexually abused me. I lived in a “same-gender cohabitation relationship,” sexual acts and all…when I was a toddler. Is my child eligible for baptism at eight?

I hope you find that question horrifically absurd.

I hope you’re at least saying, “Desiree, she abused you. Abuse is different from a consenting adult relationship.” Because according to these policy changes, the fact that my biological mother molested me would only MAYBE require a disciplinary council if she were LDS.

Consensual relationships between adults? If she put a ring on it, MANDATORY disciplinary council.

But back to the baptism.

When my family stepped outside the church building, my hair still wet from the baptismal waters, my mom pointed to the sky. “Look, Des. Two rainbows, just for you.” She said one was from Grandpa Miller, who had recently passed, and the other was from God.

I knew she was wrong. She was forgetting the other little girl who had been baptized. Both rainbows were from God, one for me and one for my friend, because God does not forget any child. My mom forgot the other girl because she was not her daughter.

Love thy neighbor as thyself. Thinking it is acceptable for your neighbor’s child, who is also your neighbor, to be denied saving ordinances your child has free access to is NOT loving thy neighbor as thyself. Because your neighbor’s child is not your own, you are forgetting we are all God’s children.

You believe baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost are essential, and yet you tell me denying these to children is protecting them? Isn’t the Holy Ghost supposed to protect, guide, comfort? Wouldn’t the gift of the Holy Ghost be even more important to a child of “grievously sinning” parents?

I follow the spirit. I testify of Christ’s love, which worketh no ill to his neighbor.

These policies are working so much ill. So, so much ill.

However, a few hours before they were leaked, I saw a double rainbow. One for me. And one for you. No fallible man can tear your God-given rainbow from the sky, no matter how hard they try.

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6 Responses

  1. Pandora says:

    I love how you weave together your personal experience (both joyful and painful) with the rhetorical yet realistic questions posed by this policy. I had someone say to me over the weekend, “the people who are making trouble aren’t even in the church – ” which, I am ashamed to say, led to some unchristian-like ranting on my part. But what you do so beautifully is make the scenario so personal, so connected to your faith, and yet so universal in the impact. You are gentle but very, very strong.

    This is really lovely and I appreciate you sharing very much.

  2. Cruelest Month says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing! The LDS community will be weaker and less when we think we can exclude any from the circle of Christ’s love.

  3. Katie says:

    Thank you for sharing this, so much.

  4. Frank Hays says:

    I found this so comforting. Yes, I am a Gay/Mormon age 61. I have never married, but I guess you could still say I must be a Apostate at heart. This new policy is so unchristian, I guess it shows us that Church leaders are human and make mistakes even though I know their intentions are honorable. I can only hope to live to see this policy go away. We live with so many fears of what we don’t understand. Can you imagine I was a Marine in the Seventies. I have done everything I could to change, except electric shock therapy and taking my life. I must confess I have attempted that a few times. I cannot begin to express the pain this brings! Again cannot thank you enough…

  5. Kelly Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. There isn’t much that I can really say – except the words of a primary song “I like to look for rainbows ..”

  6. EFH says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It definitely adds to the discussion.

    My only hope for this recent change in the policy is that the community will raise itself above shaming and ostracizing the gay families and their children and fully embrace them as friends. This is a very tough situations for the children, their parents, their friends but also bishops who have to implement such policies.

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