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LDS Church Exits the “Adoption Business”

by Norris Law Group on June 25, 2014

LDS Church Exits the “Adoption Business”According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that it is ending its services that match prospective parents with children. The Mormon Church will continue to offer adoption counseling services, but will no longer broker adoptions.

David M. McConkie, manager of services for children for LDS Family Services, says, “As a traditional adoption agency, it’s not working out for us,” citing a significant downturn in need for adoption services among practicing Mormons. McConkie attributes this to statistics that show that only around 1% of unmarried mothers are giving their babies up for adoption, as compared with about 15% of unwed mothers about three decades ago. McConkie also noted that recent events related to Utah law regarding same-sex marriage and adoption was not a factor in the LDS Church’s decision.

LDS Family Services has nearly 70 offices across the country, and in 2002 (its most active year) placed 665 children with families. But now it only places from 200 to 300 children with families. Only “LDS couples who [were] sealed in a Mormon temple, [had] temple recommends, and [were] infertile [were qualified] to adopt through Family Services,” while mothers of any faith or background were welcome to put up their babies for adoption.

Sherilyn Stinson, field group manager for LDS Family Services, says that the changes will be phased in slowly so that families in the adoption process can still be served. Approximately 600 couples are currently waiting to adopt through LDS Family Services, some for up to three years. Stinson says that the long wait times and reduction in number of adoptable children may be due to a change in the “social stigma” of being an unwed mother. According to Stinson, “[T]here is now a stigma attached to putting one’s child up for adoption…It’s a different world for adoption.”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of family law, including adoption. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

 

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