"I changed my mind": Adoptees and Biological Parents

Here’s an old story from the pre-DNA days of genealogy.
I had a great work schedule at my last job, before I retired: I worked 9 hrs/day for nine days and got every other Friday off. Beginning around 1990, I was introduced to genealogical research at the local Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) Family History Center on the Temple grounds in Santa Monica. [They’ve pretty much all digital these days: https://www.familysearch.org/en/.

For those who aren’t aware of it, the Mormons essentially made genealogica research popular because they promote the practice of baptisms and marriages among the deceased in order to give the deceased an opportunity to fulfill Mormon responsibilities for their deceased kin and anyone in the hereafter who may want to full those responsibilities in the hereafter.

Unfortunately, they got a little carried away and invited the living faithful to serve the dead regardless who or what the deceased person’s religious affiliation was. Actually, that wasn’t unfortunate in and of itself. What’s unfortunate is–as I heard–that Jews found out or figured out what they were doing and hollered: “Don’t be trying to turn our dead into Mormons in the world to come.”

As a consequence they stopped, I believe, and curtailed their practices. And began cutting back on what records they made available from their microfilm and book and manuscript vault under a mountain in Utah. That was when genealogical research started becoming challenging. It’s still convenient, especially on-line. Almost everything I used to be able to get access to in a Family History Center in Santa Monica, I can still get access to from my computer at home, saving me miles of travel and a lot of dollars in gas.

I was so dedicated in the old days, my in-laws became concerned that I had become a deranged Mormon. They didn’t begin to relax until I retired and cut back on my bi-weekly visits to the Temple.

Triva: Given the microfilm records available through the Family History Center, I was able to trace my Protestant biological ancestors and my Protestant ancestors-by-adoption back into the early 1800s and sometimes earlier. And in less than six months, I was able to trace my wife’s Catholic Mexican ancestors into the mid-1600s. LOL! Those were the good ol’ days, “back in the day.”

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Interesting situations arise. I know of the wife of an acquaintance whose brother did DNA testing and found they were unrelated. And her adoptive parents were both deceased, having never told her she was adopted. Lots of unresolved feelings.

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Similar, I suspect, to the feelings experienced by the “disillusioned religious”: disappointment, loss of belief, grief, anger, etc. Again, I was fortunate. I was able to provide documented facts identify extenuating circumstances to the people I successfully helped to find one or both parents. That helped them move on relatively quickly.

But there’s definitely room for a ministry among many.

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