So tired....

of this attitude......

" If someone chooses to parent when they aren't emotionally or financially stable can create an unstable enviroment for the child, the length of which is undetermined and often the Birthmom gives up on their persuit of their own dreams. To chose adoption I would imagine there is always a since of loss even with the best open adoption situation. So both optons have lifelong downsides."

I copied this from a comment on a facebook page. Oh yes, I guess according to this person all circumstances should be perfect before having a baby. All the planets should be perfectly aligned before giving birth and keeping your baby. If they're not then you should consider giving your baby to someone who has it much more together than you do. 

I can say that after living without my daughter for literally decades that no career is worth losing your child. No dream is bigger than the dream of being with your baby. No financial reward is worth the loss that mothers face when losing a child to adoption - open or otherwise. NOTHING can replace a child. I don't understand what's so hard to understand about that. The only reason anyone would have that attitude is if they want someone's child for themselves.

I lost my daughter in 1980 and it was only a year later that I married. Just a year after that my son was born. At the time he was born my husband and I were living in a small rundown duplex. We didn't have 2 nickels to our name but we had each other and our son. Were we financially stable at that time and really ready to have children? No. Was I emotionally ready to have a child after what I had been through just a couple of years earlier? No. Did I learn and manage? Yes. I did what I had to do. I became a mother and a damn good one too from what my children tell me. Three years after having my son I had a little girl. Both of them grew up to be happy, healthy, successful adults. There was no reason in this world that I couldn't have done the same with my first child. My daughter could have also been raised by me. We could have been together all those years. All of my children could have been raised together, known each other, played together. 

If financial stability is such a huge factor in whether or not a woman should keep and raise her child then what of all the people suffering financial setbacks right now in this economy? Does that mean all the people facing foreclosure on their homes should consider giving their children to others to raise?

There are no guarantees in life. Giving a baby to someone who has more money does NOT guarantee that the child will grow up happy. Giving a baby to a married couple does NOT guarantee that the couple will remain married. Giving a baby to a couple that seems emotionally stable (according to their advertising brochure aka bmother letter) does NOT guarantee that the child won't be abused.

Once I became a mother, a mother who was allowed to keep her baby, the dream I pursued was the dream that my children would grow up living happy, healthy lives. Yes, I also worked at becoming an artist. It was always a dream of mine to paint. I pursued that dream AND raised my children. The biggest dream I had though was the dream of seeing all 3 of my children in one room. It took 22 years to fulfill that dream.

"To chose adoption I would imagine there is always a since of loss even with the best open adoption situation. So both optons have lifelong downsides."     

This line in particular tells me that this person really doesn't have a clue. I can't think of a single downside to raising my other 2 children. Yes, we had some financial difficulties. So what! So do millions of other people. We got by and we were together, we were there loving each other. What was the downside of adoption? It was more than a "sense of loss" I can tell you. It was decades of unresolved grieving that ripped me to the core of my being.

I can show you many, many, many mothers who regret "choosing" adoption but so far I haven't come across any that regret keeping their children.


The Ultimate Sacrifice

That picture is one of my husband and I over two decades ago.  In that short span of time before we knew anything of the loss of our oldest child.  When our lives revolved around school and friends and the innocence of youth.

That was us before the miracle of our first son, before anyone made us feel unworthy, unable to give our own child everything he deserved.

The girl you see there is someone I have never found again.  Never been able to reconnect with, have an association with.

She disappeared over twenty years ago.  Became a stranger to me and those close to me after the loss of my son.

Even now.  Even with therapy and support groups.  With all I have done to learn the truth of what happened.  With all the research and learning.  I have forever lost that girl I once was.

Lost her on that day I walked out of the hospital with empty arms.  When I believed I wasn’t good enough, worthy enough, for my own child.  When everything I had believed and carried within me throughout my life became something that no longer mattered as I became THAT kind of woman.  The kind who could give up her own flesh and blood.

There is a change, a shift, I believe happens, even today, to women who are led to believe, whether through so-called counseling or the message from society in general, that they are not good enough mothers for their children.  That another woman.  Someone better.  Richer.  Married.  More successful . . . is the one who deserves to raise her child.

It’s an abuse against her self esteem.  Her self worth as a woman, and most importantly as a mother.

It’s an accusation, without merit to base it on, that she will fail without ever trying.  That her status, her worth as a mother, is below another woman’s.  Unimportant compared to those that society views as better.

And it’s used under the excuse of doing what is best for her and her child.

Because that is what our world revolves around today.  That is what so many believe  . . .  support.

In our loss of human kindness, we have decided that it is acceptable, even encouraged, to take away one woman’s worth to justify another’s. 

We find no problem in saying it’s allowed to build up the self esteem of the woman desiring to be a mom at the sacrifice of the one who already is.  No problem in creating a lifetime of doubt, insecurity and depression for one woman in a hope to chase away the same emotions from another.

And we base it on which one deserves more, by their accomplishments.  Their financial worth.  Their career stability.

On who our materialistic society deems as more “worthy” of a child.

I was deemed unworthy of my child.  Deemed not good enough for him.  A failure as a mother before I ever had a chance to try.

And yet his adoptive mother was deemed worthy of it all.  She was seen as the one to be freed from her  misery.  Important enough to place me in a lifetime of my own misery to save her from hers.  I wasn’t good enough.  She was. 

So I was sacrificed. 

For her.  For the belief it was worth it to end her suffering by settling it on my shoulders.  By taking the woman I was and changing her into one who then knew loss, self-doubt and grieving.

Because, somehow, my being young and still in school and unmarried warranted that I take the pain while she was relieved of it.

It’s easy, as a society, to claim we have nothing to do with the loss of mother and child.  To stand back and declare that our hands are washed clean of the acts that determines which woman suffers and which one gains.

But we aren’t innocent.   We are the problem.  We are the ones who, in so many areas of our lives, base our decisions on who is more worthy by their power, their money, their status.  Our voices are what feeds the practice.  Our views that continue to accept that a mother deserves to be separated from her child simply because she doesn’t have “enough” compared to that other woman who so desperately wants a child.

You see it everywhere.  Everytime someone talks about how great and brave a mother is for realizing her child deserved more than she could offer. 

They  just can’t believe how amazing she is.  Are so thankful for the sacrifice she made so they, or another, could be parents.

What a wonderful woman she is.  How great is it that she thought of her child first and realized he or she deserved more than she could offer.

What a miracle it is that she will take on a life now of suffering and loss and grief and self-doubt so that another woman can be happy and have that child she deserved.

Another sacrifice.  Another woman forever changed.  Forever left to see herself as not being good enough for her own child so that another woman could have what she “deserved."

Every time you hear of a mother so “happy” because of her supposive choice.  Every time you visit this blog, or one of the many written by mothers brave enough to step up and speak out against what society wants us to believe, I hope you will think of that picture of my husband and I.  And of that woman who once was and will never be again because I too was led to believe that I was doing the right thing.  That I wasn’t good enough, worthy enough, right enough, for my own child.

I hope you will remember that I am just one of many.  One who was sacrificed by society and the adoption industry to bring happiness to another woman while I was left with sorrow, loss and heartache.

That girl you see in the picture is the image of who I was before it was decided that my pain was worth curing the loss of another woman’s.  That the insecurities, depression and grief I have lived with my entire life was worth it because it meant that couple who so desperately wanted a child of their own was granted their wish.

I was the sacrifice for another’s happiness.

I was the one who was left never able to find the woman she once was because I wasn’t worthy of being protected and cared about. 

Instead, I was the one who deserved to lose because another was better than I was and deserved the happiness that came at the expense of my life full of pain.

Riding the Waves of Grief

Nothing Would Ever Be the Same Again

That was always the bit of irony about adoption. You went through this experience, this incredible perceived “sacrifice” and certainly a heartache for the ultimate plan to not have your life changed, but no one tells you how unavoidable that is.

You can’t have a baby and place it for adoption without the experience changing your very being.

Yet, that is how it is sold.

Adoption is suppose to remove the actuality of being a mother and having a child, but you DO have a child and you DO become a mother, but no one knows, and you can’t act like it, and you get treated all the same, but you’re not. I wasn’t the same. I couldn’t be. For one, my body was now the body of a mother. I had stretch marks galore on my now deflated belly. Granted I could get back into the coveted jeans and wear a belt again, but for anyone with any intelligence could glance at the roadmap of my life experience riddled on my midriff and know that I had produced a life. At nineteen, I would never have the perky breasts of a teenager again. Engorged with milk and left to dry on their own, they were never the same either. I had barely learned to be comfortable within my own body and appreciate my assets before I had a whole new body to learn about.

Should you give your baby up for adoption?

photo/ lamb white
by Lorraine Dusky and Jane Edwards, First Mother Forum


The truth is according to child welfare experts that in most cases staying with you, his mother, is the best for your child.

Your body is preparing for your baby to come into the world and preparing you to care for him. Your breasts will produce antibodies to help your baby ward off disease, antibodies that he can only get from your milk. Once your baby is here, all your instincts will tell you to nurture him. In fact, your body at birth releases a hormone (oxytocin) to assure that you will bond with your baby, and be flooded with love for him.

Your baby knows your voice; your scents, your movements. When he is born, he wants to be with you.

Adoption Warfare

Why do I call it adoption warfare? Because in war, there is a winner and a loser. There are tactics used, strategies practiced to ensure one side walks away triumphant and the other side falls.

And yet how could this be in adoption? A “win-win” situation? An option based on love? It sounds good, almost convincing if you are on the outside looking in. But what about those of us who have been on the inside, fought the battle, and come out bruised and battered.

We are the ones who know the tactics and strategies used in warfare are practiced in adoption as well, and for the same reason, to win. They are well hidden, impossible to catch unless you know what you are looking for. But they are there. Used over and over again on young, unknowing women facing one of the hardest decisions in their life.

Language and Lures

In my perusing of the adoption sites and reading the sales pitches, I get more and more upset by what I see in the language. When I first started reading about this subject certain terms didn't bother me. Words like "birthmother" didn't even bother me. I've been in reunion with my daughter for 8 years now and I began a painting series about this topic. Because of that series I began researching the industry. Now, I can't stand the "b" word. What happened that changed my mind? Well, I started seeing the correlation between the language and lures they use to get expectant mothers to surrender their children.

make an adoption plan
forever family
selfless gift
place a child for adoption
a loving option
failed adoption
adoption opportunities

Thirty years ago when I was going through the process it was called giving a child up for adoption. Back then the industry just bluntly and openly shamed us into giving up our children and it wasn't just the industry, it was also society in general. Everyone saw us as unfit simply because we weren't wearing a wedding ring. It still boggles my mind that women in the 60's in maternity homes were even made to wear fake wedding rings to go outside - who did the wardens in these places think they were fooling?