I spent the weekend before last in Denver with a charming group of about 30 mothers who came together for a few days to share their stories, their pain, and their hopes. These women met through an online support group, Heart To Heart (email@example.com), and have been coming together each year since 2003. Next year H2H, as they refer to it, will meet in Boston.
Many of the women were younger than I; a few young enough to be my daughter. Some had forged strong relationships with their excised child although others had been rejected and one had not been able to find her child. The younger women did not appear to have the same “hang up” about being pregnant “out of wedlock“ that women of my generation had.
Their reasons for surrendering their infants, however, were the same. “Don’t come home with that baby,” they were told. “If you love your child, you will give him away.” “You’re too young to be a mother.” "You’ll forget and get on with your life.”
The H2H agenda was simple: A trip to the mountains with great views of the rocky peaks when the clouds parted; an afternoon ceremony honoring ourselves for the births of our children; and a buffet dinner. We received small mementos including three CDs with songs of motherhood and empowerment. “Lullaby” by the Dixie Chicks; “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan; “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon; and many others.
It was a sweet and sad day.
Sweet because these women were so supportive; they put aside inevitable personality conflicts to comfort each other.
Sad because their presence was a reminder that the carnage of adoption is continuing. I wish I had known these women before they signed away their children so I could have warned them. Would they have listened to me? I question whether I would have listened to Lorraine or Carol Schaefer or Meredith Hall or Pat Taylor or any of the other mothers who preceded me. I fear that we mothers are modern day Cassandras, doomed to tell the truth but never to be believed.
PS Regarding Linda’s post, I knew another mother whose sister cozied up to her daughter and the two of them cut her out. The sister’s reason may have been jealousy; she never married and had no children. The daughter may have been using the sister to get back at her mother. It was also a way for the daughter to maintain a connection with her birth family without conceding anything.