Thursday, August 6, 2009

Does giving up a child for adoption make you sick?


A new study (Divorce, It Seems, Can Make You Ill) reported in The New York Times the other day shows that people who divorce--even if they remarry--are more likely to be less healthy than married people who never divorce. "Even remarriage can't relive all the stress of a marital loss," the pull quote stated. Here's what jumped out at me:
"While remarrying led to some improvement in health, the study showed that most married people who became single never fully recovered from the physical declines associated with marital loss. Compared with those who had been continuously married, people in second marriages had 12 percent more chronic health problems and 19 percent more mobility problems. A second marriage did appear to heal emotional wounds: remarried people had only slightly more depressive symptoms than those continuously married."
You know where I am going here, right? You know what mental word replacements I made, right? Instead of "divorce" use the word: "surrender." Or "relinquishment." Or this pithy phrase: give up my baby.

What I would love to see is the same kind of large-scale rigorous kind of study done with birth mother and adoptees. (The divorce study was done with more than 8,000 women and men in their 50s and early 60s, and was published in the September 2009 issue of Journal of Health and Social Behavior.) A quick Google found some studies that touched upon birth mothers' health, the most detailed of which is the Birthmother Research project. That study found on average that birth mothers who surrender children are more likely to have hysterectomies. Psychically, that makes sense, as your female organs are the site of our grief. Researcher J. Kelly, M.A. goes on to state:
The survey results supported other research findings (Jones, 1993; Carlini, 1992) that birthmothers experience difficulties with unresolved grief, traumatic stress symptoms, self-punishment, low self-esteem, arrested emotional development, living at extremes, difficulty forgiving oneself/others, being out of touch with feelings, difficulty giving/receiving love, relationship problems, self-hatred and dysfunctional sexual problems. Unresolved grief, self-punishment, and low self-esteem ranked highest among the difficulties identified as extreme, often or severe.
Sounds like giving up a child is the cause of a great deal of stress, and that is the known root cause of so much illness. Kelly also notes that lifting the veil of secrecy that we are told we were "promised," might help lift some of the lasting guilt we feel:
A primary argument against open records has been the safeguarding of birthmother confidentiality. However, lifting the veil of secrecy may have inherent therapeutic value for the birthmother. Gediman and Brown (1991) write that "keeping a secret can make us feel guilty, duplicitous, or unauthentic; and that, over a long period of time, it can have a powerful influence on character and personality" (p. 13).
After reading this, I thought here might lie some reasons birth mothers fear and reject reunion with their relinquished children. The mothers are simply too screwed up to handle the stress of the missing child come back; that and having to admit to one's family about the first child who may have been a lifelong secret.

Other studies that look at a woman's health after relinquishment include John Triseliotis et al in The Adoption Triangle Revisited. He also found diminished health among birth mothers, which we have written about before, (Birth Mothers Happy to Reconnect), but only among "searcher birth mothers." A 1996 study in the British Journal of Social Work concluded that if family doctors were more understanding of a birth mother's needs, they might have less need for "medication." That is, drug us with lots of stuff from Big Pharma (Atavan, Xanax, Valium, Prozac, you name it) into being more, uh, relaxed about giving up our babies. I can just see it among the reasons to be prescribed: relinquishment of child to adoption. Ya, that might help. And turn some of us into lifelong users.

But first, we'd have to admit that we gave up a child. I remember my first visit to a company doctor after I gave up my child. Of course, it being 1966, to stay in my chosen profession (newspaper reporter) I had to move (from Rochester, NY) to another city (Albany) and find another job. And the new newspaper had a doctor run routine tests before I was put on their medical insurance plan. All was going well, and then I hit the wall:

"Any children or pregnancies?" the doctor asked.

NO. I was terrified that if I admitted the truth, it would be duly noted and the publisher and editor of the Albany Knickerbocker News would have access to my records. And would I be able to get this job I so desperately needed? Or would I be told, Sorry, your record indicates you are unstable and a troublemaker.

The doctor just checked off, No, I presume. End of story. But I'll never forget that moment, kinda the way I remember where I was when I heard John Kennedy was killed.

Was I screwed up that first year? Was I sicker than I would have been otherwise? What I remember is getting a stubborn red rash that lasted for months, despite the cortisone cream that the doctor prescribed and told me that it was most likely caused by stress. Was I under any unusual stress, he asked.

I shook my shoulders, indicating, I dunno. Again, I wasn't going to admit who I was: a woman who had given away a child.

But nonetheless, I did find my way to amphetamines, prescribed by the psychiatrist-in-residence who had moved into my apartment building the same day I did, and so we became friends during the many trips up and down the stairs. One night a couple of months later, I blurted out the truth to him. I had just given up a baby for adoption. He prrescribed little green capsules-uppers--for a couple of months. With them, I got through the day without breakdowns, stayed up late so I would be able to find refuge when I did finally lie down.

But I am just a test case of one.

Of course I can't make the connection, but for most of my adult life I have been plagued with an unusual number of sinus infections to the degree that for several years I was in semi-infected state, all related to my sinuses. Over the winter, I felt like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, lying on the couch. I never knew if I would be healthy enough to make plans to do pretty much anything. I always felt--I might be sick. And I often was. Consequently, the teeth on one side of my face have all been removed or had root canals, as the constant state of infection appears to have led to a weakening of the teeth on the side of the troublesome sinus. A operation a few years ago to rebuild my nose (no, I did not do coke) has helped a great deal but...my temperamental sinuses and a normally low white-blood cell count remains an issue. Of course, who can know the cause? I'm just sayin'...this is my story.

I won't call relinquishing a child for adoption a "primal wound," but how about instead, primal stab? Oh yeah.

One last thought, I have become friendly via email with an adoption social worker involved in relinquishment and placement (yes it is possible, there was a surrender and so far, happy reunion in her immediate family), and she asked me if I could suggest any websites that might be helpful to a woman considering giving up her child. I half-jokingly suggested FirstMotherForum, of course. I mean, there is no way I could ever counsel a teenager/young woman/any age woman to give up her child to genetic strangers. If there has to be an adoption, look to your extended family first, and then your friends, and do not keep your real identity secret ever from that child.

Of course the contented first mothers we encountered over at Mormon-driven sites seem to say otherwise--but the grief did manage to burble up now and then--but unless one is lobotomized, I can't imagine that any website would provide help and solace to a woman considering adoption for her baby. Suggestions?

34 comments :

  1. When I used to speak on birthmother panels and participate in National Adoption Month events, I always remarked that I was one of the lucky ones--I didn't succumb to substance abuse or severe depression over the loss of my daughter because my relinquishment was never a secret.

    I inherited a wonderful friend, Nina, when I met my husband. The two had grown up together (and were a decade older than me), and she was larger than life; I wanted to be like her when I grew up. Nina was the type of person who started a party just by walking into a room. She had no problem saying what was on her mind, worked on Wall Street when it was still very much a man's world, could drink just about anyone under the table. I didn't see her often, but when I did, we were drawn to one another like magnets.

    One late winter afternoon about 20 years ago I received a phone call from her niece. Nina had died in her sleep at 49, apparently of natural causes. Several years later, when I phoned her niece to tell them about my reunion, she was stunned but thrilled for me, and managed to say, "Then you knew about Nina." Turns out my dear friend was one of the girls who went away. No one knew, except her parents, and the secret was revealed when the matriarch of the family, Nina's mother, passed away. It all clicked--the drinking, the countless hours at her job the failed brief marriage and subsequent romances--she was still grieving over the loss of the daughter she never knew. A few years later I was talking with Nina's sister at a family wedding and she shared the little that she knew...her sister had gone off to Philadelphia for several months, which was nothing unusual for Nina, and had a daughter, named her Linda. Nina didn't know that I was member of the birthmother sisterhood too.

    Did Nina's silent, secret loss of her daughter to adoption contribute to her early demise? Though her death certificate doesn't state it quite that way, I have no doubt that it did.

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  2. I don't know...I have the same medical problems my parents who never gave up a child had at a similar age. Getting old makes you sick eventually, no matter what your life experiences.

    Surrendering surely did not make my life better and added stress, but I would not attribute all my fairly minor ills to that experience. It did make the low-level depressive tendencies I have had since high school worse but other than that I've just suffered the normal wear and tear of growing older. I also know quite a few women my age in much worse physical shape who never surrendered a child.

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  3. Studies also need to be done on an epidemiologic scale and properly designed. There are lots of small, poorly-designed studies that get into the news due to publicists. We need something on the scale of the twin studies done in Sweden, studies that include large populations and which follow them longitudinally.

    On the reliquishment issue, I really don't get why there is any non-family adoption these days except in the case of indigents. Is shame really so prevalent in the 21st century? Are we really so isolated from extended family? Mind-boggling.

    - AW aka DP

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  4. Every mother that I know who was forced into surrendering has many health problems. I do not have all of the medical problems but I do have the emotional problems that causes me problems daily.

    I have had an abortion and between adoption and abortion my choice would be abortion any day. The abortion choice has not affected my whole life like the adoption has even after reunion.

    I do believe that the stress that we mothers were put under while we were pregnant caused problems for us, and our babies, the stress of living a lie, never speaking or having support also creates problems and the biggest factor the never knowing how our child was or if he was even alive is an unbearable amount of stress for me throughout my life. Even in reunion the stress is still there, the years of holding it in come out and then the true grieving begins.

    of course as mothers our health or well being we not important even our babies health or well being was unimportant as long as the goods were delivered to the buyers.

    Studies, hell therapists continually deny that adoption has an effect on mothers or the babies they lost. The cure for that is meds...lets medicate. Three therapists and EACH one wanted to medicate first, and not deal with real issues. Of course, I said no thanks...keep em for someone else.a

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  5. Hi Alfia:-)

    Good to hear from you again! Yes, we need some real double bind studies of women who relinquished and those who did not, of similar age and background, to see if there really are health effects beyond the obvious emotional scars.

    I could say most of my birthmother friends have health issues, but then so do all the friends my age who are not birthmothers. Women in their late 50s and up tend to develop the chronic problems the flesh is heir to, sooner or later.

    I think we have to be careful quoting studies that may be biased or just not properly done or making assumptions that tie every ill to surrender.

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  6. But Maryanne, in this and other comments, it seems as if you would tie nothing to the stress of giving up a child. Yet since I thin you would agree that surrendering a child is a "stress" and "stress" leads to sickness, why do you seem so determined to dismiss the idea that giving up a child may lead to health problems down the road?

    Additionally the figures on hysterectomies are quite concrete.

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  7. I am by nature a skeptical person.I am also not much of a believer in mind/body connection in all illness. However, I would not say I see no bad effects of the surrender experience. Far from it.

    I would tie grief, depression, and various emotional problems to the stress of having given up a child.I would also directly tie in relationship problems, family problems, some phobias,self-image problems, in some cases substance abuse. Isn't that enough?

    I have seen no convincing evidence of any unbiased, not self-selected random study comparing mothers who surrendered and women who did not surrender as far as long-term health outcomes.

    The "study" you linked to by someone named Kelly seems to be just another birthmother who solicited input from other birthmothers in adoption reform groups, and I did not see any comparison control group cited. This is junk science and we don't need it to prove we have suffered and been wronged.

    I think it is far-fetched to try to link recurrent sinus infections to the stress of having surrendered specifically or for me to try to link the hypertension that me, my mother, my grandmother, and several aunts had and treated successfully with medication to anything but heredity.

    Everyone has stress in their lives, great and small, and it affects everyone differently depending on their genetic strengths and weaknesses.
    In some cases perhaps some stress-related illnesses in some women can be traced to having surrendered, but I hardly think it is universal or the only factor.

    If it was not surrender, by the time we are over 60, it would have been something else that pushed the buttons of inherited genetic weakness waiting to strike.

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  8. I have been studying psychology. Mostly for me, of course, but also because I believe that the only way to change something is to make an overwhelming, absolutely immutable argument that is logical, has research on a mass scale and is presented en mass to the powers that be.

    Adoption is, was, and has always been a nightmare. For the mother, the natural father and for the child.

    Sadly, even the adopters suffer. They suffer guilt and jealousy and fear for their entire lives after the adoption.

    How can anyone believe this is a good thing?

    So, when I ask can I get a questionnairre filled out - can you immagine I will get a positive response? I can't.

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  9. I disagree that Kelly's research is "junk science". Kelly did a QUALITATIVE study. That's perfectly legitimate science.
    What you are talking about is doing a QUANTITATIVE study. A double blind study is not possible in this type of a research question. A double blind study is for studies of things like medications or treatments where people are randomly given either the drug or the placebo and nobody knows which is which. That's the double blind. That kind of a study can't be done when studying mothers of adoption loss. You could not ethically have a group of women and randomly select some to surender and some not.
    The ONLY kind of study you can do in this type of problem is a qualitative study like Kelly did. Interviewing women to describe their experience is about the QUALITY of their experience. Asking mothers who surrendered what emotional or physical problems they have or had in the past, is also a qualitative study. The only thing that would give a study like this more power is a larger NUMBER of mothers. And it would have to be HUGE, like thousands, maybe tens of thousands, to have much correlation. But there are millions of us, aren't there? It could be done.

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  10. I probably was not using the right terms, but what I meant was a study that surveyed a large number of mothers who had given up a child, and large number of women who had not of the same age and class and comparing the two. That would be possible and ethical. I think it should also include mothers who searched and those who did not, to really cover the whole range of experience.

    "Correlation does not imply causation." I think I got that from a statistics class:-)Two things may be true of a group of people without one having caused the other. Human beings naturally look for patterns and connections, and sometimes see them where they do not really exist.

    That a group of 60 year old women who surrendered a child in their youth also have assorted chronic health problems does not mean that the problems were caused by the surrender, unless someone can prove that these women have substantially more such problems than women who did not surrender, and other possible causal factors are ruled out.

    I'm not the enemy here, just another voice urging some skepticism rather than eager acceptance of every theory that adoption causes every ill in our lives. It causes quite enough heartache for us as it is.

    We are not JUST mothers who surrendered. We all have had other stresses in our lives, some of them severe like death of a spouse, severe problems with kids we have raised, caring for aging parents, being victims of rapes, abuse, accidents etc etc. Others have been lucky and had very few other major difficulties.

    How can you really determine what one event caused stess that leads to illness when so many factors are at play?

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  11. Maryanne -
    I am always glad to see your responses on this forum. I appreciate the healthy skepticism you bring to the discussions and the measured approach you take when you disagree with someone's views.

    L in Chicago
    (adult adoptee, recently reunited with first mother)

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  12. It's widely understood and accepted that emotional stress can contribute to physical illness, but I too appreciate Maryanne's skeptical approach. It may feel confirming, but it's simplistic to assume that specific illnesses experienced later in life necessarily have their roots in early stress or trauma.

    Re. the 41% of hysterectomies quoted by Kelly ("A high incidence of hysterectomies had been previously observed and reported to me by an adoption triad counselor. A startling finding in this study was that 41% of the survey participants had received hysterectomies."), it doesn't seem to me to be that concrete since I can find no citation to support the claim and no information about the study and how it was conducted. As I read it, it looks like hearsay. Though maybe I've missed something. I don't know.
    Even Kelly, who appears to accept the figure - presumably because it supports her thesis - admits that further research is warranted for such claims to have any heft.
    She asks "Were hysterectomies utilized as measures of birth control for this population? Was the birth/relinquishment trauma implicated in the development of disease? Was prejudicial health treatment given to birthmothers?"

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  13. I don't know, because I have never given away a child.

    I am sure if I did, it would impact every facet of my life, because well I am rather fond of my own children...

    I know with being adopted, there is an intinsic stress that is ever constant in my life. Which of course has a negative effect on my health.

    I mean there is nothing it doesn't effect, even the settings on my cell phone, realizing if I list anyone as mom, well it is just better to leave them off the list altogether, because for me "mom" is a "them"

    I have no problem believing that a major stress like giving away a baby, where the baby continues to live and the grief is unresolved causes a negative impact on one's health.

    I know as a divorcee, that divorce is minor in comparison to adoption, like hardly nocticeable once you add adoption into the continuum.

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  14. Quoting the Times: "Overall, men and women who had experienced divorce or the death of a spouse reported about 20 percent more chronic heath problems like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, compared with those who had been continuously married. Previously married people were also more likely to have mobility problems like difficulty comings stairs or walking a meaningful distance."

    So while divorce causes this difference in the overall health of people, many of you are unwilling to believe that the trauma of giving up a child might have the same effect, without a study done of 10,000 birth mothers.
    Why is it so difficult to at least leave open the possibility that the trauma of giving up a child might not lead to similar or worse health issues?

    Take off your blinkers, ladies. Look around you. Look at the stats of birth mothers who do not have second children. Is that all a statistical fluke? You seem to want a study that shows that the effect of giving up a child is nil.And yet here you are protesting. You protest too much.

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  15. I'm certainly not saying it doesn't have an effect, Anon. I totally believe it can, though not necessarily as the cause of specific illnesses (Key word, "necessarily").
    I wrote "It's widely understood and accepted that emotional stress can contribute to physical illness".

    But presenting conjecture as scientific argument (the 41% hysterectomy stat. for ins't) isn't going to win any converts.

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  16. Emotionally, yes.

    My psychiatrist says so
    (I live in the UK but my son's forced adoption was in North America).

    The loss of my son to an adoption I didn't consent to caused me years of grief and depression (my parents went behind my back and persuaded the authorities to take my son because I was "an unwed embarrassment" to them - conservative authorities were "doing God's work" by taking my son apparently).

    By the time I was seeing the psychiatrist, I was becoming suicidal.

    My psychiatrist felt that he didn't know enough about this and went on a professional course to educate himself further. He put me on 24 hour suicide watch - he told my husband that if he could not watch me, then I was to be sectioned to the hospital. Fortunately, my husband agreed to look after me. There was also a 24 suicide watch community nurse assigned to me as well. I could call her or a colleague at any time.

    My psychiatrist was feeling a bit out of his depth and asked if Cambridge University could send a psychiatrist to see me - how often do you hear of psychiatrists making house calls?

    Sorry - I can't remember his name (anti-depressants made it harder to remember) but he told me some interesting things that I found useful. He had studied this subject in great depth (depression among mothers of closed adoptions) and found that, on average, most mothers literally crack emotionally somewhere between 10 and 20 years after a closed adoption. He said that I had done well to have coped for almost 23 years before seeking help. If I hadn't, I probably wouldn't be typing this now.

    The good news is that I have reunited with my son - I am still angry and upset at the way I was treated but that is normal according to the psychiatrists. Reunion has brought some comfort but there are still negative feelings - I have been taught how to cope with them better. I realise these feelings will never go away but it is how you deal with them that matters.

    BTW - Blogging is seen as a positive way of dealing with these things (provided people don't flame, etc.).

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  17. Fully agreeing with Kippa. Nobody here said the effects of surrender are "nil". Most of us are living with various ill effects. Yes, it is clear that stress can make some people more susceptible to illness. Nobody is saying that is not so either.

    What is in question is direct causation, like "surrendering a child leads to hysterectomy" or type II diabetes or arthritis or any other disease that people tend to develop later in life for the most part.

    No blinders here, just a sense of proportion.

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  18. so what do you nay-sayers think of the divorce study? that it's all malarkey? btw, i don't see that Loraine connected any specific disease (diabetes, cancer) to giving up a child. That's in the divorce study.

    You mostly are interested in arguing, and are not open to the possibilities. & btw, what's wrong with noting that women who give up children are more likely to have a hysterectomy than those who do not? That's malarkey too?
    I don't get where you are coming from.

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  19. I found the divorce study interesting but not definitive. I would want to know when these people got divorced or widowed, what other factors there were in their lives. Is divorce after a brief young marriage with no kids equal to divorce after 30 years with kids, a house, etc? Are the effects on women and men the same?
    How about someone who lost a long-time lover to whom they were never married? Lots of questions.

    Certainly I am open to the POSSIBILITY that the stress of surrendering a child may have physical effects later in life, but that has not been demonstrated or proven by anything cited here.
    It may be proven at some time in the future by serious research done by someone with no bias about the outcome, but that is yet to be seen.

    What I find more powerful than sweeping generalizations or statistical studies is the telling of our own individual stories about what surrender and adoption has done to us. A good example of this right here is the story related by the Anon who began "Emotionally, yes...." It is clear that surrender devastated her and led directly to an emotional breakdown that she was fortunate to be able to get compassionate and appropriate treatment for. It didn't happen to everyone, but it happened to her, and my observation has been that serious emotional problems are very common among surrendering mothers and do relate directly to the surrender experience and its aftermath.

    All of us here have suffered because we gave up a child, or were surrendered. The damage and grief and lost opportunities in life are in our stories, with no need for statistical analysis or quantification. Believe it or not, I am a poet, not a scientist, although I have a pretty good science background. I expect something put out there as science to be rigorous, done right, and unbiased, but I hardly think that is the only way to portray human life or suffering or the losses of adoption.

    No, it is not all being dismissed as "malarkey" but needs to be evaluated and take with a grain of salt.

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  20. No, Jenna, I don't think Maryanne and Kippa are "mostly interested in arguing." What they are asking for is something other than anecdotal evidence. Can you take 1000 women who have relinquished and 1000 thousand who decided not to and control for all the factors that might otherwise contribute to stress and ill-health and say that one group is sicker than the other because of relinquishing? That is your test. Not anecdotal evidence. Not self-reporting. The stories that have been put forward are a great beginning but stories are not science. BTW, I don't think anyone disputes that stress in general is linked to illness. But you can't use that idea to claim X causes Y unless you have tested that hypothesis.

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  21. The loss of a child is an unalterable event that changes the path of parenthood forever. Adoption is the loss of a child and it is not always recognized as such. It is not a small loss if there is such a thing; rather, it is a hugely significant and enormous loss for all parties of the triad. For a variety of reasons, it is not treated as a loss in the same sense and/or manner as other child-loss events (e.g., miscarriage, kidnapping, death). Yet, the resulting stressful effects present themselves similarly in response to the toll that is taken upon the parent(s) and significant others. So, does losing a child to adoption make one sick? While a causal relationship may or may not exist, qualitative evidence in the form of testimonials suggests that there is a link. What this means is there’s a correlation. Stress is an inevitable outcome. The defining variable, imo, relates to how the stress is managed.

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  22. The discussion is interesting, however, if you want facts, look into the psychological and psychiatric journals for the last thirty years. There is no doubt in the collective minds of psychologists and most psychiatrists that adoption is an institution that should be made either illegal or only for the child, not for parents that are unable to have children.

    The hardest part is getting someone to hear you with all the shouting going on.

    READ - I have been reading horror stories for a decade, watching horror stories unfold with bad reunions or dead adoptees or adoptess that are beyond psychotic because of many of the issues.

    Facts are:

    1/3 of women who lose a child to adoption will not have another child.

    65% of reunions are not stable and often cause more grief when the participants take pot shots at each other instead of discussing, learning and understanding.

    RESEARCH - find the words then discuss them. No one is going to listen to grieving mothers who are angry and who denigrate what the public believes are wonderful things. Calm, respectful voices are heard before screaming, crying and name calling.

    Work together - we need each other.

    Just my opinion.

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  23. Its only anecdotal, but no doubt about it, my birthmother's use of an IUD led to her hysterectomy. She tells the story in a way that makes it sound like she didn't care much for the loss, or even her body before the loss. She is (God bless her soul) one angry cookie, and thoroughly regressed. So astoundingly intelligent, but stuck at 18 for quite a few things, with a laundry list of issues that do effect her health including chronic anxiety, control issues, and trust issues. I can't quite get her into therapy, but in talking about it she has noted the same things about herself. Finding the cause of her hives, palpitations, and agoraphobia is as easy as connect the dots in her case. For instance she trusts no one including me because the three most important people in her life: boyfriend, mother and father, all betrayed her in time of need... she went from being a happy young woman with a happy planned future to being this embarrassed pariah, in a matter of days- thrown out of the house while pregnant with no one to help her until the mother of a friend took her in. She became suicidal, and decided to live because I was there, but she shut down emotionally yet to recover. Her need for control is off the scale along with her stress. I personally don't need the stats to know that this type of trauma has lasting effects on the mind and spirit. The mind/body (mental health/physical health) connection has been confirmed to my own satisfaction in studies..for instance all of the elderly people who die within a short time of their partner... grieving any loss can effect the autoimmune system, increase alcoholism, raise blood pressure/hypertension, elevated blood sugar (not even related to poor self-care) in diabetes, etc. etc. I always question science, because so many studies are really poorly constructed... but I don't think human emotions are about science.

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  24. "What they are asking for is something other than anecdotal evidence."

    That is impossible. There are too many mothers, too many children, too many different surrendering cases and varying levels of heartache/anguish/depression to acutely support direct evidence such as that which you are requiring.

    Any statistic can be influenced by a bias to prove a "theory" correct one way or another - which means, in Maryanne and Kippa's perspectives, it is impossible to prove beyond statistics and any anecdotes that theory can really be made anything other than just "a theory" since skepticism can be applied to all aspects of every reunion and the various factors that have possibly influenced.

    Skepticism makes it impossible to prove anything since all statistics need is to be skewed by a biased perspective and goal.

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  25. I've passed a blog award on to you. You can stop by my blog to read about it :)

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  26. Human beings are naturally biased and the purpose of science is to eliminate bias from research as much as possible. It's true that getting such a population together might be very tough. I'm not sure why the number of people involved would work against getting evidence but other factors could.

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  27. No matter how many medical journals report the affects those who adopt still have lobbyists that counter. Thats why there is the NFCA it counters what we all know and gets the bucks to do the biased studies on adoption that show how wonderful it is and how well adoptee's do in there adopted scenario.

    Mother's and adoptee's tell the story but we are ignored because everyone has a happy, adopted fairytale or knows one if they don't have one in there family.

    studies on mom's have been done by mother's and in Australia but we wouldn't want to read them or show the effects after all everyone is adoption happy here in U.S.

    I have two adoptive cousins myself who haven't found, and they are severly hampered by adoption. One to the extent of being in need of therapist, but no one cares. I told my mom he needs to find his family. A pink elephant in family but of course no one cares how he feels or the young woman feels its all about them being part of the forever family. Not one person gives a care after all it isn't them who has been affected. Lets just pretend...

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  28. The simple answer to the question in your title is, yes it does. It makes my stomach hurt thinking about it.

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  29. I became pregnant at 16. My parents, boyfriend, and boyfriend's parents all knew about it and were very supportive, non judmental. My boyfriend and I decided for open adoption. I wanted contact with my child's adoptive parents, I wanted to know how well my child was being raised. I wanted my child to know that I loved him, and that I existed. I wrote letters to him very often to tell him why I chose his adoptive parents to raise him for me. With adoptive parents agreement, these letters will be given to my son when he turns 18 years old. He will know how much he was loved by many people. The hard part was the surrender after I gave birth. But I got to hold him, to see him, to tell him I loved him. He was told as soon as he could understand that I loved him enough to want a better life for him than I could provide for him at 16 years old. I was counseled from the time I learned I was pregnant by Christians such as myself. My life goes on, my child knows who I am, I know how my child is doing. I have never doubted that the parents I chose to raise my son were nothing but the best. I have never had to be put on any type of meds, nor have had any medical problems. I recognize that my son is a part of my life, continues to be a part of my life, and will always be a part of my life. Relatives and friends have never known about my pregnancy or adoption decision. I've never felt like I was hiding anything because I've never really been close to them. They're more acquaintances. Why would I feel the need to share an intimate part of my life with acquaintances? It's just not necessary. My faith, immediate family have always helped me through sad times. I know in my heart my son is in the best care, much better than I could ever have provided for him. This knowledge gives me constant reassurance that I did the best thing I could possibly ever do for him at 16 years of age.

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  30. In answer to your question, does it make me sick, Yes. I'm not the mother but the grandmother. My 17 year old daughter has decided to give up her unborn son. I have no rights, no way to stop this. I'm trying to be supportive but I don't know how. It's making me sick now. I've broken out in shingles. Can't sleep. Just start some antidepresants. I'm a mess. I know this is going to have long term effects on my so how can it possibly not effect her. Any Advise,Help would be appreciated.

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  31. Kim,

    I am so sorry. I know how painful it is that your daughter wants to give up your grandson. I have to think she doesn't understand the pain she and her son will suffer from losing each other.

    She may change her mind once she sees him. Urge her to hold him while she is in the hospital and wait a few days after birth before signing anything.

    You might suggest she read books by birthmothers. You can find a list of excellent books on the Origins-USA website, www.origins-usa.org.

    Is your daughter going through an adoption agency? Does she know about options for an open adoption?

    I urge you to get counseling from someone who really knows about adoption, not just a mouth piece for an adoption agency. I may be able to refer you to someone. Where do you live?

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  32. Thank You Jane, We live in the Northern Ky, Cincinnati Area. Any help would be appreciated. She knows I'm against this so any talking to an adoption agency has been done without my help. We only have 7 weeks until the due date. I really don't know where to turn.
    Any help is appreciated.

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  33. I have never felt heathy since I signed my rights over to my son at birth. But I think it is age catching up with me.

    I had a son back when I was eighteen to a man in his forties who took absolute control over my life then using drugs. I thought about adoption but he put up a legal battle over possession of the child. I was young and scared and just wanted him and the thought of being a mother at eighteen out of mind.

    I am now 27, married over 3 years and still haven't been able to concieve. Just realized my son turns 9 this year and it is still to this day depressing that I haven't seen him since he was an infant. This choice to me, as bad as it hurts, doesn't hurt near as bad as if I had aborted the pregnancy. I have always been strong but this has haunted me and I dont know how I'll ever forgive myself for the decision I made.

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  34. After reading this blog, I am shocked to see how many people view adoption as "the loss of a child." Can I really be the only person out there who honestly gave up her child as a means of bettering the child's life?

    I was 3 days away from turning 18 when I found out that I was going to have a baby. I was devistated! Here I was, almost 18, living at home with my mother who could barely feed us, and because of 1 night of childish passion, was going to have a child that I had no idea what to do with. This horrified me! I was not even an adult yet, and I was going to be a welfare Mom before I had the chance to really experience life! The biological father was willing to keep the baby, but wasn't willing to make the changes needed to to be a good father. When I decided that adoption was the best way to go, he didn't fight me on it at all. I met with an attorney, sorted through hundreds of people who wanted to adopt and realized that some people were selfish, some were stupid, and still others were sincere and genuine people who could afford to raise a child and give him everything inthe world that I could not. I gave my child up because I DO love him, and I wanted him to have everything in life I could not give him. I wanted him to have the chance to know a life NOT spent being dragged in and out of the welfare office. This was a choice I made of my own free will and with no one standing behind me coercing me to do it! It is an open adoption, and I have met with the adoptive parents and the boy they are raising for me on several occasions. They always told me that when he was old enough to really understand all of this, they would explain to him who I am, and when he was 10 years old, he actually asked his mother to take him to meet me. We met.... had a wonderful dinner, and got to know a little about one another. He will be 13 this October. He is very bright and well rounded. Goes to a wonderful private school, and has everything I ever wanted him to have.

    I think my decision was the right one, and I have never looked at it as something I regret doing. I feel my life has gone on and become better for not having raised yet another welfare baby. I am 31 years old, I just married the love of my life (that I have known since my 1st pregnancy), and am currently 8 months pregnant with another baby. My husband and I are excited to be having our 1st child together.

    I think if you are stable emotionally at the time of the adoption, then you will remain that way, but if you are doing it because YOU have issues, then you will always have issues with the adoption, and will always view the adoption in a negative way.

    All I ask is that you see the experience as something you do for the child.... not what you lose in the process!!

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