But if it was a decision, it certainly was not courageous but instead born out of fear. Where would I go? What would I do? What would people say? How could I do it? I took the path of least resistance. Sign papers and it's over. Keep the baby and it's uphill forever. As for "loving, well, it was in spite of loving my daughter. I had an emotional bond the minute she was born; but it did not give me the confidence to face the world, to do what it would take to nurture her. Let me add that while I consider myself cowardly, I was 24, had a college degree though no marketable skills, I don't believe that other mothers who gave up their children in the Baby Scoop Era were cowards. For most, there simply was no choice.
'REGARDLESS OF ONE'S EMOTIONAL FEELINGS'
Today more than 40 percent of all babies born in the United States are born to single woman, and social pressures take a back seat to "love" in the adoption industry's arsenal of ammunition to get the baby their customers want. Since disgrace no longer sells the adoption option, the industry employs a perverse concept of heroism and love. Focus on the Family, the Colorado Spring institution self-described as a "Global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive" says it like this:
"Adoption is truly heroic act--an act of love. In most cases, adoption is the most loving and unselfish decision an unmarried, expectant mother can make. You see, love is not primarily an emotion.... Love is taking action in the best interests in another person or persons, regardless of one's emotional feelings."The sentences requires a couple of leaps of faith--that love is not about emotion when nature has conditioned our bodies to feel an intense emotional bond to our babies the minute they come out of our bodies. Well, if that's not love, I don't know what it is. In the Baby Scoop Era, adoption practitioners tried to spare mothers from this feeling by whisking the baby way, not letting the mother see him or her, and in some cases not even divulging the baby's gender. This did not work; mothers like Lorraine who did not see their babies still felt a rush of love that just about knocked them out. The second leap of faith that adoption workers push is the idea that giving a child to biological strangers is per se in a child's best interests.
Along with love for your child according to Focus on the Family comes charity through fulfilling "the dreams of a carefully chosen couple who have been longing for a child." As I grieved for my lost daughter through Christmas and into the New Year, I tried to comfort myself by visualizing her coming into the home of this childless couple longing for a child--such a joyful Christmas they would have because they had my baby. I imagined her under the Christmas tree, wrapped in a large stocking. When we met 31 years later, I learned that Rebecca did not even go into her adoptive home until the middle of January--she spent Christmas in a foster home--and the adoptive couple had three children, a biological daughter and two adopted sons. In The Other Mother, Carol Schaefer wrote that she was told so often about the couple who deserved her son that she began to feel sorry for them. When she met her son nineteen years later, she learned that he was placed with an immature couple and removed from their home a few months later.
Today adoption practitioners don't keep the newborn baby away from the mother and mothers don't have to conjure up the flawless adoptive couple. They may have selected them from a small portfolio of prospective adoptive parents given to them by the practitioner, although whether the mothers truly know them is questionable. Prospective adoptive parents are taught how to write "Dear Birth Mother" letters, how to curry favor, how to present themselves in the best possible light. Mothers can now cuddle their babies when they are born. Then mothers "gift" their children to the new parents sometimes formally in an "entrustment ceremony," putting on a brave face, smiling with tears streaming down their cheeks, claiming confidently that they made the right decision, while the social workers applaud their "brave" act of "love." Rubbish.
FOR MANY, YEARS OF REGRET
For many of these mothers, this confidence lasts only a few months, for others a decade or more. After that: for many, years of regret. True, the grief subsides but never fully leaves. Meanwhile their children may not have the life the mothers imagined. The adoptive parents' marriage may end, they may follow practices the natural mother disagrees with, they cut off contact; any manner of things which later may inform the natural mother that adoption was not in the best interests of their children.
Focus on the Family ends its adoption promo by stating, "The truth is that single mothers often wish they had chosen adoption after only a few months of caring for their child." I am astounded by this statement. I've met mothers who wished they had waited to have children, or regretted having so many children. I know of mothers so overwhelmed with poverty and family problems that they surrendered a child several months or even several years after birth. But all the first mothers I have known and read about grieve over the loss of their child. Most wish they had kept or could have kept their child. I have never ever met a mother raising a child who wished she had chosen adoption; who could look at her child and wish the child had not been in her life.--jane
This is the third in a series on techniques the adoption industry uses to convince vulnerable mothers to give up their children. How money rules infant adoption was posted December 1. How the adoption industry convinces women they aren't 'ready to parent' was posted on December 15.
Children's Home Society of Florida You Tube Video
Children's Home Society of Florida website
Focus on the Family: Choosing the Best for Your Baby
A Bridge of Love: One Family's Entrustment Ceremony
Forty-five years later I still regret giving up my daughter
How adoption agencies 'turn' vulnerable women into spokespeople for relinquishing
How shame keeps birth mothers from embracing reunion
The Other Mother by Carol Schaefer
In 1965, the author was 19, a freshman in college and deeply in love. She was also pregnant. When her boyfriend’s family opposed their marrying, her parents sequestered her in a Catholic home for unwed mothers a state away, where she was isolated and where secrecy prevailed. She had only to give up her baby for her sin to be forgiven and then all would soon be forgotten she was told. The child, in turn, would be placed with a “good” family, instead of having his life ruined by the stigma of illegitimacy. Carol tried to find the strength to oppose this dogma but her shame had become too deep. “The first time I looked deep into my son’s eyes, I felt like a criminal. As I unwrapped his hospital blanket and took in the heady fragrance of a newborn, I feared the nurses or the sisters would come in and slap me for contaminating my own son.”--Amazon
Birthmark by Lorraine Dusky
FMF's own and the first memoir from a mother who relinquished a child. It was extremely controversial when published--in 1979. "Sadly, every bit as relevant today as it was when it was written nearly thirty years ago--Birthmark poignantly spans her life from the time of her relationship that led to her pregnancy, through the birth of her daughter, and her inability to forget and get on with her life and despite having the career she thought giving up "the child" would allow. It will be most relevant for those who thought they could give away a child and pick up the pieces of their educations and careers...and for all those who told us we could or should."--Mirah Riben
"The child was everywhere. True, I stopped thinking about her every hour, and maybe sometimes several days would manage to slip by...But then something...commercials for gentle Ivory Snow, safe for baby...I would always be a woman who gave away a child."
Other titles by first mothers:
Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search (Movie Tie-in)
Waiting to Forget: A Motherhood Lost and Found
The Gift Wrapped in Sorrow: A Mother's Quest for Healing
Without a Map: A Memoir
Shadow Train: A Journey Between Relinquishment and Reunion
The Same Smile: A Triumph of a Mother's Love After Losing Two Daughters
Second Chance Mother: A Memoir of Adoption Loss and Reunion
The Rescuer's Path
THANK YOU FOR ORDERING ANY OF THE ABOVE BOOKS THROUGH FMF--OR ANYTHING AT ALL. CLICK ON BOOK JACKET OR TITLE TO ORDER.