' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Hello Everybody

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hello Everybody

Hello Everybody--

I've been writing and commenting about adoption-related issues for--yikes--more than half my life, and so it seemed like it was time--actually past the time--for me to start a blog, and I'm hoping that my first mother friends around the country will join in too.

About me: I surrendered a daughter for adoption in 1966. I wrote a book about giving her up, Birthmark, that came out in 1979 to raucous reviews...well, with headlines such as: Obsessed with Guilt. As it was the first birthmother memoir, it rankled a lot of people who really really wanted us all to stay in the closet and throw away the key.

We were reunited in 1981, before her 15th birthday, and not a minute too soon. We've had a a mostly copacetic relationship with some bumps along the way, and then we would pick up as if nothing had happened...even though there was a period when she did not talk to me. It turned out that she was trying to make her adoptive mother love her more...this was after one of the adoptive mother's sons died in a skiing accident, and she told the assembled...that he was her favorite. So my daughter set out to show that she was worthy of mama's love. The best way to show that? Not talk to me for about a year.

The end of the story is that my daughter committed suicide in December. Her life was punctuated by much sadness, not all adoption related, and I'm telling her story in a memoir I am writing now..but so much other stuff comes up about adoption that I won't be putting in the book, so the blog.

As in The New York Times had a double-whammy in adoption-related stories in the real estate section. One story about a couple looking for a new home said...their adopted son...so they needed a bigger place. The other story was about the author of a book that became the movie Then She found Me. Did anybody out there besides me have trouble with the scene with the Helen Hunt character when she made her mother say repeatedly that she gave her up so she could have a life? Not acknowledging that the Bette Midler character said that she was 15 or 16, that her parents threw her out, that she had no money and no one to help her. I wanted to scream at the camera, okay, we get it, you don't understand how that might have felt, how desperate such a character would be, you are still pissed off and we get it!

I hope you like the name of this blog--I thought about using birthmother but my friend came up with this title and it seemed better. Birthmother is such a loaded word. Adoptive parents like it, most natural mothers don't. I'm somewhat neutral, except the year my daughter sent me a "birth mother" card! HATED IT. We had known each other too long and too deeply for a "birth mother" salutation. I think it's the only card from her that went into the trash. But the word has become part of the language. In a personal essay in the Sunday Times, (I do read other publications but the Times is a barometer of the zeitgeist) , a writer used the term "birth mother" to differentiate between her step-mother and her birth mother. First time I've seen it like that. Used to be, "mother" was enough.

Gotta go, it's getting late--



  1. Welcome to the blogosphere. Lorraine! Nice to hear the voice of vets. I've linked you on The Daily Bastardete and have your your note up in a few minutes. Hope you get some traffic.

  2. Look forward to reading you. Thank you to Marley for the shout out that lead me here.

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  4. I am really sorry about your daughter too-but she is at peace now, waiting for you, in a place where all will be fixed.

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  6. I am just so sorry for your loss.

    Wow, that was a punch in the gut to read.

    I loved your book btw.

  7. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind comment on my blog. I am so sorry about your daughter. That is so hearbreaking.

  8. I am just a new blogger but one of the adoption vets. It is nice to be able to tell you in person thanks for writing your book. I still have it and it was part of my education. I was reunited with my son quite a few years ago. The reunion has had it ups and downs but I am forever grateful for knowing him and for coming out of the prison of the adoption closet.

  9. Welcome, Lorraine! I first read your book years ago, and it was one of the things that told me it was okay to ask questions about my adoption. Thank you for helping me find that strength.

    My deepest condolences on the loss of your daughter.

    I've put a link to your blog from mine - hope you get lots of readers! And I hope others learn from your words, as I did, that it's okay to talk openly about adoption.



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