' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Edwards Expresses love for 'love child' Quinn

Friday, June 1, 2012

Edwards Expresses love for 'love child' Quinn

Frances Quinn Hunter Pic

John Edwards' mistrial may seem a bit off topic but there is that baby, Quinn, who looms behind it all. And that kid--conceived out of marriage, conceived in "sin"--grabs at my heart. No baby, no problem this size of this doozy that has been in the national spotlight for months. And while you may disparage John Edwards, I found reason to feel good about the statement he made yesterday to the press after the mistrial was announced. As The New York Times put it:

"And to the surprise of many, he expressed his love for the daughter he had with Ms. [Rielle] Hunter, 'my precious Quinn,' whom 'I love more than any of you could ever imagine.'"

Well, damn. Good for you, John Edwards. You didn't forget her in this most public of moments.

I have been more interested than most in the vicissitudes of this story as, in my day, I could be compared to Rielle in the broadest of ways: I was the younger woman who had an affair with a married man I worked alongside, and "got caught," in the language of the times back then.
But of course we didn't have the press following us around, wanting pictures, and the shame was more enormous than anyone who didn't live in that era can imagine. Hiding was all. Jane's previous post about the Crittenton homes is a stark reminder.

We know the story well: Edwards, presidential candidate, has affair with seeming floozy with a video camera, Rielle Hunter; she gets pregnant and opts not to have an abortion; Edwards and she try to hide the pregnancy, and later the baby, and wealthy donors give him money to support the "mistress," during the campaign. Edwards first denies parentage, but eventually fesses up and acknowledges Quinn as his daughter. Scandal, charges, trial, acquittal on one count, and finally, mistrial as jury fails to reach verdict.

Presidential candidates are supposed to be morally clean. but nothing is worse than to actually produce evidence--such as a child, not just a blue dress--of sexual congress, two words that I like to use together because they sound so friggen serious. A child is the sine qua non of supposedly unforgivable sexual encounter outside the bounds of marriage. The enormity of the Edwards' scandal showed that on one level, public opinion hasn't changed all that much since the Sixties here in the U.S. of A. Produce a kid with a married man, and you are a harlot, the kid an "innocent victim." 

My beautiful daughter, Jane
But here is Edwards, in the public eye, on the evening news and over and over again on 24-hour news shows, not keeping his "love child" out of the picture, and proclaiming his love for her. I was thrilled when I read the quote this morning over coffee--I wanted to nudge my husband, point it out to the guy we've gotten to know at the nearby Starbucks, give a small cheer. 

I had loved my daughter's father, and thought well of him despite everything--the times were different then for men too, divorce was unheard of in his very Irish and very Catholic family, he was under tremendous pressure to walk away from me and try to rebuild his marriage--yet I could not despise him. Years later, after I reunited with our daughter, I tried to arrange a meeting, and later, she tried. He couldn't handle meeting Jane "at this time," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That's when I lost respect for him, all those years later, when he kept putting off meeting our daughter. Then I totally gave up on him as a man of character. He didn't deny she was his, though out of the blue he did float the question to me one day when we seemed to be planning a lunch for the three of us. DNA testing was in its infancy at the time, and I suggested it. We did not do the testing, he never met Jane, and one day quite suddenly he died. She was in her twenties. Jane later said, "...all I wanted was a lousy lunch...."

So to read that Edwards publicly acknowledged his love for Quinn affected me. Despite the rest of the story, despite what you think of him, Edwards did what my daughter's father did not have the courage to do. Thanks, John Edwards, for not forgetting your "love child" Quinn yesterday.  --lorraine 
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My shoulder and bicep continue to be a problem, and I am writing less rather than more for the time being. I did all the exercises I was supposed to--and I had been remiss--but apparently I did more than I should have and once again set back recovery. Using a keyboard for any length of time is not good, and so look for fewer posts for the time being. And it's summer, right?  

One final note: an incomplete version of this blog was posted accidentally an hour ago. That's gone. Please excuse the glitch. I'll blame it on my arm.


  1. Better late than never I suppose. I hope he continues to step up to the plate. It should be easier now that Elizabeth is out of the way.

  2. Lorriane,

    I felt the same way. All the time i was reading and hearing about this case my heart went out to this little girl. Wondered if she would ever be accepted by her siblings, Would she be the "tragic" mistake that ruined her fathers career? Would she be the cause of the "other woman " status" of her mother. would be be seen in the same light as the rest of her family....or would she be able to enjoy a whole life, one that included both mother and fathers family.

    some of the comments i heard heard totally disregarded her...she was seen as just a pregnacy beggeted by him and and her....you know the poor man wronged by the coniving mother to get money....

    I so hope she can be brought to to be treasured as she should....not just some symbol of lives gone wrong.

    Even when his wife was alive i tried to envison how she would have handled this little girl. I truly can't imagine it... There in lies the whole mind f#*#(as joy so succcintly says) of the child dealing with everyone elses feelings.. I truly can understand his wife wanting to just shut away this child and mother. But i can more feel the insecurity and confusion of the child. All she did was be born because of the actions of two adults...and supposed smart ones too!

  3. Lorraine, rather than identifying with her, I hope you can come to take comfort in the fact that the ways in which your experience can be compared to Rielle Hunter's are so broad as to be almost non- existent.
    Hunter was pushing forty and already "well-seasoned" (to put it politely) when she first met Edwards In a hotel bar. She was not working for him at the time. It was only after the hired her as his video photographer that she began to work alongside him.
    And all the rest, it is too tawdry to mention. It's all out there anyway, and if it isn't explicit enough yet it soon will be when Reille Hunter brings out her " tell-all" book later this month.

    Dpen, all children have to deal with other people's feelings one way or another, including their parent's. It's part of becoming a person and growing up. This little girl is NOT going to be adopted. She will grow up knowing her parents and half siblings (whose feelings are also of
    consequence). Anyway, Elizabeth Edwards is no longer in the picture. She's dedy-dead-dead. Spare a thought for the other people who have been caught up in this sleazy soap opera, and who are also having to deal with the fall- out.

  4. dpen: I also kept thinking about the little girl and was glad that she was not going to be adopted, and though I knew that Elizabeth Edwards had terminal cancer, I kept thinking how her actions were like a mother lion ready to kill the other mother and her baby. What struck me--if I didn't make it clear--that despite the whole initial denial that was so less than admirable (and so reminded me of my outcast situation as by baby's father stayed in his fraying marriage), I was so pleased that he mentioned Quinn with love when he really didn't have to bring her up. With Elizabeth gone, it may be easier for the other Edwards children to accept Quinn. Hope so.

  5. It is the father lions, not the mothers, who kill the babies of another male. Get your nature facts straight. It does not seem at all unreasonable that a wife dying of cancer was less than delighted to learn that her husband was having an affair and had a child with another woman, and to be publicly humiliated. Yes, the child is innocent, but that does not mean it would be easy to accept all the actions of the guilty. This is not a story many would want to identify with.

  6. Cancer treatment can often have an impact on a patient's mental and emotional states. It is more than likely that if she had been well Elizabeth Edwards would have reacted very differently. Anyway, she's gone now, and if the the National Enquirer is to be believed, Reille is all set ready to get pregnant again so she and John Edwards can create a full sibling for their daughter.

    Elizabeth Edward's first mistake was to cover for her husband in order to protect his candidacy. The vehemence of her outburst when she cracked may have had something to do with her illness. Cancer treatment can often have an impact on a patient's mental and emotional states. It is possible that if she had been well her reaction would have been more constrained. As it was she may have felt she didn't have anything to lose.

    It is quite evident that, unlike yourself, Reille Hunter wasn't hiding away because she was ashamed. She allowed herself to be hidden away (very comfortably, by all accounts) out of political expediency.

    It is my belief that if John Edwards had thought there was no political advantage to be gained from proclaiming his love for his daughter, he wouldn't have done so.

  7. Look, this isn't Sister Wives. Why should Elizabeth Edwards have accepted this relationship or this child? Nice of her to croak at the opportune time, though, so that Quinn can know her real family.

    To take the pulse of the public on the issue, see



  8. I was so happy to hear Edwards publicly proclaim his devotion to his lovely daughter. Yes, the whole episode reeked with sleaze but we are all entitled to a chance at redemption. This family seems to be on the road to healing. They have endured the untimely death of a wife/mother and son/brother. I hope they can come together in love and acceptance.

  9. I was impressed with John Edwards for saying publicly that he hopes Quinn will one day be able to find it in her heart to forgive him for denying that he is her father.

    It this had happened in the BSE most likely Quinn would have been given up for adoption. I'm so glad that times have changed and she was kept. Agreeing with Anon 7:34am that I don't see much similarity between a woman in her early 20s and a 40 something opportunist.

    Ms. Hunter has written a tell all book which should be out at the end of June. Jai Pausch (widow of Randy Pausch of 'The Last Lecture' fame) has also penned a memoir. In it she writes that Randy sugested that she give their their youngest child (only a few months old at the time) up for adoption. Thank heavens she refused. I can't imagine how he could think that giving up their daughter would help anything in this tragic situation. I guess it just goes to show how naive some people are about the true impact of adoption.

  10. Anonymous: I am sure Lorrine knows it is the male lion who kills the cubs sired by another father, but Elizabeth Edwards from what I read elsewhere did seem like someone who would leave a baby from another mother out in the cold to die.

    Of course she had a right to be angry but Quinn wasn't responsible. That's all. Lorraine wasn't like Rielle but if you know her story you could understand why she is not throwing stones, like you are.

  11. Anon 12.33 PM, where did you read anything that indicated that Elizabeth Edwards was the kind of woman who would leave Rielle Hunter's baby by John Edwards "out in the cold to die"? I'd like to see it.
    If you can't come up with anything more convincing than that ugly and unsubstantiated suggestion, I recommend you keep your poisonous ideas to yourself.

  12. I forgot to add, 12.33 PM, that you are a fine one to accuse Anonymous of throwing stones when you clearly feel it's okay for you to suggest Elizabeth Edwards is someone who would kill her rival's baby.

  13. Yes, no one is disputing that the child remains innocent. As our Elizabeth's Edward's children.

    I'm sure John Edward's late coming platitudes of love will more than make up for his early refusal to even acknowledge his parentage, his efforts and that of his election team "to make it(the pregnancy/scandal)" go away" and the fact that he littered the path to this parenting moment with pain and betrayal for those he had pledged a life of commitment to. Yep, that that little kiddo has lots to be "thankful for" that Daddy is finally recognizing her publically. *eye roll*

    Kind of sticks in my throat a bit tossing a positive nod his way.

    I don't see the parallels mentioned and don't believe for one moment adoption was ever on the table for this child. At least not in Ms. Hunter's well funded version.

    Picking on a dead woman is just cruel and useless. She was harmed in this too at the most vulnerable time in her life; battling for her life wasn't enough?

    Sorry. He was and is scum. I feel for that kid! Platitudes or not!


  14. I've read this post a few times and just keep being struck by the words of Lorraines daughter..."all I wanted was a lousy lunch"

    No disrespect Lorraine butin his own way her father did deny her. Just as most of the fathers of our lost children denied them. We all must realize that in any given moment our lives could be over.
    Who out there needs to have a "lousy lunch" with you?

  15. Janet:

    Of course Jane's father "denied" her. She wanted to meet him; it was never the "right" time. He had a drinking problem, and he totally shied away from any kind of emotional confrontations unless there was absolutely no way to avoid them, that is, someone else made a move or brought up an unpleasant subject. I have no idea whether he ever told his first wife about the daughter we had; of course it came out in the book--by that time he was long divorced and I think, remarried--and he knew that his first wife had read it because she told him.

    I loved him, and thought well of him despite everything, but lost respect for him when, all those years later, he refused to meet our daughter. Then I totally gave up on him as a man of character.

    So to read that Edwards publicly acknowledged his love for Quinn affectted me. Despite the rest of the story, he did what my daughter's father did not have the courage to do.

  16. John Edwards wasn't being courageous when he proclaimed his love for his daughter, Lorraine. He was being expedient.

    “I don’t think God’s through with me. I think he thinks there are still things I can do” he said.
    Whether he is still nursing political ambitions (Let's hope not) or decides on a more "spiritual" path, he still needs to clean up his image in the public eye. It's going to take a lot more than public statements of paternal love to do that.

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  19. Anon 5:22
    I hope that was a bad attempt at sarcasm but I fear not. If you really are glad a woman you never met is dead, you are sick. Really, none of this sordid mess has anything to do with family preservation one way or another. Just a lying golddigger and a lying politician not caring what they did to anyone else in their trainwreck dishonest selfish lives.

    Nothing to see here, everyone move along....


  20. Shaylene, you were the one who suggested that "Elizabeth Edwards from what I read elsewhere did seem like someone who would leave a baby from another mother out in the cold to die."

    Elizabeth Edwards owed no duty of care to this mother or this child. To suggest that she is somehow remiss is ridiculous. The woman was dying and hubs couldn't keep his dick in his pants. Keep it real. The child has her mother. End of story, even on FMF.

  21. Before anyone nominates Elizabeth Edwards for sainthood, she should keep in mind that Elizabeth was the kind of woman who bought the eggs of another woman (risking the health and even the life of this woman) in order to meet Elizabeth's neurotic need to replace her son tragically killed in an auto accident at age 16.

    Now there are two young children whose faux mommy is dead and real mommy unknown. There's a reason that nature doesn't allow women to have bio-children in their 50's.

    According to news reports, their half sister, Cate, is going to take on much of the responsibility for raising them. Unfair to her, unfair to them.

  22. Who is suggesting that Elizabeth Edwards was supposed to take care of Quinn? I didn't read that anywhere here except in the comments of the nasties who seem to have a grudge against this blog.

    Quinn has a mother. And a father. Lorraine didn't make Rielle a saint or a "family preservationist." What are you smoking? Only someone (that means you, Anonymous and Drako) would say something that stupid.

  23. Ain't nobody suggesting Elizabeth Edwards should be nominated for sainthood either.
    Too many nuts in cake.

  24. Shaylene said: "Who is suggesting that Elizabeth Edwards was supposed to take care of Quinn?"

    Nobody. By duty of care, I meant that she owed Quinn nothing in terms of looking out for her interests. That does not make her a baby snuffer.

    Lorraine: "I kept thinking how her actions were like a mother lion ready to kill the other mother and her baby."

    Shaylene: "Elizabeth Edwards from what I read elsewhere did seem like someone who would leave a baby from another mother out in the cold to die."

    Your statements speak for themselves.

  25. If this is true, Elizabeth Edwards embraced her husband's "love child" towards the end of her life. So much for leaving her out in the cold to die, huh?

  26. Shaylene,

    Cate Edwards is supposed to take care of the egg donor children, Jack, 11 and Emma Claire, 13. Jack and Emma Claire have no known mother and their father (presumably John is the bio father) has been busy with other things.

  27. I really don't understand the extreme negativity that has been expressed here towards Elizabeth Edwards.
    So she used donor eggs to get pregnant? That's a concern for me too, but it must have been a decision she made in cooperation with her husband. Whatever anyone thinks, it doesn't make her into an evil person any more than her distress and anger over her husband's infidelity makes her into someone who would kill the other mother and her baby.

    I too hope that, in Lorriane's words, Quinn can be "treasured as she should... not just as some symblol of lives gone wrong".
    But I just don't see why all the hatred for Elizabeth Edwards. It's scarily irrational.

    Another Disgusted

  28. I too am amazed that Elizabeth Edwards got drawn into the line of fire. It seems to have happened because people were only too willing to dump on Rielle (yes she is not innocent but...), and others pointed out that the "good wife" Elizabeth was not a saint.

    But I don't see "extreme hatred" as you do, Anon. It seems to me that some readers were offended that I found any joy in the comments John Edwards made about Quinn. I take his comments at face value, without imputing ulterior motives to him. His comments about Quinn made me happy. Relieved. Reminded me of the contrast between him and my daughter's father who could not bring himself to meet our daughter, all those years later, long long after his marriage ended. I noted the contrast.

    But finding anything praiseworthy about John Edwards set off a chain of negative comments from anonymous people, who are upset that I found solace in his words. As for Elizabeth, I had not seen that column about her accepting Quinn before. And of course she didn't have to accept or forgive Rielle, why should she? But if the column someone sent a link to is accurate, I was wrong in my assessment of her. The press, as far as I know, has never brought up the fact that Elizabeth Edwards may have/probably used donated eggs for the last two children. She was 49 and 50 when she had them a year apart. I suppose it is possible, but dicey. Maybe she had frozen her eggs earlier, for some reason. We'll never know for sure, I suspect.

    Oddly enough, Rita Watson, the writer of that column, is an old friend, since before Birthmark.

  29. Lorraine,

    The press did bring up the fact that the Edwards' most likely used donor eggs to have their two youngest children. Below is a link to a Slate article. The article is positive on donor eggs.


  30. Being glad someone is dead is about as far into "extreme hatred" as one can go. Anyone can see that.

    Anon 5:22PM said:
    "I am happy for everyone that elizabeth is dead ...especially for her donor conceived kids who hopefully will find their real moms."

    Also the several expressions about Elizabeth wishing to kill Rielle and child. Lots of hate and violence in that imagery.

    The fact that someone used donor eggs may be problematic but is not a sane reason for the kind of virulent hatred expressed here.

    John Edwards was just doing what he always does in his recent comments, saying whatever will improve his image, and what is politically advantageous and expedient. I don't see why you identify with either Edwards or Rielle or applaud their actions and statements. No reason to hate them either, just don't give them the attention they so crave. It is just very sad for all the children involved.

    Still Disgusted

  31. Comments debating Elizabeth Edwards character are closed. Pointless bickering.

  32. I wish my birthmother would consent to having a "lousy lunch" with me. My birthdad pursued a relationship with me as an adult (he's dead now), perhaps to assuage his guilt over having abandoned her and myself when she got pregnant.

    But she herself has no desire to re-open that phase of her life and connect with it - which is what a reunion with me would force her to do.

    As a result, her pain comes ahead of my need to meet her and learn about my "roots." You might say that her pain is more important to avoid than my pain is important to address. I can so relate to Jane. And, I, too, rejoiced when John Edwards came out and expressed his love for Quinn. That was very necessary for her, to counteract the earlier public denial and its assault upon her self-esteem. He owes her a lot of reassurance as she grows up now.



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