' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: A $200 gift allows Oregon mom to keep her baby

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A $200 gift allows Oregon mom to keep her baby

Cassandra Daniel and son Elijah
After hearing Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney's crass statements about lower income  Americans, it's inspiring to read the recent story about Cassandra Daniel of suburban Portland, Oregon. 

Daniel was "unemployed and pregnant and struggling to decide whether she could be able to keep her baby or have to give him up for adoption" according to reporter Andrea Castillo of the Portland Oregonian. While browsing at a Portland consignment Shop, Just Between Friends, she met Brooke Unwin, the shop's co-owner (on the right with co-owner Tammy Boren-King). Unwin told a friend about Daniel's plight and the friend donated $200 to Daniel with a note: "God wants you to have this." That gave her hope, Daniel said, and with the money, was able to to buy everything she needed for her child from the shop, which specializes in children's and maternity clothes.

"I tell people all the time that sale changed my life," she told the Oregonian. "I never would have imagined that a consignment sale would have such a big impact on my decision" to keep her child.

That this small act of kindness from a stranger could so make such an enormous difference for Daniel and her son tells a sweet and sad story. Sweet, that while Daniel may struggle to care for her son, she will not suffer the interminable grief from losing him and he will not suffer from believing that his mother abandoned him. Sad because there are other women like Daniel not so fortunate who will lose their children because they cannot see how they can care for them financially.

This story came to light the other day at the same time a story broke about Mitt Romney babbling on at a $50,000 a plate fund-raising lunch about the 47 percent of the people, as in:
"All right, there are 47 percent who are with him [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax." 
He said what?

It is likely that Cassandra Daniel, of Clackamas, is not paying taxes equal to the amount of deduction say, that the Romneys took for Ann Romney's dressage horse. It is without question that Romney sees women like Daniel one of the dead-beats he dismisses:
"My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Asked about these comments the next day, Romney did not back down, saying that he stood by his statement, but only that he hadn't said it "elegantly." We won't repeat here what the pundits condemning his statements have said so elegantly, even conservatives such as William Kristol and David Brooks.

We're sure that some who disagree with Romney's denouncement of those who rely on government help as miserable moochers (except of course, bankers and other deserving multi-millionaires), might draw the line at a woman like Daniel. There are those, even liberal Democrats, who would condemn her for getting pregnant while poor--though they wouldn't want to be quoted, many we suspect think that having children should be for those who can more easily afford it. Others would argue that she should have given the baby up for adoption, as having the money to purchase baby paraphernalia is just the tip of the cost of raising a child, estimated in the many thousands of dollars over 18 years. Romney? He almost certainly would urge she give up her baby to adoption, just as he did to a single pregnant Mormon woman in 1983 when he was the bishop of her ward, and that his faith urges for all single women. Other similar stories have since come to our attention.

This argument--that the poor should not raise children--is just a short step to Romney's flat out condemnation of low-income people--the working poor, veterans, students, the elderly, the unemployed who cannot find work, anyone who depends on government help. Yet child welfare experts argue that children should remain with their families of birth if at all possible. We don't need child welfare experts, though, to tell  us that as a society, we need to step in when mothers need help to nurture and raise their children. What kind of society have we become if, when a poor woman has a child, our best advice is to give him away? This is a dystopian society of people who have no heart, or the will, to care for the less fortunate among us. This is a society no man or woman should be proud to be a part of. Thanks to Brooke Unwin and the anonymous donor, we're not there yet.

We'd like to remind Romney, who claims to be a man of faith, and others who would take children from poor mothers, of the words of Matthew 25:31-46:

 31 ¶When the aSon of man shall come in his bglory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
 32 And before him shall be gathered all anations: and he shallbseparate them one from another, as a cshepherd divideth hisdsheep from the goats:
 33 And he shall set the sheep on his aright hand, but the goats on the left.
 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his aright hand, Come, yebblessed of my Father, cinherit the dkingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
 35 For I was an ahungred, and ye bgave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a cstranger, and ye took me in:
 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye avisited me: I was in bprison, and ye came unto me.
 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
 39 Or when saw we thee asick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have adone it unto one of the bleast of these my cbrethren, ye have done it unto me.
 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the aleft hand, bDepartfrom me, ye ccursed, into everlasting dfireeprepared for the devil and his angels:
 42 For I was an ahungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the aleast of these, ye did it not to me.
 46 And these shall go away into aeverlasting bpunishment: but thecrighteous into dlife eeternal.
Children's Consignment Sale, Oregonian 9-16-12
Just Between Friends Portland, Oregon
LDS Scriptures
From FMF:
Romney urges single woman to give up her baby--or be outcast from LDS


  1. Nice article in the Oregonian! I only hope this young mother is not vilified in the comment section. When my local newspaper runs any type of article about a poor mother the comments fill up with the ugliest words imaginable. Based on what I have read I would discourage any poor mother (or any poor person, period) from telling their story publicly. They get jumped on as if will be the cause of armageddon. It is truly sickening.

  2. Best thing I've read all day. Thank you!

  3. I am SO excited for Cassandra!

    Jane, you explain so well in the 3rd paragraph the suffering that Cassandra and her son have avoided by that small gift. Wow! THE LIFELONG PAIN that was avoided by that loving act is indescribable - the pain cannot be related to another via words! I love the rest of your post, too. I have to digest.

    I want to document right here what my dream has been: I would love to some day, when the opportunity presents itself, to set up a place, a CLASSY network across the United States, with resources, help, for single moms to set up housekeeping. They can then support each other emotionally as their lives unfold. Yeaaahhhhh!

    Thanks for keeping this site alive!

    Oh! By the way, if you feel like it, check out my latest entry in my blogcast about the illustrious adoption-adorer, Dennis Prager. I want to spread the word!!! We gotta' know the enemy!

  4. What a great story! Made my day, to hear good news after all the carping at a previous post which has turned into something not about the original post but about how much compassion first mothers are allowed to have--from other first mothers! Reminds me of the truthful comment from Romney, actually--no compassion for the slackers! who are the elderly, the military, etc.

    At least this is one woman who won't be coming to FMF or something like it in ten years crying about her lost child.

    Thanks for this story, Jane.

  5. Another tragedy averted. What is especially poignant about this story is that this young mother never WANTED to give her child up in the first place. I think this is one of misunderstood issues for many people who tout adoption as a win win for everybody.

    This story reminds me of Justin Bieber's mother. She has recently written a book and has been on the entertainment news. She has had an incredibly difficult life, poverty, sexual abuse survivor. And she said many people recommended that she have an abortion. (I bet the pro-life crowd is having a field day with this story). She didn't mention if adoption had been offered as a solution but thank heavens she kept her son. Not only because to say the family's ship has come in is the understatement of the century but because she (and Justin) did not have to deal with the painful and lasting aftermath of adoption. I mean, really, how the hell would giving him up for adoption have helped either of them?

    Anyway, I'm happy to hear this story but do have reservations like Maybe mentioned, especially in our "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" culture.

    And I hope this consignment shop get loads of business.

  6. Great story. When I read this I think about myself and my child(who won't talk to me now) all those years ago and think "What if" and "If only" .Even though I am a Firstmother I am still a human being, at least in my own eyes if not in the eyes of everyone else, including my (former) friends and co-workers(once I came out as a "birthmother") I've been blamed for everything from my best friend's abusive husband(he's adopted-yeah,that explains it(said sarcastically)) to contributing to the moral decline of western civilization. I've had my tires slashed, my appearance(average) mocked mercilessly and you name it. All I have to say is every human being deserves to live a dignified life even if they require some assistance from time to time especially since the BIG money is still going to the banks to support their compulsive gambling. Every human being has some special skill or ability even if it's usefulness may not be apparent yet In the early days of computers when I was a programmer, the joke was that EDP(which stood for Electroniuc Data Processing) really stood for emotionally disturbed people because us computer people were considered somewhat odd or crazy Now we're in high demand So, there's no telling what talents will be needed for the future but we all deserve to stick around and see

  7. Is there some way we could help this young woman further? I don't want her to think down the road she has to relinquish, either.

  8. How kind of you Aubrey,

    I don't know how to contact her directly but you could try through the consignment store. There's link to website at the end of the post, Just Between Friends Portland.

  9. NO, Mitt Romney & Camp:

    Giving food and shelter to the poor in a society and to people who got screwed - kicked out of their homes because of Wall Street Finagling and Realty Finagling scams is NOT ENTITLEMENT.

    YES, Jerk & Camp:

    Expecting to casually pick up somebody else's baby at the corner store when you discover you can't give birth to your own children is ENTITLEMENT OF THE HIGHEST ORDER!

    "Oh, we can't conceive kids? We can always adopt! Oh, invitro fertilization hasn't worked. Too bad. Oh, I conjecture we will have to adopt! Shucks!

    AND YES, Jerks:

    Expecting your single (unmarried) neighbor to give you his, or her, child because you can't give birth to your own is a DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH OF THE HIGHEST ORDER!

    I, too, would loved to have contributed to Cassandra's plight; my head is not there because I'm too busy taking my freakin' life back! My purging and the resultant healing is getting me closer to my dream of implementing a physical/tangible, as in buildings, state-of-the-art network, cool places, which will support single parents. Yeaahhhh!

  10. Isn't that Consignment Shop terrific!? Mainly for maternity and children's needs. Awesome!

    I just thought of it: That's along the same lines that I'm thinking. My dream: No junk! No dumps! State-of-the-art physical places across country to help single parents - where single parents can build a network of support for each other - how fun! To counter the family-separators: all those coercive adoption places across country!

    I wonder if those 2 women in the article have thought of implementing the consignment shops across country?

  11. Caleign,
    Good idea. We definitely need a network of support for mothers-to-be considering adoption.

    The Portland shop is part of a national franchise, Just Between Friends. Here's more information about them. http://www.jbfsale.com/default.cfm

  12. Off topic but for those interested in the pamphlet "Making an adoption plan?", we're restored the link. It's on the right-hand side, middle of the home page.

  13. @caleigh brooks - not all couples who can't conceive are hell-bent on adoption and/or feel "entitled" to someone's child. Quit lumping them all together. And caleigh not all adoption is bad. My own father was an abused child and adopted by a loving couple who gave him food, shelter, love, and years of therapy from the physical and verbal abuse he suffered at the hands of biological parents.

  14. Oh, I'm sorry!

    I didn't mean to make it sound like I lump all adoptions together. I thought this was a blog for people wounded by adoption. I thought we, all, know there are exceptions to every rule? I thought this was a blog for the 8 million mothers who were illegally hoodwinked (a euphemism) out of their newborn infants in an era that wasn't kind to women - an era in which a wife couldn't get a credit card without her husband's permission/signature, an era when it was perfectly fine for a husband to rape his wife, an era when their was no such animal as date-rape, and the like, a mere few decades ago.

  15. I appreciate commenting on Jane's OFF TOPIC comment above. I want to thank Jane for educating me about Internet Technology! I had previously written in a comment to the moderators that the "Making An Adoption Plan?" in the sidebar doesn't work.

    This ties right in with my belief that justice always prevails - sometimes it just takes awhile, a long while. I say victims (or the victim's progeny) always gets their just deserts! Like we, the victims of the adoption industry, will get justice soon!

    Here's my point:

    I want to thank you, Jane, for helping me learn a little more about technology. I didn't know that the reader must click on the SLIGHTLY colored and LIT up word, KNOW, within the caption under "Making an Adoption Plan?" in the right-hand sidebar in order to see the article. Now I know. Thank you, Jane!

    I'm saying all that to say: When I first began writing on First Mother Forum, a year or two ago, I was mercilessly accused by Maryann of PRETENDING that I'm computer illiterate - because I have a blog, etc, I'm supposed to be computer literate. Well, this comment is my justice!

    By the way, I've had that article/pamphlet from C.U.B. (published in your sidebar) for a number of years, and lately I've been thinking of publishing it on my blogcast!

    I'm going to publish that C.U.B. article on my blogcast EVENTUALLY. My blogcast is not just about adoption. I think most of MY readers are not connected to adoption - which is great. I want to educate THEM especially; but I don't want to drench my readers with adoption because I'm afraid they might stop reading my blogcast if I write too much about sadness - adoption. We all know people don't want "problems" - especially about sad stuff like adoption. And men don't want to read about women's issues too much.

    No biggie! Just wanted to share. Thanks for allowing me to vent!

    You know what I notice? Since I've gotten UN- shutdown, come out of the adoption closet, if you will, I really CAN'T keep anything inside anymore. I must vent - which is super-duper progress! Right? Hence, I'm bothering you with this seeming triviality.

    Onward and forward to good health!

  16. Beautiful story just what should be happening keeping mothers and babies together. Mother will not always be in this situation it's temporary.
    Life has so many changes from one minute to the next as this story proves!


  17. Oh, your explication of the Portland shop being a part of the national franchise, "Just Between Friends," is so informative. It's awesome to know what's happening in 2012 across country with respect to single parents - yes, single parents are parents, too! I'm glad you gave us that site addy. Thanks, Jane!

  18. Would love to help with a network or program that helped mothers keep and raise their babies.

  19. Caleigh:

    You can email me directly at forumfirstmother@gmail.com

    and check sidebar now about the link. I made it more obvious, but you are right in your supposition. You do not need to be bound to us.

  20. This is off topic but this was on Good Morning America.

    A baby girl was found abandoned on the side of the
    road of Afghanistan. Some Polish soldiers found her.

    I'm seeing a bunch of comments from people, comparing
    her to baby Moses. Saying how they
    "pray to God that
    she's adopted to a good family and the mother probably
    had her reasons." Yes people are comparing this story
    to Moses. But I can't find the quotes at this time.

    They are also saying they hope she is adopted to a
    family OUTSIDE of Afghanistan, where they say the
    girl will have a "better life." One person commented
    saying, they hope she's adopted INSIDE Afghanistan,
    so she can learn about her culture. But that comment got
    a lot of thumbs down.

    Here's some of the comments in the story quoted.

    "God is watching over this little girl. I hope she's adopted by a good, loving family."

    "I would like to believe that the mother put the baby where she would be found by troops of the US or it's allies in order to give that little girl a future that Afghani females can only dream of. Bless the mother for wrapping and putting her precious daughter where she had a chance of being rescued and removed from that environment."

    "This is very sad, because Islam really doesn't allow adoption. You can be a trustee for a child, but it's never really your child. They also most certainly don't allow the child to be adopted outside their religion. Blood ties are VERY important to them. With this poor baby being both a girl, and an orphan in every sense of the word, she stands a very poor chance of survival. The best she can hope for is that someone becomes her trustee, and takes her in, and keeps her as a virtual slave for the rest of her life. With no blood ties, and being female, she will be the lowest of the low, not suitable for marriage. Precious baby, I wish I could have her. :0("

    Those are just 3 of the many comments. I would like to know some of your thoughts.

  21. Caleigh,
    Thanks for your comment. You noted that the link to the Making An Adoption Plan didn't work. The link was to the CUB website which CUB changed and removed the pamphlet. I was able to get a new link from the author of the pamphlet, Heather Lowe, but I obscured it by using the word "Know" for the link. Thanks to Lorraine, we have a clearer link.

    The problem was not your computer illiteracy but my carelessness.

    Like they say, it takes a village to run a blog.

  22. Jane, that's funny! But, I think pretty common.

    I had the link to the video, or short movie, entitled, "Sinners," on my blog. Who knows how long there was nothing on the other side of the link?

    I discovered Google Videos had taken it down and my poor readers perhaps thought I was a real amateur - readers were clicking on the link and what did they get - nothing.

    I searched high and low, even wrote the creators of the video - no response. Who knows if they even got the email in, I assume, Ireland.

    Luckily I found the video again. Guess where? On Vimeo!

    I love that disgusting video because it is SO true! It tells the horrific experience in a maternity home with the nuns in Ireland. Guess what? It was the same in the U.S.A.

    Learning technology is pretty stressful! You gotta' be brave and try different knobs and keys! I'm getting braver.

    Love what you did with the "Making An Adoption Plan?" link! Thank you SO much for your dedication!

    Has anyone else seen that video, "Sinners?"

  23. I just thought of an idea!

    Below is the link for that video, "Sinners," I spoke of in my previous comment. If it's not appropriate to publish it at this time on FMF, I'll understand. I just think it might be helpful.

    To make it even easier for readers, I'll put the link under my name. Just click on my name if interested in seeing life in the maternity home in the good old U.S. of A. also not just in Ireland.

    Or you could find another use for the video, perhaps, under a new post?


  24. If I remember correctly:

    Particularly disgusting in the "Sinners" movie (mentioned in my previous comment) is the INCESTUOUS binding of innocent, young, breasts with FREAKISH onlookers gawking! Yes, it really happened!

  25. SUE:

    Thanks for saying that! A network of places across the United States will take awhile to get the money, perhaps, years; mainly, because we're all still reeling from our family separations and trying to take our (complete) lives back.

    Wow! It's a decades-long journey back to good health and wholeness!

    Thanks, again, STAY TUNED!

  26. I don't think, at least in this country, that a young, single mother can keep her baby unless she has full support from her family (i.e. that she and the baby can live with them and that they will provide financial support, child care help, etc). Unfortunately, we just don't offer the type of social benefits that would make keeping one's baby possible. And I think this is a lot of what drives adoption in this country. I know that there are some resources for single parents but I don't think that they are anway near enough to realistically be able to raise a child with out family help. Quite tragic.



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