' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: It's 'Mother's' Day again. And 'Birth' Mother's Day too.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's 'Mother's' Day again. And 'Birth' Mother's Day too.

My daughter's Mother's Day card one year
Here it comes again, Mother's Day, impossible to miss because of the incessant ads that pop up everywhere, reminding us of our own fractured motherhood. I've been through the gamut of emotions about Mother's Day, beginning when I did not know where my daughter was, and my own mother did not even know my daughter existed, to those years after reunion when I spent the week preceding the big day hoping she would remember me in some small way. She usually did not. Oh heavy was my heart!

While I was feeling sorry for myself, I always imagined a big celebration going on with her adoptive mother--card, dinner, what-have-you. There were other children, and her adoptive father who was not likely to let any of them forget. I don't know if that was the case because I never asked. 

But one year, I got a wonderful hand-made card that said:
To my Other Mother. Inside it says: "I couldn't find a card that defined our relationship, but then all that truly matters is that I let you know, I Love You. Happy Mothers day LORRAINE, love
Jane." It must have come with a present, because there is a note on the back about using whatever she sent to "relax after a long hard day." 

We can't make Mother's Day into the kind of pleasant celebration it will be for mothers who are raising children, who may have a dad-supervised breakfast in bed served on a tray with a rose in a bud vase.  The restaurants will be full and there will be beaming mothers everywhere. For florists, Mother's Day is a bonanza. Ditto for Hallmark. But for many, if not most, first mothers this day is bitter without any sweet. 
Lorraine with daughter Jane and her daughter
But the day is ours to deal with as we choose. If other children aren't going to be part of your day,  make a plan. Do something nice for someone else. Have lunch with a woman who might otherwise be alone, whether or not she is a first mother. Go to the movies--but stay away from anything with adoption in it, so that includes The Company You Keep and The Big Wedding. Pursue your hobby, go for a a long run or workout at the gym, clean out your closets. If that last one sounds like a chore, it is, but the rewards are so energizing. To let new experiences in your life, you need to get rid of the old. Tidied closets end up feeling like a metaphor for your life. Tidied up. Cleaning closets is highly underrated. 

And if you just want to ignore the whole damn Mother's Day commotion, remember that Monday it will not be Mother's Day anywhere for another entire year. 

Lorraine and her alternate universe daughter
As for "Birth Mother's Day," observances throughout the country to commemorate...us, I am of a mixed mind. Birth Mother's Day is the day before Mother's Day, which makes some sense because we did come first in the lives of our children. I have railed against these special events in the past, but I have also read blogs and comments by women who said they enjoyed the observance because it was an opportunity to connect with other first mothers. So a reversal here. If you think you might enjoy spending part of the day with other women who will understand your feelings, seek such an event out and go! You certainly will be able to let down your guard and be open about your feelings because the women you meet will understand and not condemn. But be wary of events sponsored by adoption agencies and evangelical churches, for they send the message that "birth motherhood" is a joyful status when the opposite is true. The events become part of their advertising campaign to encourage others to give up their babies. We are all for natural mothers being recognized--but not applauded--for their "selfless deeds," as would almost certainly be the case at churches and agencies. Such events normalize the experience of being a mother who relinquishes a child, and when that should never be seem as normal. Giving up a child, and thus becoming a mother with a modifier, is always the cause of grief and sorrow for both mother and child, not something to be "celebrated." 

And without thinking about it, I am going to be part of an adoption-themed program on Saturday at a bookstore on Saturday in San Francisco. A piece of Hole in my Heart, my memoir in progress, will be included in readings by first mothers and adoptees, following a performance piece by singer and dancer Deanna Ross. The event will be from 5 -7 p.m. Saturday, May 11 at Alley Cat Books, 3036 24th St., San Francisco. (I personally will not be there; someone is reading from my work.)
Earlier in the day, there will be an exhibit of a collection of personal objects contributed by first mothers at the Red Poppy Art House. Guests may add a message or silent intention honoring first/birth mothers. The exhibit, Our Place at the Table: Honoring Birth Mother Stories, is free of charge, and will be open from 1-4 p.m. at the Red Poppy, 2698 Folsom. (http://redpoppyarthouse.org) The Red Poppy is less than two blocks away from Alley Cat books. (http://www.dogearedbooks.com/alleycat/home) 
Both events are a collaboration between the Adoption Museum Project TheAdoptionMuseumProject), the On Your Feet Foundation (http://oyffca.org), and many courageous first mothers.

In searching for "Birth Mother Celebrations," I discovered that "First Mother" is making headway. The Adoption Card Shop sells: First Mothers/Birth Mothers, for Mother's Day cards. Here's what is says about one card: "This field of beautiful tulips greeting card will help you to remember your child’s 'First Mother' this year on Mother’s Day." That is progress. 

At a site called Holiday Insights, it's noted that Birth Mother's Day is not without controversy.
"If ever there was a controversial holiday, this is it. The day was established by birth mothers to educate, to remember, and to cope. But, many mothers who gave up their children have feelings of remorse, and often guilt. Many don't want a special day. And, of those mothers who want to be remembered, they don't necessarily want a special day, aside from Mother's Day. They feel they should remember, and be remembered, on Mother's Day. 
From the child's perspective, adopted children understandably have a high level of anxiety over this topic. A fair number of them don't want a relationship with their birth mother, adding more controversy to this day. [Just quoting here, and that is what it says.]
If you do celebrate this day, we suggest you use it to promote education of the issues, and to show compassion and understanding to birth mothers."
We know that "first mother" is gaining ground, and preferred by many, but we continue to use both terms, as well as biological and natural mother, and will, because "birth mother" is how many first mothers and adoptees and adoptive parents find us at First Mother Forum. While we understand the reasons, we abhor the divisiveness that has grown up around the use of birth mother. This infighting does more harm than good. And while others may use "birth mother" as one word, we keep it two words, so that that MOTHER stands alone. Why not adoptivemother as a single word--English has long words, the meaning would be clear, and the adoptive mother would never be able to escape the adoptive part, just as we are not allowed to escape our status as long as birthmother is a single word. But please note, we refer for our blog as First Mother Forum and FMF. If you want to know how I really feel.--lorraine
From FMF
How Birth Mothers Survive 'Mother's Day'  
Why I'm not celebrating "Birth Mother's Day" 
Mother's Day: The Holiday from Hell, Part 2 
What’s Wrong with Birthmother Events on Mother’s Day? Just about EVERYTHING  
B. J Lifton's Mother's Day card

The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories
"Educator, writer, and adoptive mother Wadia-Ells has put together an enthralling set of essays from birth mothers, adopted mothers, and adopted daughters. Each story reveals a different facet of the adoption process and of family life in general. Stories of adoptions of all sorts--closed, international, private, and state-sanctioned--are included here, as are stories of a variety of women and from times throughout the last half of this century. Some adoptions were good for all parties involved, and some were not. Either way, the autobiographical compositions in this reader are consistently fascinating and poignant, and the broad spectrum of the writers' experience makes the book particularly worthwhile."--From Library Journal  
This would make a wonderful gift for a first mother, one's adoptive mother, or an adopted individual. Full disclosure: A piece by moi called "Family Reunions" opens the book.


  1. Lorraine, you expressed my feelings exactly. Thanks for this post. But DANG, you are going to be in SF, and I'm not! Another missed opportunity to meet IRL. The opening of Second-Chance Mother is going to be read though.

  2. No need for two water fountains any more than the need for two holidays. If adoptive mothers want Adoptive Mothers Day they can have it. Thanks very much but simple ol Mother's Day if just fine for me.

  3. FYI, the Red Poppy House's little shin-dig is not without some controversy, at least going by how they have apparently treated first mothers on their Facebook group. I do not begrudge you going, and your choices are none of my business anyway, but you might want to be wary.

    I don't like the term "birthmother" or "birth mother" because they're used like "Handmaid." Maybe I've read Margaret Atwood one too many times but I am SO. OVER. being treated as a baby-vending machine. The way I see it, people can call me my son's mother or they can shut the hell up. If I'd really had a choice in the matter I'd have never lost my legal relationship with him in the first place. I never thought I would have to protect myself from my mother-in-law's reproductive predation, but there you go. Can't trust anybody. So NO, I will NOT accept a "second-best" or "objectified" label just to make her feel better, or anyone like her either.

    Petty? Maybe. But there you go, that's me.

  4. I am not going to be there; someone is going to read from my work.

    There was so much controversy that you cannot find a link to it anymore on Facebook. I did not read any of it.

  5. I wish Hallmark or someone would come out with an Adoptive Mother's Day card.


  6. Another thing that's irritating about adoption agencies sponsoring "Birth Mother" celebrations is that they solicit funds from grateful APs for these events. It helps the APs justify taking another woman's child. It's as a way to "thank her for her selfless gift to them."

  7. Lorraine,

    That is such a beautiful picture of the three generations....

    I'm going to send my mother a Mother's Day greeting on the day after Mother's Day because I don't want to negatively affect her day with her other children.... I think of it as Mother's in the Closet Day

  8. My thoughts on this topic today:


  9. I feel the same way as you Lorraine about the day before Mother's Day, once again being set apart from 'mothers.' I will be at the exhibit and reading on Saturday. And showing a photo of the sculpture that I make in my documentary Unlocking the Heart of Adoption. The sculpture depicts a mother holding her baby in a hospital bed. It commemorates the ten minutes I was allowed to hold my newborn daughter. Though I found her years ago, I am still waiting to hear from her on this day. And I think you're right. If mothers find this a good day to connect with those who get it, then by all means they should. To see the sculpture go to: http://www.unlockingtheheart.com.
    Sending you many warm thoughts,
    Sheila. xo

  10. I never liked birth mother's day because we are all MOTHERS. I think ALL mothers should be honored, including childlessmothers. But like you, if it helps some... And I guess for some adoptees it makes thing easier.

    Anyhow, here are my thoughts about mother's day, today:


  11. "-English has long words, the meaning would be clear, and the adoptive mother would never be able to escape the adoptive part, just as we are not allowed to escape our status as long as birthmother is a single word."

    Thank you.

  12. As an Adoptive Mom it was confusing in the beginning how to handle this particular holiday. My kid is only 11, but every year I've made her 1st mom and grandmother Mother's Day cards with pictures of my daughter, since she's the one who connects us all. I don't call it "BIRTH Mother's Day"...that's total bullshit! Lol. It is what it is, people!

  13. Newly reunited with my first mother, I'm finding that this Mother's Day means walking on eggshells. Pat, my first mother, seems thrilled to be connected again. My adoptive mother is only just beginning to thaw -- but will not talk about Pat, even after years of assuring me she supported my search. I seem destined to piss someone off just by breathing.

  14. Terri: Your amom probably never really thought about what it would mean if you connected with your biological mother. You and I first connected, as you probably recall, when you wrote a piece saying that you would like to search for your original parents--after you had your adoptive mother's permission. That led me to sense that despite your response that she was supportive of this, you got the message in a subtle way as you were growing up that they were the only parents who would ever matter to you. Now that you found and were obviously welcomed with open arms, it is very hard for your amom. My suggestion would be to not talk about your relationship with your other family with her, and be honest with your biological mother about the conflict. She will probably understand. Don't think of this as being less than truthful to your adoptive mother, but just as a way to not hurt her feelings. She really doesn't want to know.

    As for Mother's Day: flowers for both?

    The years that I heard nothing from my daughter were a killer. Maybe she wasn't playing adoring daughter to her other (adoptive) mother, but that is what I imagined. Part of this surely stemmed from the fact that my brothers and I always made some fuss over my mother, usually separately. Except for the couple of years she was visiting us on the east coast when Mother's Day fell--I can tell you exactly where my husband and I took her to lunch, and what she wore--I always sent flowers and often did a water color of flowers on a card form. I found the cards I had painted when she died, none of the others.

    So since that was my experience, it was difficult to live with not even a phone call from my daughter. Of course she had so many problems of her own, and maybe she didn't get around to remembering her other mother either, but the stupid holiday just exacerbated my feelings of being left out of my daughter's life, and that I was of no consequence to her. Good luck.
    Adoption is hard on everybody, especially when it has grown up with the myths that have surrounded it in America.

    Betty: you mean some agencies ask prospective adopters to pay for the event, or come to them? Can you explain further? Since I have never attended any of these things, I am in the dark. More information, please.

  15. 2nd Mom:

    You probably have no idea how much what you do means to your child's other mother and grandmother. Can we nominate you for FMF's "AMom of the Year"?

  16. HDW: I forgot your story but I cannot see how contacting her the day after will negatively affect her. It sounds like she hasn't had the strength to tell her other children about you. If that is the case, I am so sorry because no one deserves that.

    If you are just going to email her, why not do it before? Ignore the "birth mother's day" BS, and just say hello, thinking of you. Little things mean a lot.

    As for the mothers who are unwilling to acknowledge their children, or women like Kathleen Hoy Foley, I have nothing to say. Their thinking is so full of shame and cowardice that they cannot see beyond the crack of their own little door, as it says in the I-Ching. Yes, cowardice.

  17. Lorraine asked Betty to explain further about certain
    adoption agencies sponsoring "Birth Mother" events and soliciting funds from APs to pay for them.
    I'm curious about that too, and would appreciate it if Betty would provide a link.

    There is this (from an organization which seeks to triple the number of domestic adoptions):

    They ask for donations here:

  18. Thanks for the suggestion, Lorraine. I'm still leaning toward Monday because, then, a communication from me won't dampen her spirits and her Mother's Day. Mother's Day is for her, not me. I am fearful that a communication prior to or on the day could negatively effect her ability to enjoy the day with her family.

    You are correct that her adult children do not know about me. (Only her husband knows.)

    She only communicated with me a few times. I could tell that I had a very small window of time in which I could communicate with her. The window has since closed.

    At first, I was upset that she chose to just ignore my emails rather than to be an adult and tell me what she wanted/needed. But, Lorraine, you said something that was very, very helpful. You basically told me that she probably couldn't ask me to go away. By that, I assumed you meant that she'd already sent me away once. She probably couldn't bring herself to do it a second time.

    So, now, I just plan to send Mother's Day and birthday e-cards to her. If she doesn't want those, she'll have to expressly state that to me.

  19. What and who is Blessings in a Basket? From link above:

    "BIB is a 501 (c)(3) Non Profit Organization set up to create a community of birth moms, or Big Tough Girls, nationwide. Their mission is to make sure that the birth moms are honored and respected and supported. BIB was founded in 2010 by a birth mom, mother, and adoption supporter Ashley Mitchell. She is surrounded by an incredible Board of Directors and BTG Team that have huge hearts for adoption and for their birth moms. You can read Ashley’s story right here on our blog." Not from this blog, however.

    I do not understand these women who are "adoption supporters." I am going to say the obvious: they want it both ways. Someone to take care of their children while they remain a part of their lives--but do they have any idea of the damage they are doing to their children? No, and they get this from the religious right and the avaricious agencies.

    I am an "adoption supporter" too, however, for children who really need homes. Not children born today--where there is little to none condemnation outside of the Mormons--directed at woman who are old enough to raise the children. Ashley, I believe, is or was a college student.

    I am an "adoption supporter" for children who are lingering in foster care because they are "unadoptable," or children of relatives who die, and anyway, even today if they are adopted in most states their lose the right to their true birth certificates. Sick system.

  20. Lorraine said "I do not understand these women who are "adoption supporters . . . they get this from the religious right and the avaricious agencies.."

    I do not think women like Ashley are just adoption "supporters". Even though they may have been expertly persuaded into it, they are adoption promoters.
    BIB (You should be ashamed if you're not tough enough to qualify as a Big Tough Girl?) is about packaging and merchandizing, not about information.
    I agree, it's part of a wider campaign.

    More here:

  21. HDW, a big {{{hug}}} to you as this weekend approaches. It's a hard one, I know.

  22. Adoption agencies maintain contact with their AP clients and send them newsletters and fund raising appeals. These appeals may ask for funds to support first mother events like Birth Mother Day or "Life-Giver" celebrations. They give APs a way to express their gratitude.

    As a practical matter, AP funds pay for agency sponsored birth mother events since AP money is the primary, if not the only source of money, for the agencies. APs are aware of these events -- they are featured in the agency newsletters.

  23. The dirt on Bravelove, from Claud:


  24. With Mother's Day approaching, all I keep thinking about is how there was nothing wrong with my natural mother. I'm not saying she was a perfect person. Of course not, she has her flaws just like anyone else. But she was certainly capable of raising me and desperately wanted to. My a-mother, and I most certainly do consider her my mother without any modifiers, was not more qualified to raise me just because she was married. Mother's Day....aaargh

  25. For our 2 (both adopted) we planted a tree in honor of their First Moms from the time they were little. We take photos each year and both kiddos are now old enough to write letters or draw pictures for their Overseas Moms.

    We have no way to mail these and they may never find their way to the intended Mothers, but for my 2 it is a way to honor and recognize them just the same.

    I tuck those letters/photos away just in case one day it is possible for them to hand deliver. I remain hopeful it can be done.

    I never thought about Mother's Day as only my own, but rather a day to celebrate Motherhood in all its ways. These traditions have only enhanced our day in that I see the peace and contentment it brings my 2.

    Wishing you all happy Mother's Day a bit early. Each of us deserves to be blessed with a day carved out for doing the things that bring us some measure of joy and peace.

    I hope that doesn't sound like I am minimalizing anyone's pain.


  26. Fox "News" guest urges a celebration of teen pregnancy, fails to divulge that she herself is an adoptive mother.


    For those who were lucky enough to miss this on Sunday, here is a jaw-dropping comment made by someone I knew and worked with many years ago. Nina Easton, currently D.C. bureau chief for Fortune magazine and frequent Fox guest, remarks, "We need ... to celebrate young women who bring a baby to term and find an adoptive parent.

    "There’s such a stigma today to being an adoptive birth mom that you’re more willing to admit that you’ve had an abortion than that you are delivering a healthy newborn to a loving family."

    What?!? In my experience, both abortion and relinquishing a child for adoption are the sorts of things that women do not go around blabbing. Though both experiences have been discussed with me in confidence, the conversation proceeded with many tears over a cup of coffee, or a stiff drink.

    In recent years, the adoption industry not only has tweaked the language of surrender("make an adoption plan"), but has created an industry of what I can only call "adopt-O-tchotchkes," such as gift baskets of toiletries for the hey!-no-pressure! expectant woman, T-shirts reading PAPER PREGNANT, or even a "fun run" in which one can WEAR a shirt bearing the slogan BIG TOUGH GIRL. (Funny, I'd always been taught that giving birth confirmed the title of "woman," not "big girl"...)

    I do not know in what year Easton, now fifty-five years old, adopted. She gave birth to two sons while married to journalist Ron Brownstein. After their divorce, she remarried in 2004, when she and her new husband, Republican strategist Russ Schriefer, were both forty-six.

    Easton referred referred C-SPAN anchor and political editor Steve Scully to the Utah-based adoption agency Act of Love (also known as A Act of Love), according to a mushy 2009 feature article in the conservative Washington Times ("In faith, newsman Scully adopts baby").

    The "devoutly Catholic" Scully family had lost one child to stillbirth and another to sudden infant death syndrome, but had three healthy, school-age children at the time when the parents noted "an empty chair" at the table.

    Assisted reproduction and adoption from China both proved unsuccessful for the Scullys. The adoptive father was pushing fifty at the time of his contact with A Act of Love; his wife's age was not stated. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/in-faith-newsman-scully-adopts-baby/?page=all

    Lorraine wrote about A Act of Love, which ruled against a natural father's rights in the "Baby Emma" case, in 2011: http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2011/07/utah-rules-against-natural-father-again.html

    At that time, Lorraine noted, "'Babies for sale' would be a more realistic heading than the euphemistic 'situation.' That's almost real live baby (it's a list of upcoming due dates, apparently) they are talking about there, not a 'situation.' I wonder how those situations are going to grow up and feel about being treated like so much chattel."

    A Act of Love currently gives you a 404 message if you click on the "situations" link posted by FMF in 2011, saying that details are available only for "registered" PAPs and pregnant women considering relinquishment. However, they do offer up some teasers:

    "Current Situations for Approved Outreach Families Only
    Due 5/6/13 Hispanic/Caucasian - MATCHED Girl
    Due June 2013 Caucasian Boy
    Due 6/4/2013 MATCHED Girl
    Due First of April Caucasian - MATCHED Boy

    Current Situations for Applied A Act of Love Families Only
    Due 5/7/2013 Caucasian Boy
    Due 5/12/13 Caucasian Boy
    Due 5/22/2013 Caucasian Girl
    Due 6/4/2013 Caucasian/Domican [sic] Republic Boy
    Due 6/13/13 Caucasian Girl
    Due 6/16/13 African American Girl"

  27. Thanks Mrs TB,
    Reading this stuff makes me sick. The adoption industry has no shame and neither do some adopters.

    In the old days, losing a child to adoption was kept secret -- indeed secrecy was a main purpose in surrendering. Now first mothers, especially those tied in with conservative churches beat their chests and operate blogs bragging about what they did. They give up their babies on prime time TV.

  28. First, Happy Mother's Day!

    I was invited to the shindig at the SF bookstore by one of the first mothers involved with it. I am sad to miss the reading from your book, but it's my weekend on and I have to work that evening.

    I had an interesting experience last night at the SF International Film Festival, at a viewing of the documentary, "After Tiller," about four physicians who practice late-term abortions. Adoption was barely mentioned in the film; maybe only twice or three times, only glancingly. It was definitely offered as an alternative in counseling, though (as seen on the intake sheets). And adoption is an option open to women, but of all the mothers shown or discussed in the film with otherwise healthy fetuses, none of them wanted to pursue adoption because of either family judgment, drug use, or knowing if the baby *was* born, they'd keep it.

    In the Q&A afterward, one of the physicians was asked by an audience member why adoption wasn't a more viable option for many of the women she saw in her clinic. The physician, to her credit, answered that for many mothers, adoption is no less complicated and painful than abortion. She was on the right track, I thought. She listened to women, and listened well.

  29. Abortion is way less complicated than giving a child up for adoption. People are finally beginning to say that it is worse than a death because with death you can grieve and move on. In a closed adoption, or in a"semi-open" which is not open at all in most cases, you have no idea where your baby is or what happened. And god knows,we have heard from mothers here who got snookered with open adoptions that shut and by the time they found their children the kids had been brain-washed and wanted nothing to do with them.

    The only connection Abortion has with Adoption is that they both begin with the letter A.

  30. Shutting down adoption mills ought to be a feminist cause. Instead all the feminists are not having children in time so they want to "adoption option" avialable when it is too late.

  31. You got that right, Sarah. "Adoption mills" has just the right ring to it.

    In addition to Easton, just off the top of my head I can name half a dozen former fellow employees and/or acquaintances who moved heaven and earth to adopt IN THEIR FORTIES, or later.

    I felt extremely lucky to be able to conceive and bear all of my children in my thirties. Had I not been able to, my husband and I would have remained childless, and come to terms with it. An adoption that went wrong, in every way possible, ravaged a branch of my family. I couldn't do it.

  32. This is too comical not to share. It just arrived in my email:

    Dear Lorraine,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy. It's the beginning of a wonderful, exciting time.

    Along with the excitement, it's also a time for new questions – especially when it comes to nutrition questions for you and your baby. Similac StrongMoms is here to provide you with expert nutritional guidance for your pregnancy all the way through your baby's first year.
    Learn more about your baby's development and your pregnancy, all the way to your due date

  33. Lorraine, keep us posted as Similac manages to not-so-subtly badmouth breast-feeding during the next nine months of your Very Special Relationship!

    I still remember gleefully giving back to the nurses every piece of my Similac Starter Kit (!) except for the insulated bag (blessedly logo-free) and the squeaky rubber bear.

    I've been bombarded with pop-ups shilling for A Act of Love ever since I clicked on it earlier today.

    Sorry, Not a Class-A Act, I can't afford another baby. We're hundreds of thousands of dollars down on tuition alone.

  34. I hear you, Viktoria. I was expecting to hear adoption thrown around a lot more in the movie than I did, and to have more people praising it in the discussion. The physician really shut them down. I could not go there. Too triggering, although I spoke to the filmmakers afterwards about my own experiences and how adoption is no picnic. I was expecting a very pro-adoption conversation, but no.

  35. People outside the bubble understand the truth about adoption. Thanks for the commentary, Marginalia.

  36. Victoria said " People are finally beginning to say that it (adoption) is worse than death".
    Actually there are first mothers who have been saying that for years. They are entitled to their feelings, but not every first mother is of that mindset. I lost my child to a closed adoption when I was a teenager over 50 years ago and I have never felt that way at all. Quite the opposite in fact.

    I agree that abortion is not a matter to be conflated with adoption, but I also feel that the death of a person should not be conflated with it either.

  37. Lorraine I, curious what you mean by this
    "I am going to say the obvious: they want it both ways. Someone to take care of their children while they remain a part of their lives--but do they have any idea of the damage they are doing to their children?"
    Certainly you don't mean adoptions today should all be closed?

  38. What I mean is that young women who are capable of raising their children ought to raise them! If you are going to have a child, and are capable of raising that child, KEEP HIM. Today there are the "proud birth mothers" who act as if they ought to be applauded for giving up their child to a "deserving couple" who "desperately want to have a family," and so they end up with this feel-good attitude about giving up a child. When as we know something is rotten at the heart of this kind of adoption and that it is done without any consideration for the emotional life of the child who grows up feeling abandoned. I am talking about bearing the lifelong imprint of "being adopted," and if someone calls that "primal wound," I am fine with that.

    I applaud the few adoptive parents who come to the blog and do maintain very open adoptions with the mothers, but the emphasis on giving up your baby for a "better life" --which usually means material goods only --bothers me.

    Closed adoptions as thousands--millions of mothers like me and Jane can attest--is the worst possible solution, and semi-open adoptions seem nearly no better, because the individual does not have DIRECT CONTACT with the the adoptive parent or parents. (They ought to be renamed "partially-closed." Nothing is "open" if the contact is through an agency that may close tomorrow and the mother and child may not have any way to connect.

    My comment was really an attack on the college-age women who carry their babies to term and then give them up and then feel good about it because NO ONE HAS TOLD THEM THE TRUTH about how they are likely to feel. If the choice is between having an abortion and giving up a child I would always urge an abortion. Too many of the women who give up their babies find they never have another child. The trauma for some of us is too overwhelming to think about another child. I've got more to say and I think I ought to make this a whole post, so I will in the future. I don't know if this answers the question and I did not mean how that came out--in fact, it strikes me as wrong so that I am likely to take down the comment, but I will leave it up for the next day so you can seem my response.
    My comment is a response to the people like Ashley and Tyler and Carelynn who then become "adoption supporters" or shills for adoption. What about the babies? Do they grow up to be "adoption supporters" too? Me thinks unlikely.

  39. fol-drol

    Actually it is not just first mothers who are saying that giving up a child to an unknown fate is worse than dealing with a death, a lot of therapists are now chiming in agreement. Now knowing the outcome of a child--like the mothers of the 3 kidnapped girls in Cleveland--is emotionally worse than burying them. Without knowing where they are, you imagine the worst, and you have no possibility of closure.

    In the case of the 3 girls, their mothers' worst fears were realized. If my child had died at childbirth, I would be a quite different person today. You may disagree, but my reality is different from yours.

  40. I am a confidential intermediary in Washington state. After a brief search I have recently located a first mother for a client. I was hesitant to contact her at this time since we're coming on Mother's Day. I made the decision to go for it -- and it was the right decision. She returned my message last night at 11pm, sobbing, and talked until 1:30am. She is a wonderful person who had access to the child's name and adoptive info all along. She refrained from searching because she did not want to interfere with, what she hoped, was a wonderful life for the daughter. It WAS a wonderful life! I'm so happy that I read your comments and made the decision to contact her now.

  41. I do think that there's something missing from your argument Lorraine.

    Things are different now than when I relinquished 41 years ago. Back then, adoptions were about shame and hiding, but now, it's very different. Many of the expecting mothers I see in my practice are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or in abusive relationships. Most of them come from severely broken homes or have a family history of abuse. Many of these women conceived from anonymous one night stands, date rape, and/or pimping out their bodies for drugs. Some of my patients are incarcerated, or are about to be jailed. I realize that this is partially due to geography, but most of it is that times have changed.

    Back when I relinquished, first mothers were "good" college girls who had made a "mistake" (like me). My family would have been horrified had they known what I had done (get pregnant). That's not the case when I see first mothers these days.

    These women are so far beyond needing "simple help" like financial support, a recovery program, or day care in order to raise a child. And when they ask me what their options are, they are often in the 2nd trimester (having ignored the "problem") and are too late for an abortion.

    Do I advise adoption? Often, yes. Because otherwise, I'm condemning that child to a life of abuse, addiction, and violence.

    I can't tell you the number of generations I've seen come through my doors in the last 20 years. But, I've seen enough to know that sometimes adoption is the ONLY chance these children have to get out of these horrible cycles.

  42. Dr. May:

    I agree with you. That post was about happy-to-be-a-birth-mother types who are the foils of adoption agencies. I realize there are these other women who are totally unequipped to raise their children, and do nothing until it is too late to have an abortion. You said, you advise adoption; do you ever advise abortion?

    I certainly would not wish on another human being the misery my relinquishment vested on me, or my daughter.

  43. Barbara, I actually wrote the post thinking that it might be of help to adoptees thinking about reaching out to their mothers, even after a break, and I'm glad it touched you too and the mother of whom you speak can rest more easy tonight.

  44. @ Viktoria who said "Actually it is not just first mothers who are saying that giving up a child to an unknown fate is worse than dealing with a death, a lot of therapists are now chiming in agreement. "

    Like I said, you are entitled to your opinion. I wouldn't have said that if I hadn't recognized you have a "different reality" from my mine. Although, like yourself, if my child had died in childbirth, I too would be a different person today.

    Even if a "lot" of therapists (Who are these people and what do they have to say about it?) are "chiming in agreement", that doesn't make them universally right. Perhaps grieving the loss of a child lost to adoption IS more complicated for some people than the death of their child would be, and if their worst fears are realized when they find that child, then that is a terrible thing. It all depends on what they find.
    However, the aftermath of a death is not uncomplicated for most. The only situation in which I can imagine death coming as a relief is if the dead person has suffered unendurable physical or mental pain without hope of abatement. But generally the ripple effect caused by the death of a much wanted child is long-lasting, touching every family member. Death is final and absolute - especially for the dead person - and the family as it once was is forever changed. Much depends on the individuals themselves and the circumstances surrounding these life altering events. There is no hard and fast rule that can be imposed.

    I confess, I do have a problem comparing anything to the death of a child and my particular difficulty with your comment is that the word "worse" implies a general preference. So while I am passionately pro-choice (I am perfectly well aware that an acorn is not an oak and I don't think any woman should ever have to endure an unwanted pregnancy), I am just as passionately committed to life and hope, even if it does make my own life more complicated.

  45. I certainly wish that my mother had felt she could keep me. I see what happened to us as a social experiment based on a bunch of lies, myths and misconceptions. Even though I did not get the most loving of adoptive families, I have never at any time wished I had been aborted. Of course, if my mother had chosen abortion I wouldn't be here to know so it is kind of a moot point. But I know that both she and I (and I believe many other people) are glad that I am here.

  46. Lorraine,
    I do counsel abortion when it is medically possible. Ethically and medically, I'm required to. But, I usually don't see these girls until it's too late for that route, since they tend to ignore their own bodies.

    I found this forum recently and have been fascinated by many of the posts and comments about the evils of adoption. It must be so easy to sit in places of relative comfort and decry adoption as violation of the "sacred bond" of mother and child. I think if you or your readers were to spend one day with me in the clinic, you'd see that adoption is no more a violation of family bonds than drugs or gangs or abuse. In fact, often I see adoption as the one thing that can save many of these children from lives of addiction, crime, and an early death.

    On this blog I see so many readers saying that relinquishment was like a death to them and adoptees feel abandoned. That might be their truth, but for the thousands of children who have been adopted out of this metro area during my tenure, it's been a salvation.

    People talk so casually about how adoption is evil, agencies are corrupt, and adoptive parents are greedy. I dare anyone who says that to spend time in an inner city clinic. By the end of three hours, you would be begging some of these women to give their child up. Begging. Because after years of government funding, "awareness" campaigns, and broken promises to help those here, so far adoption is the only way to break the cycles of destruction that I see on an hourly basis.

  47. At what point do we let women make choices for themselves? At what point are they educated enough? Jane and Lorraine, I applaud your efforts, but not every woman is going to parent, even if she's able to. Surely you must understand that these women (not girls, women) have access to everything you did not (internet, studies, forums and blogs). At some point you have to admit that trying to police women based on your experience is simply wrong.

    Let women have free will. Abortion, adoption, and parenting are all equally legitimate options for a woman. If you take away adoption, you are doing nothing more than limiting our already limited options.

  48. Mother who lose children to adoption often grieve alone. Friends and family are either unaware of the loss or assume the grief is temporary. Family and therapists tell them they should get over it.

    Because mothers consented to the adoption, they may also feel responsible for their loss. Their grief is combined with regret. They may punish themselves endlessly for allowing their child to be taken away.

    Mothers who continue to grieve may come to believe there's something wrong with them.

    Mothers who lose their children to death receive sympathy from family, friends, and even strangers. Funerals give them a forum to express their grief and to begin healing.

  49. oh please "Dr May", There is not a person on this forum that wants to see a child suffer. WE are talking about the unnecessary adoptions that happen. the ones you are talking about are the ones that the "desperate" couples don't want, the damaged goods, the "bad birthbothers", the drug addicted babies. We are talking about the PAPS that want the intelligent college, or high school girl that is promoted to be a good birthmother and give their child up to a "better life". the paps that put their order in for "their birthmother" to be drug free, nonsmoker, 4.0 college student, that is blond blue eyed and is a "good fit" for the adoptive family. IN other words a baby that that MIGHT take the place of the one they may have given birth to.

    And guess what THERE IS A MOTHER CHILD BOND...no matter how awful the "birthmother" may have been.

    There is not a child born that wants to be adopted...unless it is the last resort. There is not a human being that WANTS to lose their biological connections not matter how good it may be for them. So what to do when it is really necessary? Keep information o-pen FOR THE CHILD..no matter how bad the bparents may be, no matter how WONDERFUL the paps are..the best interest of the child needs to be defined by the child/adoptee/ adult that they will become. NOT ANY OF the mothers or doctors, or social workers. Start listening to the adult adoptees to find out whats needed and not come in and condescended to the mothers that could have kept their children (and would have been better for the child) and lost their children because society decided to punish them for having sex.

    Best interest of the child is to stay with their biology unless their is a compelling reason not to. You deal with the compelling reasons not to...not the many adoptions that are not necessary. So really you do not have the ability or experience to chime in here.

    This spoken from an adoptee that truly feels her family is her adoptive family, but also cares greatly about knowing her birth family. I truly expect society to start listening to us instead of espousing your opinions that do not belong here.

  50. Nystrova

    I assume from your moniker (to you health when raising a glass)and your pushing of choices that encourage adoption that you adopted from Russia. How cute.

    I do wish we had "police" powers that you ascribe to us--I certainly would change adoption today.

    Yes, women should have choices. Adoption as it is practiced in the US through evangelical agencies and LDS should be abolished. Please read What We Think About Adoption.

    There will always be children who need to be raised by families other than their own, but the kind of encouraging of adoption that occurs in this country today is criminal. I am not talking about the kinds of adoptions that "Dr. May" is talking about, when babies are born into awful destructive home situations.

  51. Actually, Dr May, according to Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute in his book "Adoption Nation", most of the mothers giving up their children are in their 20's and educated. The Institute's 2006 report on birth mothers confirms this.

    Pertman and Donaldson attribute the higher surrender rate of older, educated mothers to the fact that these mothers are more likely to appreciate the "benefits" of adoption while younger less educated mothers keep their babies because the mothers are impulsive, ignorant, and irresponsible.

    From my experience in CUB, Origins, AAC and various support groups, older, educated mothers are the rule, not the exception. You can find many blogs written by these post Roe v. Wade mothers.

    These older educated mothers, who for the most part are capable of raising their children, are heavily recruited by the adoption industry.

    The adoption industry has a much larger presence on the internet than First Mother Forum or other blogs written by mothers trying to warn vulnerable pregnant women of the downsides to adoption. The Donaldson Institute released a report recently documenting all the deceptive internet advertising that the adoption industry spews.

    Respected institutions like the Center for American Progress publish pro-adoption pieces designed to make giving up their babies adoption attractive to their middle class educated readers.

    We certainly agree that mothers who cannot care for their children because of drug abuse or mental illness should be encouraged to give up their babies. Little demand for these children exists, however. Many agencies will not accept these mothers as clients because they cannot get the high fees that the babies of older educated mothers command. Agencies have been sued in the past for unlawful adoption when they failed to disclose drug abuse or other issues which would affect the health of the child.

    If mothers with issues give up their babies, the babies are likely to go into foster care or with less than desirable adoptive parents. Rather than breaking the cycle of harm, adoption may exacerbate their problems.

    In other words, in the Catch-22 world of adoption, children most needing adoption are the least likely to be adopted. Mothers most capable of raising their children are the most likely to give them up.

  52. Nystrova,
    Yes, mothers should be free to make choices for themselves-- and they are. FMF has no police powers.

    Mothers should be fully informed before they are asked to make choices. State laws allow mothers to be pushed into making decisions immediately after birth without being informed of the consequences of adoption for themselves or their children and without knowing resources that can help nurture her child.

    Google "adoption" and you'll see adoption information on the internet is dominated by the industry which spews misinformation designed to induce vulnerable mothers-to-be in giving up their babies.

    The Donaldson Adoption Institute issued a report recently documenting these abuses. We wrote about the report on FMF. How the internet is changing adoption

    The truth is that adoption takes place in an unregulated market.

    While purchasers of securities, real estate, used cars, any commodity have recourse if they are misled by deceptive advertising-- they can sue and get their money back -- duped mothers have no recourse. They cannot get their baby back.

  53. Lorraine lost her daughter twice, once by adoption, once by death.

  54. And the prize for best comment goes to....the ever wonderful dpen.

  55. Satan, or so they call me.May 11, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    "Dr. May"

    If adoption is so damn wonderful, offer up one of your own kids and come back here and tell us how grand it is.

    Oh, that's right. You are an almighty doctor who deserves the right to have children but a poor, young, vulnerable woman isn't.

    People like you and your worldview are all that is wrong with our society, so stop sitting on your throne playing "savior", when you are anything but.

    Get way over yourself, k.

  56. Jane, here's a link to a recent article with practically the same title as your post.
    It also addresses some of the other issues that are being discussed here, including the emotions Mother's Day raises for adoptees ("Melissa says Mother's Day is 2X the moms now . . . adding that finding her birth mother has been emotional but deeply fulfilling"), secrecy. the effect of social media, the Donaldson report - and Birth Mother's Day celebrations organized by agencies.

    Here's an article by Anne Lamott that is very much in sympathy with my own feelings about Mother's Day:

  57. Satan, I did give up a child, which you would know had you bothered to read my first comment. 41 years ago I gave up my only child, a baby girl. So, you have no right to lecture me about the pain of giving up a child.

    Giving up my child wasn't "grand", but it certainly was the best decision I could make at the time. My daughter died in a car accident when she was 23 (along with her adoptive parents) and I never got to have a relationship with her.

    My worldview is just fine, thank you very much. And I would challenge you to give as selflessly as many of my colleagues have to helping the poor in the inner cities. My guess is that you lead a life of relative comfort and find it very easy to make pronouncements about what should or shouldn't happen to those who don't have those comforts.

    I am not an adoption advocate, but I do think that if we are to stop some of these cycles in the inner city, the children need to get out of here. Often the only way to do that is by adoption or education. Sadly, education is not valued, it is often a dead end. I can count on one hand the number of children who have graduated college in this neighborhood. So, yes, get some of these children of addicts, prostitutes, and gangsters to educated homes where they can learn, have a chance to shine, and maybe even live past 21.

    dpen, you're right, there is a mother-child bond. But, often that bond is obliterated by drugs, alcohol, and gang affiliation. I'd rather that bond be somewhat preserved via adoption, rather than the child or mother dying in some crack house (or both). And yes, of course, allow the information to be open (I never suggested otherwise).

    Jane, as I said in my original comment, I know that my experience is limited by geography. The ages women who relinquish here are all over the map (14 to 40). There's two adoption agencies in the area who work with these expectant mothers to find good (and yes, better) homes for their children. If the expectant mother is smart, she gives her child up for adoption. The more selfish mothers who don't, almost invariably lose their child to the system before the child turns 2. And in those cases, the mother rarely gets them back.

    In the cases I see, giving the child up for adoption is the BEST thing for the child. And I say that because, in most cases, the mother is already a lost cause.

    None of you have to like what I say. But, these are the truths that I have witnessed over my many years here.

  58. satan...

    thank you for reminding me what kind of person I DON'T want to be.

  59. Dr. May,
    Where is this community you write about?

  60. Jane, I work somewhere east of the Mississippi.

  61. Dr May, You seem to view adoption as a sort of social eugenics, stamping out bad traits by removing children from their genetic relatives.

    I'm sure you want to alleviate the devastation you see around you and it's a shame that your community has not addressed its problems effectively. Adoption, however, has never been successful in resolving problems of poverty, drug abuse, and crime.

    Adoption as a remedy for social ills cannot work because children do not adjust to being taken from their families, because it allows decision makers to ignore more effective solutions, and because it destroys the programs that families and the community themselves try to put together.

    And as a practical matter there are not enough "good" homes to take in all the poor children.

    "Reformers" used adoption in the 19th century to remove poor immigrant children from their homes; remove generations of Australian aborigine and American Indian children, bring thousands of foreign children to the US. These large adoption programs destroyed families but did not solve social problems.

    I encourage you to read the reports of the National Coalition of Child Protection Reform and the just published "The Child Catchers" to see the effects of removing large numbers of children from their homes.

  62. Thank you Jane for responding. "They"--being the "experts"--always see taking children from their awful homes and enlightening them out as the solution. In addition to what you suggest, she ought to see Rabbit-Proof Fence, about the removal of aboriginal children from their homes and placing them with "white" families. That didn't work out so well. In many respects, the situation in Australia has been much worse than in the U.S.

  63. Jane, I am certainly not suggesting we remove children based on socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, or even geographical reasons alone. Nor am I suggesting the wholesale removal of children from abuse, drug, or gang ridden neighborhoods.

    Social eugenics? No. Simply a way to allow children to grow up without the life-threatening impact of the inner city life. Is adoption the ultimate solution? No. But, the absence of other viable options makes it a very good choice for these children.

    The way I see it, family preservation is not what's in the best interest of these children. They need education. They need a stable home (preferably without gun shots at night). They need a life that doesn't involve hearing "mom entertain" in the bed as they sleep on the floor. They need a life that is far away from gang rape or initiations (often one in the same). They need a family, not just the doped up/absuive people who happen to be related to them.

    Watch a little baby detox from cocaine. Listen to her cries as her too small body is wracked with pain, and be able to do very little about it. And then watch as that same little baby is brought back, dead because "mom" forgot to feed her...just three weeks after discharge. And then see that sort of thing every week for years! I'm sure you'd be advocating adoption as well.

  64. Dr. May,
    AS i said in my other post, there is not a mother here that wants to see a human being go through that. There is NO ONE person that is that stupid that we need to be told how it is for these babies. We get it.

    And I STILL support family preservation because that is in the best interstof the baby, child, human being. The way adoption is thought about today is not about the human being its about the parents and their needs.

    I agree these suffering children need to be protected from the situations you describe. But the way its done today does not guarantee the child will be protected. I have read enough, heard enough and seen enough to know that is true. The adoptive parents are usually not educated enough in the effect of this suffering, so off they go..bounced around different families, different experiences and each one is impacting that child. Then when they are finely adopted the suffering they have gone through is often not addressed they are expected to feel happy and grateful ....and there it, is the exceptions are put on the child....they are not allowed to grieve their experiences because it might make the new mommy feel bad, it might make the first mommy feel guilty, it might throw off society's expectations of what a good little adoptee should act like.

    Everybody just knows that an adoptee is second best...don't even try to argue that one with me because i have lived it and seen it even to this day in my job. I work with the elderly and if the children happen to be adopted there is an expectation that they will not be as good as a bio( have actually heard it and seen it) no matter what i have said it does not change their opinion. there is stigma to being adopted. Everyone has an opinion and totally believe they are right, even when I as the lifelong adoptee and former foster child tries to "educate" them they don't listen. Why is that? Well because I am the poor, uneducated, result of adoption...what would I know?

    So what i am asking of you is to open your brain to what the adult adoptees have to say about the practice of adoption as it is practiced today...there is NOT ONE OF US that would want to go to sleep with drug addicated parents, prostitute parents, abusive parents. There is no one on this forum that is that stupid. WE know whats out there, I want whats best for the child as defined by those of us that have lived it. Not a society who believes that its ok to bounce babies around and think they will not be affected. If the child needs to be removed for that Childs safety(the sooner the better) it is to be kept child centered and not mommy centered( adoptive mommy). The best interest as to be kept for the rest of that persons life. Far to many times once the adoptions happen it is no longer about the child but how the child "should" feel about being "saved" that causes insecurity, feels of inferiority and the inability to grow to their potential. THE CHILD is expected to change themselves into the adoptive family..."of course color, ethnicty does not matter...you ARE one of us now"

    so if Adoption HAS TO HAPPEN as a last resort for the true best interest of the child(not the best interest of the adoptive parent so be it...but the child needs remain front and center. I can tell you that does NOT happen enough.

  65. Satan, or so they call meMay 12, 2013 at 3:49 PM


    "thank you for reminding me what kind of person I DON'T want to be."

    And what kind of person is that, someone who stands up to people like Dr. May and other like him who think it is okay to separate a mother and her child; and judge families they don't even know? Good for you!! And apparently YOU are everything I would never aspire to be. Thanks!!

  66. Satan, or so they call meMay 12, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Dr. May:

    I did miss your first comment and all I can say is that as someone who lost her only child to adoption, I am even more appalled that you would advocate for the separation of families via adoption.

    I hope you like that one too, proud "bmother"...

  67. I have been reading some new blogs lately and am noticing a new (to me) and very alarming trend. Adoption agencies are convincing young women in their early twenties that they are too YOUNG to parent. WTF is going on here? Any woman 20 and over is not too young to be a parent. Only two generations ago that was considered a normal and appropriate age to have a child. Even Princess Diana had Prince William when she was only 21. Most of us BSE adoptees were probably adopted by women in their twenties, some even early twenties. What is now considered the appropriate age to have a baby in this country? 36? A woman's fertility begins to decline in her mid-thirties.

    I think 16 and 17 year olds can be good parents. Certainly any female in her 20s, unless there are other mitigating factors, is perfectly capable of raising a child. The early twenties are actually a great age to become a mom. The young mother still has tons of energy and her body is mature enough to have the highest chance of delivering a healthy baby. I find it really scary how much adoption agencies are skewing this social, emotional, and biological reality.

  68. Satan, or so they call meMay 12, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Correction@ 3:52pm

    and others like "HER" (Dr. May). Not "him".

  69. Robin (4:01)

    One of the deciding factors of being a good mom is not age but the ability and readiness of being able to "step to plate and be a good mom." There are many people who think if a woman can have a baby she will a good mom, but we ALL know that is not the truth. Being a good mom means being will, able and ready to sacrifice all that one has in order to raise a child. And many of today's bmom don't want to do that (which is ok, because at least the child will not suffer).

  70. Dpen:

    Get over it! Adoption will always be needed because not every women who can birth a child can be a good mother. I think you are living in bubble where every mother who has placed a child WANTED or WOULD have been a GOOD MOTHRER-and that is not true; just like the mother-child bond you claim. If the mother-child bond were true then you would not have "mothers" putting man/drugs above their child or the same "mothers" abusing their child.

  71. @ anonymous11:12

    "Get over it! Adoption will always be needed because not every women who can birth a child can be a good mother."

    and I suggest YOU GET OVER IT because not every woman who buys a child from a baby broker can or will be a good mother, either. Most of us who lost our children to adoption WOULD have been good mothers to OUR children.

    The woman who adopted my son was not the better option and never will be. She did nothing but brainwash him and turn him against his own people because she is jealous, spiteful and threatened by the very real bond I have with my flesh and blood. If that bond is so "non existent", why are so many of you scrambling around the internet and elsewhere trying to denounce it? I'd think if you were so secure in your role, you'd not be giving this blog or any other like it a second glance. Hmmm... very interesting.

  72. Why do the naysayers always resort to "get over it"? Pathetic and rude, and evidence of no comprehension skills.

    You said it beautifully, dpen.

  73. from dpen: worth repeating"

    "...[adoptees] are not allowed to grieve their experiences because it might make the new mommy feel bad, it might make the first mommy feel guilty, it might throw off society's expectations of what a good little adoptee should act like."

    Packs a wallop, doesn't it?

  74. No, Lorraine, it doesn't "pack a wallop". It makes me feel sad that adoptees wouldn't trust the love of the adoptive parents to be honest with them. The same with first mothers. For heaven's sake, don't be "good birthmothers"...be HONEST birth mothers. Us adoptive moms want you to be honest with us, or at least I do. Tell us the pain and the sadness, and I'll give you a shoulder to cry on. A relationship starts with trust. So maybe if adoptees and first mothers start trusting us a bit more, we'd all have better relationships.

    Of course, according to this site, most adoptive parents are greedy, insensitive, and lack basic human compassion. So, let the flaming begin!

  75. Truth first, what was the point of that nasty ending to an otherwise intelligent comment?

    It just invited snarky remarks. I am so weary of that I almost did not post it.

  76. TrustFirst,
    I reject your offer. I don't need your shoulder to cry on. Hearing our pain will not change adoption.

    If you want to build trust with first mothers and adoptees, join with us to end unnecessary adoptions. Spread the word among your friends considering adoption that it is far more than transferring a child from one woman to another, papered over with an adoption decree and a false birth certificate.

    Adoption can cause lifelong negative consequences for first parents and adoptees. Yet it does not give adoptive parents what many really want, their own child.

    As long as billions of dollars are to be made perpetuating the "win-win" myth of adoption, parents will continue to lose their children and children will continual to be raised in contrived families.

    First mothers and adoptees have plenty of soft shoulders to cry on but they needn't be crying in the first place. Adoption should be reserved for children who truly need families.

  77. As i said, I am a middle aged adult...I lost trust A LONG TIME ago. What adoptees need from adoptive parents is to support them from the nastiness of a soceity that see them as second best, and stop arguing on whos the REAL mother, the person adoptee is the only one that can define that. To support us when we tell you how it really is, to teach other PAPS that nobody OWNS another person no matter how little they are, to stop saying their child belongs to them and finds way to minimize biology, To get all adoptive parents to stop trying to block the laws to open up all records belonging to the adoptees and to not make the adoptees birth and adoption about the parents. Then maybe the trust can START to happen. In other words make adoption child centered not parent centered and it si not in todays world

  78. To TruthFirst,

    I'm glad that you are the type of adoptive mom who is willing and able to handle your child's feelings.

    However, that is simply not true for some of us. My adoptive mom has told me several times throughout my life that learning that she and my father could not have children was one of the most difficult times in their lives. I accepted that. It was honest.

    But, she cannot handle the idea of her adopted children perhaps wanting to meet or have a relationship with their biological families.

    So, I had to hear about her grief, but she never wanted to hear about mine.

    So, I searched for and found my b-family without telling my a-family. And, that is just how it's going to be forever. I love my a-mother, but she would twist my reunion and somehow make it about her.

    Again, I'm thrilled that you are an open adoptive parent, and I am certain that there are others like you. But, for me, and I suspect for others from the BSE, my parents were very, very uncomfortable talking about my feelings about adoption.

  79. HDW: :... my parents were very, very uncomfortable talking about my feelings about adoption. "

    That is what I hear ALL THE TIME from adoptees who search and find. Many adoptive parents are "supportive" of their child while searching, but then when contact is made cannot handle it and while the adoptee would share her feelings with her adoptive mother, suddenly finds it is verboten. I am not saying it is hard, especially when you go for years thinking it is not going to be true,but then when it is, adoptive parents suddenly feel betrayed and want to not know anything.

    food for a post.

    So much for TrustFirst being "flamed."

  80. Lorriane,

    The whole betrayel feelings of adoptive parents is what gets me. If in fact they love their child and know their child loves them where does the "betrayal" come from? Where is the trust of the parents for the child? There is none because everyone knows that there is a good possibility that the child just might feel a bio connection. If there is a respect for that connection then the adoptee is being respected. If it is scorned and minimized it hurts the adoptee. If the reunion ends up being a difficult one for the adoptee then again that adoptee needs to TRUST that those that love them will truly care about how "their child" feels and not get some satisfaction out of the child hurting. (see, told you those people were horrible...I AM YOUR REAL MOTHER>>HA) Thats what hppens in families. so as a result the adoptee is turn between being who the are authentically and who they are "suppose" to be. So again the fear of "betraying adoptive parents is HUGE..the fear of hurting is huge and does not alow the adoptee to learn what is right for them, what is good for them because again its all about the parents.

    That is where their needs to be a HUGE educational push for PAPS that it is NOT a betrayal when an adoptee wants to find bio's..it is a GOOD thing for the adoptee and ALL should be supportive and help them threw it..not make it as difficult as possible, guilt producing, dramatic event where the adoptee is torn into little pieces. thats true parental love. Accepting the truth of the adoptees existance as an indivual and not some symbol of parenthood.

    If all parents do it right the daughter or son will feel grateful for being respected and truly loved...not loved because they are feeding the parents needs. It will be an honest feeling of gratefulness for being respected. Not a feeling of gratefullness born of fear of losing moms love...like being told "you should feel grateful" for living, eating, having shelter and material things and oh LOVE...those are all conditional and a method of manipulating someone to what the parents need. It IS NOT in the best interest of the child.

  81. Never is the "mother and baby/child" bond more flouted than by women who relinquished their children.

    I wonder if women heading into an abortion clinic tout the same bond?

    How can it only work one way?

    So I guess there is one link between adoption & abortion; the prevelance of one group to use said bond to make a point when neccessary but also toss it out again when fighting for "choice" and "rights" of women and their bodies.

    Anon. # who knows? Too many to count!

  82. Dear anti-abortion commenter.

    First Mother Forum is proudly pro-choice. You may find a more welcome forum elsewhere.

  83. The topic of adoption, for me personally, feels like such a double edged sword. I am sure there are plenty of cases where children from poisonous environments were placed in homes where they could be safe and prosper. But then, what do we say about the children who were adopted into a toxic household?

    I'm one of those said children. I guess I could say I've spent all my life feeling like I never belonged, even before I found out I was adopted. My adoptive mother has a level of animosity towards me that I have never understood. Maybe she regrets the adoption- walking into it thinking I would be a perfect child, HER child when I was never either. I'm sure it was a shock for her when a year and a half after she had gotten me, she found out she was pregnant. All that work and traveling to get me when she finally had a baby of her own.

    In some ways I can't blame her for having a hard time. Maybe she kept me with good intentions. But everything since then has been destroyed. The amount of abuse I had to suffer through as a child wasn't fair under any circumstance. There are some days where I stop and I think about it, and I am just so surprised that I have managed to last this long.

    When I found out I was adopted, I thought it would make things easier. That I could finally seek out my biological mother. But a-mom has been very reluctant to share any information about her at all, and the probability that she doesn't know much to begin with is high. I guess after all these years, I have become a physical possession to her, despite the plastic feeling of our "mother daughter bond".

    It hurts me so badly sometimes, to sit at the dinner table and be completely excluded from every conversation. I feel just as much a part of this family as a piece of furniture might. Physically but not emotionally present. I would be lying if I said I didn't envision my biological mother as a special and wonderful person. Perhaps, in reality, she's just as toxic as my adoptive mother.

    But I hope for the best anyway. And that maybe, she thinks of me too, and wants to find me as well.

  84. @anonymouse 3:02:

    "Never is the "mother and baby/child" bond more flouted than by women who relinquished their children."

    And who the hell are you to denounce that bond? Did you buy a baby from a baby broker, hence don't have the connection and know you never will? What a slap in the face to those who have lost their children to adoption, but that is what the likes of you are so good at and so delight in partaking in, kicking natural mothers in the teeth.

    "I wonder if women heading into an abortion clinic tout the same bond?"

    I wonder if what another woman does with her body is any of your business. That includes the connection to a life SHE brought into this world?

    I myself wonder how people who purchase children from baby brokers think they can hijack this same bond for themselves, when it was never theirs in the first place.

    "How can it only work one way?"

    Yes, I can never work any other way except YOUR way, right?

    Get out of the lives and wombs of complete strangers, creep.

  85. Dear Lorraine,

    Hello, I am a 7th grade student named Hannah in Seoul, South Korea attending Yongsan International School of Seoul. For my english class, we are suppose to create a persuasive speech. My topic is on adoptees having the right to who his or her biological parents is. We are required to have a one slide presentation with a photo that will support our points. Is it fine if I used the photo of your mother's day letter? Thank you for your consideration.

    Hannah Kim

  86. Yes, Hannah Kim, you can use the photo, just credit where you got it and would it be possible for me to see the final product?

    Have a good day on the other side of the world, Hannah Kim.



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