' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: How life changes when you became pregnant and have to face adoption for your child

Sunday, March 26, 2017

How life changes when you became pregnant and have to face adoption for your child

The mother walks in following a child who runs ahead of her. The child is two, could be three. I’m sitting at Starbucks in the morning reading The New York Times, wishing the music was turned down a tad. Sun is streaming through the window behind me. My husband Tony is doing the crossword puzzle. Both of us are writers and it’s nice to get out of the house in the morning.

But for the moment—fifteen seconds or so—my attention is diverted to the child, and then to the mother, and back to the child. Unconsciously I look to see if child resembles his mother.

I want to be able to tell myself he is not the child of someone else.

I want to reassure myself that the woman is his only mother.

I have been doing this ever since she was born.

Probably before. As soon as I knew I was pregnant.--by lorraine from hole in my heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption  [Prologue.]


  1. As always, Lorraine, your words are so thought-provoking and this one reminded me of my past life during the early 60s. My experience was like so many other natural moms. While working as an elementary school secretary, I began to study each little girl''s face to see if It might resemble my own. It became an obsession as I glanced at a picture of myself at that age that I kept in the top drawer of my desk. Many years later, because of that experience, it helped me to title my first book "I Would Have Searched Forever." Unbeknownst to me at that time, you were writing "Birthmark" and they were the first two books to be published by First Moms - the year was 1979. You were living in New York and I was in the suburbs of Philly. We finally met at an AAC conference. Thanks for bringing back those memories and for your leadership in the movement.

  2. Want to think both of you for your commitment to educating others and adoption issues

  3. I do the same thing. When I see little trans racial adoptees, I feel such sadness for them! There are many in NYC.
    I went to Disney with my family last week. They are very gay-friendly, which I support. There were two dudes and their two very young daughters seated behind us at dinner. The girls were under two.
    All I could think of was these girls had to lose their mothers. They had to lose the primary relationship in any human's life, for these two men to create the illusion of a family.
    All the Disney trips on earth can never make up for the loss. I made eye contact with one of the babies, I swear she was staring at me hard. Probably wished I was her mother. Poor angels, what makes these men think they are better than a child's own mother?
    What kind of ego do you have to have to take a child's mother away? It just destroys me.

    1. They may have lost their real fathers as well. Equally troubling is the fact that fake women (e.g., Bruce "caitlan" jenner) are now adopting babies and pretending to be "mothers."

    2. True, but for me the loss of my mother was devastating. My father seems like a real a-hole, so losing him is not as bad. I do wish I could have met his mother, my grandmother. Most people say she was nice.

      I also think one of the men could have been the bio father. There is no way either of them was the mother!!

    3. As far as I know, Caitlin Jenner hasn't adopted yet. Sarah, you know differently. The only stories I saw was that she was "planning" to adopt. Let us hope that was a ridiculous rumor.

    4. Well, now you can knock me over with a feather--not easy to do!--if Caitlyn Jenner is even considering adoption. Jenner is sixty-seven years old and has SIX biological children from THREE previous marriages.

      I try to wrap my mind around why some people are simply dying to adopt. But for someone pushing seventy with a short stick who already has six kids, the notion is, no pun intended, inconceivable.

    5. Mrs TarquinBiscuitbarrel says"I try to wrap my mind around why some people are simply dying to adopt." Could it be for the simple fact that they are looking for a sense of worth, somehow, some way and adoption is the "easy" route to supposed sainthood/worth/value. Something 'hurts' and the "I have to be made to feel better" about me, life, everything. Look at Madonna's recent adoption. She made very wrong statements about doing things to the whitehouse and was strongly verbally chastised about it, then HAD TO feel better so what better way than to jet off to a foreign land and rescue one or more children. She lies about it and says, "I'm not adopting." Then, less than two weeks later, she's ADOPTED TWINS. Why do a lot of people adopt? Is it due to their sense of having compromised self worth? Or supposedly low value in other people's eyes? Look at what was said in the Bible by one suffering from infertility, "give me children lest I die." Sort of translates **to me** as, I have to be made to feel better and have a sense of worth. Is that, in part, why some adoptees feel like they are there to provide their adoptive parents 'security and value'?

      Off topic. Has anyone seen the news out of Australia where they are now paying regular 'wages' for adopting kids instead of just for foster care? 24 million in the budget set aside for it. They can't get the foster parents to adopt the kids if they don't pay them. It's a huge amount of money per child, at least to me. It sort of smacks of the 'had to tie a pork-chop or a t-bone around their neck' to get parents to commit to adopting. So are the parents in it for the money or for the love of a child? Another question is, how many of those children in foster care were removed from their parent/s because of lack of resources/money? If that is the underlying reason for the removal then the children need to be returned to their parent/s and the funds given to them. Anything else is just plain wrong.

    6. I did not realize this had even happened:

      'MADONNA HAS TAKEN THEM FOREVER?' Father of twin girls adopted by Madonna says he didn’t realise it would be permanent
      Adam Mwale claims he believed Esther and Stella would be returned to him after being given a good education
      19th February 2017, 11:50 am Updated: 20th February 2017, 10:37 am

      THE birth father of Madonna’s newly adopted twins has sensationally claimed he had no idea the move was permanent.

      Adam Mwale has slammed the pop princess after discovering she had taken his four-year-old daughters Esther and Stella away from Malawi forever.

      Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Mwale said he was under the impression Madonna was fostering the twins.

      He said: “I was told from the start that Esther and Stella were going to a rich woman’s home abroad, that she would give them a good education, then return them to me, to live with me and help all of my family.

      “Now you are telling me the adoption is permanent.

      “That cannot be true – I don’t want it to be true. I am their father and I will always be their father.”

      There's more to the story at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2901327/madonna-adopted-twins-father/

      Grossed out. Poor countries are still selling their children.

    7. In the Madonna story, I notice how diminishing the title of birth father is to this man and what has happened to his family.

      See how differently these two sentences feel:

      'The birth father of Madonna’s newly adopted twins has sensationally claimed he had no idea the move was permanent.'

      'The father of Madonna’s newly adopted twins has sensationally claimed he had no idea the move was permanent

    8. Agreed. There was no reason to use "birth" in front of father, and it does diminish him to someone seemingly that had little to do with them except provide sperm. And unless I'm wrong, Madonna is not providing a man to replace their father. This kind of adoption is the worst. This adoption by a wealthy pop star--Madonna--amounts to no more than child trafficking from a impoverished country.

    9. Yes, and busy Madonna won't be a mother to these kids in the conventional sense. That will be left to Nannies if it occurs at all.

  4. I hope someday we will see the wisdom of supporting women and babies in a way that allows them to remain together. I learned after I found my son how many family members were broken hearted and spent their lives wondering where their grandson, brother, nephew, cousin was. My mother once told me the only day she remembered crying was the day she learned that her grandson was not stillborn as she had been told but was surrendered for adoption. (That's another story) Her grief overshadowed every other tear in her life. And I grieved anew for my mom when I heard that, and still cry as I think of it.

    1. My story was similar. My parents told their parents that I died. I'm not sure why. Neither could explain it. It seemed like something that just happened to them. I don't think that can be true. Someone had to come up with the idea, and they had to have discussed it and agreed to it.
      I don't know if their parents knew the truth, but it seems unbelievable to me that everyone just accepted my death, with no memorial or body.

      The main reason my father’s family does not want to speak to me is because I have a hard time believing this story. It's full of holes. I am not allowed to question it. There are a great many things that adopted people are not supposed to question.

      I like to question. I need to know why, so I can understand. Stonewalling and shutting me down makes me upset. I honestly cannot understand why I am so wrong. What could I possibly have done, to anyone? I am a very mild mannered woman. Very strange things indeed.

  5. I look for my daughter in every child I see. The so called open adoption was slammed shut after four years, it's been six. But just a point, I don't look for a child that resembles me. My daughter K looked so much more like her father than me. I last saw her in prrson, a picture 2 years later, the resemblance to her father's side of the family is uncanny.

  6. Lorraine I don't think that the comparing children with their parents will ever stop for a lot of us.

    I remember being in a shoe store several years ago and there was a 7 or 8 year old girl with lovely long curly hair. In an instant it appeared very strongly that she was adopted. She just stared at me and slightly moved in my direction and I could have translated that stare as, "are you my mother?" Her mother looked terrified as if wondering too, "are you her mother? Is this the moment that I have dreaded all these years?" Not a verbal word was spoken. Sigh. The hell, pretense, fear, and shame that so many of us, in this thing called adoption, go through.

    Even though I have been found I still look and compare children with their parents and wonder simply because I know what it is to be 'a mother like me' and I too ache when I know they are adopted, and for every child out there who is searching as well in hope, and the adoptive parents "searching" for fear of being found.

  7. Yes, the looking to be reassured that their was not an adoption--that mother and child DO LOOK ALIKE--never stops. When I'm shopping and say, in line at TJMAxx, I can't stop staring at mothers and daughters (esp. young teens) and notice how their body types, their hair and coloring, and their clothing styles are in synch with one another. It always catches my heart and I have to be careful not to stare too long. This is never going to end. I remember the delight I felt when I was shopping with my granddaughter Britt and the clerk said: Grandmother? I felt immense warmth and pride when I smiled and nodded YES.

    The depth of a first mother's sense about this probably pales to that of a mother who has never lost a child through adoption.

  8. "Reassured" is the perfect word to describe the action.

  9. What about an open adoption? What are everyone's feelings about open adoption? My daughter is 24 and has RAD/mental illness and is planning an adoption for her baby. Her vaby is due in 3 weeks. My daughter is living in a Maternity Home and is jobless. We do not think it would be in anyone's best interest for us to raise her child at tgis stage of our lives. It is tearing us apart but we feel it us best. Our daughter was adopted at age 3 from an Eastern European orphanage so she has suffered much loss in her life and the after effects of post-intitutiona life. I welcome your thoughts.

    1. I was reading along and thinking about a response until I came to the part where you mention that your daughter was adopted...one study found that adoptees themselves were more likely to give up a child to adoption than the non-adopted population by a ratio of seven to one! My heart sank when I read that your daughter is soon to join that population.

      Open adoptions may work for some, but it may only add to what you describe as the trauma of your daughter's life. Many close; many are extrememly hard on both adoptive parents and natural parents. For a more on it, I suggest you and your daughter read the section I wrote in Hole in my Heart.

      You should also understand that the date of this past is March, and you are not likely to get many, or any, responses. Many women whose open adoptions did not work out--because the adoptive parents closed them--are in great pain, as well as rihtfully angry. I wish you and your daughter well, and I see that any choice you and your daughter make is fraught with pain.

  10. I strongly encourage you to keep your daughter's baby in the family. Adoption causes lifelong trauma to mothers and their children. While they not appear to be suffering and can go through long periods where they shut it out of their minds, it is always there. I know many first mothers and I don't know any who would not have kept their babies if they had some help.

    While your daughter is adopted, she is still your daughter and you need to support her at her time of need. While open adoption promises the child will remain in your daughter's life, the fact is that the agreements are not generally enforceable and the adoption may close. Even if it stays open, the pain does not diminish. The child never really understands at the gut level why mommy and grandma visit but won't take him home.

    I encourage you and your daughter to read the memoirs of mothers who gave up their infants: Lorraine's "Hole in My Heart", Amy Seeks's "God and Jetfire," Carol Schaefer's "The Other Mother", many others.

    While raising another child can be difficult, it can also be rewarding. No matter the struggles you will know you stepped up and aided your daughter and grandchild when they needed you most.

  11. Well, now you can knock me over with a feather--not easy to do!--if Caitlyn Jenner is even considering adoption. Jenner is sixty-seven years old and has SIX biological children from THREE previous marriages.

    I try to wrap my mind around why some people are simply dying to adopt. But for someone pushing seventy with a short stick who already has six kids, the notion is, no pun intended, inconceivable.

    Anna - full time momma



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