' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Who's the First Mom? Why is 'Adoptive Mother' such an offensive term? It's truth, it's reality.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Who's the First Mom? Why is 'Adoptive Mother' such an offensive term? It's truth, it's reality.

As predictable as Groundhog Day repeating itself is adoptive mothers who go ballistic when referred to as adoptive mothers. "I am the real, the only true mom" they proclaim, sounding as if their child did not have another mother, did not come from another mother, but instead arrived by stork. Recently FMF received angry comments in response to a 2010 post about knowing the truth even when it's ugly* from a woman who identified herself as Panda.

Panda doesn't oppose her adopted son searching for his "bio family" or "the incubator" as she refers to the natural mother, but she is mad as hell about being referred to as an "adoptive mom."

Incubator Mother?
"She was not the first mom she is not the mom. I am the mom and it is despicable that we are called the adoptive mom." The reasons she considers herself the mom are telling: "I spent hours in the principal's office, I spent hours in parent teacher conferences because of some weird things my son did. I have fed him. I have comforted him when he was still rocking himself at 17." (Emphasis added)

One can only think that if Panda had dealt honestly about adoption, her son might not be so screwed up as to rock himself at 17.

By denying the significance of or even the existence of natural mothers, adoptive mothers cause a lot of pain. Lorraine tells of a friend telling her when Lorraine referred to her daughter's adoptive mother that she was NOT the adoptive mother, she was THE "mother" reducing Lorraine--whom she knew was a mother who had relinquished--to a "non" mother." Not surprisingly, the friend was an adoptive mother herself. Dropping "adoptive" also sends a message to a child that she should never search because searching would hurt the adoptive mother by denying her exclusivity.
An eye-opening, unfiltered account of
adoption from a psychologist's viewpoint.  
In spite of her insistence that she was the sole mother, Panda's son did search and met his "bio sister--but she was not his sister that "shared a bathroom with him fought with him" Panda tells us. Although they were ready to put the non-sister in her family, it went "horribly wrong." Not surprising.

Adoptive mothers with knotted knickers remind me of the story of King Solomon. When he was confronted by two women who both claimed to be the mother of a child, King Solomon offered to cut the baby in two, and give each a half. The impostor mother accepted this decision while the real mother said she would prefer the impostor had the child rather than see the child killed. Solomon gave the child to the real mother. 

The very real Jane
We first/birth/natural mothers stepped aside believing it best for our child when we gave them up for adoption. But we are not flying storks or mere incubators. Women who insist they are the only mother, whether by inference or pretence, try to erase the child's actual identity and in doing so, encourage even more trauma than the initial separation of biological mother and child. We first/birth/natural mothers recognize that we are not the mothers who put in the hours of raising the child, but ignoring the significance of the mother whose traits the child carries creates new psychological problems that need not exist in the first place.--jane

From FMF
*Knowing the Truth of One's Origins When the Truth is Not Pretty
When she was in her late 20's, adoptee Becky Babcock learned that her first mother, Diane Downs, had shot her other three children, killing one of them. Babcock was conceived in a one night stand while Downs was being investigated for the shootings.

To Tell or Not to Tell (the unvarnished truth), that is the question

The Wisdom of Solomon

Adoption: Uncharted Waters 
By David Kirschner, PhD.
Linda L Franklin
This is a fascinating book, highly readable and useful for professionals like me as well as the general public. The fact that adoptees are so over-represented in prisons, psychiatric settings, addictive disorders and other problems should cause everyone to question the idealized system of adoption. In this book, we learn of the very rare adoptees whose abandonment and resulting rage issues lead them to commit murder.


  1. Jane, thank you for addressing this never ending issue. While I unequivocally recognize that I am not the mother who put in the hours of raising my daughter, it's impossible not to silence the emotional heartstrings triggered on her birthday, our reunion anniversary, and other milestones I have not acknowledged for 15 years since my daughter severed our rocky relationship for good. If science could duplicate fiction like Lois Lawry's The Giver and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, i.e., remove all emotional traces of my daughter, at this point I'd probably volunteer to undergo the surgery or take the potion that would remove her from my memory.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Gretchen. I am sadden by your daughter's behavior.

    2. "....remove all emotional traces of my daughter, at this point I'd probably volunteer to undergo the surgery...that would remove her from my memory." Gretchen, I am so sorry! Your comment struck a chord in me. I said the very same thing a couple years after losing my baby to adoption. The pain was so great that I expressed the hope that science could someday surgically remove the painful memories surrounding the loss. The therapist reminded me that such an advance would not occur in our lifetime. It is heartbreaking, Gretchen, that you have lost your daughter not once, but twice. I know there is no cure for this heartbreak, but I wish you strength!

  2. This article, speaks well of First Mothers. My story is a bit different my son was stolen by the state. I don't find much, that talks about this. I wasn't abusive or struggling with addiction. I was battling a mental illness. I did everything, asked of me. Still didn't get him back. A wound that never heals, my other children were hurt by this, too. I am too afraid to attempt finding my lost baby.

    1. Anon, I am so sorry to read your comment. The stories of mothers who lost their children to foster care or adoption even though they could have raised their child safely with a little help are just tragic.

      You may be interested in the work of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, nccpr.org. It advocates reforming child welfare laws and practices to preserve families and reduce unnecessary foster care and adoptions.

    2. Every January 29th, when my estranged daughter, Joanna, gives me a hang-up call, I am painfully reminded that my daughter is certain of the woman that gave her birth, regardless of any self or other defined term used for the person that brings a baby into the world.
      And to those adoptive mothers that demonize and persecute mothers privately and publicly with mean-spirited and relentless attempts to reduce a birth mother, a fellow human being to a status of non human from the moment of her baby's conception, the nine long months of pregnancy and painful delivery, I worry for the child she purchased, perhaps, from desperation in order to create the illusion of passing on her DNA in anothers offspring.
      Flashing that same old card, "I was the one who spent the sleepless nights with this sick child, I was the one who worried, etc., etc., I can only say, Is that all you've got? A person less desperate than yourself with some insight and compassion toward another human, might have stopped to ask some questions from the beginning regarding the mother's circumstances and the wildly insane notion that she would prefer to give her baby away to a stranger.
      Who among you adoptive parents have dared to tiptoe into this murky water?

    3. "Who among you adoptive parents have dared to tiptoe into this murky water?"

      It's a really great point. I think a lot of people, and adoptive parents are no special exception, struggle with true empathy. We are witnessing it in our political environment right now- there is so much "me, me, me" and very little ability to view the situation other less fortunate people may be experiencing and have compassion upon them and offer a helping hand.

      I know when I talk about our daughter's parents, I get a lot of surprised feedback from other people. They struggle with the idea that I welcome them into our lives, and all they can usually come up with is "You are such a good person!" Which is SOOOO frustrating to me! I feel like there is a lack of understanding around real love and what children are to a parent- my daughter is not my personal possession, and I would no more consider I have any right to keep her from her parents of birth than I do to prevent her from getting an education. It doesn't make me a "good person." These are basic human rights.

      To the original commenter who is the subject of this blog post:

      I'm ok with the title "adoptive parent," but I reserve the right to my daughter to make her determinations of her relationship titles (which may change with her age or feelings or whatever). I'm not fussed if other people refer to me that way. My daughter has been brought up to call us mama and daddy, but I have often referred to her other parents the same way, and also by their first names, and she chooses to use first names right now. Totally up to her. Why do titles matter so much to you? If you love your child, why isn't that enough? And why the insistence that love has to have differing values placed on it, or the self-induced competition with the woman who gave her birth? WHY DO YOU CARE SO DAMN MUCH? A child should never, and is never meant to, fill such an empty void inside of you. That's dangerous and very unfair to a child (adopted or otherwise). They should fill your heart to overflowing with the love you feel for them, but you seem to be placing an undue need upon an innocent child to create you into something you long to be- the "only mom." Why must you be an "only?" What threatens you about sharing such a simply thing as a title?

      Finally, there are no guarantees as a parent. Once a child is grown, they have no further real need of you nor any true obligation. You would do well to remember that we do need to be worthy of our children's love for us, and when they are young, they give it rather unconditionally. But that does not last forever, and if you want to keep your son in your life and have him be open and loving and honest with you, you might want to consider if you are being the type of mom worthy of that relationship. You may find yourself very lonely someday as the "only mom."

    4. and keep in mind adoptive parents, we adoptees did not ask you to adopt us. You FORCED yourself on us at a young age and basically manipulated us to call you mommy. If our mothers were present from the get go, we never would have given you the time of day, we would have been with our moms.

    5. Whirling Dervish, we first mothers do walk on eggshells when we reconnect with our lost babies who have become adults. When you speak of a hang-up call, I can understand it's like pouring acid on a wound that never heals. Please do not think there is something wrong with YOU. It seems there are some things that cannot be "fixed" even when our hearts are in the right place. I know you need much strength to deal with this rejection. Adoption hurts!

  3. Adoptive Mom here. I guess that says it.
    I can’t agree with Tiffany more.
    Titles are labels we give ourselves and others within society. They are descriptive and additive. Adoptive is what you make it.
    Incubator though, is a profound put down of the child as well as the mother. Fathers are not just sperm donors either. She has some serious problems and is harming the young man.

  4. I hope Panda receives the counselling she needs. As for the rocking, he's probably autistic.

  5. Adoptive mom here. I refer to my children's first mothers as the mothers. I am also their mother. They have 2 mothers. When I speak to others about adoption I refer to adoptive parents as adoptive parents and first parents as parents. Why should they be the ones with a qualifying adjective?

  6. To Tiffany and Cami:
    You are a light in the darkness.



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