' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: We are not here to provide babies for failed fertility. Nor do adoptees want to be answers to infertility.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

We are not here to provide babies for failed fertility. Nor do adoptees want to be answers to infertility.

Does anybody who is adopted or who relinquished a child for adoption get a sinking feeling when they read a story about a woman who longed to have a child but put off doing so for years and then discovered that it was too late...and the story comes to an end in the penultimate paragraph with these two sentences:

"Donor eggs are an option. Adoption too."

Ah yes, "donor eggs" and "adoption too." I would have bet the farm that the story was going in that direction as soon as I read the headline: "Don't Put All Your (Frozen) Eggs in One Basket," on the Modern Love column in today's New York Times.

And indeed, the woman did want to have children early enough but her partner (and ultimately husband) kept
saying he did NOT want children. He was definite, she was sure she could change his mind. Nine months after they married, she froze 14 of her eggs in 2013. Everyone was doing it, right? Apple and Facebook made headlines when they announced they would offer egg freezing as a benefit! A few years later I would read about parties that women had that were related to freezing their eggs. A quick Google search today found this:
Compelling essays from all
members of the triad, mother,
child, and adoptive mother
"Come to an Egg Freezing Party and meet Dr. Aimee, the Egg Whisperer! You will learn about the egg freezing process and if it’s the right option for you. This is a great opportunity to ask questions in a comfortable relaxed setting with other like-minded women. Now is the time to explore your options."
Back to our girl, Ruthie Ackerman, who wrote of her plight. While she has her eggs in the cooler and dreams of the first day of kindergarten for her offspring-- but still an uncooperative husband--he makes the decision she could not: he divorces her. Eventually she meets a man who wants both her, and a family. In 2018, she thaws thaws her eggs and they are fertilized with "Bob's sperm." I know this doesn't end well--the headline has foretold the end--but on I read. Only eight of the eggs are viable when defrosted; all are fertilized, but only three take.

Enlightening, comforting,
heart-breaking essays by
thoughtful adoptees
But before they can be implanted, all three embryos stop growing. She is 41. It's not impossible to get pregnant at 41, but your chances are markedly decreased from say--35! Even better to try at 31! 29! Actually, the early twenties are prime time for conceiving.

Then the couple try IVF--twice--at an out of pocket cost of close to $20,000 per shot. Both attempts fail. Now let's estimate her age at 42, 43. Her chances of conceiving via any means are continually going North.

I know I am writing with a kind of irritation in my brain and fingers, I can feel it, and I know this woman's pain is real, and the unknowing woman who is trying to have a child in her thirties and forties and not succeeding is going to be put off when she stumbles into this blog. Please take your comments elsewhere. This is a blog for the women who got pregnant when they did not have the resources to keep their babies, and their grown up children who were adopted and raised by someone who did not bear them. We are not all one happy bunch.

If mothers, we have struggled and wept and beat our breast in guilt, and wish we could take back time and have found a way to keep our children. We wait and pray and light candles and hope our children find their way back to us, and our families, their families who lost them, and we hope that our children can forgive us and understand how their adoption came to be, the last and desperate act we felt we had. After reunion, we are often walking on eggs, anxious that something we say will offend and disrupt this relationship. Our children, happy to be reunited in the first blush of connection, are likely to be unaware of the deep seated pain of abandonment that came before they were verbal. But unforgivingly it works its way to the surface as adoptees find innumerable reasons to dislike and distrust us--thus giving them a satisfying reason to walk away from us. And far too many of us are women who were told to forget, we had this pounded into their brains by the cultural norms of the time of our birth, and can't even find the heart to welcome our children back.

Essays by adopted teens with photographs
as told to an adoptive mother 
If we are one of the children, now adult, we are a mixed lot of people unhappy with our adoption, always felt like the proverbial square peg in a family of round ones, or we might not have any real complaints about our genetic-stranger parents and love them, and have good adoptive families...but still have the nagging, unsettling feeling in the pit of our stomachs...about being given up. Try as we might, we still can't fully shake that sense of abandonment by our mommies. Some stronger adoptees even call us "woundies," making us feel worse, for admitting the hurt, or just having the hurt, but dammit, to us, it is real. And reunion, even when we desire it, sometimes feels like a minefield, a minefield that makes us feel we must always careful about what we say and do...lest we get rejected all over again.

From our perspective--whether the mother or the child--adoption is one unholy mess. You never get over it. You are either always a mother who gave up a child, or a child who was given up, no matter how many years pass and milestones met and other children borne.

So when we read the saga of failed maternity that ends with--hey! there's still adoption or donor eggs--please understand our disgust and irritation. My husband once described the attitude prevalent among many young women today: "They want to feel that adoption will always be available to them, should they need it."

Given all that Ruthie Ackerman went through, I could not imagine that she would be a woman who could let go of a child if a natural mother changed her mind, whether in the legal time frame or a day later. Nor could I imagine her as a good candidate for a fully open adoption.

Adoption is not an answer for failed fertility, should someone "need" it. Adoption can be a wonderful option for a child who truly needs a home--foster care is loaded with them, and there will always be babies who need a home--but don't expect us to sympathize with your plight when the story ends with the bright idea of getting someone else's eggs, or a live baby. No one ever grows up with the goal of having a baby to give up, and given their druthers, if a baby could think, being given up by his original mother would not be the first choice. Life is messy, there will always be adoption, but please stop promoting it as a "fail-safe" option for delayed conception. And if a man says he does not want children, believe him.--lorraine
The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories
Edited by Susan Wadja-Ellis
This compilation of essays - beginning with birth mothers, then adoptive mothers, and finally the adopted daughters - goes above and beyond the usual "magazine style" articles on the quirks or perils of the adoption process. I was incredibly pleased and impressed by the diversity of Wadia-Ells' collection. Lesbian women, multi-racial families, and a variety of socio-economic backgrounds all lend to this book a wealth of perspectives. The contributors are thoughtful, often in emotional pain, honest about their experiences, and each one is a talented writer.
The one thing that did emerge most clearly from this work was the overall tone that adoption was an incredibly painful thing for all parties involved. The more positive essays were from the adoptive moms - birth moms and adopted daughters were obviously struggling to make sense out of their experiences. 

The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools
Edited by Lynn Grubb
gayle h. swift

This collection opens a window into the actual experiences of adoptees who are now adults. Each shares their personal truth and offers insight into how we can support adoptees as their parents, partners and peers. Much of their message is painful to hear because it shines a light on the dark underbelly of adoption that is grounded in loss, grief and pain. 

Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
By Lorraine Dusky
April 21, 2017
As an adopted child I have met many other adoptees and we have shared our feelings and desires, but rarely have I ever met a mother so willing to open up and share this experience with me. I found this book to be SO important to me on many levels. I was gratified (as perhaps as shallow as that may sound) to hear about how difficult it was. I never wanted to think giving a child away was easy despite the 1960's era of "putting it all behind you" and I was so grateful she allowed us on this journey to connect with her daughter. Connecting isn't easy, even when you share DNA, but you DO connect on levels you never expected. The similar way your hair falls, the way you wrinkle your nose when you laugh together. What takes longer is the easy banter, that gets more difficult over time, not less.... now where do we go? Ms. Dusky handles this with honesty and compassion. I am forever grateful to hear the mother's side. This book opened my eyes and my heart.

How It Feels to Be Adopted
Essays as told to Jill Krementz
4.0 out of 5 stars
I am a 40 yr old adoptee. It was nice to read how other adoptees feel. I don't feel isolated. This book also is a little sad in reading to see how some children feel. Definitely a good book to purchase for a child or teen that has been adopted.

and surprise: 
by a woman who doesn't want to have children and is fine with not being able to...whose doctor expresses surprise
she doesn't wand to adopt! 


  1. Adoption should never be offered as an "option" to a woman who wants to be a mother and hasn't yet succeeded in getting pregnant.

  2. My God this was painful to read. But thank you for sharing this Lorraine.

  3. Your best headline yet, Lorraine; well of course, written by an expert journalist. My favorite social engineering phrase: "...Don't be sad, you did the right thing, I've had a wonderful life..." The adoptees have been thoroughly indoctrinated, what choice do they have, after all, their permission was not asked as to whether they should be snatched from their mother's breast. No options presented, except well, you know the rest of the story.

  4. Reading this I realise all the more how lucky I am. Even as a teen, I had seen and read a lot on adoption and I insisted on a legally binding open adoption (I'm British so it's an option). My kids are now 10 and almost 7 and I have a lot of contact with them. Still I feel the pain of a birth mother, when people who don't know my story ask when I will have children for example. Adoption should only be an option when there is no other, not when someone could have raised their child with support.

  5. I had a bit of an issue with this post. I am the child of two adoptees and both of my sisters gave up a child to adoption. In the last couple of years, I've really become informed about the impacts and consequences of adoption. I totally believe if it becomes necessary, the child's identity should never be taken away - not their name nor should their birth certificate be falsified and all details should be accessible.

    I also feel a duty to emphasize that women should not wait to have children. When my second husband wanted children after ten years of marriage, I had no idea that at 45 yrs old it was already too late for me. I had a child at 19 years old and had gotten pregnant again in my mid twenties, which caused me to experience abortion - not an easy choice nor is it without conflicted feelings, even though I know the reasons why.

    So when my husband decided he did want to become a father, my OB/GYN tried to jumpstart my very last egg - it failed. Then the doctor told us there was a way. We found a wonderful woman much like myself in perspective who already had 3 children of her own. She is the genetic mother of our two sons.

    Twenty years ago we couldn't foresee inexpensive DNA tests and matching sites eventually listing this woman as my sons "mother". It is slightly uncomfortable. Still, I do believe one shouldn't compare taking a woman's child from her via adoption to utilizing a woman's eggs to create a family.

    Understanding issues, I know that the bonding that happens in the womb is significant and important and that the development of that child continues in tandem with the mother after birth. I did breastfeed both of my sons for a year after birth. No one can be more a "mother" to them than I am.

    Because I am the child of adoptees, I understand how important knowing one's origins is. Both of my parents died knowing next to nothing about theirs but I am lucky because within a year of their deaths, I now know after 60 years of not knowing, who all 4 of my original grandparents were. We have never concealed our sons origins from them. They are part of a brave new world of reproduction - an option that I believe is far superior to adoption.

  6. Inadvertently left at previous blog:
    Doris B
    July 25, 2019 at 11:10 AM
    Yes, Lorraine - I do like the fact that you tell it "straight up" - So much of adoption dialogue is, people feeling they have to be nice - don't hurt adoptive parents feelings. Well - how about the never ending sad feelings & living a life that has been totally devastated because a social worker coerced a young, unmarried Mother who just gave birth to her precious baby BUT had to give her up to strangers! My baby had an amazing Mother & that was me. I never had another baby - so lost everything I ever dreamed of ! If a couple are infertile - that is unfortunate, but there is nothing more unnatural & cruel than to take away a Mother's baby & give her to strangers who pretend she is "theirs" !! There are so many people who have no awareness of this despicable time (for me it was 1965). Thank God the secret is OUT - I have been silenced for over 50 years - no one can stop me now !!

    1. Doris, you hit the nail on the head. My son was born 1954, will be 55 on Aug 11. I guess I am mentally ill, but who wouldn't be, after having your son illegally stolen and give to two sb evangelicals, told him he was sent to earth thru b mother's womb and given to two real parents who would teach him the love and salvation of the lord, saw that on his adopted sister;s facebook page, so know it for fact. had a reunion when he was 37, he told he mommy dearest had had a heart attack and could know about me, and the 3 and four year old grandchildren must not meet me, they might blab to her. We swapped cards for 12 years, then he just dropped me, well I still didn't give up, wrote an email to his wife who was the one who sent the cards, asked her could she please help me meet the now grown grandchildren. He saw the email , went into a rage and said, "Leave me alone, you are not my mother, Jane Kendall is, leave me and my wife and my family alone. If you contact me again it will be it. I went into a suicidal depression for about eight years. I wrote him and told him he was the product of a gang rape, he would never shut up about his dad, I also told him his dad was a psychopath and his granddaddy a narcissist and he must have gotten some of their genes. I told him I didn't quite hate him but I was furious because if I had gotten to raise him he might have turned out to be a kind compassionate human being. Never heard a work. Now after all this time I guess I am truly done, Iam 71, son is 55, his amom died in Jan, I did not send a sympathy card and his bday is Aug 11, I know he thinks i am nut case because I said such mean things, but no meaner than what he said. Does anybody think i should send a card or just leave it alone, and go to my grave without ever seeing him again

  7. Lorraine, thank you for writing about this very important issue. You hit all the significant points that needed to be said. I know women are delaying conception in order to get an education and to establish careers. The driving force is the desire for women to be financially independent, and for women to attain equal rights in our society. Women are no longer willing to be treated as "less than" men.

    While the struggle for equal rights is happening, delayed motherhood has become the norm. There has been a growing tendency in our culture to devalue the role of mother and grandmother and this way of thinking has influenced the choices that young women make.
    There is a wide belief that women can have babies at any age, thanks to technology. That is a lie! Young women need to be educated about this lie! Young women also need to be educated about the reality that while one's choice of career is very important, the most important life choice (by far) is who she chooses to father her child. A bad choice can permeate one's entire life.

    Around the 1960s, there were 8 sets of infertile couples waiting for an "illegitimate" baby to be born, so that they could become parents. Today, there are 40 couples needing a "birth mother" to go through childbirth and then give the baby to them. "A loving choice" is what the adoption agency calls it. Advertising for a baby has become even more coercive. Potential adopters are told to go to states where abortion clinics have been shut down, assuring a supply of babies.

    Lorraine, I hope your post is widely disseminated. Women should not delay motherhood with the idea that they can always adopt.

  8. I keep saying it all over the internet. Who wants to be the fodder for the reproductively dysfunctional. Can't have your own? Well don't come looking to me to solve your problems. Leave me in foster care thank you very much. You can never make someone else's child your own. Hard on the kid and is a fool's errand for you.

  9. From Sunday's New York Times Vows column:

    "One topic that was difficult for her to share, however, was the couple’s attempt to become pregnant last year. After initially being unable to conceive, the couple consulted a fertility specialist, and Ms. Lazzarato [she went through gender change] tapered off her estrogen treatments in hopes of increasing her sperm count [though apparently not completely]. Ms. Getty [the groom in the wedding suit] fully supported her partner’s decision, even as changing her hormone therapy [she had previously been a 'he'] affected her both physically and emotionally."

    keep reading... you'll get there...

    “'Being on hormones regularly for so many years, it was hard to go off of them,” said Ms. Lazzarato. “There were highs and lows, some little waves and some tsunamis.'”

    "After months on the new program, her sperm count remained too low to undergo in vitro fertilization, which would have allowed the couple to freeze a fertilized embryo and begin a pregnancy at a later date. Ms. Lazzarato announced on her channel in December that she's gone back to her normal estrogen regimen and that the couple is considering adoption."

    Of course, adoption is always the fall back position. How about just not having kids. Ten bucks they don't plan to adopt from foster care. I assume that Ms. Getty would carry the baby? Or a surrogate? It was never clear. The plan was to freeze the embryo so that would be decided later. Stay tuned.

  10. When I read the The Handmaid's Tale in 1987 I felt that Margaret Atwood had written "my tale" from 1968, the days of pre legal abortions. I felt so angry and victimized. I had no money, or support to keep my baby, while knowing the LAST thing I wanted to do was have a baby to give away to a wealthy infertile couple. I made a mistake one time and was too young and inexperienced to support a baby all by myself, I had never even had an apartment. Pregnant women could not attend school or college or work a job. Alas, at the time I believed a two parent couple with stability was far superior to me....I drank the kool-aid.

    Ends up the adoptive parents never bonded well with their three adoptees. Two are now dead bt violent means. The adoptive parents were partiers, who after 13 years joined AA, but my adult child has never recovered. When young she would fantisize that I would come and pick her up, take her away and save her.

  11. The irony here is that women are now putting off having children until they're more secure financially and educationally, then finding they waited too long. Queue the young women who were told that if they kept their baby, we would be welfare moms and never achieve anything in our lives like an education or financial security, (see where I'm going with this?) We are expected to supply babies to people that put off having babies because of work/financial attainment. But I'd imagine many of the girls who were "too young and too poor" to parent, in society's eyes, did NOT go on to success. If just ONE adult had told me that I had 18 freakin' years to plan for college for my baby, and been given access to assistance to raise my baby, I could have kept her. I often joke cynically that her a-parents should have adopted us both! They were my parent's age. Instead of taking the baby, they should have sponsored me instead.

    Also, it should be MANDATORY that girls and women considering giving a baby up (or being pressured to, as I was,) be given counseling before the birth. Not self-serving counseling, but actual objective counseling where we are told of resources to get assistance in caring for our baby, and being able to see that the people wanting the baby are no better than we are, they're just usually 15-20 years ahead of us (and we would be more likely to get there with the baby, than without.)

    Also, you should NOT be able to curate young mothers by creating a "oh, choose the parents... and "oh, they're SO excited about the baby!" ahead of time. Because in my case, and I bet many others, we feel guilt when we naturally start seeing clearly, and change our minds. I remember thinking "they're so excited for the baby, I can't disappoint them. They'd be devastated." I could write a book on the subject. Maybe I should.



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