Thursday, August 4, 2011

What is so good about being a birthmother?

I received the following on our b4a fb page: 

Why do you advocate adoption? Is it because you think you will be a scandal and bad example to your 'illegitimate' child? Or do you think you are too poor? Or do you think you are too uneducated? Or do you think you should not parent without a husband? I would love to know what is so good about being a 'birthmother', whatever that is. There is no such thing as a birthmother, in fact. The ***person*** who gives the child birth is its mother. What kind of a mother, is the vital question. Is she an abandoner? Is she lacking capacity?

My answer for this is far too long for facebook.

It never ceases to amaze me when i get called an abandoner. Or when my love for my sweet birthdaughter is questioned. 

To answer your questions 

I wasn't afraid of being a bad example. 
I did feel I was poor, but that is not why I placed. 
I was/am uneducated, but hat is not why I placed.
I did feel very strongly I shouldn't parent without a husband, that is not why I placed.

I placed because I knew with every fiber of my being. With every bit of my soul. That the baby I was carrying inside of my womb was meant for so much more. That she deserved so much more. 

If you want to know more about how I feel you can read this post

To answer your second set of questions:

What is so great about being a birthmother? Oh where do I even begin? So much is great about it. Yes, at times it is filled with great sorrow, hardship, and tears. But 99 percent of the time for me it is filled with so much more. 

I get to see my beautiful and ever so talented birthdaughter grow up with two parents. I get to see her have pets. . . oh the pets ... pet pigs, dogs, and sheep. I get to hear of her adventures. I get to witness her growth. I get to hear her speak, hear her laugh, and i get to hear her ask silly questions. I get to see her grow an understanding of where she came from, and who she came from. I have seen a family become complete. 

As a birthmother I have met many many others in similar situations. I have heard many other success stories. I have made life long friends. I have learned of the hardships of infertility. I have learned of the joys of placing. I have found God's love for myself. 

A birthmother is not lacking in capacity. It is quite the opposite. A birthmother is booming with capacity. So much so she was willing to do what was best for her child. A birthmother has so much strength she was able to do one of the hardest things one can do.

My child was not abandoned. She was not cast to the side like an unwanted object. She was carefully placed into a loving home with a prayer and a blessing. Everytime i see her I have a reaffirmation that what I did was right. And nobody can change that. 


Alli said...

So many people just don't understand. I love your answers, no anger or hostility, just truth. I love being a birthmother!

Jacki said...

Being a Birthmother is a beautiful, wonderful thing. We are choosing to give our children more than we could ever possibly provide.
It is the best/hardest/awful/amazing decision I have ever made. And I applaud you for this site and for showing others how wonderful it is!!

Carlynne Hershberger, CPSA said...

No I don't understand. I am a mother of adoption loss - not a birthmother. I am my daughter's mother not just a vessel that gave birth. There was no joy in not raising my daughter. What concerns me is how your children are going to feel when they are teens and adults and they realize just how happy you are that you did not raise them. What does that say to them? Have you thought that far ahead to how this will impact them?

Being a 'birthmother' is not a joyful thing. Why isn't there support for mothers to help them raise their own children? Children deserve to be with their own family. Have you read any blogs written by adult adoptees? Do you know how they feel?

Here is an excellent place to start... http://www.declassifiedadoptee.com/

Here's my blog....

Birth Mommy said...

What is so great about being a birthmother? I'm sometimes ashamed to say, "Today, nothing," because I miss my daughter so much. Sometimes I'm only slightly less ashamed to say, "Today I don't have to get up at 6:15am because my daughter is getting up at 6:15. I still have the freedom to find myself as a person before I make the commitment to raise a little person." Then there's the days when I feel so tremendously, deliriously happy about the fact that my daughter has the best parents in the world. Because I chose them for her. Because they needed her and she needed them. Because they were made for each other even though I had the created the original work of art. I get to know my own strength. For the days when I say, "Nothing is great about being a birthmother," I have the deliriously happy days to look forward to. That is something that a hostile outsider can not grasp onto, that is a joy they can not take away from me with all their poorly chosen words, unwillingness to understand or thoughtlessly "rhetorical" questions.


Birth Mommy said...

Carlynne, I believe there is much more outreach now than there was a few years ago. I don't think many people understand the difficulty birthmothers endure. When I was considering adoption in 2009, I researched and found the Independent Adoption Center, who had counselors for all sides of the adoption story. They had a counselor who didn't push me into any commitments. They had support systems for girls who wanted to mother their child as well as counselors for birthmothers and adopting parents.

I also believe that my daughter's family is not only the couple who adopted her, but also my own family who love her deeply. My daughter has a huge family who will always be there to support her no matter what.

Open adoption, I think, helps alleviate the feeling of abandonment from adoptees. Obviously this isn't true for every case, but I believe it helps.

k said...

My opinions on this question:

"What concerns me is how your children are going to feel when they are teens and adults and they realize just how happy you are that you did not raise them. What does that say to them? Have you thought that far ahead to how this will impact them?"

How will my son feel when he's older and realizes that I am GRATEFUL --not happy-- that he was able to have a better life than what I could have given him alone? I think he'll be happy. I think he will respect my choice because of the life he has. And I think he'll understand my reasons. It was not because I was uneducated, or poor, or a bad example, or a scandal. I do, however, agree with one point-- I did think I should not parent without a husband. Although that is the correct choice for some people, it was not for me. I am a firm believer that "Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by
a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity." That wasn't something I could provide alone.

Am I "happy" I am not raising my son? No. If life would have worked the way I wanted, hoped, and dreamed it to, I would be married and be the parent of an active, beautiful 2 year old. But that was SO unfair to him, and it was not right for our lives.

How selfish would I be to deny my son the opportunities he is entitled to? I do not know any person who would be ungrateful or bitter that their parent loved them so much they looked beyond their wants and wishes and desires and made the decision that was right for their child.

As for thinking in advance how this will impact my son later, that's ALL I thought about for 4 months before I placed. But having an open adoption means I can still love my son, and he can still see that. It means he is growing up KNOWING he is adopted, and he has parents who are reinforcing the knowledge that it is because I loved him that I placed him with them.

Can I understand that that is hard for some people to understand? Yes. Do I think having an open adoption helps a LOT? Yes. Do I think adoption is the right choice for EVERYONE? Absolutely not. I know plenty of single parents, or parents who were single when they had their child, and they have very successful and happy families. That was the right choice for them. For others, like myself, adoption is the right choice. I am an advocate of adoption because I am an advocate of choice and education.

The thing I am happy about is that my son has the life he deserves. I *could* have done it alone. But that wasn't where my son was supposed to be. I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I am not happy that I am not raising him. I am happy that I had the ability to make the choice that was right for both of us.

Carlynne Hershberger, CPSA said...

I certainly hope for yourselves and your children that your open adoptions continue to be healthy. I have seen so many cases where the adoptions were closed by the adoptive parents and there was nothing the mother could do about it. From my understanding open adoptions are not legally enforceable.

In my opinion what a child deserves is the love of his mother every day. A newborn who has listened to his mother's heartbeat and knows nothing else deserves to continue that connection. In my opinion severing that connection is damaging to a child. What is it that the adoptive parents can give him that is so much better than what you can give?

What scares me about people advocating for adoption is the fact that many adoption agencies use coercive tactics to convince pregnant women that they should surrender their babies. If someone is young, vulnerable, not being told their rights, not getting the support information they need, really don't want to go through with it but are being pushed by the agency and then they see messages such as these that it's wonderful, I'm afraid that to them it will be like one more person telling them to do something they'll regret for a lifetime.

I am not completely anti-adoption, I am pro family preservation when at all possible. There are times when adoption may be necessary but I think those times are rare.

Thanks for letting me comment here and being open to another POV.

Jessalynn Speight said...

I have read MANY blogs by adult adoptees. Here is the difference open vs closed adoption. open adoption provides away for adoptees to know who they are and where they came from.

And there are COUNTLESS resources for women to raise their children on their own. i know. i was offered them. But to me my daughter deserved so much more than a mother who worked countless hours just to make rent. i was raised in a single parent home. My mother is amazing and i wouldn't trade her for the world. But there are a lot of things i can never get back and that she missed out on. I did not want the same for my birthdaughter.

I was told the truth. I did my research. I was not forced. I was not coerced. i chose this. i know my choice was right. I will never doubt it. I AM against closed rights for adoptees. I AM against coercion. this choice isn't right for everyone and should not be forced.

I encourage you to realize that open adoption is a million times more happy and healthy then closed adoption. I also would like to point out I know several adoptions that are closed and are happy.

Jen Paris said...

you did a beautiful job on this post. I am sorry that you have to hear things like this. Unfortunately, you will probably never be able to change some peoples opinions, but you also shouldn't have to defend yourself. Adoption is beautiful. You know it, and those in your life who need to know it, know it. Sending lots of love your way. You are amazing!!

Kyle & Shanna said...

As a birthmother I understand the joy of knowing I chose to give my baby a life outside of what I could have given him if I had chose differently. I have a very healthy and comfortable relationship with his parents and he knows who I am and can recognize me. Are there days that is tough, of course, are there days that part of me wonders if "just maybe", yes, but I would never say I regret my choice. And I don't glorify in the fact that I didn't choose to raise him, I glorify in the fact that recognized that I would not have been able to offer him a healthy stable life if I had made a different choice. He'll know my feelings for him. I love him, and it was that love for him that helped me to make this decision.

The Declassified Adoptee said...

I am here because I noticed traffic on my blog coming from this post. I saw Carlynne :-) has mentioned me in the comments.

I notice in the responses to Carlynne, there's a lot of speaking on behalf adoptees and how they think adoptees feel, will feel, should feel and are expected to feel.

And it also seems as though people have decided that adult adoptees' narratives are irrelevant in the adoption discussion because they were from closed adoption and adoptions are "open" now.

Not all adoptions are open now. In some ways, adoption has actually become more closed, believe it or not.

I would hope that no matter what an adoptee feels, it would be accepted by those who love them. Not everything that makes perfect sense to one person in adoption will make sense to another person. Each person in the "triad" has a different experience and thus, a different resulting perspective. Being asked how you feel is much better than being told how you're expected to feel.

Not all of the problems of closed adoptions have been "solved" by open adoptions. In fact, open adoptions (what that means varies from adoption to adoption) are so new, that little empirical information is available to tell us what changes in adoption have been beneficial or not.

Some of us blog about this stuff regularly. People would see how relevant we actually are if they'd listen instead of deciding ahead of time that we've become useless :-)

I think it is extremely sad so many adoption-related blogs out there do not put adoptees on their blog rolls, mention them, or follow adoptee blogs. Do people stop caring about us once we hit age 18? I've been a part of the adoption community for nearly 26 years but now, somehow, I don't count any more?

And many of the adult adoptee blogs you've seen out there are by reunited adult adoptees. I have chosen to work on fully integrating my two families and I have all of the answers to my questions--so I can still speak to the resulting complexities that still exist. But I'm sure people will still find a reason as to why my voice doesn't count. So I thank the original moms and adoptive moms who do follow and listen. You are much appreciated.

The Declassified Adoptee said...

JLBills, if you are pro-adoptee rights, why not join the adoptee rights movement? :-)

Only 7 states in the U.S. respect the rights of Adult Adoptees to access their own original birth certificate, and even fewer allow us to see our adoption files. Even in open adoptions, an adoptee retains no legal right to gain access to documentation tying them to their original family. Yes, even in adoptions happening right this very minute, those adoptees will not have access to their documentation, even if their adoptions are open, as the laws stand now in 43 states.

Much help and support is needed!

Lara Zierke said...

Your answers are eloquent and handled with such grace. Thanks.

Megan said...

Amanda and Carlynne,
I am an adult adoptee also, and now a regular contributor to this blog. I volunteered to be a contributor partly because I was receiving e-mails from birthmoms saying they wanted to hear more from adult adoptees. I am 44, and so have had more years to process my experiences as an adoptee than many who are in their 20's writing blogs. I've raised a family myself - my two oldest children are now adults. My adoptive parents are now dead. I a in a rocky reunion with my first mother. So, I can see family life from many different angles and stages.

I never felt abandonned. Let me just start with that. There's a lot more I could say. But rest assured that the readers of this blog are hearing from a mature adoptee. Thanks for your interest.

I hope you will check back to read some of my posts.
-best regards, Megan

Enmark Dalanon said...

Being a Birthmother is a wonderful, awesome element. We are selecting to provide our kids more than we could ever perhaps offer.
It is the best/hardest/awful/amazing choice I have ever created. And I compliment you for this website and for displaying others how awesome it is!!

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