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I'm not much into statistics, but I found this information rather interesting, about birthparents and the factors that influence adoption decisions nowadays...Plus, the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse is an excellent source of information on all things adoption! Check it out:

Birthparent Stats

There are a couple things I don't agree with, such as the 1995 study which makes reference to "unwanted" children (I think Abrazo folk would argue that these children are very much wanted, or else their birthparents wouldn't put themselves through it all!) And I do think it's curious that this information fails to address the large number of married birthcouples and older birthmoms who successfully complete adoption plans each year.

Why is it that teens are less likely to consider adoption? How can we in the adoption community find fresh, new ways to give them better access to information about this loving option for their babies' futures?

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;) So, I've been contemplating on if/how to respond.  I decided today to respond to this.  I'm not sure if people wonder who birthparents are, but since I am one, I thought I could comment (hopefully I won't be the only one...Jada, Lisa2, where are you?)

So, the survey isn't totally off, here's how I stack up against the statistics:

I was one of the less  than 3% of white, unmarried women who placed (I'm now married)

I voluntarily placed and as the survey said, I did have educational/vocational goals that I felt I couldn't attain if I kept my baby (well, I could have attained them but it would have been extremely difficult and would have meant lots & lots of time away from baby).  I did not however come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, nor did I come from an "intact" family (my parents divorced when I was 9 & I was raised by my mom who was single/never married.  We were quite poor, she worked 2 jobs for as long as I can remember and at 67 years old, is still working in order to make ends meet (although I do help her quite a bit now).  My mom was supportive of my placement (as were my sisters).  My father was not, he urged me to get an abortion - my father and I were never close (for other reasons than this) and we never reconciled after my pregnancy.  (He passed away last October and at the time, we hadn't spoken in several years).

I was 17 at the time I found out I was pregnant & 18 when I placed (a senior in high school - oh boy, did I ever not "fit in" when I went back to school)

I unfortunately do not have any contact with the adoptive parents and I was not involved in the selection of them (just a year or so after I placed, Gladney changed their policy where they began allowing birth mothers the choice of selecting the adoptive parents.  I did get to request that the couple be Christians and that they place a high value on education (I did not want my baby to go through the difficulty of not having a good education - all my life, all I ever heard from my mom was go to college, you don't want to work 2 jobs like me...well, I guess it worked, I did get my Bachelor's degree and even have 12 hrs toward my Masters in Economics) (See moms, we really do listen, even if it seems like we don't).

I can't really comment on why the decline in babies for adoption - wouldn't it be wonderful if it was because of an increase in the use of contraception (not that all pregnancies are a result of the lack of use of contraception - I myself thought I was invincable - of course I wouldn't get pregnant...ah, to be 17 and so naive again.  But you know...my pregnancy was a good thing.  I didn't know it at the time but she changed my life!!  I am so thankful I experienced that but the only regret I have is not doing an open adoption.  The more I learn about it, the more I wish so much I would have put more effort in researching my choices at the time.

Well, you can always count on me to respond to these types of posts - I always seem to have something to add, huh?

Lisa   :p

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Well, I debated wether or not to respond to this post or not because I wasn't sure I could be totally honest with my answer.Also I don't think most people want to hear why I placed my babies for adoption. It's not exactly the story most people would think of. Well, here goes. I didn't read any of the statistics but in case anybody was wondering. I was married, 22 years old and already had two children. For me my kids were everything to me(just like most people I am sure). I found myself pregnant again after just having a baby. We had no car, my husband was paying somebody to take him to work(he had his own business) and we were buying our food every day because we never knew how much money we would have untill the end of the day(usually just enough to buy dinner for that night and something for the girls to eat the next day untill my husband came home the next day with alittle more money) Our rent was 2 months late and our electricity was going to be shut off in a couple of days and we had no phone. So I guess you could say things were pretty bad. I was one of those people who was raised to believe that no matter what you took care of your own. If you had another baby you could always make room and find enough food to feed it so I had a pretty selfish attitude. I wanted to keep the baby no matter what! I was willing to ask my parents for help or go on government assistance(something we were not on even though we were living way below the poverty level). I begged and pleaded with my husband to let me keep the baby. He refused. He said he wasn't going on assistance for the kids he had so we werent going to do it for this one either. He wanted me to get an abortion. But we could never come up with enough money to have it done(Thank God for that). So he started looking into adoption(we had a friend staying with us who had been adopted and thats how my husband got the idea). The whole time I was still begging my husband to try and find another way.I told him I would work nights whatever it took. He still refused. Finally he told me that if I was going to keep this baby I would have to do it on my own and he would fight for custody of our daughter. So I had no choice. What was I going to do? So my husband made the call and set up for somebody to come talk to us and bring pictures of prospective parents.So that was pretty much how I made my decision. It was made for me. I am very grateful for finding good parents for my son and I know he is happy but I still hold very bitter feelings toward his adoption.The day I walked out of the hospital without my son still haunts me to this day. To make matters worse the adoptive parents took a picture of me being wheeled out of the hospital in the wheel chair with this look of ...(I don't know what) but it's like it is frozen in time forever. So you can't say my decision was forced because I signed the papers and I went along with it. But it was not something I wanted to do and if I could have  changed it I would have. But I felt like I had no choice. So I guess you could say I am one of those selfish women who would have placed her feelings first before her child's. Because if I could have I would have kept my baby. But not at the cost of losing my other kids because of it. So after all of these years has my attitude changed? Am I glad I did what I did? Have I come to peace with my decision? NO! Sorry but I can not accept a decision I feel like I was pressured into making. Time heals all wounds but this one was deep! Has my life been any better because of my decision?Perhaps just a little. We still struggle every day.And I have to wonder if it wouldn't be this way even if I had kept the baby. Maybe if placing my son(and my daughter a year later) had made my life better. If something improved because of it I might look at it differently. But right now I can't. The only good thing I see from it so far is my kids have wondeful parents and a great life. I am very grateful for that and would not trade that for anything. I am very happy for them! I guess my bitterness is towards my husband more than anything. Something I have to learn to deal with on my own time( it has been 9 years since I placed my son). I know deep down that it was the right thing to do for them(I hope).I guess I am just trying to say it is hard to feel good and accept a life changing decision like this when you feel like you had no choice. The decision was pretty much made for me(two times). I am still with my husband and had a bay boy last October that I actually get to parent. He is the joy of my life(along with my girls who are 14 and 10) but I think about my other two every day and wish every day that it could have been different. It has caused me alot of pain and alot of resentment. So I am not sure where I would fall into the "statistics" on this one. And as far as a decline in infants for adoption I have no idea what to say about that. And I am definately no help in trying to let teens see that adoption is a good and loving choice(of course it is for many people,Please don't take that wrong). I just feel very alone at times with this decision. Especially on this forum . There are so many people to talk to but everybody is so happy with their decision and talk about how it was the best choice they could have made. Is there anybody on here who feels differently. Or am I just the oddball?

Sorry I kind of strayed from the topic a little and I am sure many people won't quite know how to respond to this one if at all(which is understandable). I feel better now that I have finally come out with how I feel but not quite sure how people will react towards me now.

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Hi Jada,

I'm not even sure what to say but I really felt a need to respond to your post.  So, I don't feel any different toward you after reading your post.  In fact, I found it reassuring in a sense because we just did our profile and I purposely did not put anything in there that said "I know what you're going through" (although I did put in there that I placed my baby for adoption).  I knew that I couldn't say that I know what our birthmom is going through.  One thing I learned while at Gladney (I lived in their dorm while I was pregnant, me along with about 50 or so other preggies) is that everyone came into their pregnancy and their decision under different circumstances and while we were all planning to place our babies (although not everyone did), we were all very different and had very different backgrounds.  I always felt like I was lucky because my FOB (father of the baby, term we used at Gladney) didn’t want to have anything to do with my pregnancy or decision or anything (fortunately, Gladney did get him to sign – I was surprised that he knew how to get something notarized if that tells you something about him).  It sounds odd that I felt that way but some of the girls were in really serious relationships with their FOBs (the dorm I lived in was for girls 18 & under so none of them were married) and I thought how much more complicated that would make things for me.  I remember one girl was there because her step-father sexually abused her and as a result, she became pregnant.  There were a couple others who were raped, I remember another girl who was 15 and her parents kicked her out of their house when they found out she was pregnant – she felt she had no other options (I think she was about 5 months pregnant at that time).  There were several people there who came to Gladney quite pregnant and they were too far along to get abortions although that’s what they wanted to do.  And, there were several who changed their minds and parented their babies (although, Gladney had a way of turning “us” against them and I never maintained contact with them to find out how they’re doing but I think of them often and I realize how bad that was that Gladney made these girls out to be bad people, just because they didn’t place).  Before I found out I was pregnant, I would think about what would I do if I ever became pregnant – I always said I’d get an abortion, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that’s what I’d do.  So, why did I not do that?  I don’t know, I’m sure I could have – my mom & I were poor but we probably could have come up with the money to do that.  It’s like out of nowhere, something drove me to place her for adoption.  I learned I was pregnant when I was about 2 – 3 months along.  As soon as I found out, I called Gladney (why them?  2 reasons, #1 is because I remembered Gladney visiting my high school when I was in the 10th grade, there were about 4 birthmothers and a couple of Gladney people that came to our Health Education class #2 My sister’s neighbor had just adopted from Gladney and I remember her discussing all the paperwork and screening Gladney had done in order for them to adopt their baby boy).  I wish so much I could snap my fingers and make your experience different from how it was – I hate to think of you feeling like an oddball.  I do understand the loneliness though, I’ve always felt like there’s this thing about me that makes me different from everyone else and it’s the whole birthmom thing.  I LOVE meeting other birthmoms and I love corresponding with them.  I believe you were the first person to respond to my post on Abrazo’s forum and when I read that you’re a birthmom, I didn’t feel as alone (you’re the first birthmom I’ve had contact with since I placed, other than when I went to this support group a couple of times that Gladney had but that was in 1994 and we didn’t get to be very candid with each other, there was a Gladney lady there who led the group and wouldn’t just let us talk and share our feelings, apparently that wasn’t a productive use of the time).  I also met some birthmoms at the Abrazo Adoptive Parent Orientation and again, I just felt like a bond or something, just because we went through the heartwrenching decision of doing what we did (I do think that’s one thing that all of us have in common, no matter what circumstances brought us to place, we all find the whole ordeal to be heartbreaking and difficult and we love our babies soooo much!  I remember the girl at Gladney who was raped by her step-father (she was about 15 or 16) and she used to talk to her baby while she was pregnant and rub her belly and cry when we used to talk about the “day”.  I can’t remember if she talked about changing her mind but I’m sure it crossed her mind (and she was going to have to go live in a foster family after she left Gladney because her stupid mom wouldn’t leave her husband).  So, after saying all this, I guess something I learned from my experience is you never know what you’re going to do in a situation until you’re actually faced with it, never say never.  Never judge anyone – you can’t know what it’s like to be them and why they do what they do.  I wonder if one of the reasons why you felt so strongly against placing is because you already had children and already knew how strong the bond and love you feel for them is?  That’s another one of those things you just can’t know until you experience it.  I always felt that I could never place again after placing her just because I couldn’t bear to go through that #### again.  I remember after leaving Gladney and my support system and thinking “oh god, if this is how I’m going to feel for the rest of my life, I don’t want to be alive”.  I was never suicidal, just wanted to go to sleep for a long time to escape the horrific pain I felt every single second of every single day.  So, noone is perfect and no situation is perfect and I think it’s good to see the reality of adoption.  Some of us are able to look back and say we feel good about our placement, some of us look back and wish we wouldn’t have had to go through it.  I’m glad it happened to me because of the changes it made (I made?) in my life.  Let’s just say, I wasn’t on a very good path in life before my pregnancy.  I always said it felt like someone literally slapped me in the face when I found out I was pregnant and said, you need to change your life – you need to be more responsible and take care of yourself – you’re going to get a second chance but don’t screw it up!!  I felt I had to listen and had to make changes but not everyone’s story is the same.  It sounds like you were/are already a good person and for some reason (which still hasn’t been made clear to you yet but I think someday it will, I think everything happens for a reason), you were put in the situation you were…twice.  Thanks for sharing (I was hoping I wouldn’t be the only one and you came through for me, see!!  I don’t feel so alone after all now – I kept checking to see if anyone else had posted and was soooo glad to see yours there.


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Jada... linlacor... your posts are heartwrenching and I am so thankful you have the courage to share your feelings so openly. Because all of us have much to learn from you. And because I think you speak for countless other birthmothers who still have no voice. (Whether because of fear, of denial, of public pressure to "act grateful" for an option that caused them so much pain, etc.) Adoption can wreak lifelong loss, and with that comes a kind of grief which birthparents carry with them forever, though everyone carries it in different ways and to different degrees.

You're no oddball, Jada. If folks don't know how to respond (and I had to take a few days to find words, myself) it's not because they don't care. It's just so hard for all of us to know what to say, or how to "say the right thing," like at funerals and other times of loss. Nobody knows how to fix the inequity that good placements unavoidably cause, when caring parents give up the most precious thing in the world to them--for that child's sake--and then, endure ongoing pain over that sacrifice. We want to believe that "everybody wins" (to quote the song we play at orientation)... We want to tie up the package all pretty with a gorgeous bow and assure ourselves it was "all for the best," for everybody and not "just" the child.

But what happens when what was best for the innocent child involved may not  have been what is best down the road for the birthfamily? I think that is the issue which many adults adopted as children struggle with when they seek reunion with their birthparents later in life. Oftentimes those who were adopted feel guilty that their birthparents suffered for--or regretted--the decisions they made. (As JustMe said in another posting under "In The Know: Why So Angry", she wanted to find her birthfamily to assure herself they'd bettered their lives, and it hurt her to learn this was not the case.)

Families who adopt often struggle with guilt or remorse, as well, feeling they should somehow be able to "make it up to" the grieving birthparents, and fearing the burden of an open, ongoing relationship with them if they can't. (And of course they can't, because the adoptive parents aren't the problem, just part of the solution, and sometimes that in itself is a target for a  grieving parent's anger.) Yet we know that anger is one of the stages of grief, as is denial, bargaining, and sadness... and feeling those feelings is nothing any birthparent should have to apologize for, because "coming out with what (you) feel" is an important step in healing, a process that may take a lifetime.

Healing doesn't mean you endorse a painful life experience you would never repeat, given the choice. It only means you reach a point where that pain isn't able to compromise any more of your life than it has already. And it empowers you to come to peace with yourself.  I wish that for you, Jada, and for all the birthparents out there who wish they could say what you did, and that someone might actually listen and understand. Stand strong, girl, and keep searching for answers. We do care!

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Guest Paul and Michelle D

It is hard for me to respond.  Elizabeth hit it on the head when she said that it is hard for people to respond because it is hard to know what to say when someone is grieving for a loss of a loved one.  

Elizabeth also was very accurate about adoptive parents feeling guilt.  I am so sad for you as I am for our daugther's birthmom.  Here is what I can say...I have the greatest amount of respect and love for birthparents.  I wish I could take the pain that our daughter's birthmom is feeling.  I wish every day that I could do something...anything to make it better.  I figure if I make the best life possible for her little girl, I may make her life a little bit better...Not sure if I am right.   I pray for all of the birthmoms and families and am truly sorry and saddened that through someone else's pain comes joy.  I wish that was enough...  

Jada and Linaclor, you are  courageous women and I truly wish you both the best that life has to offer.

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:)  Thanks Michelle, I appreciate you responding and you are right - just making sure your little one has the best home you could possibly give her and sooo much love and support and time with you and your husband and other members of your family is the best thing you can possibly do.  Although my adoption was closed, I do know in my heart (and through some very non-identifying updates from the agency) that my little girl is very, very happy and well adjusted and loved.  About 3 years ago I rec'd the best update ever - (you can't even conceive of the closed nature of my adoption if you've adopted from Abrazo).  All the other updates were about 2 sentences from the Agency and basically said, "no news is considered good news, we're sure she's fine and healthy" but this one, oh my gosh, it was wonderful.  Apparently, the update I sent in reached the right person and this person called the adoptive parents (I couldn't believe it!!;) and asked them to provide me with an update.  She did and she told me how wonderful and special their daughter is and how she loves to draw & paint and has always had an art easel (I kinda laugh at this because I wonder if they think she "inherited" that from me or her birth father? and I still draw stick figures for people and he certainly was never artistic so unless her adoptive parents are artistic, that's just something unique to her.)  They also told me how much she loved the Harry Potter books and how confident she is and she isn't into the "clique" thing in school.  She always makes friends with the kids other people make fun of, etc.  That makes me feel sooo good.  They seem like great parents for her and basically, that's what I wanted for her and to know she's healthy, happy, and loved is all I can wish for (and to someday meet them & her).


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  • 5 weeks later...

sorry it has taken me so long to post but the past month or so has been very very hectic. Jada- i wish you could physically feel the love we all have for you and the pain we all share in your grief. I have held a special place in my heart for you and as i get more of your story i find more and more room for you and yours. The toughest thing is voicing the realities on the pain and grief you feel, and it makes you stronger than you think. Always remember that there are those of us out there that may not have the same story or may have a better result from their story but we all have the greif. Everyone deals in different ways and in the end we will all have some sense of peace, for you i hope that the peace reaches you soon. I had a very hard time with my placement. I was preg due to a rape and i could not deal emotionally or financially with the adition of a child into my one parent home where my daughter and myself were already having tough times. The emotional toll it would have taken on me would have been unbearable and beyond what i could take. this led me to my decision to place. I dont meet up with the stats either tho, i was 23 and a single mom never married, with some college credits under my belt. i was from a split family, my parents divorced when i was 4 and my father was remarried soon after, only to divorce again 15 yrs later. I never told my family, except for one cousin who is adopted(her was closed) and my mom found out after i delivered but before i got out of the hospital(i NEVER wanted her to know, and she is very cruel over the whole situation). As for the orther stats i dunno where i fit...

linlacor, not to leave you til last, i have enjoyed your posts and i am crossing my fingers that you find the perfect match. But hon you shop way way too much... lol... i wish i could shop half as much as you do.

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:D  Lisa2 - please cross your eyes and toes too!!  Just kidding - thanks for your kind thoughts.  I know I have a shopping problem, I think it comes from so many years of not being able to do it and now I'm making up for lost time.  It worries me though because of course I don't want our baby to be spoiled :), wink, wink - lol.

I love the way your worded your post to Jada.  I feel like Jada's openness in her post just revealed so much about the reality of adoption - I mean, at the end of the day - it is a very emotional and difficult beyond words kind of experience.  Even for those of us who had good experiences (and I hesitate to say mine was all good because it was closed and I struggle with that more and more each day), it is like someone is ripping out your heart when you sign those papers (sorry if this is blunt but it is how I remebered feeling when I signed mine - it was horrible - as much as I can talk about my placement, etc - I still can't bring myself to read my relinquishment papers since the day I signed them. I have a copy of them as well as all the other things related to my placement in a fireproof box though).  I'm so glad you all are so open about posting your experiences though because I think sometimes people think all birthmoms are the same or all placement situations are the same and through our stories, we can show that we're not.....yet we all have this common bond with one another and it's like nothing else I've ever had.  I have very close friends that I care about but when I meet (online, through this forum) a birthmom, I feel an instant connection with her - it's hard to describe, it's like I know she went through something more difficult than most people endure and that just makes me feel different toward her than just anyone else.

Okay, I so have to get ready for work, I've been online way too much (but, at least I'm not shopping!!!;)


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  • 2 years later...

I'm bringing this topic back to the forefront because I found a story which fits beautifully. It is one birthmother's story, as told in the October 2003 issue of Parents magazine. (Don't know why I didn't discover this earlier...the magazine was on the bottom of the pile I'm beginning to sort through!!) I'm posting the article in its entirety.


a birthmother describes the heartbreak of parting with the child she had grown to love.

By Jennifer Davidson

When I discovered I was pregnant six years ago, I was single, immature, jobless, and still in college. I didn't know at the time what it meant to be a good mother, but I was wise enough to realize that the life I could offer my child was not what I wanted for him. Four months into my pregnancy, I decided to place my baby for adoption.

A friend suggested I look into an open adoption, in which a birthmother can choose the parents for her child and maintain contact with them over the years. I knew immediately that this was the right choice for me. I discussed the idea with my ex-boyfriend, the baby's father, who said he would support whatever decision I made.

I looked in the Yellow Pages for attorneys and called several before settling on a woman who sounded great on the phone. I met her, and over the next few days I pored over dozens of resumes from prospective parents. All of the couples seemed kind and loving, but something about the pictures of Michael and Renee stood out. They looked wholesome and genuine; I instantly felt connected. A few days later, I met them for dinner, and I knew that they were the ones I wanted for my child. Before we left the restaurant, I asked them to be my baby's parents.

The next six months brought us closer than I'd ever imagined possible. We became constant companions: we met each other's families, shared dinners and shopping trips. Michael and Renee accompanied me to my obstetrician visits and were my coaches in Lamaze class. The three of us discussed baby names, and they were with me in the delivery room when Colin Dean, 6 lbs and 13 oz was born.

I felt on top of the world. My baby was beautiful and in my arms. He had two mothers who loved him and who believed he made the earth spin. It was a euphoric moments for all of us -- and then it was time to go home.


I still have the crumpled tissues from those final moments with my son tucked away in a tiny satin bag. They hold the saddest tears I have ever cried.

After leaving the hospital, I sat in the parking lot with empty arms, watching Renee calm my crying baby with her gentle "Hush" as she made her way toward her car. The sight of them driving off was more than I could bear. I went home with an empty womb to an empty bed.

That night, I clutched the thin receiving blanket that had been wrapped around my son, praying that the smell of him would last forever. For weeks, I refused to remove my hospital bracelet or my toenail polish from the day he was born. The plan that had seemed so well thought out, so carefully considered, meant nothing to my heart. All I knew was that I was a mother without my child.

I immediately returned to school and to a demanding new job. My goal was to stay so busy that I wouldn't be able to dwell on the pain. Yet I could think of nothing but Colin. For months, I found myself returning to the places I had gone when I was pregnant -- places where I could still feel my son's presence.

All that year, my life revolved around visits to Renee and Michael's home, where I could cuddle my son to remind him of my voice and the feel of my body. The bittersweet joy of our closeness was tempered by my heartbreak: I watched as his home became filled with toys I had not selected, baby gadgets I didn't know how to use, and pictures of my child with people I'd never met. On the awful day that my son tried to claw his way out of my arms and back into the safe harbor of Renee's, I felt that my sacrifice was just too much.


Shortly after Colin's first birthday, Michael and Renee told me they were leaving California and moving back to Colorado, where they'd lived previously. This marked a real turning point for me: I knew I had to either sink or swim.

It took several more years of tears and struggling to figure out what healing might feel like, but finally I have reached a place where I am comfortable. Michael, Renee, Colin and I are still a family. We talk regularly, and we exchange cards, pictures and little gifts. When I married a great man four years ago, Michael and Renee were there, and Colin was our ring bearer. They also flew out for the birth of my daughter, Georgia, three years ago.

For Colin's last birthday, I wrote a poem about an adventure he and I had shared when I was 7 months pregnant with him. A few days after I sent it, Renee called to say how much the poem meant to him. She then told me, for the first time, about a special collection that Colin keeps on a shelf next to his bed: all of the cards, letters and pictures that I've been sending since the day he was born.

It dawned on me then, in the most profound way, that I had succeeded in building a bridge between me and my son; I had found a way to connect to him and to remind him always of my unconditional love. Despite the fact that I'm not with him day to day, Colin is growing up with the understanding that I am a vital part of him. In his history, his heritage, his face, and slices of his character, there I am.

I know I will always be involved in Colin's life as we continue to define my place in his world, and his in mine. Though the pain of giving up my baby will never completely fade, I am comforted knowing that my choice has given my son the best life possible. Finally, I am at peace and can only smile at what the future holds.

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What a beautiful post. I think Elizabeth is so right about the feelings surrounding adoption. I know that when a birthparent comes to the decision to make an adoption plan for their baby there is relief and profound sadness.

We adoptive parents do not know the pain you go through, but in our minds the pain that we imagine is pretty intensel.

The is one similarity that I think we all feel and that is the feeling of why me? A birthparent feels it when they find out there is going to be a baby and for whatever reason the timing is not right, whether it be emotional, financial, or a multitude of other reasons. The birthparent says "why me" why did this happen, what can I do so that I can keep this child and we will all be ok?

The adoptive family for whatever reason is not able to concieve a baby. Whether the cause is do to a past illness, and unknown cause, or a known cause, they say "why me?" Why can't I make a baby?

Ener the adoption plan. The birthparent makes her plan, and she choses a family for her baby and she says again, "Why me" Why do I have to do this? The adoptive family is chosen and the bond is created and the adoptive parents ask again, "why me?" why did the birthfamily chose me?

The baby comes and the birthparent realizes her worst pain. The pain of saying goodbye. She asks again"why me?" I am doing the right thing for my baby, why do I have to hurt so bad?"

The adoptive family realizes their dream of a child and yet it is very bittersweet, they ask "why me?" Why is my joy surrounded by other's pain?"

I can tell you birthmoms that we adoptive moms don't go too long without thinking about you. We are so very grateful for the children, but we walk around with a feeling of guilt knowing that on those special days that we are celebrating you are shedding tears.

I went to a wedding not too long ago that the flower girl was the brides birth daughter and the maid of honor was the adoptive mom. I remember looking at the families and feeling that is the way adoption is supposed to be. I know that for a lot of us it is not that way.... myself included, but if nothing else we all have hope.

Thanks birthmoms for sharing your stories.


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  • 2 months later...

Interesting... in a recent article, the Wall Street Journal reported that more birthmothers are now placing their babies for adoption in American than in decades before, due to open adoption practices. You can read a draft of that article, here: Wall Street Journal Adoption Story.

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I thought the article was good, it is very factual and doesn't seem to present a dark side of adoption. Thanks!

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Well, once I got past the language used by the writer of the article (ugh! what an idot! sorry but they even quote Adam Pertman as saying something about a birthmother "placing" her child for adoption and then it seems like every other word you read in there is about the birthmother "giving up" her baby...hello - did they not clue in to what is and isn't appropriate to say? that article was full of language that bugged me)...

Anyway - the overall content of the article was very interesting and seemed to me to be saying basically everything you guys (at Abrazo) have been saying since we started working with y'all 2 1/2 yrs ago. Thanks for the link.


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  • 10 months later...

For some fascinating current data and research on who birthmothers are and why they choose adoption, see Encyclopedia of Adoption.

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  • 1 month later...
For some fascinating current data and research on who birthmothers are and why they choose adoption, see  Encyclopedia of Adoption.



I just got stuck on that page for hours!!!!

I love love LOVE!!! Those stories. I am so inspried right now. I wish I had time to post....

I'll be back !!!

hugs to all!


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  • 4 months later...

From the San Francisco Chronicle, a beautifully-written article about one adoptee's search to discover who the birthmothers of yesteryear were and why they went through what they did: The Girls Who Went Away. I am also taking the liberty of including the article here, in case the link ceases to work at some future point (our compliments to reporter Robert Speer, on a piece that is so much more than just a book review.)

San Francisco Chronicle: Deprived of a chance to be mothers -- Reviewed by Robert Speer -- Sunday, May 7, 2006

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade By Ann Fessler, THE PENGUIN PRESS; 354 PAGES; $24.95

In 1989, when Ann Fessler was 40, she saw an older woman across the room at an art exhibition who looked "very familiar." Later this woman approached her and, she writes, "with no introduction said, 'You could be my long-lost daughter. You look like the perfect combination of myself and the father of my child.' "

Fessler replied, "You don't know what you're saying to me. I could be your daughter -- I was adopted."

The two women compared dates, but the births were 13 months apart. They continued to talk. The stranger asked Fessler if she had looked for her birth mother. No, Fessler replied, she didn't want to invade her privacy.

"You should find her," the stranger then said. "She probably worries every day about what happened to you and whether you've had a good life."

As the woman talked about the pain and loss she'd felt, and continued to feel, from losing her baby, Fessler realized "that I had never heard the story of adoption from the perspective of a mother who had surrendered her child."

That evening she went home and wrote down every word of their conversation. As she was doing so, she realized why the woman had seemed so familiar to her: She'd had a dream the night before in which they'd been talking together.

Soon after, Fessler started looking for her birth mother.

The search did not take long, but Fessler could not bring herself to take the last step and make actual contact. She was still afraid of invading her mother's privacy, so she decided to wait. She waited 14 years.

In the meantime, she began to focus her work as a photographer and videographer on the subject of adoption. Fessler is a professor of photography at Rhode Island School of Design with a specialty in video-installation art, and her groundbreaking book, "The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade," is the result of her biggest project to date.

Most Americans who came of age in the 1950s or '60s know exactly what the book's title refers to. They can remember at least one girl in their class who suddenly left high school and dropped out of sight, often in a cloud of rumors involving out-of-wedlock sex and pregnancy. These girls simply "went away."

And their history was indeed hidden, as the book's subtitle states. In the years between the end of World War II, in 1945, and the legalization of abortion, in 1973, more than 1.5 million young women surrendered their babies for adoption, almost all of them secretly. In many of these cases, these girls were shunned by family and friends, shamed by priests and pastors, kicked out of school and sent away to "homes for unwed mothers," where they had their babies alone. Often they were still children themselves.

The dominant mythology is that they made well-considered choices leading to adoption, that they chose to give up their babies to "good families" who could take better care of them. The truth is far different. These girls faced so much family and social pressure to relinquish their children that they really had no choice. They were forced to do it, and the loss of their babies has haunted them for the rest of their lives.

Fessler interviewed more than 100 women across the country who surrendered their children, and she gives them ample opportunity to tell their stories in their own words and for the first time, weaving their oral histories together with a perceptive and telling description of the social climate that pressured them so heavily.

The result is a collection of deeply moving personal tales bolstered by solid sociological analysis -- journalism of the first order, moving and informative in equal measure. It's impossible to read this book without feeling tremendous compassion for these women, many who have been, as one of them put it, "an unwilling accomplice to the kidnapping of my own child."

It's easy to forget, in this era of innovation and change in the structure of the American family, just how puritanical white, middle-class society was 40 or 45 years ago. Sex outside of marriage was considered shameful, birth control was hard to obtain, and abortion was either available only to well-to-do families with the right connections or was life-endangering. The suffering experienced by the 1.5 million women represented in this book testifies to the damage such rigidity produced.

For all the concerns we may have about the permissiveness and pervasive sexualization of modern life, Fessler's book reminds us that we have made real progress. The era when young women who found themselves pregnant were coerced into giving up their babies is over. Today they have choices, and all of us, men, women and children, are better off for it.

Robert Speer is a screenwriter and journalist who lives in Chico.

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Yes, 1.5 million women suffered due to these tragic adoption practices ... but many more million women are suffering today due to the effects of post-abortion trauma.

And many do not... and I do speak from personal experience. I'm not looking to launch a debate on the merits of pro-life vs. pro-choice here. But while I respect those who oppose Roe vs. Wade, I also think there are some journeys in life (like infertility, or crisis pregnancy, or relinquishing a child for adoption, for example) that truly can only be understood by those who have faced that crisis for themselves... and then, I think, it is crucial that they have the opportunity to consider all their options, in order to make their own best choices.

My personal opinion is that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is a private matter of conscience between a woman and her God, and not for anyone else to judge. I appreciate that there are those who minister to women who may regret having aborted... just as I try to counsel with those who mourned their decision to surrender babies for adoption. Yet, it is not my place to try to dissuade others from having access to the same range of options. I believe that abortion, like adoption, is not the right option for every mother, but that it's the innate right of every woman to make her own best decisions for herself and her children-- born or unborn.

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I whole-heartedly agree with Elizabeth here. I try very hard not to bring my pro-choice views onto the forum because I feel the forum is a place to talk about adoption, not whether or not abortion should or shouldn't be a choice available...but, speaking from personal experience as well - I've placed a baby for adoption, and I've terminated a pregnancy (after placing) and the pain and sense of loss I've felt for my daughter whom I placed is very real to me and a part of my daily life - I have not experienced any sense of loss or pain or regret for the pregnancy I terminated. For me, it was my best choice given my options at that time - which were parenting or terminating the pregnancy because I knew I could never again place another baby for adoption - I just didn't have the strength or whatever to go through with it again - it was much too painful...and at that point in my life (6 yrs after placing), I still was not a place where I was able to offer a child what I felt they deserved.

So, at the risk of turning this into a pro-life/pro-choice debate, I just wanted to speak about my own personal experience and say that I am thankful it was a choice available to me at that time.


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I just wanted to share a conversation I had once with an adoption professional. I questioned why the waits were so much longer for couples working with adoption agencies in other areas of the country. This adoption counselor told me the reason there are waits of 5 years or longer with agencies in the Northeast particularly (such as New York), is that abortion is very common there. The logic is simple...fewer babies born, longer waiting periods to adopt.

Because South Texas is predominantly Hispanic and Roman Catholic, the strong influence of their religious beliefs lead more young pregnant teens and women in South Texas to give birth rather than abort. And Central and North Texas is in the "Bible Belt" with predominantly evangelicals and Baptists, whose religious views are also pro-life. Is it any wonder Texas has become one of the most desirable states in which to adopt?

Yes, I am glad that women who make the choice to abort have access to clean and safe medical clinics and facilities, and do not have to resort to "back alley" clinics or self-induced procedures. But just as years of fertility treatments and IVF attempts are having a "backlash" in women's reproductive health later on (as discussed in another thread), medical science is finding that a past history of abortion(s) is also having an effect on women's later reproductive health. I don't believe women are being told or understand all the risks, because there are risks, as there are with any invasive surgical procedure.

But most of all it saddens me deeply to think of how many couples nationwide....if not worldwide...are on waiting lists for years at adoption agencies, while at the same time thousands of abortions are taking place daily?

(And Lisa, after the experience you had at Gladney, I so totally understand why you felt you couldn't emotionally go through another adoption loss. Thank you for sharing what I know was a most difficult decision. (((((Big Hug)))))))

Edited by marthaj
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Elizabeth, Lisa and Martha,

Points well made! I have such a hard time with all this. I agree that women must make choices for themselves. I just become very sad for all involved. I feel for the woman making these difficult decisions, the baby and on and on. As much as I wish this world did not have so much suffering, if it had not been for Dante's Birthmother having gone through what she had, Marcelo and I would not be parent's to this extroardinary child that is sleeping in the next bedroom. All I can do is have faith that God is with each and every person in their time of need. Life is so difficult as it is... never simple. It is amazing how through suffering an answer can be found... for Birthmother's and Adoptive Parent's. Things in life find a way of working themselves out don't they?

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"an unwilling accomplice to the kidnapping of my own child."

Wow, that quote gave me chills. How thankful I am that women have all their choices available to them now. And thankfully we can offer them the choice for open adoption.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm on a triad email list and rec'd this today and thought I'd share it - it's a link to an interview with some of the birthmothers who were profiled in Ann Fessler's book "The Girls Who Went Away" (Elizabeth referenced the book in a previous post above)

In case you missed this morning's interview on Good Morning America with

Ann Fessler, you can see it (after the commercial) at Good Morning America Interview - The Girls Who Went Away

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Wow -

I still wish that more shows would talk about open adoption and how far adoption has come since then and just explaining how hard it was then and today. I think people are in a different world when they think of adooption and you need to educate before you can change that perception. If only Oprah would have a great Adoption story on her show. Millions of women would be watching and communicate the truth from there.

Thanks for sharing.

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