"Birthmothers" Open Adoption Stories
   "Adoption practice works on the premise that, in order to save the child,
   one must first destroy its mother." - Dian Wellfare, founder of Origins Inc.

Domestic Infant Adoption Facts  
"Why BIRTHMOTHER Means BREEDER" by Diane Turski
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dear birthmother letters


Married vs. "unmarried" - Pregnancy, Birth and Falling in Love with Your Baby


  Unresolvable Grief:
The Damage to Mothers

Women who have surrendered children to adoption most often have great difficulties in getting on with their lives and endure a vast array of psychological problems stemming from the separation such as: unresolvable grief, relationship difficulties, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, secondary infertility.

"Few [exiled mothers] had sufficient contact with the child at birth or received sufficient information to enable them to construct an image of what they had lost. Masterson (1976) has demonstrated that mourning cannot proceed without a clear mental picture of what has been lost." - "Psychological Disability in Women who Relinquish a Baby for Adoption," by Dr. John T. Condon (Medical Journal of Australia, vol 144, Feb/86)

  "... the tendency growing out of the demand for babies is to regard unmarried mothers as breeding machines...(by people intent) upon securing babies for quick adoptions."
-  Leontine Young, "Is Money Our Trouble?" (paper presented 
 at the National Conference of Social Workers, Cleveland, 1953)

We who are EXILED mothers ("birthmothers") believed what "The Experts" at the adoption agencies - in the Adoption Industry -  told us: that we would forget our babies and that adoption would be painless, or that the pain would be minimal and would soon go away.  If those so-called "experts" had only known, or cared!

The SAME "Experts" are still giving young women the same message today.  There are literally THOUSANDS of websites out there encouraging women - especially young women - to give up their babies. 

And NONE of these websites say anything about the devastating effect that this may have on both the mother AND on her baby. None of them talk about the unending grief and symptoms of PTSD that most mothers will experience from losing their children. Many women bury these emotions for years (after all, we were told to "get over it!"), usually until at least a year into reunion with their child, at which point the repressed memories re-surface and devastating flashbacks begin. A natural parent's PTSD can introduce an added complication into the reunion, especially if the adoptee is not aware that this is a common occurance.



Very little research has been done on the subject of natural mothers, the forgotten corner of the adoption triad.  Those few studies that HAVE been done show what we natural mothers have known all along - that losing one's baby to adoption leaves a permanent unresolvable grief.

The "Black Hole"

in the words of one natural mother

In 1980, I lost my newborn son to adoption. I say "lost" because, at age 17, I did not have a choice in the matter - everything was arranged by my parents and the government social worker, who even ordered the hospital to forbid my fiance from seeing his newborn son.

Everyone around me said that I would "get over it" and be able to "put it all behind me" and "get on with my life." I cried endlessly the afternoon i found out my son was taken from the hospital by his adopters. My parents told me to think of how much joy i was giving to an infertile couple, and that i would "get over it."

I buried the pain in schoolwork over the next few months, not knowing I was in shock. Thinking everything was "okay"... until the shock wore off about 10 months later. Adoption support groups, caring though they were, did nothing to take the edge off the pain. After another year of trying to take away the pain with alcohol, and trying several times to end my life, i began seeing a psychiatrist for a over a year of weekly appointments until we realized that her counselling had brought me no closer to healing. So, we then tried antidepressants, strong enough to repress all my emotions. And it indeed worked, long enough to let me "freeze" everything inside, and bury the pain. I was then able to survive, counting down the time until my 19 year sentence was over and i was allowed to search for my son.

I thought that finding him again - knowing that he was okay, alive, happy - would end my pain, would be true bliss. How wrong i was! The bliss of his presence, yes. But those grey concrete walls i had built up around the grief and loss came down. The pain from inside emerged once more. And was it worth it for his sake? No, as he was endlessly abused by his adopters his entire young life.

No-one told me that the pain would never go away. No-one told me that it would be so severe that i would find myself devastated by grief and loss: so much that I'd end up in the Emergency ward 4 times in 4 months with my upper intestines constricted almost into knots. That the endless grief would fatigue my system so much that i would be unable to work full-time again.

And the industry response? "This is a woman who cannot put the past behind her. She is flawed."

When a child dies, the grief can be resolved. It will pass with time. When a child is lost to adoption, there is no possible resolution as our children are still LIVING. And living grief, inescapable pain and loss, every day, is a living nightmare. This is the reality of adoption, something that agencies and adopters will NEVER admit to.


The Demeter Project "During the 1940's, 50's, and 60's and up until the time of Roe v. Wade, thousands upon thousands of unmarried, pregnant women were sent into maternity homes by their parents and churches to await the births of their babies in secret . While in these homes, they experienced emotional, psychological, and spiritual coercion designed to facilitate the surrender of their infants to the system of closed adoption which then existed. The Demeter Project contains a folio of fourteen images created by Barbara Franks-Morra, a natural mother and artist. These images address the emotional, spiritual, and psychological consequences on one individual who underwent this experience."

OUT OF THE FOG: Mothers Speak About Adoption. An online video of interviews with exiled mothers from the U.S., Canada, and Australia.


(birth-) Mothers Exploited By Adoption
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