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dear birthmother letters


Note: The terms

"unwed" mothers, "birthmothers", "biological" parents

make a parent appear to be less than the mother or father they are. These terms dehumanize and limit the parent's role to that of an incubator.

"Dear Birthmother" letters soliciting to get a living person's child are despicable.

Using the honest terms "mother", "single mother" or "natural mother" help the public to understand that real family members are being separated to obtain babies for adoption.


A Personal Response to "Birthmothers Day" 
by Candice
, reunited natural mother

The term "birthmother" was given to natural mothers approximately 25 years ago by a Minnesota social worker in the adoption industry, in order to define us in terms of our value as incubators and "mothers-at-birth-but-no-longer."  Now this role - the role of an incubator or "former mother" - is being "celebrated" separately from Mothers Day in the form of "Birthmothers Day."


Having a separate day underlines the distinction made by society that we are no longer mothers, and that in their eyes we do not have the right to be recognized and honoured as mothers on Mothers Day. This distinction was obvious in the language of the adoption industry. On the previous website of the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse website (http://www.calib.com/naic/), adoptive parents were called "parents;" and we, on the other hand, were relegated to being "birth relatives" - not acknowledged as parents at all. A similar distinction is evident in the industry-created "Respectful Adoption Language." Parents are mothers and fathers, and only adoptive parents are seen to be parents. whereas we are seen by the adoption industry to be only "biological acquaintances" (to quote Dr. Laura). In saying that we are not parents, the industry tells us that we are not our children's mothers.

The term "birthmother" was coined to tell natural mothers, "You were a mother at his/her birth, but are a mother no longer." They are relegating us to being gene donors, walking uteri, and temporary ovens. This is not just semantic quibble, it is clearly shown in the actions of the adoption industry and adopters. Many mothers who were treated as "special angels" by agencies and prospective adopters during their pregnancies are then tossed away like so much garbage after the surrender of their babies... once they have "served their purpose."

I, for one, will be boycotting "Birthmothers Day."  In my opinion, events such as "birthmother healing workshops" are extremely insulting to all of us who have lost children through force, false promises, or coercion to the adoption industry.  How can healing take place when we are still separated from our children - either physically, socially, or legally?

And adoptive parents organizing "Birthmothers Day celebrations"? This may be done in good faith, but would South African blacks under the Apartheid regime have been interested in celebrating an "Apartheid Day" organized by white people who had the rights that they were denied?  Same abuse of human rights, taken away via a government-sanctioned system. Same legalized inequality (we lost our children and our legal right to parent when we were forced/coerced to sign or when our parents signed for us). Same segregation (we still have no legal right, even in "open adoption," to see our children once the separation occurs). Can you imagine healing workshops for Blacks to help them accept the abuse of their rights? To help them tolerate and live with the Apartheid status quo?

I have been inspired by those brave women who have the goal of "Eliminate the damage from adoption to us, our children, and our relationships with them."  Those mothers who have achieved it are those who have been able to adopt back their children, whose children call them "Mom" and treat them as a full parent equal to the adopters, and that incredible woman whose son said after many years of reunion, "Mom, I'm no longer an adoptee."  These are the women who are achieving true healing from the damage that the adoption industry has done to us and our children. These are the adoptees who are no longer adoptees but who are full, beloved, members of their natural families.

My son and I (he is 21, I am 38) have been reunited now for almost two years. When I first wrote this article, I did not think I might ever achieve these goals. Now, I know that we are on the road to achieving them. My son knows the truth: that I was forced to surrender him. That I am still his mother, his natural mother - not his "incubator" nor his "birthmother." My house is his home. He calls me "Mom" and means it. He agrees with me that when he is with his natural family, he is "no longer an adoptee." And we love each other deeply as mother and son.

Eventually, I hope for laws to change in my jurisdiction so that I may adopt him back as my legal son. I hope to see government laws change so that ALL of us who were forced to surrender our babies through force and coercion can adopt them back, redressing the abuse of our human rights. My own rights were violated when the social worker and the hospital took my newborn son from me because I was 17 years old and unmarried, and the social worker had customers waiting.

Only then, when my son is back in my life as my son and I as his Mother AND "Mom" and legal parent - and neither of us is still suffering, hurt, or scarred from being separated - only then we will both be healed.

So, instead of "Birthmothers Day", I would like to suggest that we mark a day to recognize a hope for all natural families who were separated by forced/coerced adoption to be reunited, for natural parents to be reunited again with our children as true families in all senses of the word, including legal. I'd like to propose an "Elimination of Adoption-Forced Separation Day"

Copyright © 2001


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