29 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adoption Entered my Life

This Grown in My Heart Adoption Carnival Topic was supposed to be “10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Was Touched By Adoption”, but I can’t use the feel good wording of “touched”. I was not touched by adoption, it’s more like torched, trampled, traumatized, terrorized, tortured and torn apart by adoption.

Overall, I feel like I allowed the destructive force of adoption into my life.

maxbabybaloonAdoption was almost more like a crack that happened in my soul. A crack that that I thought and was encouraged to believe that would be temporary or always below the surface. Over time, the rest of life worked it’s way in, like water in cement and caused the  

So that gives me number one on my list; the rest is really really easy and I can, also quite easily go on and on, but this carnival only called for the ten things we wish we could have known.. I think I just have to go over.

  1. I wish I knew that relinquishing my child to adoption was not a one time event that I would recover from by the most major life altering “decision” that would alter the very course of my existence for the rest of my life.
  2. I wish I knew that adoption would not be a decision made entirely by me and affect only me, but would have life altering implications across the entire berth of my family. I thought nothing of how if would affect my mother, my brother, and of course my children, both the one that I relinquished and the children I had later on.
  3. I wish I had known what I really was giving up when I relinquished my Max. I understood the concept of a baby, but I had no clue what it really meant to be a mother. I could decide to give up something that I never had to begin with.. or something that I never let myself have a chance to really experience.
  4. I wish I had known that public assistance, social services, paternity, child support and all manners of help in general was nothing to be ashamed of, to be afraid of asking for or receiving or something that made me less of a person. I still think about my adoption counselor explaining to me rather briefly how I “could” keep my baby and go on welfare and how very horrified I was of that thought and I never even attempted to consider it.
  5. I wish I had known how it would feel to know for the rest of my life that I had assisted in denying a man the right to have a relationship with his only child. Had I thought through the ethically complications and moral obligation to the truth and this man’s rights, then I would not have to live with the knowledge of how I horribly and inexcusable wronged another human being.
  6. I wish I had known that I was strong and capable and worthy of being the mother that I was meant to be. The normal self doubts of a young person basically untried by life were not bolstered in the face of adversity, but rather exasperated and exploited.
  7. I wish I had known that it was not my job, nor obligation to make another couples’ “dreams of a family” come true. I wish I had known that I should not have taken pride nor comfort or some sick sense of self satisfaction by allowing other people’s needs to go before my own, not that I have an issue about giving of one’s self. I donate my knowledge, I give my time, I volunteer; but a child is not giving of oneself, a adoption is giving of another.. a child. I had no right to do that.
  8. I wish I had known that my son’s parents would not be quite as grateful and thankful to me as I had expected, hoped or been lead to believe. I wish I was not quite as disappointed that they just won’t speak to me and I have the distinct feeling that they really would just like me to go back away. I wish that didn’t hurt.
  9. I wish I had known that children really aren’t interchangeable. Just because one party wants something and another party isn’t so sure, doesn’t mean that we can switch things about and pretend we are God and it will work out OK.
  10. I wish I had known that my son had basic rights to his family, his truth, his heritage, his father, his siblings, and me; more than I ever gave us credit for. To think that I could have thought so little of myself, my family and all the individual traits and histories that make us unique and THAT could have been replace with a one paragraph bio and a few pictures is so insulting to every ancestor that breathed before me.
  11. I wish I had known that you cannot re-write life as it comes to you. That we can’t cheat it and pretend that things happened differently than we would have liked. And sometimes, most times, given time time what seemed to be a disaster is actually part of making things work out exactly as they should, but we just don;t know it yet. I wish I had learned to just accept things as they come and live the hand that was dealt to me even if it meant being a mother at 19.. because I was a mother at 19!
  12. I wish I had known that it was very possible to love most fiercely and deeply someone that you haven’t ever really met. I wish I had known that I would know my son with out before I got to met him again. That I would know his face and it would be so familiar to me. That I would know his smell and I would need it to breath. That I would know and understand how he felt, thought and would react just because I knew…way before I ever knew.
  13. I wish I had known how much it would suck to hear my other kids say things like” I forget what Max looks like”, or “I don’t feel like I have another brother,” or “If we got real poor would you have to give us away, too?”
  14. I wish I had known that adoption, which was supposed to preserve my teenage way of life, turned out to be something that completely changed my entire life and here I am, over 20 years later and adoption is still a major factor in my daily existence, my thoughts, my dreams and , even worse, is also a factor in my whole family’s lives as well.
  15. I wish I had known that genetics really play a huge portion of who we are and that things like our mutual love of pirates, combat boots, Mohawksand died hair, alternative music, god in the woods, being buried in plain pine boxes, Dr. Pepper, Boston cream donuts, thunderstorms, reading, and writing with these dern dots…. was all part of who he was before he was born. I wish I knew that my genes had carried more than the color of his skin and the familiar look of our feet and it was something that irreplaceable.
  16. I wish I had known that not every adoptee thinks that being placed for adoption was the best thing since sliced bread, are not grateful, are not happier to have a bigger house, and sometimes, can be quite adversely affected by the whole experience. It was really hard to accept that the thing that I thought was “best” could have actually been much worse.
  17. I wish I had known that there is no real “ready” to become a mother and that the mythology of motherhood as our society has crafted is a vicious losing situation. I wish I had known how easy it is for us to turn on each other and judge our fellow sisters because we are all so concerned about getting it wrong and not being the best super mom on the block.
  18. I wish I had known that it was going be crazy hard this way, being a birthmother, and that all the pain and sacrafices and sleepless would be coming to me anyway, but without the joys and pleasures of being with my child. I wish I had known that I would have wanted to make it work, that it would have been worth it to give up the fun.
  19. I wish I had known that Fear is never a good basis to make a decision on.
  20. I wish I would have known that the “scandal” was all in my head and that with in six months no one would have cared much less remembered. I wish I had realized that my family would not have thought that I was a piece of poop for ver but would have loved and adored my baby as I would have.
  21. I wish I had known that having a baby at 19 would not have “ruined my life”, that being a mother at 19 would not have “ruined my life” and that adoption, well it pretty much runied my life .. or at least got closer to ruining my life s anything else ever did.
  22. I wish I had known that school could have been put off a few years, but my mother hood was happeneing now.
  23. I wish I had known that I was being exploited and enabled and I walked right into it.
  24. I wish I had known that adoption was not glamorous or romantic, but that life being a birthmother pretty much sucks.
  25. I wish I had known that the adoption agency really didn’t have my best interest at heart and they weren’t my best friends and I shouldn’t have worried about making them proud by being the “best dern birthmother” and following all the rules.
  26. I wish I had known that putting everyone elses’ wants and needs before mine for almost 20 years did not make me better, nor stronger, nor noble, nor brave and didn’t get me a key to heaven.
  27. I wish I had known that a piece of paper wold not make me an un-mother.
  28. I wish I had known how much it would really really hurt and how, really, even after reunion , there is no normal and it is never over.

And then one final wish that I still have now; of all the things in my life and all the mistakes and bad decision I have made, with all the missteps and situations that came to me, whether by my own hand or been done by wrong by someone else; I wish there was a way to change the past and make just this one thing all go away.

I wish I had never let adoption into my life.



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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

55 Comments on "29 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adoption Entered my Life"

  1. Such Sadness that I can totally get 🙁 Adoption DOES NOT TOUCH our lives except for the Adoptive Parents, they are the only ones that get touched by adoption because they are the only ones that benefit from it.
    The first mother loses, the adoptee loses.
    The adoptive Parent GAINS

  2. Wow Claudia..that was beautifully put. My heart aches for you.

  3. Wow, wow, wow… BEAUTIFUL post. My wish is that my mother could pull herself out of her denial and be as honest as you and tell me just *one* of those things on your list. It could only help us both.

  4. This writing is classic, Claude. Thank you so much for being real. Thank you for your voice. I am so glad to “know” you. It it hard for me to never be able to know my first mother, but mothers like you speak for all of us who have experienced adoption. Hugs.

  5. So worth the wait to read you, again. I also wish I had known these things. Roxanne

  6. I agree with everything on your list….

  7. Great blog post, Claud. But regarding #2 I don’t see you being responsible for this, what happened to you. Vital information was withheld from you by the agency. You were given only 72 hours with your son before the “powers that be” made you feel you had to leave him. That is much much too early for *any* type of informed decision re adoption. In 1984 even it was known that for half of us, the pain never decreases over decades but only remains just as painful or increases. You were never given a chance, a choice, only given that information which would lead you to surrender. I’m so sorry, Claud, that this happened to you.

  8. Reading this makes my heart ache… and it aches even more to know that the pain I feel when reading this is NOTHING compared to the pain you have lived. Every woman considering adoption and every adoptive parent should read this post.

  9. What an amazing post. I wish my mother could read this, and talk to you and other mothers who surrendered.

  10. Never over.

    I wish I knew how deeply damaging giving my daughter up would be for her, and for me.

    I think I was feeling some hints inside, but I didn’t see a way out. Other than through the door I would regret my entire life.

  11. this also makes my heart ache.

  12. As much as I think you write beautifully, I completely disagree with the majority of what you said. But it’s your blog, your writing, your opinions,..just wanted you to know that there IS another side to this and there are a people who do NOT agree with your thoughts.

  13. Claudia, I have shared this post with every pregnant woman considering adoption that I come across. It’s very powerful and I am very glad that you put it here. I wish that every woman thinking of giving away her child would take a few minutes and read this first.

  14. well i didnt read everything because i am to shocked to.But how can you say that?!??! ,your feeling sad? the pain you have is nothing compare to the pain your son is going to have when he grows up,you abandonned him he wont even know who he really is.And it seems like you didnt even think this through, you just abandonned him like that?and you wish,wish,wish and wish some more, what is it going to do, you ruined a child’s life(yaya some adopted child turn out good but they are rare).And yes Every parents considering adoption should read this to not do the same mistake you did.

    note:I tried to write this as nice as possible but being a adopted child , its impossible for me to understand what could possibly posses you to do what you did.

  15. Michael,
    Perhpas you could actually try and read the whole post through rather than deciding that your outrage makes you understand what I am saying completely.
    No.. I surely did NOT think it through. I was trusting and had no idea what I was doing at all. That’s kind of the point of the post..what I WISH I had known..what ALL women should know.. what the adoption industry SHOULD be telling us about..that movies like Juno don’t help us even a lick with..
    If you really wanted to understand why I did make the decision, then pretty much the entire story is here for anyone to read. I doubt it will make you feel any less angry, but it probably shouldn’t anyway. If I was adoptesd I’d be pissed off too..knowing what I know now. Of course, the bottom line is that really, for me, the only person that really matters and who can judge if I ruined his life or not is my son..and to ensure that he had his truth I searched and found him…I know it cannot ever make up for what damage was caused by the separation..for either or us.. ( and yes, I DO have a HUGE right to be sad as hell…we were all cheated out of something, but he knows who he is..granted still an adoptee with extra bagage..but I am here to give him back anything that should never have been taken away. I can’t do much else.
    I don’t know what so shocking about my story.. it’s hardly unique..and at least I know it was a god awful mistake..most moms don’t decide to dump our kids while watching tv..we get lied to, tricked, and coersed out of our children.. You should do some more reading before you start yelling at folks..

    • Anonymous | May 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

      That is the truth. You as mother’s were forced to give your children up. So sad that ppl/orginizations are tricking women to just “give up their children, then they are just abandoned after it finalized. I was given up 44 yrs ago and just found my real, yes, REAL family 1 month ago.. Everything Claudia is saying is what my Mom has always felt! Its such a sad story for these Mom’s and for us the children who were just “left behind”
      I am sooo grateful I have found my mom, dad(he died 1 mo before I found him) 🙁 but all of my family has welcomed me with open arms. 🙂

  16. Well written…unless a person has walked in those same shoes, they just may not get it, but ‘dern’, you stated it like it was. Hopefully some things have changed now in the adoption business, and it IS a money-making business. I’ve been in reunion for almost eight years nd can’t believe how freeing that was, along with a lot of tears and hard work. Please keep posting…you are a gift!

  17. Anonymous | May 28, 2010 at 8:58 am |

    Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel.
    The deepest levels of the sadness we carry never seem to leave us….we may protect them with layers of defense but they are always in our awareness…
    Thanks again.

  18. Hi. Thank-you for sharing your heart. My heart breaks for you and for the many other birth mothers who wish they could go back.

    I’m at the other side of the adoption triad as an adoptive mother of a little girl, and I feel like I should offer my perspective. She was adopted internationally, and as much as I would love to have ANY information about her birth family, it simply is non-existent. Yet, I feel in my heart that her birth mother was led to believe that she could not care for her little girl, who was born with a correctable special need, and she must have felt she had no other option. I feel sad at her lack of knowledge and the joy of my daughter that she misses everyday. I think of her so often.

    My daughter was in an orphanage until she joined our family at the age of 2. I know that our situations are different in many respects. But my daughter did not have any choice in the matter, like nearly every other adoptee, and it does her no good, NONE, to dwell on the past and long for what can never be. No, adoption is not the best and first option. It is beauty from ashes. I have to teach my daughter to seek out the good and the beautiful and to forge her own destiny with what she has been given, and I will love and support her fiercely throughout her journey.

    For me, it is always about the child. Our foster care system and orphanages world-wide are filled with children who long to be someone’s adopted child. The adoptive parent is not the enemy.

    I pray that you find some peace, and that your words will encourage other young mothers who are facing an unexpected pregnancy to find the courage to keep their babies. That is indeed the first and best option, and we live in a country where we have so many resources to help the single mother get on her feet and be the best mother that she can be.

  19. Adoptive mother here. While I think every situation is unique, I think you make very valid points. Our adoptions were not through agencies and we did not seek out a child…we were asked to adopt and handled things through a lawyer. Having done it that way, I am not fond of agencies. I doubt things have changed much since your experience. I think it’s just a huge business, playing on the fears of a pregnant woman and the uncontrollable desire of a woman who wants to be a mother. Lots of money to be made there.

    I would never encourage someone to place their child for adoption. (well, unless the only other option for her was abortion) I liked your number 17…that nobody is ever “ready.” I’d wanted to be a mother for years and as my son’s birth neared I went into panic mode….doubting all my abilities and questioning my decision to “give up” everything I had and become a mother. To couple that with being alone and having someone try to convince you that you can’t do it, I can’t even imagine. I think every mother to be…in whatever situation….needs to know that every mother before her questioned her abilities and readiness. And that she will question her abilities for the rest of her life as a mother. To not show a mother to be every possibility for her and her child to have a wonderful life together is more than a disservice. It is deceptive and coercive.

  20. Traci Nolan | August 19, 2010 at 3:53 am |

    I am also a mother – I also chose adoption for my son. I’m not sure, even if I had known everything I know now, if I could have parented my son. As the daughter of an emotionally abusive alcoholic, I had only just started to realize the damage my mother had done to me. Since my son’s father was completely unreliable, I would truly have been parenting alone.

    Now I’m very recently reunited with my son and very relieved to find that his life has been as good as possible and that his adoptive parents are very open to the reunion.

    Still, I would add to the list the following: I wish I had known my son would be the only child I would ever have.

  21. Everyone’s story is different. I am an adoptive mother of the most beautiful little girl in the whole world. I want to tell you, that I am very, very grateful to my daughter’s birthmother, and I have tried to tell her over, and over again. I cherish her, and she is the most courageous person I know. I know it is not anyone’s job to make us infertile people parents; however I am beyond happy that I get to be a parent even though I cannot give my child everything (genetics). I think about my daughter’s birthmother almost every day, I think about her loss, and I feel sad for what she went through, though I have no idea what emotions she is going through, since I have not walked in her shoes. I try to educate myself about all sides of adoption, the positive, the negative, the whole triad, which is why I am reading here on your site. Thank you for giving me a chance to read your story.

  22. As a mother who lost her only son in 1968 and began a limited reunited with him in 1999, I realize what you said is absolutely true. I would add one more specific–I wish I had realized that I would also lose my only two grandsons. After 42 years the pain continues to be so real and the losses just go on and on.

  23. I am posting as an adoptee. It was helpful to read your post and see some of the emotions that my mother may have had.

    I have lived in a loving adoptive home for over 50 years and I do think of my birth mother and wonder/worry about her feelings/emotions. I know that giving me up may have been traumatic for her and frequently think that I would like to let her know that I am ok.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings. It helps me understand better how my mother might have felt. That in itself is a very healing thing.

  24. I loved (and hated) reading your post – every single point you make is so true – all of it is the exact description of my experience with adoption.
    Your #4 and #17 especially hit home. I was so embarrassed and ashamed and felt (and was told) I could never disgrace my family by keeping my child. Seems so trivial now! And, at the time, I also believed that ‘love alone’ wasn’t enough.
    When my daughter was 16 she sought me out: desperate and damaged! By me, and then by them.
    Her own adoptive mother’s admission that things between them had never really been good and that she had asked for me every single day from when she was about 3.
    My daughter and I have a close and wonderful relationship now – but it is very hard healing process: I add to your list that I wish a better screening process had taken place with my daughter’s adoptive parents – for all those years I truly believed that they could give her better, that they were better; than me and for her. Sadly, in my case, this was not so. I know a lot of truly wonderful adoptive parents – but this was not what my child got and I’m not sure either of us will ever properly recover.
    So, thank you for writing your story.

  25. Loved the list. Really made me think about how my birthmother must feel. Unfortunately, she does not talk to me about these feelings, but I’m sure they are somewhere under the surface of her “perfect life”. Had she not given me up, she would have never met her husband or so she says.

    I was thinking of writing my own list as an adoptee, but since I didn’t sign up for being adopted, there wasn’t really much I could do about somebody else’s decision! I will say that I’m not convinced that my life with my afamily was any better/worse than it would have been in my birth family. I think the big difference would be – had i not been relinquished for adoption – I could take for granted my heritage, biology, DNA and original birth certificate like most non-adopted people do!

  26. In my case, my birth mother had no choice (she was severely mentally ill) and I really am better off with my adoptive family (my birth mother died while I was still young). But even before I knew these facts about her, I was always tremendously grateful to her for giving me life. I know my parents owe her an enormous debt of gratitude as well.

    I am sorry that you didn’t get the support you should have gotten at the time. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you as a pregnant teenager who was told you were doing “the right thing” for your child. I am sorry for your loss.

  27. I, myself, am an adoptee. I think about my mother every single day. You have no idea how much I would like to meet her. I love her and hate her at the same time. I do not know the reason for why she gave me up. I wish I did….

  28. I could say the same things you said, but about abortion. I didn’t have any idea that the father would be required to pay child support. Thanks for the info, Planned Parenthood. I asked for counseling and they said there were no openings, but they found a doctor and an opening for the abortion. I was assured it would be over, and my life would go on and I would forget. Never. Almost thirty years later and I’m am still haunted.

  29. I am posting as both an adoptee and an adoptive mother. I was adopted 35 years ago in a closed adoption situation and adopted my 3 year old in a semi-open situation. We too used a lawyer but are hoping to adopt again using an agency. I do wish I knew my birthmom and do feel as though there is a huge piece of the puzzle missing from my life. I have had some issues with this while growing up but have had the love and support of my family to get me through it all. I really never understood the perspective of a birthmom until we met our daughter’s birthmom. I am blessed to have gotten the chance to meet her and still keep in contact with her. I try my best to support her in her own life as she continues to struggle. I know that she misses both the babies that she placed terribly but does have an open adoption with one and a semi-open (probably will become more open as time goes on) with the other. I agree with many of your points here but I also think that not all situations are the same. I don’t agree with coercing parents into adoption and purposely chose a lawyer and now an agency I think people who are considering placing their child for adoption should be well-informed about the possible effects that the adoption will have on them…definately not a “problem that will go away.” That being said, I know that my daughter’s birthmom feels like she has inherited another family and a support system with both of her daughter’s adoptive families. She feels that she did what she had to do and is still in a place in her life where she couldn’t be a parent. I want my daughter to know her someday as I am missing this connection to my past so I will support her in this. I am a huge advocate of open adoption (the only reason ours isn’t fully open is that we are separated by several states and an international border!) Anyway…I just thought I would post a slightly different perspective. I do feel for you and for my own birthmom and for my daughter’s birthmom. I don’t profess to know what it is like to walk in your shoes. I only know the feelings of the other two sides of the adoption triangle.

  30. Claudia, this was so powerful. I love to hear your “voice” Lots of love to you.

  31. Great description of the adoption “choice”. Early on in reunion I called a major agency in Texas and talked to the director. I told him the heartache of relinquisment and asked that he let young mothers know the truth. Basically he told me that the adoptive parents are his customers. If only we could let the women know our truth before the “customers” vultures get ahold of them. Your post needs to be widespread. It is truth!!

  32. Thank you for posting this!So much of what you posted is what I have felt! I am a birth mother.I am trying to reunite right now. My son will be 18 on August 15. I know he is on facebook. I have contacted his mother but haven’t heard anything yet. This is very hard time!

  33. Loretta Sanchez | August 1, 2011 at 12:55 am |

    I read your info and it was as if I wrote it myself…I put a daughter up for adoption 12 years ago as 7/2/99. I sent flowers and the next day I received an email from the AP to stay out her my daughters life and that she will contact me if she (daugter) wants to meet me. The AP stated that she is relating what my daughters is saying and doing this to “protect her”,….From what I dont know…It was like a sock in the heart all over again. It was supposed to be an open adoption and never received pics/letters nothing. These people who I placed/chose for my baby are ugly. I feel for you and TOTALLY REGRET adoption. I would have rathered STRUGGLED taking care of my children than to have to go through all I have gone through. I understand all that you have to stay. God bless you and comfort your heart

  34. What about in this case? Her birth mother got her back. Was she better off wth her biological parents?


  35. I feel for you in your situation. It is very hard to know what to do at 19. My mother also got pregnant at 19 with my older sister. She moved into a place which the adoptive parents would pay for and then my mom would give up my sister right at birth. However, during this time she met my dad and he talked her in to keeping my sister and said they would marry and he would help raise her. So that is what they did. She kept my sister, paid the money back that she owed to the adoptive parents/agency for living there. That was 34 years ago.

    Four years after my sister, I was born, I was the “planned child,” and then two more boys were born several years later. My mom decided she wished none of that would have happened. She wished she got to party more when she was younger. She didn’t even want me to call her “mom” in public anymore. She started partying all the time and pulling my sister into the middle of her and my dad’s fights. Her and my sister started fighting all the time too. My sister ended up moving out at 15-years-old to get away from it. Then my mom left the rest of us so my dad raised me and my baby brothers, who barely know my mom now. I didn’t talk to my mom for 10 years after that. My sister spent most of her adult life in prison and struggled with drugs and alcoholism and can’t figure out why she cannot stay in a relationship. I turned out OK, went to college got my masters and got married. Her and my mom try to talk some times now every few months, but it always ends in a fight. I talk to my sister she is still talking about how “crazy” my mom is, despite years of counceling my sister has not moved past all of what my mom put her though. My dad says some times he thinks my sister would’ve have been better off if she had been adopted. I think my sister would’ve been better off if she had a mom that was there for her, adopted or not. Just a mom that would commit to being a mom.

    Now, I am an adult and married and cannot have children. Am I considering adoption? You bet ya. I am all for women raising their own kids, I even worked in a community program in graduate school designing programs to help single mothers be impowered. But when all efforts are spent and there is no more forcing someone to parent their child, I think adopted parents are better than no parents. After spending years and years seeing my dad (who was a great dad) try to get my mom to just talk to my brothers on their birthdays, I realize some people just won’t parent untill they are ready. I also realized what a huge impact not having a mom who would see them was on my brothers. Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t ready to parent untill she was 50, and by then it was too late, we were all grown up.

    I guess my point to the story is that we don’t know what would have happend if things were the other way. Maybe my sister would’ve turned out with a great and happy life if she had been adopted by a stable loving mother or maybe she would’ve got in a car accident and got killed on the way home. Who knows. All we can think is that the other way would have been better, but it could have been worse too. I do not think when my mom was 19 and decided to keep my sister that she was thinking “I’ll bet in 15 years I will regret this.”

  36. I’m sitting here in tears. i lost both of my children 12 years ago due to a greedy system that didn’t care that I was running for our lives away form an abusive ex husband. When my youngest was bron, shortly after I needed emergency surgery. the respite care parents of my baby decided come hell or high water, that they were going to adopt my son. it was not my decision, but social services needing to place an order for a baby. No neglect, no abuse, but false claims about my past childhood abuse at the hands of my father “POSSIBLY” carrying over to my own children. I was running AWAY from an abusive relationship, there was no way in hell I would abuse my own children. So, at the ages of 8 and 2, my sons were ripped away form me. No recourse, no solutions, just money changing hands and babies being led away form me screaming. I lost my entire heart that day.
    My oldest is back home now. he found me on facebook last october. When his adoptve parents found out, they threw him here with me. just up and sent him on his way. they never cared about him. At the age of 19, he has never had a job, cannot drive a car, and has NO sense of self, or family. he feels entitled to get everything because they gave him material things, but never gave him the vital skills he needs to survive in the world. I have 12 years of damage to undo, and it’s extremely hard going. But one son is home, damaged, but home. if he would have been raised by me, i would still have the sweet caring, happy child he was before he was stolen from me.

    • When parents tell us their happy they have our children, and that they feel sad for us, and think about birth mothers every day and how they are not the enemy, they evoke emotions in me. I am a father, twice over. Raised one lost the other, 9 months apart. It has affected all of us in our family. I have cried so many tears, pulled myself together and dragged on. Grrr… is the feeling I have for adoptive parents. More specifically mine, and more so for attitudes in common they share. I have much to be thankful for with my daughter’s parents. But, mostly I am thinking what they cost my daughter, her mother, the other children in our families. Now my grandson and his cousins, my other grandsons, the ones I get to enjoy so often. I am lucky, I have a daughter two years into union, I have had some wonderful times with her, I am looking forward to more. Having said all of this, I loathe adoption. I hate adoptive parents taking advantage of kids, of parents, of countries. When they call us equals in the triad situation, I want to scream, how nice of you, how shallow, but thank you too, so much better than no thought at all. But no, the power resides with the adopter. They control time, the moment, the truth, or the writing of the story. I wanted my child back, I wanted my child period. They could have had anyone’s, but not mine. They sent letters to her mother, that lasted three years? What they would not do was help her, let her hold her, let her have that joy too. They cut mother, daughter off from one another, they stripped her of her identity and changed her beautiful name. Not entirely their fault, third party interests, censored letters. Yet they had a choice and closed us off. I found out four years later, I was so instantly angry, there was no getting my daughter or for her to know about a sister. We were cut off, thats what makes a them the enemy. They hold the power, they perpetuate the industry, they could organise & change things. But, they organise and protect themselves leaving the rest of us to wallow in our losses. I see sweetness, but usually it is with out depth of understanding, other than skewed facts, decisions based in religious beliefs, that need in themselves an overhaul.

      • I’m shocked and saddened by your response to this. Yes, the adoption system needs to change and yes, what you went through was heartbreaking. I am, however, shocked that you call the adoptive parent the enemy. Someone wanted to love and care for your daughter. They may have cut off the mother and you (a decision I don’t necessarily support) but how could you call them awful names when it’s the system that’s broken. I think you misread this piece. This woman’s anger is with the SYSTEM. It’s a problem in the way things are run.

  37. Thank you for sharing your heart in your posts. I’ve read several over the last 24 hours and been in tears much of the time. I had my baby at 19 and kept him, hard as it was and abandoned as I felt…at first. Yeah, my life changed drastically, and I raised him alone until I married my husband when my son was 6, but I’ve never wondered for a second if I made the right choice. I wear my stretch marks like a badge of honor, and my husband views me as a stronger person for them. I’m so sorry your story isn’t the same as mine and I don’t want to sound like I’m gloating or anything like that because that’s not my intent. I simply want you to know, that while I’ve always known keeping my baby was totally worth it (especially since he’s now 28 and I’m so proud of him I could burst), your posts have made me understand this on a deeper level. Frankly, they scared the crap out of me just thinking about what “might have been.” Of course you wrote them for another purpose entirely (which I fully support), but it’s important that you know you are also touching others outside your intended audience. You have made me more grateful for the blessing I was given, and I hope and pray you find healing for the wrong that was done to you as well as many happy years of new memories with Max.

  38. I havent even gotten to your pain rate yet. Im 8 months pregnant w my 4th child and I just turned 21 ive been unstable from place to place when I was 16 after my nother passed away (my only caretaker) 3 months after she passed away I found out,i was 4 mobths pregnant and weny throufh an abortion which was beyond painful I still have dreams about it. 3 years later I had another son. His father is the only one that has ever helped me though it was not at all a healthy relationship I am now pregnant again and cant imagine seekibg life for this baby because im usually homeless or place to place. I first got in touch w an adoption agency but immediately felt strange vibes from them. No care or concern for me they just were trying to make sure I would sign tgose papers and not back out. Well I started going to church and met these great pastors they had a friend I could meet for help and guidance. So far I still believe she has good intentions I just dnt like that she is so christian but judges gays and mediums…that really bothers me when people judge as the lords creatures because anyone that is of god wouldn’t be so judging. Anyway she has a daughter and her name is tammy. She just found out she cannot have a baby after trying for 5 years and said its a true blessing god has brought me her way. I really like her has a person because I feel she cares about me though I am beyond volnerable I now feel obligated to give her the baby. So far I’ve never been asked how I could keep my baby and find stability I m just so overwhelmed with their story. I’m really confused now. I cry just thinking about coming home alone after carrying him for nine months. I picture myself drinking my emptiness away night after night because I. Can’t see myself being okay w this ever no matter how much I pray or whatever. Any help would be nice critisizm and all

    • It doesn’t matter how kind, helpful, Christian, infertile, desperate, sad, or whatever Tammy is. The very fact that you feel like obligation is a major red flag. She might not have her intentions clear, but I can tell you..if she was really helping YOU, then she would be helping you find away and get it together so you can keep you child. She would not be coveting your baby and you would not feel this desperation.
      Listen to your gut..you already have an idea of how broken you will be separated from your son…I reality, after birth..is SO SO much worse..like unimagainaiable, gut stretching, never end, can’t breathe grief for years….we do not recover.
      Get away from Tammy…get away from the church..( they were wrong to hand you over to a woman who wants your baby…) .pregnant women normally do get first dibs at social services. It might not be perfect, but it will be worth it to explore anything and take the opportunity to find help to keep your child. It’s ok to start at the bottom…you move up from there…it can be done!! The most important thing is you keep you child with you.

  39. Dezerae…can you tell us what part of the country you live in? I would like to help you find some resources that will help YOU make decisions that are solid ones for you and your life and the life of your baby…everyone has a slant or agenda whether or not they can see it or not. I would love to see if I could help you find someone who can make it about you…

  40. I am both an adoptee and an adoptive mother (just so you know my slant). I missed my first mother very much and wish she could have kept me. I could not see at the time what adopting our daughter would mean to us and to her. I love her so much and would do anything for her. But she has paid a price in being adopted by us…and I just could not see clearly then…

  41. Thank you for sharing your heart. I am an adoptee and adoption is something that is very, very close to my heart. I wanted to share my heart on this subject. I do agree that relinquishing a child for adoption is life altering and alters the course of life for a lot of people. I agree that you can’t really understand what the future will hold or how you will feel after the relinquishment. I agree that you can’t possibly know what it is like to be a mother before you are one.

    Did you relinquish your child to make another couple’s “dreams of a family” come true? Or did you relinquish because you felt that you could not parent that child the way that they deserved to be parented? Did you put the adoptive families needs before your own? Or your child’s needs? It is not your child’s responsibility to fill a hole that you are missing. That isn’t fair to him. If you viewed adoption positively, perhaps your other children would also view it more positively. Your bitterness and anger is so apparent. There is unique feelings about adoption with every single adoptee that I have ever met. From grateful to bitter. Your story has value and is important to be heard and told. And my story has value and is important to be heard and told.

    *Thoughts on some of the comments:
    @Barbara Gladfelter – Is it really the “stuff she got” or the family who loves her and makes her happy? Why on earth would you wish that your daughter wasn’t happy? That comment makes me think that you do not have her best interest at heart and that you are more concerned about yourself than her. I refuse to call my birth mother “mom”. I have two mothers, but only one “mom”. And if my birth mother had taken issue with that, our relationship would have become non-existent.

    @Jane – That’s a lie. Adoption touched my life, I benefitted from it. I didn’t lose – I gained more than you could ever imagine. Don’t speak for me.

    @Jodyfoznot – Beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. Adoptive parents aren’t the enemy and children long for family. It’s so sad when selfish parents put their needs, wants, and regrets ahead of what is best for the child.

    • Did you relinquish your child to make another couple’s “dreams of a family” come true? Yes.. that idea was definitely appealing to me. I used to say.. and yes, this is a direct quoote; ” If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, at least I would have a chance to go to heaven because I did this one unselfish act for people I never met”

      Or did you relinquish because you felt that you could not parent that child the way that they deserved to be parented? I was doubtful of my ability and afraid I would resent the changes required in my life. Both of which could have easily been eliminated by pointing out how incredibly good I already was with children the fact that the changes occurring because I was a mother would happen no matter what.

      Did you put the adoptive families needs before your own? Yes, definitely. That’s part of the agency indoctrination; you transfer your happiness to the adoptive parents. It was not until 17 years later that I dared to make our needs of equal value and I felt guilty doing so.

      Or your child’s needs?
      I do not think my son’s needs were adequately looked at by anyone. I, because I was unaware of how much he would really need me and my natural desire for him was discounted. No one else, the agency or family, either spoke about how my son needed me, his tribe, his family.

      It is not your child’s responsibility to fill a hole that you are missing. That isn’t fair to him.
      Quite right. I do not expect that of him. It’s equally unfair for a child to met the needs felt by his then infertile adoptive parents either, but that was socially sanctioned.

      If you viewed adoption positively, perhaps your other children would also view it more positively. I view adoption realistically and I allow my children to view it however they choose to. I have no need to sugar coat it for them nor could I. They are very aware of the loss their brother is in their own lives. They have their own stories and their own losses and a right to process the feelings as they see fit.

      Your bitterness and anger is so apparent. And why should it not be? How am I supposed to feel knowing that I was a good mother who did not deserve to lose my child? How am I supposed to process that the agency withheld factual data from about the long term consequences for relinquishment? Should I be joyful that I was used, that my child was used? Should I be happy that I allowed a man to be denied the rights to even know that he had a child for 19 years? I was wronged. My child was wrong. There is no greater reason to be angry as when a mother sees her child hurt.

      There is unique feelings about adoption with every single adoptee that I have ever met. From grateful to bitter. Your story has value and is important to be heard and told. And my story has value and is important to be heard and told. I agree. That’s why I blog and why I have guest posts.

      • Thanks for responding. I wanted to share a little bit more about my story with you. I am aware that sometimes I see things through rose colored glasses because my experience has been so positive. And I know that stories are very individual – my sister has very different feelings and emotions about adoption than I do. I am blessed to have a lot of adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive parents in my life and hear their stories.

        My birth mother was sixteen when I was conceived and born, her seventeenth birthday was just a few days after my birth. She wanted my parents to adopt me and wanted to have them bring me home from the hospital. Her mother said no, that she needed to grow up and be a parent (I was born in 1982). My parents never sought out to adopt, never used an agency, never created an adoption profile. They were completely unaware of her desire to place me with them or that she was even considering adoption. My dad came to the hospital to see me, never knowing that he would end up being my dad.

        Things did not go well after I was born. Her mother was a single mother with five children, two younger than my birth mom and another child who had issues with drugs at that time. I was born in February and by May, my birth mother disappeared. I had been already been hospitalized for a time for breathing issues. I had been in foster care with her due to her issues with drugs and criminal behavior (instead of being removed from her care, we were there together). And then she was gone. 3 weeks. She came home and told her mom that she wanted my parents to adopt me. Her mother, siblings, and her made the decision as a family and then called my parents that night and asked them if they would be willing to take me. 3 days later, my parents brought me home.

        I met her when I was thirteen and several times after that, as well as her other children. She died almost 5 years ago and I was blessed to have moments with her before then. I love her tremendously. She gave me the most incredible gift of two families who love me. I never felt unwanted or unloved. She always made me comfortable to be myself and most importantly to me, she acknowledged my parents as being my parents. That was such a gift – it wasn’t awkward or weird to talk about my life with her. I am very close to her brother and he is the same way. There are other family members though who call themselves my “real” family and have asked me to call her mom, even when I have expressed that I am not comfortable with that. I no longer have a relationship with them because of the pressure to feel something that I don’t feel.

        I disagree that adoption is done to meet the need of the infertile adoptive parents, although I admit that this has and could occur. I just don’t see that being the norm or even common. Especially now with a lot of adoptive families not being infertile. I’m hoping to adopt a child and I’m not infertile. I see kids every day that are waiting for families and who are born to parents who are unable and/or unwilling to parent them safely. It isn’t about me. It’s about giving them a family and a place to belong.

  42. Thank you for this post. I would like to comment on the point: “I wish I had known how much it would suck to hear my other kids say things like” I forget what Max looks like”, or “I don’t feel like I have another brother,”…

    I am an adoptee in reunion with my father for over 10 years, but my siblings have only known about me for the past three years or so. I’ve only met with one of them so far (we live far away), and it went wonderfully…. Recently, though, I wasn’t invited to a big family wedding (through a different sibling.) When I sounded out my sibling on this, I was told that I don’t really feel like a sibling at all, and that’s why I wasn’t even informed about the wedding at all … I haven’t been able to meet this particular sibling yet, so maybe the feeling is really understandable, I just have to say…. it really really hurts like hell. I cried for about two days straight. I am just trying to move beyond it, reminding myself of my own strengths and accomplishments, and of the many positive relationships I do have.

    I would just really try to urge any first family or birth relatives reading this post to really try to recall that adopted people suffer lifelong feelings of rejection. Even though we are aware of how our mothers were blind sided into giving us up, the pain never really goes away. If you really don’t feel the person who was given up for adoption in family isn’t ‘really’ your sibling, that’s fine… but maybe just don’t spell it out for them, because it creates a lot more pain in a situation where there is a lot of pain already. Thanks for reading this.

    • In my own anger at adoptive parents……they did not care to know more…..they sought out a woman, any woman would do that was considering giving up a child. Closed adoption, I was never told. Never asked, no one cared, they got the baby, and ohh here is some pictures, but hands off. Who knows exactly which way things got, but that’s the way it was portrayed. But Hey yes, moving forward now, I could care less about the adopters, but i have too, and its just difficult.. I need adoptees perspective too….I want my daughter and to drive her away would hurt me worse than anything. Just am hurt so bad myself……..Especially with them taking the lead in everything I would have so enjoyed, that was taken. So getting over myself seems to be my major battle now, especially because I am lucky to have something instead of nothing. But, reading these blogs I know I am not alone, and that their is a great injustice in adoption, or even in what drives us there. Its the grief I don’t want to overwhelm her with because it so hard to not share your soul with a loved one that loves you.

  43. Vicki Stuart | October 14, 2014 at 5:20 am |

    The really beautiful people in adoption are the mothers who lost their children. Adoption is all about sourcing children for childless couples. I lost my child to the White Stolen Generation – I did not relinquish him, he was stolen. What angers me is the ugly attitude of adoptive parents I’ve listened to over the years. I can honestly in 40 years I have never heard adoptive parents ever say a decent word about the mother of the child they adopted. You might write it here but I bet you’ve never said it in company. APs think they belong on a pedestal – in my opinion the mother who chose to give life belongs on the pedestal – she is the selfless one who put everyone else before her, and though I lost my son to adoption, in my case I had my baby for ME not some selfish AP. Unfortunately they had two votes and I had none so he was stolen because the adoption lobby had enough power to coerce the Govt of the time to create orphans so they could adopt. How bloody ugly!

  44. As an adoptee, I very strongly believe in nature rather than nurture. I could never relate at all to my adoptive family and their particular brand of craziness. As an adult, I have found my birth family, and feel a closeness and familiarity with them that I never felt growing up with my adoptive family. Even though I found y birth family after my birth mother had already passed on, they shared photos, stories and history about her, and I found myself having great love and understanding for her; not judgment of her. This has been a very healing experience for me that I wish all adoptees could have.

  45. I’m adopted and having met my birth parents, it was the best damn thing that’s ever happened to me. My birth parents are both incredibly unstable and I would have been deprived of a lot if I hadn’t been adopted out. Sometimes it’s the best choice and I respect any birth mother who makes one of the hardest decisions a woman will ever have to make in her lifetime.

    • Clare, you certainly have the right to feel however you do about your adoption. And if it was good for you, then great.. really! Perhaps then in your case, adoption was necessary.
      However.. and this is not at all to dismiss your experience…do you know if your birth parents were as equally unstable at the time of the relinquishment? Not to question you, but certainly I would be amiss if I didn;t point out that it seems that many birth parents could have been OK as parents with some support. It was the relinquishment grief and trauma that pushed then into a downward spiral. For instance, when someone tells me that their biological parent was an addict. My question is was she an addict BEFORE, or was the addiction a way of coping with the loss? Again, just someting to thin about. You don;t have any need to prove it to me!
      For me, though and because this is my list of the things I wish I had known.. it certainly was NOT the case of “best” by any means. We were very lucky and for both my son and myself, everything did turn out OK in the end, but his adoption was completely unnecessary. I have to say, I don;t want respect for “my choice” . I don’t deserve respect for it. I was scared, doubtful, and too easily influenced by others. There was nothing respectful about it. I was failed by those around me and such things, such tragedies, don’t deserve respect.
      I would rather have you respect what I am saying now as an adult who can see so much further than the scared 19 year old me did.

  46. Lead here after reading about adoption star and your 1099 and the myth of non profit. I was referred to them by 2 quad a NYC attorneys bc I kept wanting so much medical info, drug testing, etc. I was hesitant to move forward w attorney or adoption star. is there any adoption agency you like or recommend or do you not believe in it at all. There HAVE to be some good ones, and I believe SOME parent (s) are kind & loving. I was hoping by living in NYC id have access to some, but you were here prior to Boston, right? I’m too old to do anything but adopt ( seeing fertility specialist to cf) and I have all the $$ to give a child all she could desire. I’m so depressed about it, beyond words. I also have the time, she would be my full time job. What is your suggestion for a loving caring person who is financially secure to do if she desires a kid never having found a partner ( now I’m even mad at myself for always using birth control)

    • Hi JAckie, Several things..
      1) no, I cannot recommend ANY agency for domestic infant adoption. In over 90% of all voluntary domestic placements, the relinquishment is unnecessary and could be avoided if the mother is given support, whether, emotional, temporarily financial, etc. By condoning DIA at all, I feel I am helping to separate a mother and child and given them avoidable loss and suffering. It’s just not at all ethical in my opinion.
      2) I still live in NY.. and for sure here ARE great adoptive parents in the world.. I know many.. but they were also used by the system and exploited based on their desires and cash flow.
      3) I feel the need to say that you DO know that bringing a child into your life isn’t really supposed to be a cure all for your feelings? Like it is pretty much considered unfair to expect a child to relieve your depression? I caution that you should work through you own regrets and grief of a life lost before you put those unrealistic expectations on a child.
      4) Listen, if you really do desire to be a parent and do have the resources,, then PLEASE look to foster care!! NY has MANY children that actually NEED homes.. consider a sibling group or an older child. There is NO reason, beyond you “wanting” it, to insist on an infant so YOU can have the “full experience” but honestly, I see that as silly. You aren’t going to have it ” all.” it’s a different animal, so accept that and do what is ethical and doesn’t foster your pain on others. If you go through an agency or attorney for a baby, then you will basically b taking your depression and giving it to another mother. Its transferring pain along with the child and that’s just not nice. Please rethink your desire to get a baby and do what is needed.

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