Birthmother Commentary: On and Off Line

What Society Thinks of Birthmothers in Adoption

People say the Dernest Things….. about Birthmothers

I wrote this a few years ago for Grown in My Heart. I was still working full time then, so obviously “the other day” is not current, but the, sadly, still rest is. Since GIMH is no longer online, I decided to republish it. I hate it when stuff I wrote just hangs out in my files.

What Society Thinks of Birthmothers in AdoptionThe other day we were having lunch with a client in the local fancy French place near our office. There was three of us from my office; one of the owners of my company, Carol who is in sales, myself newly appointed “Director of Social Media” (sounds real fancy, right?) and, then, our client who is in Public Relations for Plastic Surgeons. Lunch was winding down and somehow the subject turned to travel and I mentioned how I was so wishing I was on the way to Ohio. Or maybe Ohio was mentioned? I forget. In either case, the client asked why and, as a person who is very open about my life and adoption ( or else I would not have mentioned Ohio),  I replied that I wished I was going to the AAC Adoption Conference which was being held in Ohio. (ETA this year it is April 9 to 13th in San Francisco and I shall be there! You can register now online here)

Anyway, back to the conversation: It’s almost comical when the conversation goes like this because it always does when I bring up adoption with someone new:

“Oh, are you adopted?”


“Are your children adopted?”


“Are you considering adopting?”


“Then, why……” with the absolutely confused look.

I am smiling by now, because I know this is how it goes, and so I declare most cheerfully:

 ”Ah, everyone always forgets the one for whom without there would be no adoption at all.  I relinquished my oldest son to adoption at birth into a closed adoption. I am what they like to call a birthmother

I think she genuinely felt bad that she forgot the third ‘triad’ leg because it turned out that she was an adoptive mother, but it just goes to show that us birth mothers are a sneaky sort and you never know who just might be one. You sure can’t tell just by looking at us.

Which is probably a good thing because some people sure don’t have very nice things to say about birthmothers.

If we really had to be identified all the live long day some people might find the need to pelt us with rocks or at least, if one was ever to take seriously what one reads online, hurl vast insults and barbed comments as we went about our days. I could see a lot of us spending a lot of time in tears because what people say out of fear or weird anger or ignorance or just plain judgment can be really harsh.

Openly admitting in all sorts of mixed company, I have heard people say the most inappropriate things about my life, my status as a birthmother, and my very moral fibers. From the young girl who exclaimed a strangely innocent “How cool!” when I explained that I had been separated from my infant son since he was two days old to sitting in the notorious “green room” back stage waiting to be a guest on the Montel Williams show and having the “adoption lawyer expert” look at me oddly and ask,  ”What’s wrong with adoption?” and then go on to explain to me that all his birthmother clients are indeed crack whores; I think I have heard it all.

It still never ceases to chock me when someone comes to my blog, my home so to speak, reads as I pour my very soul out and then attacks:

“You are blaming others for your own actions. You knew you wanted to adopt. You knew this. When I was pregnant, I knew that I was going to follow through the pregnancy and through the motherhood. Yea, we were poor, but money and love don’t mix. I was going to make it work, even if it meant sacrificing a dream of becoming a doctor. My child was more important. You made a choice to give the baby away. No one forced you. You heard what you wanted to hear, and you went along with everything, finalized everything. No one forged your signature in the final papers. You signed. In the end, those who regret their decisions try to blame others. In the end, the only one you should be blaming is yourself. No one took anything from you. You made a choice to give the baby away. And your dream came true. Too bad. So sad.”

I have been at this too long as it does not affect me on a personal level, but I wonder what has made this person so judgmental in their own thoughts that they cannot imagine ever being in a place where you had to make a very hard decision, did what you thought was best, and only later, to find out that you did not have all the information and based your decision on the wrong priorities. I know people put down others to make themselves feel better and I know they attack what they fear, but sometimes, still, you got to wonder.

The saddest part is that I know that many people do think like the anonymous poster on my blog about birthmothers:

We had sex outside of marriage and failed to be responsible for our fertility and now, all that we reap, we have sown.

Any sadness we have felt is our own doing. I often wonder if the people who write such things were all virgins when they entered their blessed union. How did they get blessed with a divine right to judge birthmothers?   I wonder if their condoms ever did break. I guess there are many perfect people in this world who have never done anything wrong, never made a mistake, and then regretted it.  A journey to any public article on adoption will show the venom towards mothers who relinquished. Keeping quiet about ones status as a birthmother also allows you to hear the unedited feelings of others in daily life. Maybe that is one reason I am so open. So far, no one has ever said anything so rude to my face.

Though it might be interesting if they tried.


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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,, 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.

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