The Woes of Adoption: The Birth Mother's View

When most people think of adoption, they think one of two ways. One, how lucky is the family that is getting this beautiful new baby, and two, it must have been really hard for the birth mother to make that difficult decision. Being a birth mother who made the decision to put my child up for adoption, I can tell you that it's not always a difficult decision. Sometimes, it's the easiest decision you can make.

When a woman or couple is faced with the dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy, there are a few different options. This isn't about telling you what you should or shouldn't do, this is about what I chose to do. A decision that was deeply personal, but one that was inevitable.

A Bit Of Background

I was nineteen years old, still a child by most of society's standards. I found myself in an all too familiar, yet devastating position that a lot of young girls find themselves in. I was pregnant. I wasn't in a relationship, and I had just started college. I was having the time of my life; new friends, sororities, living on my own for the first time... Freedom, finally. It was fabulous. Then, that. It was the absolute worst thing that could have happened at the time. For awhile, I did the most immature and irresponsible thing I could do. I ignored it. I knew it wouldn't make it go away, but it was my way of dealing with it. If I didn't think about it, I didn't have to worry about decisions, or judgement. That's the thing about society... People are always so quick to judge young people who find themselves in situations like that, but what they don't realize is, there's no way they're judging you any harsher than you're judging yourself. I beat myself up over it for weeks. I was a smart girl! I had just received a full ride scholarship to my school of choice... How could I have been so stupid? But once you realize that beating yourself up and putting yourself down isn't going to make it go away, you can finally start to deal with things.

Decisions, decisions...

Once I came to terms with the fact that I was, in fact, going to have a baby, I was flooded with options. First, I could keep the baby. Love it, cherish it, and raise it. Give it what it needed, and most of what it wanted. Thing is, I wasn't exactly in any position to provide for a child. Some people may think that giving up a child for adoption is an incredibly selfish decision, but for me, it was the opposite. I was completely aware that if I kept this child, I would never be able to provide for him or her they way they deserved. My family was supportive, and offered help to me if I decided to keep it. But I refused to be a mother that couldn't do it on my own and constantly needed help, whether it be financially or emotionally. I knew immediately that I was not going to keep this child. So then I was faced with two options: abortion or adoption. Abortion is an extremely touchy subject, one I'm not going to discuss in this hub. I will say though, it was an option I considered. Once I decided that abortion wasn't the route I wanted to pursue at that time, I was left with only one option.

Adoption

Once I had decided that I was going to place my child up for adoption, I thought my hard decisions were over. That's far from the truth. Some of the most difficult decisions I had to make were after I had made up my mind about adoption. It is a heart wrenching and emotionally distressing thing to decide who is going to raise your child. There are a few different ways you can go about doing that. You can go through agencies who will help choose parents, figure out all of the legalities of the adoption, and provide any documentation you may need. There are also independent adoptions where no agencies are involved, and the adoptive parents pay medical and legal costs, as well as any other costs. After speaking to a few agencies, I was completely overwhelmed. There are so many families out there that are longing for children, and it is absolutely heart breaking to tell a couple that they aren't the right people to raise your child. I spoke to my aunt, and she told me about independent adoptions, something I knew nothing about. In order to have an independent adoption, you have to know a couple who is looking to adopt. For some, independent adoptions can be too personal, but I was having no luck with the agencies, so I decided to give it a chance. She told me about some friends of a friend who were looking to adopt. They were a young couple who both worked in the medical field. They had no children of their own, not because they weren't able, but because they had chosen to pursue adoption so they could give a child a home that needed one. After learning a little about them, I immediately liked them. When I was 8 months pregnant, we finally set up a meeting with them. I was incredibly stressed, and eventually decided not to meet them myself. That sounds absurd, but at that point I just couldn't handle it. Instead, my aunt and my grandmother met them. If I didn't trust their opinions completely, I wouldn't have let them do it. But after the meeting my aunt told me all about them and showed me their picture. In an instant, I could see my child as a part of their family. It was a bittersweet moment, but I knew the decision was made.

Complications

A couple of weeks after I had chosen the couple, I went into the doctor for some normal tests. I was eight and a half months pregnant, and starting to become miserable. My doctor noticed some irregularities in my vitals, and I was immediately checked into the hospital. After some additional tests, I was put on bed rest and the doctors planned to induce my labor, meaning they would physically put me into labor. I wasn't quite to term with my pregnancy, so my body wouldn't accept the medicine to induce me. Because of complications, and dangers to the child and myself, I went into surgery for an emergency caesarean section. I was completely terrified. The surgery went smoothly, but afterwards the doctors were incredibly worried about my health. The decision was made that I needed to be sent to a different hospital, one more equipped to deal with my complications. Before I left, my doctor asked if I'd like to see my son. I had given birth to a beautiful baby boy, and I had no idea. I chose to see him, and held him for a few minutes before I was taken to the other hospital.

The hospital I was taken to was about two hours from my home. My family accompanied me there, but left later that evening. I was there for three days, completely alone except for the insane amount of doctors and nurses parading in and out of my room. That was three days to think about things. I was told that because of all of the complications with my pregnancy it would be incredibly dangerous, possibly even life-threatening, for me to have another child. When they told me that, I was horrified because this could be my only chance to be a mother. Just because I didn't feel ready at this point in my life to have a child didn't mean that I never wanted to have a child. Those three days were a sort of blessing in disguise, because it gave me time to realize that regardless of what I may or may not be able to do in the future, adoption was still the best option for me, and for him, at this point. My son was in the hospital back home, along with all of my family and his new adoptive family. Because no papers had been signed and I was still his legal guardian, he couldn't be released from the hospital until I was there. Once I was released, my family picked me up and we drove straight to our local hospital. His adoptive parents were waiting there, and it was the first time I had met them in person. It was so easy to see the utter joy that they had. They were taking home their son today. I signed the release papers from the hospital, and since I hadn't signed over my parental rights to the adoptive couple, the nurse could only hand him to me. Then I physically had to hand him to his new parents. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but at the same time, it was so easy to give him to people who could provide for him rather than take him home and struggle.

The Aftermath

The first few weeks I was home were difficult. I was emotional and wasn't quite sure how to handle everything that had happened in such a short amount of time. I talked to a therapist about how I was feeling, something I urge any of you to do if you're having a hard time handling anything in your life. A therapist is there to talk and listen, and just to help you figure out how to deal with different emotions and life changes. It didn't help that my family kept in contact with the adoptive family, and occasionally saw the baby. Two years later, they continue to see him. If you're in a situation where you're considering adoption, this may be something you have to contend with. The way my family views it, i gave my son up for adoption, but he's still their grandson and nephew. Like I said, independent adoptions can be very personal, so if this sounds like something you'd rather not deal with, agency adoptions may the a better route for you.

It's been two years since I chose adoption, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. If you find yourself pregnant and not sure what to do, remember that you have options. If you choose adoption, there are different ways to go about it. And once you decide who your child's new family will be, there are different types of adoption to choose from. Research your options and figure out what is best for you. Remember, just because it's right for someone else doesn't mean it's the best thing for your situation.

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Comments 10 comments

ccrook 4 years ago

I too am a Birth Mother. I recently met my daughter who I made the very very difficult decision to give up for adoption thru a private SDA Adoption Agency out of Pasco, WA back in 1977. We communicated for 4 mths before meeting, was a nervous wreck, very emotional inside but did have a very brief breakdown, cry-tears when I opened the beautiful album she made for me of her birth to approx 9 yrs old..I treasure this gift (met 1 wk before Christmas) as she put her time in creating this album for me. I did not want to give her up but felt best for HER..I wanted her to have more instead of less and not just financially...I prayed all the time that God keep her safe, is with a loving, caring, supportive family...she was. I prayed that God allow me to meet my daughter at least one time before I die..I just couldn't leave this world not knowing she was healthy & happy; that she was treated well..that I did make the best decision for her...I did. I'm so thankful for this Blessing.. We communicate still..trying to take it slowly as I'm a stranger to her..in her head I am her Birthmother but in her heart...I'm a stranger..well now that we met, I'm an Acquaintance...so with time and patience..& more prayers..we will build a relationship of whatever she is comfortable with..even if just friends..good friends. I give thanks to her parents, her Adoptive parents-family, for loving my baby girl, giving her the life I could not..the life my daughter deserved. She is their "daughter"...whom loves them deeply. My daughter recently emailed me with exciting news that she & her husband are expecting, a baby boy, in Oct..2012 just 4 days before my birthday...I am his "Birth Grandmother".. I don't know what or if any involvement w/her pregnancy or after his birth...as her "Adoptive" parents are and w/be his Grandparents. However there are many "genetics" involved..because it's one thing for her curiosity of meeting her birthmother-father; medical history, family tree but now it literally extends to her future family. Her son may very well not look at all like or very little her husband, grandson's daddy or his side of family..which means he'll take after my side or her Birth Father or his side...so however she wants information, relationship &/or connection of her son w/us..will be welcome and on her terms. I for sure would love to be part of all this and future..even if just a "friend"..but with Birth Grandchildren now into the mix...it brings it all to a different place in my and my daughter's connection and future. I'm not sure how to approach her with any of this as I don't want to seem I'm pushing or override her Adoptive Mother...but maybe I should not do anything..just let things fall as they are meant to be. I was never "at peace" w/my decision but I knew logically in her best interest, adoption was the only option... They say Birth Mothers don't have "that" connection w/the child given up for adoption because she didn't nuture and raise the child...I disagree... I worried about her EVERY SINGLE DAY OF HER 35 YEARS.. I prayed as mentioned above she happy, loved, good childhood-to grown yrs. I wondered if she had the Chicken Pox, sprained or broke any foot. I thought about her "FIRST EVERYTHING"..words, turn-over, crawl, walk, run, laughter..hugs..sugar (kisses). I remembered her on her first day of Kindergarten (based on age & standard start month of new school yr); her Christening-Dedication; her 8th grade graduation; High School yrs..the Trial time of those stressful, trying, challenging years of Teenager.. Thought of her prom, Wedding..and now her pregnancy & future child; another member of "the Family Tree" she is wanting to put together of her "Biological" Family -both sides. I know I have to be very careful to take it slow although we just clicked from 1st time emailed, shared some family info, medical history; likes & dislikes and interests she requested to compare w/herself to see any "genetic-Biological" similarities. There is so much involved that although I did not have the honor of raising her...I loved her from time I found out I was pregnant, thru the 9 months carrying her, to her birth; seeing and holding her first time then last time when I left the hospital 2 days later. It broke my heart...I cried & cried..my heart hurt so bad, literally..pains. I was so depressed...those Post Partum Blues are intensified 3x over when adding your child is gone, forever. If Blessed, most will meet the child when she/he is an adult. So then it's a whole different level of introduction, approach..because the "motherly instinct" can & w/react quickly especially to protect the child but this child is not a child any longer...she is a Grown Up..therefore communication and approach towards a relationship calls for the Birth Mother to let her "child" lead...it's about her. She knows I'm her Birth Mother, she's acknowledged this and I'm so thankful for this Blessing. But I'm not her "mom"... so when we communicate, share info, fun stories, any personal info she wants to talk about...I have to tread carefully not to let my "motherly" feelings lead...not to react as a "mom"..I'm an acquaintance at this moment in time. Only time w/tell our future..one I pray will nuture and grow then hopefully I will have a permanent place, a role in her life and heart...& family..especially my grandson. So I know I did the best for her; certainly not for me..but as a mother it was my responsibility from time of conception to her birth to do what was best for her...I did. So when some want to judge and say what we, Birth Mother's should do, should have done or not...until they walk in MY shoes..in my situation as it was then...do not judge. Some say "easy way out" really? WRONG!! Sure it would've been very hard to raise her under my "life's" conditions then; especially if remained a Single parent but in SO many ways...it was more difficult, harder once I signed those Relinquish Documents & went home w/out my baby girl. My heart broke over & over, every year my daily ache-pain intensified on her birthday, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day too... It's a "death" you mourn, over & over..unless your one of minority who is Blessed to have your child want to meet you but also w/positive intentions...not to attack, negatively. I was & am Blessed. So let's not judge, Lest Ye Be Judged....P.S. Birth Mother's DAY is the Saturday for Mother's Day-Sunday.....Celebrate and pass the word.


hpedneau profile image

hpedneau 4 years ago from Princeton, West Virginia Author

Siera girl, I'm sorry you've had a bad experience. But every experience with adoption isn't like that. I never said I couldn't love a child. And actually, love doesn't conquer all. Love doesn't buy diapers, doesn't put food on the table, love doesn't babysit while a single teenage mother works a minimum wage job that doesn't pay enough to support her, much less a child. What I actually said was, "I was completely aware that if I kept this child, I would never be able to provide for him or her they way they deserved. My family was supportive, and offered help to me if I decided to keep it." People did encourage me to keep him, but they encouraged me more to do what I felt was right. Adoption isn't just about the child, it's equally about the mother. I'm sorry you weren't at peace with your decision, and I'm sure that's what leads to the "irreparable psychological damage" you mentioned, but this was my personal story, and I was, and still am at peace with it. As for being "infertile," when I signed over my rights I had already been told about the dangers I could face if I tried to have another child. There was time for me to change my mind, and it was a year before we actually went before a judge to make everything final, so I had plenty of time to contemplate my decision. And regardless of my future chances of children, like I said, at that time with that child, adoption was still the best choice.

Everyone else, thank you for your positive comments! They're very encouraging! Diaz, I'm glad you're seeking counseling, it can be very helpful in sorting through the rush of emotions I'm sure you're feeling.


Seira Girl profile image

Seira Girl 4 years ago from North Carolina

So sad that you did not feel you could love and raise your son yourself - love conquers all and the lies of adoption often distort that simple fact. It is also sad no one encouraged you to keep your son - especially since your pregnancy rendered you infertile. What seems "best" can often end up causing confused emotions and irreparable psychological damage for birth mother AND child. You can sever the connection, but never the cord. If you want to know how I know all this its because I am a birth mother, too...


diaz1122 4 years ago

I recently entered into an adoption. My daughter was born on 05/30/2012- She was born 7 weeks arly and delivered by emergency C-section, I cannot have anymore children either because I was told it would be to dangerous for me, my tubes were tied during my C-section. I left my daughter at the hospital today, I have not signed anything except the paper that says her adoptive parent can visit her. I never expected to feel the way I feel, I feel horrible inside, I feel like a bad mother. I feel like I left my child with a stranger and she should be with me. Interesting part is that I have 3 boys at home, I lost my job while I was pregnant and there is another part of me that says I would be selfich not to follow through. I know I cannot provide for another child, and her adoptive mother is a doctor who can give her everything. It doesn't stop my overwhelming feelings that I have abondoned my daughter. I am seeking out counseling now to help me deal with my feelings. I know how you felt, I am feeling it now, and I know what the right thing to do is.. I just need some help dealing with the emotion of it all.


Charity Squid profile image

Charity Squid 4 years ago

What a very courageous thing you did. It must have been hard to hold the baby and then hand him over to the adoptive parents. But you did it out of love for your child to give him a better life. That is the most unselfish thing to do. I adopted a child and often think of the birth mother (whom I've never met) who was a teenager at the time and how she must have felt giving her child away. But will always be very thankful to her.


daisyflowrs profile image

daisyflowrs 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

I was adopted in 1976. Naturally, it was a closed adoption, as that is how it was back then. I am currently looking for my birth mother or any biologically related person. My parents told me from the beginning that I was adopted. I was provided with everything I needed and many things I wanted. I have a son and a very strong bond with him. I don't have that mother-child bond with my mom. Your hub makes my mind argue with itself. I enjoyed reading the perspective of a birth mother. Thanks for sharing.


JenJen0703 profile image

JenJen0703 5 years ago from Cereal City U.S.A.

I enjoyed your story. Like you, I gave my daughter up for adoption when I was 18. It is a better choice than abortion. Many adoptions are open and can be set up for the birth mother to be involved in the raising of the child. Thank you for sharing your story. You can read mine, if you are interested, at http://hubpages.com/family/Adoption-The-Ultimate-G...


free2express profile image

free2express 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

Love your story, I placed my son up for adoption, it will be 2 years in March. I know how you felt. Thank you for sharing your story


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 5 years ago from Massachusetts

It's a difficult subject and a difficult story for someone who has gone through it, but it seems you were certain of your choice; and it's nice to think that some birth mothers can be at peace with their decision.

Of my three grown children (two sons and one daughter), one son is adopted (not because of fertility issues - just because, like the couple you mentioned, he needed a mother. I love that I came by my three children through both birth and adoption. I think more birth mothers, adopted people, and adoptive parents should tell their stories so that others might understand the situation of each a little better.


Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

Thank you for sharing your story. I don't think many people look at the birth parent side of adoption. By presenting your side, maybe other moms-to-be in difficult situations may choose this option. Bravo!

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