Started by a group of birth moms in 1990, and established on the day before Mother’s Day, Birth Mother’s Day recognizes and honors the choice a woman has made to place her child with a loving family through adoption. As a birth mom of fourteen years myself, there’s no doubt that adoption is a choice that is difficult and selfless. We have made this choice out of love for our child, not out of abandonment. We place the needs of our child before our own wants or desires. Ultimately, birth moms have an amazing way of looking towards the future, and not so much at their past.
Birth Mother’s Day is becoming increasingly recognized as more women are choosing adoption and sharing their decision with others. Due to the evolution of adoption over the last two decades, a majority of domestic adoption agencies and attorneys now offer open adoption plans, and prospective birth parents are not only able to choose the parents who will raise their child, they are also able to continue a relationship with their birth child and his or her parents, unlike before. As open adoption continues to improve in the United States, it will become more common to hear of birth moms breastfeeding or pumping breast milk for their birth child, and those who are adopted visiting with their birth family on a daily basis.
Even with the option of open adoption today, Birth Mother’s Day still evokes many different emotions for birth moms across the nation – especially concerning those who placed their child through adoption around two decades ago, when most adoption plans were closed. On this day, may we not only recognize a birth mom’s decision of adoption, but also progress with the times and educate ourselves on the experiences of birth moms who have an open adoption relationship with their birth child and their birth child’s parents. These five points, below, will help you understand today’s birth moms better, and will also give you more confidence in talking to women who are abortion-determined about the option of open adoption. One thing is clear – No matter how difficult our decision was, you will never hear a birth mom say, “I wish I had an abortion.”
First, birth moms are grateful for the mothers – and overall the adoptive couples – who we have entrusted to become the forever family to our birth child. We understand the sacrifice we make when choosing adoption, but we also understand the sacrifice adoptive mothers have made. Adoptive mothers have not only opened their home, but they have opened their hearts… To love a child who did not grow inside of their belly. This is why biology is not necessarily the greatest thing that defines a family unit – Love is. Family is defined by the pure love that is given to a child; and with adoption, this love begins with the birth mom and continues throughout the child’s life with his or her adoptive family.
Second, when people use words such as “Give up” or “Give away” regarding a birth mom’s decision of adoption, it creates a misconception about the choice of adoption and adds to its stigma. Those words are equated with failure and bad decisions. A birth mom’s decision has nothing to do with giving up, but everything to do with giving life. In fact, giving should not be equated with “Giving away” or “Giving up.” Birth moms do not give up anything. When we chose adoption, we never gave up – we kept going and gave everything: Life, love and hope. Better words to describe a birth mom’s decision of adoption are: “Making an adoption plan,” “Choosing open adoption,” or “Placed for adoption.” Words matter. Especially in our modern society that scrutinizes how we say what we way.
Third, just because a birth mom grieves her decision of adoption, this does not mean she regrets her decision. And it certainly does not mean she is going to “take back her child.” Birth moms who do grieve their decision of adoption, all grieve in different ways and for different lengths of time. And that is okay. Grief is a natural emotion and coping mechanism. I heard a wonderful statement recently: “Grief isn’t scary, wrong or untrue. Grief is a natural form of missing you.”
Fourth, birth moms do not fit into a stereotypical mold, and we are not what the mainstream media has portrayed us to be. Birth moms make up all different ages, races, and status quo; some just talk about their decision more than others. Interestingly enough, “Jane Roe,” of the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion in the U.S., never had an abortion and is a birth mom herself; though, the media still neglects to speak about her decision of adoption.
Furthermore, women choose adoption for many different reasons – From financial hardships to simply wanting their child to have a father. And despite popular belief, not all birth moms were abortion-determined before choosing adoption. For many birth moms, adoption and parenting were the only two options in consideration when they faced their unexpected pregnancy. In addition, not all birth moms were teenagers at the time of their pregnancy. Many birth moms who place today are actually older in age and may have one or more children who they parent aside from the child they are placing. Either way, all birth moms share one thing in common: We love our child.
Fifth, and lastly, birth moms want an open, healthy relationship with their birth child and their parents. Again, we do not “abandon” our child when we choose adoption. In fact, it is important for birth moms to have a healthy relationship with the birth child and with the birth child’s parents. And when adoptive parents honor the birth parents, they are honoring the child. They understand that when the birth parents are not honored for their decision of adoption, the child is at risk of believing that something is inherently wrong with them. As healthy relationships are established and boundaries are set between birth parents and adoptive parents, more adopted children are growing to understand that he or she was placed with another family through a decision that required a selfless sacrifice.
Understanding birth moms today will help us to better serve women who are abortion-determined and who are not in a position to parent their child. Even though less than two percent of women facing an unplanned pregnancy will choose adoption for their baby – while four out of ten pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion – these trends will change when we continue to talk about adoption accurately, and as more birth moms begin to serve in their communities and share their decision of adoption with others.
As a birth mom, it’s devastating to witness mothers walking into abortion centers unaware of the choices of adoption. On Birth Mother’s Day, let’s reclaim what choice really means. Birth mothers are brave, bold and beautiful. We have a powerful story to tell. It’s one of uniqueness, and a story that will help abortion-determined women choose life – Whether these women choose to place or to parent. When an abortion-determined woman sees two wonderful options of life in front of her – between Parenting or Open Adoption – she will be more likely to choose from one of those options over abortion. Adoption truly is a difficult decision that becomes an easy blessing for everyone involved… Because our decision will always be worth our child’s life.
*The above information does not concern state-initiated adoptions in child neglect, dependency, abuse cases, etc.
Facing an unplanned pregnancy? There is hope for you and your baby! And there are birth moms in your area that would love to speak with you! Simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
About the Author:
Callie Jett is a birth mom of fourteen years and the Founder of Talk About Adoption™. Faced with an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager, and pressured to choose abortion, Callie chose life for her birth son through the option of open adoption. After placing her son for adoption, she went on to marry, completed Graduate School, and worked as a Child Protective Service Social Worker before having children of her own. Callie describes abortion as the biggest threat to adoption. Her passion is to shine a light on open adoption as a wonderful option for women faced with an unexpected pregnancy while encouraging other birth moms to serve in their communities and share their experiences with adoption. Callie travels around the U.S. sharing her story of adoption, how to introduce the option of adoption to mothers who are abortion-determined, and how adoption continues to evolve into a beautiful option for women who find themselves unable to parent.