50 Years Ago Today

She Gave Her Only Child Away

To Live a Life Too Easy to Regret

So begins the song, “Body and the Blood” by Christian artist Janet Paschal.

Listening to this song never fails to make me cry. I wonder how many birth mothers who gave their child up for adoption feel this way. Too often people forget about the birth mother. So many are concerned with the adopted parents’ feelings – more so than even the adopted child. How did adoption become so focused on the adopted parents? True, they’ve emotionally committed to this child and it feels terrifying to have that bond threatened. My heart goes out to them, but we must focus on the child’s feelings first and foremost.

Recently, there was a Florida woman who was being sought because she took her twins to Canada. Her crime? She didn’t have custody. She had given her children up for adoption. As the details unfolded, she had been pressured into the adoption by so-called friends all too eager to adopt her twins, and the birth mother wanted her children back. Okay, not the best way to go around it, but I think too often a birth mother is not understood or supported. As soon as she signs on the dotted line, the child is taken from her and in many cases, the records are sealed. That doesn’t serve her or the child.

Sometimes birth mothers prefer it that way. Giving birth was their shameful secret – they’ve gone on to build a new life and often the new family knows nothing about her past. So when the child discovers her whereabouts and shows up suddenly, she denies who they are.

Sometimes, as the lyrics imply, the birth mother gives up her child, thinking it’ll be best for them and for herself. Only her life doesn’t turn out the way she had hoped – in fact, it turns into one of regret. All sad scenarios.

I continue to hear of an adopted young woman struggling with her identity and not feeling a connection with her adopted parents because they don’t understand her or her need to know her birth parents. Only she has no clue where to start. In the meantime, she dates all the wrong men.

I want to help her, but I don’t know her and should I force myself upon her, I would be perceived as interfering. It’s one of those tricky situations. I’m not sure she would be open to hearing my story anyway. A person has to be ready to hear it and sometimes it depends on who that person is telling it. All I can do is pray.

In the meantime, I continue to raise the issue of what it’s like to grow up without your birth mother and/or father and the importance of knowing your biological family through my articles, book, and blog. And it’s so rewarding when somebody writes to me saying how something I said helped them in their own search.

PS – This story had a happy ending – see Happy Endings Make Me Cry.

Recommended Reading

Myths of the Fatherless by Kathy Holmes

Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl? The Impact on Fatherlessness in the Black Community by Jonetta Rose Barras

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge