Birth Mother's Story
(800) 364-6933 Birth mother hotline
I am a birthmother, and I am proud of it!
Everyday someone is stereotyped. In high school, if you play sports, you are a jock; if you are really smart, you are a nerd. When you get older, if you drink too much you are an alcoholic; if you do drugs you are a druggie. Whether the stereotype is good or bad, it is a brand that you usually live with forever.
Even though it’s not easy to do, I get stereotyped every day that I tell my story.
One minute I am selfish, but selfless the next and I am courageous one minute, but a coward the next. Yet there are so many people out there who depend on people like me. “Who are you?” you ask.
Let me introduce myself. I am a full-time employee, I am pregnant with my second child, I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I know right now you are looking at all of these things and saying “So, what makes you different?” The difference is, I am, most importantly, a birthmother.
Some of you may not know what a birthmother is so, let me tell you. A birthmother is a woman who carries a child for nine months and makes the most difficult decision in her life. She is a woman who realizes that the child she is carrying will not have the life that it deserves, so she decides to give it a better life. And last but not least, she’s a woman who takes the pain of someone else and puts that pain on herself.
For those of you that have never had a hand in the adoption world, let me help shed some light. There are three sides to the adoption triangle: the birthmother, the adoptive parents and the adoptee. The birthmother, as I explained, is the woman who actually gives birth to the child. The adoptive parents are the ones who adopt the child, and the adoptee is the actual child. One side of the triangle cannot work without the other one.
When most people think of adoption, they think about the adoptive parents. They see the couple that has tried to have a child on their own, and most of the time has tried fertility drugs, and has come to find out that their fate is going to be adopting a child. The next step for that couple is to find an agency or attorney to help them with this decision. From there they do a home study, put a profile together. They write their “Dear Birthmother” letter, some placing it on the Internet, while others just leave it with the attorney or agency. And then they wait.
While this is going on, on the other side of the coin is the birthmother. She finds out that she is pregnant (sometimes this is exciting, and sometimes devastating), and she has to figure out what she is going to do next. Most birthmothers first think that they are going to keep their child that they will find a way to care for it at any cost. Others think of abortion first, thinking that there is no way that she can have the child. In the end, both contemplate adoption. It is not a simple decision that is made overnight, it is not even a decision usually made in a week, it is a long, drawn-out, very emotional process that sometimes is not made until the very last minute. While adoptive parents are praying for their miracle child, the birthmother is praying for a miracle.
Most birthmothers read over hours and hours of “Dear Birthmother” letters, trying to find a family that is loving, caring and honest. Honesty is one of the biggest things when it comes to adoption. The birthmother has to be able to trust what the adoptive parents say, because she hears stories of other birthmothers that were promised simple things like letters and pictures, and 12 years later she has never seen what her child looks like. I am not saying that all adoptive parents are like this, but a number of them are. As the birthmother finds that one special couple, she calls or emails them to find out more information, and then if everything goes like she hopes, they meet.
Once they meet she agonizes over the decision and decides if this is them, the people that are going to be raising her child. She makes that decision she signs mounds of paperwork saying what can and can not be done for her and what she is expected to do and how much time she has to do it. So as time gets closer, the birthmother’s head and heart start to disagree, and she has to make a decision, the most difficult decision that she will probably ever make in her entire life. As the day comes and she is still praying for a miracle, she knows that she can not give her child the life that he or she deserves. So, as she hands her new beautiful child to its new parents, the pain that once filled the hearts of the adoptive parents now fills the heart of the birthmother.
As the years pass, every birthday and every Mother’s Day, her heart gets a little heavier as she thinks about that child and wonders if he or she knows about her, and if he or she will come to look for her. Adoptive parents get to live their lives with the child that they always wanted; a birthmother lives with the pain of the child she does not see.
I spent 17 hours reading letters trying to find the right parents for my son, and I believe that I found the best ones possible. Now I run a support group for birthmothers and help them with their grief and their pain. There is one thing that we all have in common: we all have children out there that we wonder if we will ever see again, and we all truly understand each other. Every day I defend my decision to place my son for adoption, and I will defend that decision every day until I die. I am proud of the decision I made. Not only did I give my son life, I gave him a home and a family that loves him and can give him the life that he deserves. I love that little boy, and not a day goes by that I do not think of him. But I smile with every picture I get and every letter I read, because I get to see the smile on his face and read about the progression in his life.
I am a birthmother, and I am proud of it. By Lindsay Schneider.