Updated: Apr 21
I had the rare chance to speak to a birth mother about her experience in placing her child up for adoption. After learning so much from my last series on 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adoption (click here to find part one of that series), I knew there was more to be learned from the birth mother. Although she is praised among adoptive parents as being the most selfless person there is and giving the best gift anyone could ever hope to give, unfortunately, in society, she can be questioned and ridiculed. So when I set out to interview a birth mom, I was unsure what I would find.
I have a large online network via my own personal accounts and decided to not only tap into those but tap into a couple of mom-owned business networks I’m a part of as well to see what I could find. So many women were excited to hear what a birth mom would say in an interview, and a couple of people said they would reach out to women who fit this description to see if they would be willing to be anonymously interviewed - I didn’t hear back from a single lead. Then, after almost a month of searching out a woman who would be willing to share her journey, I found someone who actually describes herself as an adoption advocate. She’s worked with the same charity that helped her for 15 years, sharing her story, and counseling other women who are thinking about making the same choice she did.
Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Pearcia (Me): Thank you so much for meeting with me! I’m so honored to hear your story!
Sue - Not Real Name (Birth Mom): Of course! I actually love sharing my story.
P: Wow, I’ve had the hardest time finding a woman to open up about her journey. Why do you think it is so easy for you?
S: Easy isn’t the right word, but when I first decided what I was going to do, someone shared with me and it was so helpful. I want to help other women too.
P: I love that. Let’s start with a quick synopsis of who you are today before we dig into the past.
S: I’m a High School English teacher. I’m married and have three kids, ages 7, 4, and 2. I love being all three of these things: Mom, Wife, Teacher.
P: Perfect. Okay, well, let’s dig in! What led up to you being pregnant?
S: I was raised very conservative. At the time, I was in college and was dating for the first time in my life. I realized I was in an abusive relationship and was able to get out of it, but soon discovered I might be pregnant. At first, I was confused because I didn’t feel like we had done “enough” for me to get pregnant. Really, I just didn’t know much about it.
P: That had to be hard on a couple of different levels!
S: It was, I was basically in denial. I wasn’t feeling well at all so I went to the doctor with my mom and that is when I not only found out I was pregnant but also had to confess to my mom (and myself really) that I was sexually active.
P: Eesh. How did that go?
S: Well, as I said, I was raised exceptionally conservative, so there was a lot of shame around being pregnant outside of marriage. Since abortion was never even on the table for us, my mom was the one that really led the way to seek out adoption as my only option.
P: Was it the only option in your mind? Had you considered raising the child yourself?
S: Absolutely. I knew being a single mom would be hard and I knew I could do it. But ultimately, it wasn’t about me. Sure I wanted to make the best decision for my life, but mostly I wanted to make the best decision for the baby’s life.
P: That’s a huge undertaking! Where did you start?
S: We were put in touch with a charity that would help with adoptions from the beginning. I really loved working with them because they never told me what to do or even helped to make decisions. They were there as a guide as I figured out what I wanted to do.
P: So how did you figure out what you wanted to do?
S: *laughs* Actually, I made a pros and cons list!
P: Really? That’s fantastic! *laughs* Is this something you do in life?
S: Yes, I’m a huge list maker! Even though I knew I could personally be a single mom [because reaching to the abusive father was never something I would have considered], I wanted the sort of upbringing for this child that I had. I wanted them to go to Disneyland, and go on camping trips, and have family outings. I knew none of this would happen if I kept the baby, so I agreed with my mom that adoption was the best option.
P: Did you waver through the pregnancy, or were you steadfast in your decision?
S: It was hard to go through and it’s even hard now at times, so I’m sure I wavered, but the charity I worked with was very supportive. They never put any pressure on me. In fact, nothing was final until after I left the hospital without the baby. Any wavering I did was my own doubts about me and my future.
P: Apart from your mom, did you have support to choose adoption?
S: I had different levels of different support. My mom was the “pusher” of what is the best thing for me (rather than the child). My Dad cried with me once and then held the quiet supportive role. My sister was only 16 at the time and ended up being a great listener and support. I was nervous about telling friends on campus and in the Catholic community, but they ended up being great! I was so grateful to not sit in shame the entire time. The Social Worker was amazing. It was always 100% my decision. I was free to change my mind, and I was told everything would be okay no matter what I chose. The charity even offered financial support, but I was still on my dad’s insurance so we didn’t need it.
P: Moving onto the adoption itself - was it hard to decide if you wanted a closed or open adoption?
S: Actually, the charity we worked with only does open adoptions. So that was decided for me.
P: And you were comfortable with that?
S: I assumed I’d wait for about a year after the birth to get in contact with the adoptive family, but I couldn’t even wait a month! The family was happy to connect with me and we’ve been in touch ever since.
Dear readers: There is so much more to tell you, but I will hold it for next week. This sweet birth mother will take you through the process of picking a family, tell you about her relationship with the family and the child, and share how she is doing now. You won’t want to miss it! Click here for part two of “A Story of a Birth Mom”.